- "Life's not fair, is it?"
Scar, formerly known as Prince Taka, is the main antagonist of Disney's 1994 film The Lion King. He was the son of Ahadi, who was at one time King of the Pride Lands, and younger brother of Mufasa, who would also become King of the Pride Lands. Scar is also the uncle of Simba and was voiced by Jeremy Irons in the first film, Jim Cummings in the second film (Jim also sang the last verse of "Be Prepared"), James Horan in Kingdom Hearts II and Tom Kane in Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom.
Scar is elegant and poised, but unkempt and wild looking. He also speaks with an English accent. He is perhaps the most evidently feline lion in the film, lithe and melanistic in appearance with a sleek, black mane, dusty orange fur and distinctive, almond-shaped green eyes. He has large, white paws with long, curving black claws that unlike those of other lions in the film are always bared and never retracted, perhaps alluding to his vicious nature. Scar also sports a white goatee beard, characteristic of villains, particularly the evil twin archetype which is fitting given his relationship with Mufasa. Finally, Scar has a thin, red gash over his left eye, thus earning him his namesake. Some of his physical traits were also based in part on his (first) voice actor, Jeremy Irons.
Scar was known to be resentful of Mufasa and Simba because Simba's birth ruined any chance of him becoming king. His resentment and anger towards Mufasa was strong enough that, after he usurped Mufasa's place on the throne by murdering him, he outlawed Mufasa's name being uttered, especially not in a favorable light. He also seemed to possess somewhat of an inferiority complex, which presumably also acted as another reason for his resentment for Mufasa, as evidenced by his sad resignation to the fact that he was passed over in the gene pool regarding brute strength. He also prides himself on his intellect, and was also somewhat of a narcissist, the latter trait being especially prevalent when plotting for the murder of Mufasa after the hyenas' failed attempt at murdering Simba at the Elephant Graveyard where he mentions that when he becomes king, they will "see him for the wonder that he is." He seems to have some odd quirks that he is also aware of, as, when Simba states in response to Scar's sarcastic reply of his being a "Monkey's Uncle" regarding what Scar will be when Simba is king that Scar is weird, Scar tells Simba that "Simba has no idea." Scar at one point mentioned having a bad back, although given that he said it to Simba after the latter's statement that he will rule Pride Rock, he was likely being sarcastic. After taking over Pride Rock, Scar's overall demeanor took a turn for the worse, becoming somewhat deluded in believing that he is still an efficient ruler despite evidence to the contrary, apparently being unwilling to admit even to himself that Mufasa was a better king. He seemed to also develop serious paranoia after Simba returned regarding what Simba was going to do with him, as he attempted to attack Simba after Simba repeated the same words Scar told him when Simba planned to exile Scar for murdering Mufasa due to fear that Simba would pull a similar stunt that Scar himself pulled on Simba after he said those words. In addition, when Simba first revealed himself upon his return to Pride Rock before Scar realized it was Simba, Scar backed away while in disbelief that Mufasa survived, fearful that his role in Mufasa's death would be exposed.
Regarding his treatment of Shenzi, Banzai and Ed, he was somewhat harsh with them, as evidenced by his berating them regarding their failure to kill Simba, and his angrily throwing them out after they made the mistake of mentioning Mufasa. Despite this, however, he seemed to value them as friends, as evidenced by his remark when he finds the hyenas waiting for him before he realized they intended to kill him for his remarks, as well as his attempts at apologizing to them falling on deaf ears when he realized too late. In addition, he also got a few ideas (with the hyenas either knowingly supplying them or otherwise) regarding how to become king from them. Though he seemed caring for Simba calling him his "favorite nephew" although he was his only nephew he was harsh on him as a cub after the death of Mufasa making him think it was his fault and asking him what his mother would think. He also seemed to be royal calling Simba a "young prince" and also mysterious because when Simba asked him what was out there Scar said "I'm sorry Simba I just can't tell you." He was also a sadist convincing his own nephew he was responsible for Mufasa's death and then taunting him further. Despite his negative traits, he did attempt to encourage Zazu to sing a more "bouncy" song.
