98 – 140 lbs
|“||I'm surrounded by idiots.||”|
Hyenas are creatures that inhabit the Pride Lands.
In the Universe
The hyenas are first mentioned when Mufasa is showing his son Simba the Pride Lands. Mufasa's majordomo Zazu learns from a mole that hyenas are in the Pride Lands and he quickly relays the message to Mufasa, who rushes off to deal with them.
The hyenas are first seen in the Elephant Graveyard. Simba and his friend Nala wander into their territory and the hyena trio Shenzi, Banzai and Ed climb out of an elephant skull and surrounds the two cubs. They immediately recognize Zazu as "Mufasa's little stooge," and later find out that Simba is the future Lion King. Under the orders of Mufasa's brother Scar, they chase the cubs in an attempt to kill them, but are frightened off by Mufasa.
They are later seen in a different part of the graveyard, in which most of the terrain is littered with geysers. They complain about lions, but are rebuked by Scar, who appears on a ledge above them. Although disappointed in their failure to kill Simba, he gives them a leg of meat; this either shows that the graveyard is barren or the hyenas are poor hunters. Scar then goes on to sing "Be Prepared," in which more hyenas join the trio and they pledge their allegiance to Scar.
Later on, Banzai, Ed, and Shenzi help Scar carry out his plan to kill Mufasa by triggering the wildebeest stampede. Immediately after Scar tells Simba to run away and never return, he commands the hyenas to kill the young cub. But Simba eludes the clumsy hyenas by jumping into a thorn hedge in which they can't follow. They agree that Simba "was as good as dead out there anyway," and that if he came back, they'd kill him. It is assumed they lie to Scar about Simba's death, as Scar later announces both his brother and nephew's deaths to the lionesses.
When Scar is accepting rule as king, he tells the lionesses of "a new era, in which lion and hyena come together in a great and glorious future." The hyenas swarm Pride Rock and reinforce Scar's corruption of the pride.
Years into Scar's reign, they complain about a lack of food in the Pride Lands, but Scar ignores them. Unconcerned by their hunger, he rebukes them sharply and does not allow them to complain nor compare his tyrannical reign to Mufasa's.
When Simba returns to overthrow Scar, the hyenas join the fight against the Pridelanders. The main enemies of the hyenas in the battle are the lionesses, Rafiki, and Timon and Pumbaa. Shenzi and Banzai are ruthlessly beaten up by Pumbaa for calling him a "pig," and Zazu is freed from his bone trap.
Simba eventually corners Scar on the edge of Pride Rock, and the hyena trio overhear the helpless king telling Simba that the hyenas were the enemy and that the invasion was their fault and their idea. When Scar is thrown of the cliff, the trio furiously turn against their master and give in to their hunger. Together, with the aid of the other hyenas, they corner Scar against the rock face and close in around him. Scar tries to explain himself, but the hyenas refuse to listen and their shadows are seen leaping on him and devouring him amongst the flames of a relentless fire.
Although it has been confirmed they survived the fire, it is unknown what happens to them after this; dialogue between Nuka and Vitani in the second movie suggest that after Scar's death, the hyenas left the Elephant Graveyard.
In the spin-off TV series, the hyenas have a much larger role, serving as one of the main antagonists. There are four episodes centering on Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed, showing what they did after killing Scar and running away from the Pride Lands. The three hyenas also appear in three Timon and Pumbaa-centered episodes, which are "Doubt of Africa," "Once Upon a Timon," and "Space Ham."
Besides the trio, other hyenas are seen throughout the series, with some of them resembling Shenzi, some of them resembling Ed, and others resembling Banzai. Those hyenas notably appear in "Don't Wake the Neighbear," "No-Good Samaritan," and "Guru-Some."
The hyenas are briefly mentioned by Nuka as he and his sister, Vitani, arrive at the Elephant Graveyard to collect fire. Nuka comments that the graveyard was even creepier since the hyenas ran off, suggesting that the clan may have dispersed or fled completely after Scar's death.
The meerkats in Timon's colony are constantly on the lookout for hyenas, their most common predator. One day, when Timon is on duty, the hyena trio catches him daydreaming. They infiltrate his colony, but fail to catch any meerkats. The incident drives Timon to leave the colony and find where he truly belongs.
When Timon and Pumbaa are in the Elephant Graveyard, they overhear Zazu telling Mufasa that the hyenas were after the cubs. The hyenas' shadows are later seen in "Be Prepared."
The hyenas make an appearance again during the film's climax at Pride Rock. Timon and Pumbaa distract anonymous hyenas with a Hula Dance and a chase instigates where it is revealed they scared those hyenas away when Pumbaa gassed them. Timon and Pumbaa try to stray the hyenas' attention from Scar so Simba can have a chance at the fight. The two make an insulting joke about the hyenas and another chase instigates. Eventually, Timon and Pumbaa are cornered. They try many different distractions to keep the hyenas occupied and Timon even proposes to Shenzi as a desperate move to buy time for his mother and Uncle Max to dig a tunnel beneath the hyenas. When the trap tunnel initially fails, the hyenas close in on Pumbaa, Uncle Max, and Ma. But Timon bravely jumps in and completes the tunnel, causing the hyenas to fall through the ground and roll to the bottom of Pride Rock in time to confront Scar. After this, however, they are not seen in the film again.
Hyenas are the main antagonists in The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar and its 2016 inspired television series The Lion Guard. These hyenas are led by Janja and reside in the Outlands. They fight against the Lion Guard, led by Simba's son, Kion. However, a young hyena named Jasiri proves different from the rest when she helps Kion navigate the Outlands. Later, Jasiri becomes the ruler of the Outlands and ensures that all the Outlanders follow the Circle of Life.
A group of hyenas attempts to elect a witch doctor for their clan. Their first choice fails to lead them, though their second leader helps them with their timed nightly hunts.
The Lion King: Short Stories
Hyenas feature as antagonists in two stories out of five. In the first, two unnamed male hyenas attack Simba and Nala as cubs among the Termite Mounds after Scar tricks them into going there to look for a friend. Nala escapes and returns with Mufasa, who sends them running.
In the second, taking place when Simba is an adult, two male hyenas named as Fisi and Jake pointlessly butcher a waterbuck, resulting in a misunderstanding with a Rhino being accused simply because of his long horn.