|“||Mufasa: Simba...let me tell you something that my father told me. Look at the stars. The Great Kings of the Past look down on us from those stars.|
Mufasa: Yes. So whenever you feel alone, just remember that those kings will always be there to guide you...and so will I.
When a member of the Pride Lands monarchy dies, they are manifested as a spirit and are tasked with watching over their living descendants. Occasionally, a Great King of the Past will make himself visible to a descendant via clouds in the sky and will offer them advice, often when the descendant is in need of guidance. This applies to royalty, both in the Pride Lands and the Tree of Life, as well as past leaders of the Lion Guard.
The Great Kings are also responsible for choosing the next Royal Mjuzi.
When an evil member of the monarchy dies, they too are manifested as a spirit, but, unlike the Great Kings, they appear via fire rather than clouds. When an Evil Lion of the Past vanishes after making themselves present, they leave a distinguishing burn mark in the exact place where they appeared.
The Great Kings of the Past are mentioned in the film again by Simba when he, Timon, and Pumbaa offer up their theories of stars. Timon mocks what Mufasa told Simba and indirectly calls Mufasa "a mook."
|“||Kovu: Heh, I've never done this before.|
Kiara: Really? My father and I used to do this all the time. He says all the Great Kings of the Past are up there.
Kovu: You think Scar is up there?
The Great Kings of the Past control a great power called the Roar of the Elders, which is bestowed on the second-born cub of the monarch, who is also tasked with leading the Lion Guard. The Great Kings control this power's use and can take it away if the user does not respect their gift, as is the case with Scar.
As Rafiki grants Nobi his wish of flying like a bird, swimming like a fish, and being as tall as a giraffe so that he can earn respect, the baboon speaks to the Great Kings and Warriors of the Past to make the mouse's wish come true.
As of Season 2, Scar appears to his followers - Janja and his allies in the Outlands - via flames in a volcano. He frequently plots against the Lion Guard, seeking to destroy them so as to expose and take over the Pride Lands.
In the stage musical productions of the original film, Mufasa sings "They Live in You" when Simba asks whether he and his father will always be together, causing Mufasa to look up to the night sky. He tells Simba about the Great Kings of the Past, and how they guide and watch over everything. Again, the Great Kings of the Past are mentioned when Simba, Timon, and Pumbaa look up at the stars, wondering what they are. Simba recalls Mufasa's words regarding the great kings of the past, but Timon and Pumbaa dismiss it and laugh at the notion.
While sitting under the stars with Rafiki, Mufasa admits that he likes to talk to the Great Kings of the Past.
After learning about the Great Kings of the Past from Mufasa, Simba mistakes a harmless rogue named "Great-Fighter" as a Great King of the Past.
Great Lions of the Past
|Askari||Askari is a Great King of the Past. He was the first leader of the Lion Guard.||Television||The Lion Guard|
|Mohatu||Mohatu is a Great King of the Past. He died of old age and was manifested as a star in the heavens.||Book||The Brightest Star|
|Mufasa||Mufasa is a Great King of the Past. He died after being thrown into a wildebeest stampede by his brother Scar and appeared years later to his son Simba, urging him to take his place as the rightful king.||Film||The Lion King|
The Lion King II: Simba's Pride
The Lion King 1½
The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar
The Lion Guard
|Janna||Janna is a Great Lion of the Past. She died from old age and was succeeded as queen of the Tree of Life by her granddaughter, Rani.||Television||The Lion Guard|
Evil Lions of the Past
|Scar||Scar is an Evil Lion of the Past. He became king of the Pride Lands after killing his brother Mufasa. He was killed by his former allies, the hyenas, after putting the blame of Mufasa's death on them. He later appeared to Janja and his allies via a volcano.||Television||The Lion Guard|