The Lion King novels
As revealed in "Tale of Two Brothers", Scar was once named Taka, and had become upset when he learned that his older brother Mufasa was chosen to be king over himself (which would explain Scar's plot to kill both him and Simba in the film). He wanders off to talk to three hyenas named Shenzi, Banzai and Ed, who tell him that if Mufasa is made to look like a failure, then he will look kingly in comparison and soon take the throne.
This leads to Taka tricking his brother into going down to the waterhole, where a Cape buffalo called Boma is refusing to share the water with the rest of The Pride Lands which, at the time, is having a terrible drought.
While there Mufasa starts to try to reason with Boma, and Taka roars and tells Boma that he must move by order of the Lion King, or fight Mufasa, Boma then charges out of the water at Mufasa. Mufasa escapes with the aid of a Mandrill called Rafiki, and Boma goes after Taka instead.
Mufasa runs back and finds Taka being attacked by Boma's herd. A large buffalo slashes Taka with his horns, causing him to be knocked unconscious. Mufasa leaps in to save his brother and the buffaloes prepare to attack again. Before they can do so, King Ahadi, father of Taka and Mufasa, appears with a large herd of animals that surrounds the Buffaloes. It was during this attack that Taka got a scar on his eye, and renamed himself Scar, as a reminder of his mistake.
Scar remained bitter and jealous of his brother but was allowed to live in the Pride Lands. He did not attend Simba's presentation, much to Mufasa's disgust. During this time, he also tried to eat a mouse, although he was ultimately forced to let the mouse escape when Zazu told him off for missing Simba's presentation, causing Scar to attempt to exact revenge on Zazu by eating him instead until Mufasa interfered, forcing him to spit Zazu out. Scar also implied when Mufasa warned him not to walk away that he might attack Mufasa should he be distracted. He also briefly lamented that he may be cast out of the gene pool anyways before leaving Pride Rock dejected.
As the years passed, Scar rapidly became jealous of his nephew Simba's position as the next king of Pride Rock, and started plotting to kill his nephew in order to take out the competition for the throne himself. He started to recruit hyenas, primarily Shenzi, Banzai and Ed, to build an army. He used bribes of food to get them on his side.
The first attempt the hyenas made was to kill Simba after tricking the cub into entering their territory with his best friend, Nala. When Mufasa foiled that plan, Scar was seen in the background, who had watched the whole thing.
Later, Scar admonishes the hyenas for failing to kill Simba, even when it was clear that Simba only survived due to Mufasa's interference. However, he ends up getting the idea to kill Mufasa in addition to Simba when, after feeding them a Zebra's leg to kill Mufasa when Banzai sardonically asked whether Scar should kill Mufasa to get the throne. He promises during his villain song, Be Prepared that under his rule, they need never go hungry again.
With their help, he engineers a wildebeest stampede meant to kill both Simba and Mufasa, tricking Simba into waiting in a gorge under the notion that Mufasa has a 'marvelous surprise' for him. Scar then sends Mufasa to save Simba. Mufasa manages to save his son and ends up clinging to a cliff where he spots Scar and pleads with his brother to help him. However, Scar grips Mufasa's paws with his claws, and flung his brother off the cliff to his death with the mocking words, "Long live the king". Scar finds that Simba is still alive, and makes him believe that it is his fault Mufasa is dead. He then convinces Simba to run away, and never return. Scar then sends the hyenas to kill Simba. They fail this task, though Shenzi felt that allowing the cub to flee into the desert would kill him eventually. Scar then took over the Pride Lands, using the hyena clan as muscle to ensure his reign goes undisputed. Under his rule, the Pride Lands were overhunted by the hyenas, and the excess of predators drove the herds away, while a drought deprived them of water. Likewise, he also enacts a law to prevent the subjects from mentioning Mufasa, especially not in a more favorable light.
