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The Lion King Producer Says Mufasa And Scar Aren't Actually Brothers

Here's one familial mix-up not even the king of the jungle can "hakuna matata" his way out of.

The Lion King producer Don Hahn has revealed that Mufasa and Scar aren't actually brothers. 

This fact complicates the entire premise of the 1994 Disney animated classic, as nearly everyone knows that Mufasa (voiced by James Earl Jones) is killed by his vengeful, power-hungry brother Scar (voiced by Jeremy Irons) by using his young nephew Simba (Jonathan Taylor Thomas) as bait. Scar then takes over the entirety of the pride lands, stripping the soil of its resources and the wildlife of its livelihood. Elsewhere, young Simba escapes to the fringes of jungle society and befriends the lovable warthog Pumbaa and the slightly neurotic meerkat Timon before returning home, avenging his Mufasa's death, and claiming his rightful position as king. 

But if Mufasa and Scar aren't related by blood, how does the fratricide at the heart of the narrative hold up? Well, it doesn't, as lions don't technically have "brothers" in the wild. 

Hahn explained it all to Hello Giggles: "[While making the movie] we talked about the fact that it was very likely [Scar and Mufasa] would not have both the same parents. The way lions operate in the wild... when the male lion gets old, another rogue lion comes and kills the head of the pride. What that does is it causes the female lions to go into heat [to reproduce], and then the new younger lion kills the king and then he kills all the babies. Now he's the new lion that's running the pride."

The producer continued, revealing that the minds behind The Lion King tried hard to figure out how to incorporate two male lions in the core story. "There was always this thing about well, how do you have these two [male] lions?" stated Hahn. "Occasionally, there are prides that do have two male lions, in an interesting dynamic because they're not equals [since they don't have the same parents]. One lion will always kind of be off in the shadows."

Lion King creatives used that fact to spin the narrative in the direction they wanted, and used a sneaky line to explain how Mufasa and Scar could exist in the same area together. "We were trying to use those animal truths to underpin the story so we sort of figured Scar and Mufasa couldn't really be from the same gene pool," Hahn explained. "In fact, that's what [Scar] says. There's a line [where] he goes, 'I'm from the shallow end of the gene pool' when he's talking to [Zazu], when Mufasa gets mad at him for not coming up to the coronation of Simba."

This also explains why Scar holds such a deep grudge against Mufasa. Though Mufasa refers to him as a "brother," and assures him that he's part of the lion family, Scar knows he doesn't truly belong there. That feeling of isolation is made worse when considering that every other lion would know that Scar is the lesser of the two male lions, and can explain why Scar went rogue, killed Mufasa, and appointed himself as the king. 

With that Lion King bombshell officially dropped, check out some of the other secrets Disney is hiding