Even with the hyena Clan and the Pride on the brink of starvation, Scar refuses to allow anybody to leave, descending into madness and insisting that he is still a mighty king. He later questions Sarabi, Simba's mother Mufasa's widowed queen, as to why she and the pride aren't hunting for food to which she replies there's nothing left and suggests they leave Pride Rock. However Scar rejects to the idea, in which she responds that he's sentencing everyone to death. Scar condones to the fact and declares that as king he can do whatever he wants. Just as Sarabi compares him to Mufasa, he slaps her to the ground stating he's "ten times the king Mufasa was." When Simba returns, Scar, at first anxious that Simba was Mufasa's ghost, forces Simba to admit that he is responsible for his father's death then forces him close to the edge of Pride Rock, Simba manages to cling for his life and Scar slams his claws into Simba's paws and quietly reveals to Simba that he had murdered Mufasa. Simba then forces Scar to admit this out loud.
This leads to a battle in which the lionesses, Timon, and Pumbaa, work together to defeat the hyenas. Simba confronts Scar on the top of Pride Rock, but Scar, knowing he is not strong enough to defeat Simba, is hesitant to fight. He tries to blame everything on the hyenas, not knowing that Shenzi, Banzai and Ed had followed him (presumably to back him up) and hear him, and also requested that he allow him to make it up to Simba. Realizing that to Scar they are completely expendable and have been used as tools, they back away angrily. When Simba chooses to exile Scar rather than kill him, Scar appears to concede, but then blinds his nephew by brushing embers into his face (It's implied that Scar did this because he feared that Simba would pull a similar action on him that Scar himself pulled on Simba when he exiled the latter, such as siccing the pride on him to kill him). Scar attacks his nephew, and they fight savagely until Scar knocks Simba onto his back, but as Scar leaps to deliver the final blow, Simba uses his hindlegs to throw Scar over the edge, sending him flying off Pirde Rock and tumbling down the cliff. Scar survives the fall and slowly gets to his feet, then the hyenas arrive. At first, Scar is relieved to see his "friends", but to his horror, they reply that according to Scar, they were the enemy and they begin to surround Scar who is backing against the stone. Scar pleads for his life and attempts to explain his earlier statements, but the hyenas have had enough of his treachery and broken promises; they close in and surround Scar with manic smiles, leap on Scar, and rip him to shreds. In order to edit violence, Scar's death is obscured by flames rising up.
Despite the fact that this series takes place after The Lion King, Scar makes a few cameos meant for comedy purposes. He is seen when Timon tries to revive Pumbaa's amnesia after being struck by lightning, and when Zazu cleans out his trash can.
Despite his ultimate demise, Scar maintained the loyalty of the Outsiders, a pride of lionesses led by a lioness named Zira, who were banished to the outlands by Simba. Zira was fanatically loyal to Scar and intended to install her son Kovu as King of Pride Rock, as previously chosen by Scar to become his heir. They would continue to create trouble for Simba in the following years.
Scar also appeared in Simba's dream. Mufasa clings to the high cliff above the stampede and an adult Simba tries to save his father, however Scar grabs Simba's paw stopping from reaching him and Mufasa falls off the cliff, Scar morphs into Kovu and throws Simba into stampede. In addition, Scar was also mentioned by Simba when he explains the true history of the fight between Scar and him. He also implies during this time that, in addition to the Hyenas exacting revenge on Scar, Scar also ended up burned alive by the wildfire.
In the end, Scar's dying wish would be fulfilled (Kovu becoming the king of the Pridelands) since Simba would choose Kovu to become king.
Scar made few minor cameos. In the episode "Ask Von Drake" - Scar can be briefly seen being held by Rafiki just as Simba was in the film. In "Jiminy Cricket" - Jiminy used Scar as an example of temptations. At the end of that same episode, Scar was seen aside some of the other guests when they were arguing over Jiminy.
In the direct-to-video "parallel film" The Lion King 1½ (2004), Scar makes a few brief, non-speaking appearances in the scenes for which he was present in the original Lion King film.
Scar's song, "Be Prepared" is heard briefly as Timon and Pumbaa tour Scar's lair as a possible new home, commenting on how it is quiet, secluded and with no uninvited visitors. The shadows of the goose-stepping hyena army are then seen marching in front of them, though they haven't started singing yet.
He is also mentioned by Nala when tells Timon and Pumbaa that Simba needs their help in order to defeat Scar. Later, He is shown making Simba fall over Pride Rock's peak and fleeing from Simba after admitting he murdered Mufasa, where the hyenas were protecting him. Finally, after Timon, Ma, Pumbaa, and Uncle Max defeat the hyenas, Simba kicks Scar over the side of Pride Rock's summit, into the hole the hyenas fell into, and to his death.
In the Broadway musical, Scar's role is expanded upon with the song "The Madness of King Scar". In it, Scar begins doubting his reign, fearing that he might be losing the respect of the lionesses and that he needs a queen. He attempts to seduce Nala when he chooses her as his queen, promising to share the throne with her, but she rebukes him by scratching his face. The musical also implies that he might harbor some guilt for murdering Mufasa, as he mentions that Mufasa's ghost kept on haunting him.
Scar appeared in this video game as the final boss in the Lion King.
Kingdom Hearts II lays host to the story of Scar's rule over the Pride Lands. Scar teams up with Pete as a way to rule the kingdom with discipline. Scar is the King of the Pride Lands, and when he first meets Sora, Donald, and Goofy at Pride Rock, he wishes to eat them, as there is little food in the Pride Land because of his rather shoddy treatment of them. The trio escape and convince Simba to return to Pride Rock.
When this occurs, an overconfident Scar reveals the truth about Mufasa's death, enraging Simba and prompting him to chase after his murderous uncle. While Sora, Donald, Goofy, Timon and Pumbaa hold off the Hyenas, Simba fights Scar at the top of Pride Rock. Sora and co. arrive in time to watch Simba throw the pretender to the throne off the cliff, but Pete arrives and tells them that because of the anger and jealousy within his heart, Scar has become a Heartless. A battle ensues as Scar climbs back up to the peak, with Sora and the gang victorious. Oddly, however, his corpse upon being defeated depicts him as smiling.
In the second visit to the Pride Lands, Scar appears as a dark ghost which haunts Simba, taunting him and saying he will never be a true king. The ghost lives as long as Simba has doubt in his heart. Eventually Simba retreats to the oasis in the jungle, but Scar's ghost confronts him there as well. With the help of Sora, Donald and Goofy. Simba stood up to the ghost and it disappeared. The victory was short-lived however when Timon arrived and told them that Scar's ghosts were all over the Pride Lands and everyone but Nala had escaped. The group returned to the Pride Lands and Simba saved Nala from the ghost.
Immediately afterward, all of the ghosts merged in the Savannah and became the enormous Groundshaker Heartless. Sora and Simba fought the giant Heartless and emerged victorious, the ghost of Scar finally gone.
Scar appeared in the puzzle video game with his minions, the hyenas.
Scar appears as a stained-glass portrait in the Mad Doctor's laboratory along with Maleficent and Captain Hook. There are also two lion statues in the courtyard of Dark Beauty Castle that bare resemblance to Scar.
Scar appears as an unlockable costume character in the game. He is also the boss of the last level of The Lion King universe, where you ride on a train for transportation to battle him with a canon.
In the Disney theme parks, Scar is usually seen in parades and shows, often based on The Lion King.
In Adventureland, Scar returns from the dead via Hades and is given a proposition to live forever in exchange for the crystal of the Magic Kingdom. Scar tricks the hyenas into believing he is invincible and forces them to work for him again. However, the park guests prove that Scar lied by injuring him in front of the hyenas, prompting them to leave their former boss. Scar decides to battle the guests himself, but is soon defeated. Hades gives Scar a second chance and transforms him into a hellish storm. Scar battles the park guests yet again, but is once again defeated sending him back to the underworld.
Scar can be briefly seen in the water projectors and heard vocally throughout a sequence based on the wildebeest stampede from the film.
Scar appears as one of the main villains in the live nighttime spectacular Fantasmic!. In the show Scar is called fourth by The Queen to destroy Mickey Mouse once and for all. In the end, Scar is killed by Mickey along with the other villains. His only line was "Yes, perfect."
- "I despise guessing games."
- "Kill him."
- "The king is dead. And if weren't for you he'd still be alive."
- "No no. Anything but that."
- "Oh surely we lions aren't all that bad."
- "What do you want?"
- "Ooh. I quiver with FEAR."
- "Oh I shall practice my curtsey."
- "I practically gift wrapped those cubs for you. And you couldn't even dispose of them."
- "Without a queen, what am I?"
- "I never thought Hyenas essential. They're crude and unspeakably plain. But maybe a glimmer of hope if allied to my vision and brain."
- "You and your petty complaints."
- "Nobody loved me. Not even as a cub. What did my brother have that I don't have?"
- "Ah Nala. You're timing couldn't be more perfect."
- While Jeremy Irons voices Scar for most of the movie, he blew out his voice recording "Be Prepared" (Specifically the line "You won't get a sniff without me!"), and the rest of the song is sung by Jim Cummings. Ironically, "Be Prepared" is also where Ed (also voiced by Jim Cummings) has his only line that is not laughter.
- In an original draft for the ending of The Lion King, Scar was to be shown burned alive when Simba hurls him off the ledge, with Scar laughing as he did so (presumably due to completely losing his sanity over losing everything), which also results in Pride Rock's destruction. This ending was cut presumably because of the ending's dark nature for a Disney film. Although it was ultimately cut, Simba's Pride nonetheless implied that fire was partially involved in Scar's death. Ironically, the final version of his death (see below) was based on an alternate ending of Beauty and the Beast that was cut for the same reasons why the original ending was cut.
- The Nostalgia Critic listed Scar as Number 9 on his "Top 11 Disney Villains" list while his song "Be Prepared" was listed as Number 3 on his "Top 11 Villain Songs" list. This song, along with another from the list, was brought up again when it was mentioned that Jim Cummings was singing the song though mentioned that Jeremy Irons sang most of the song. His female counterpart, The Nostalgia Chick, listed Scar as Number 8 on her "Top 10 Evil Nostalgia Characters" list.
- In the 1997 Disney film Hercules, Scar makes a brief cameo appearance in the scene where Hercules is posing for the painting wearing the skin of what's supposed to be the Nemean Lion, but is actually Scar.
- During the song "Be Prepared", Scar leaps off a high cliff, and upon landing causes the ground to crack apart as well as the various pieces to rise with him and the Hyenas on it (and one of the hyenas falling through the cracks), hinting that he either possessed Terrakinetic abilities or had an uncanny ability to predict the precise moment portions of the ground (such as that at the Elephant Graveyard) would change drastically.
- There is a t-shirt with Scar on it that has his famous quote, "I'm surrounded by idiots."
- Originally, Scar was going to send adult Nala away from Pride Rock because she ignored his romantic approaches, after which she finds Simba alive and well with Timon and Pumbaa. This idea was ultimately abandoned, as sexual harassment was considered improper in a family movie. However, the stage musical adaptation includes this plot development as part of director Julie Taymor's efforts to expand the female characters' presence in the story. This deleted scene can be seen in the Blu-ray's special features.
- The same scene, The Madness of King Scar, also gave further credence that he held remorse for murdering Mufasa, where he was often haunted by his ghost a'la Macbeth, something that was subtly implied in the final film itself when Scar initially mistook Simba for Mufasa and backed away in disbelief.
- Originally, Scar would chase Simba out of the Pridelands himself.
- Originally, Scar would have been a rogue lion who was not related to Mufasa.
- The final version of Scar's death (being killed by the Hyenas in revenge for pinning the blame of Mufasa's murder on them) was based on an original draft for Gaston's demise in Beauty and the Beast, in which the Wolves would have attacked him after surviving the fall from Beast's castle with a broken leg.
- Scar's death is perhaps one of the most graphic Disney deaths ever, even with the flames obscuring the screen as the hyenas tear him apart.
- Scar is also similar to Tyrannicus Tiger from Animalia. They believe they should run their home however Scar is more impatient. Also the head of their home is a lion (Tyrannicus, Livingstone T Lion and Scar, Mufasa)
- Scar apparently hates the song It's a Small World After All, as he tells Zazu "No, no. Anything but that" when he tries to sing it.
- Scar is also similar to Bagheera. Both are big cats and both are voiced by English actors but the roles are different as Scar is a villain and Bagheera is a protagonist. However Bagheera was only voiced by an English actor once and then by an American one after the death of his original voice artist Sebastian Cabot.
- Scar is the first Disney villain to be biologically related to one of the main protagonists in the Disney canon. The previous villains such as the Queen and Lady Tremaine were related to the main protagonists only by marriage, and although Ursula was intended to be Ariel's aunt, the concepts relating to it were cut, and it is now only considered semi-canon.
Similarities with other Disney villains
- Shere Khan: Both are big cats, both talk with an English accent, they have the same goal of killing the film's main protagonists (Mowgli in Shere Khan's case and Simba in Scar's case) and both of their defeats results in falling. The main differences are that Scar is a Lion and Khan is a Bengal Tiger, and when Scar falls, he is killed by the hyenas, and when Khan falls, he survives and is trapped in a giant statue in the shape of a tiger's head.
- Ronno: Both are the only deepest color in lion/deer group, same senses that fighting their enemy (for Ronno, Bambi, for Scar, Simba), then falls a great distance. Also both have a strong heart of jealousy; Scar is jealous that his nephew Simba can be king of pride rock but he can't, however Ronno is jealous that his rival Bambi falls in love with Faline but he fails.
- Prince John from Robin Hood: Both are lions, they both have older brothers who are kings, (In John's case, King Richard; in Scar's case, Mufasa). They both take over geographical locations (In John's case, England; in Scar's case, Africa). During both of their reigns, they both get angry when their brothers' names are mentioned, and both of them suffer unfortunate defeats (John is arrested by King Richard and thrown into the royal rock pile, and Scar is both literally and rulership-wise overthrown by Simba, then killed by both the hyenas and the fire). In addition, both John and Scar's final battles with their respective foes also involve fire of unnatural causes (John had the Sheriff of Nottingham burn his castle in order to trap Robin Hood, while the Pride Lands experienced a wildfire caused by lightning just as Scar was preparing to "execute" Simba for indirectly killing Mufasa). One difference is how they were able to take over (Prince John tricked Richard into going on the crusades, whereas Scar kills Mufasa). They are also different from lions in mane; Prince John virtually has no mane making him more angular and evil but also immature and childish and Scar does have a mane but it is black.
- Claude Frollo: They both kill one of the protagonist's parents but do not admit it until later on in the film. Although Frollo kills Quasimodo's mother he can be found guilty of killing Quasimodo's father since he has him executed. Because they are dead they don't appear in the sequel but are mentioned by the main antagonist.
- Hades: Both are the uncle of the protagonist (Scar, Simba and Hades Hercules), try to take over their homeland (Hades, Mount Olympus and Scar, The Pride Lands) and also force away the protagonist from their home (Scar tells Simba to "run away and never return" and Hades has Pain and Panic turn Hercules mortal and once a god was mortal he could not go back) and by the time that the protagonist returns home they have taken over. Similarly, both even have a similar fate: Their nephew managed to triumph over them, and them unintentionally going off the ledge where they are then assaulted by their former allies who turned on them (In Scar's case, the Hyenas immediately turned on Scar due to pinning the blame of Mufasa's murder on them while he was unaware of their presence, and in Hades' case, the dead had evidentially seized their opportunity on Hades due to his frequent abuse of their souls (blasting one earlier when first arriving back at the Underworld earlier in the film) as well as Pain and Panic deciding to not help him from his fate due to his abuse of them throughout the movie.)
- Jafar: Both hungry for power, both banish the protagonist elsewhere (Scar banishes Simba out of the Pride Lands and Jafar banishes Aladdin, Abu and without knowing it Magic Carpet to the North Pole) and when the protagonist returns they have taken over. Both also end up meeting their death not in the hands of the protagonists, but ironically at the hands of their own (former) henchmen due to their abuses taking their toll (In Scar's case, the Hyena clan, having the last straw broken from Scar pinning the blame of Mufasa's death, proceeded to exact revenge on him by mauling him to death, and in Jafar's case, Iago turning against Jafar after one more reference to his bad deeds, and his then delivering the coup de grace by kicking Jafar's lamp into the magma). Both also end up reanimated by Hades but end up killed by a joint group (In Scar's case, becoming a storm only to be destroyed by various wizards, and in Jafar's case, being revived with his scepter being his lifeline, only to be killed by a teamup between Aladdin and Hercules).