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The title card for King of the Jungle

King of the Jungle (also called The Lion King and King of the Beasts) is an early version of The Lion King.

In 2012, two screenplays were released, one written on January 19, 1990 by J.T. Allen and another written on May 23, 1990 by Allen and Ron Bass. Both early screenplays are considerably different from the final version, as they feature violence, suggestive sexual content, and blatant incest. Ultimately, both drafts were scrapped, and few traces of the story material remain ingrained in the final film. King of the Jungle was originally slated to be released on November 12, 1993.

Plot

In the middle of the Serengeti, as vultures circled overhead, Simba playfully fought with his cousin, Nala, over a stick they had found on the ground. Two spinster ratels, Rina and Rada, noted the cubs' playfulness. Rada called for Simba and Nala, and Simba asked how they were. He then dashed away from the ratels and ran to catch up with Nala. He eventually did so, and Nala questioned him on how he would be the king someday. She then pounced toward a locust. The locust led the cubs to Daabi, a young aardvark with a slurred dialect, who hid behind a termite mound. Simba pursued her, and they merrily chased each other from one mound to another. Daabi asked Simba several questions about being king until her mother panicked over her daughter being with a lion. Daabi tried to explain, but she was carried away from Simba by her mother. The same thing happened when Simba approached baby ostriches.

Banagi attacks Simba and Nala.

Soon, Simba approached a baby baboon, who told him that Nala was up a tree. With the help of the baby baboons, Simba climbed up the tree and approached Kwashi, an elderly but dignified baboon with a silver beard. Kwashi admitted that he did not know Nala. Just then, the mother baboon shrieked in horror at Simba and carried her children off. Kwashi dismissed the young prince, and Simba left, disappointed.

Just then, Nala came up, mocking Kwashi's "little imposter" comment toward Simba, and Banagi, a hyena, appeared before them. The cubs ran in different directions, and Banagi chased Nala. Simba pursued the hyena until Kwashi, Simba's father Mufasa, and Mufasa's tickbird Zazu arrived to scare off Banagi. Mufasa took the cubs back home, and the narrator was revealed to be Kwashi.

Once back home with the Ndona Pride, Mufasa, Zazu, Simba, and Nala watched as Sarabi, Naanda, and other lionesses hunted down a zebra. Along with Diku and Dwala, Sarabi's sisters, the lionesses successfully pinned the zebra down. After the pride finished their fill, a vulture named Kobi, along with the hyenas Baasho and Banagi, charged in to eat the remains of the zebra.

The scene transitioned to night, with the pride fast asleep. Simba approached his father about why he stayed up all night, and Mufasa replied that he stayed awake to report all that he saw to the Great Lion. Simba went to sleep with his mother, who sang him an African lullaby, assuring him that he would be the next king.

Years later, an adolescent Simba saw Nala with the lionesses. As he went to catch up with her, he received compliments from Rina and Rada on how much he had grown. Simba then pounced on Nala while she was hunting, but Sarabi dismissed her son, telling him that he and Nala had different roles in the pride now that they were older. Simba questioned this, and Sarabi told her son to ask his father about it.

Simba awakens from a sandstorm, with two vultures overhead.

Simba woke his sleeping father, and Mufasa answered by stating that male lions had to protect the pride from intruders. Despite Simba's dissatisfaction with the simplicity of his new role, Mufasa and Zazu escorted Simba to the termite mounds, where Simba tried to hunt down an older Daabi and the full-grown ostrich chicks. Kwashi approached Mufasa and told him that Simba would never learn how to hunt if he only hunted his friends. Zazu told the young cub that if all else failed, he had to follow the vultures for food and water. Mufasa scolded his son for showing favoritism when he hunted, but Simba rebelled against his father's instructions, claiming that "nature is wrong."

Not long after this, Naanda and Dwala approached Mufasa about an intruder who had attacked Sarabi. The intruder was discovered to be Scar, who was twice the size of Mufasa. He and Mufasa entered a brief battle, and Scar was defeated. Zazu escorted Scar to the border, and there, Banagi, who had watched the fight, complimented Scar and persuaded him to be the next king.

Back among the pride, Nala had a quick conversation with Simba, but Scar returned to the pride with Banagi's clan. Mufasa charged at them, but Scar and the hyenas overwhelmed him as the pride looked on helplessly. Sarabi told her son to run, and the hyenas chased after Simba. Despite assistance from Kwashi and Herr Rhino, Simba was still pursued by the hyenas. He climbed up a dead tree branch, which broke and caused him to fall.

An exhausted Simba was awoken by a tickbird, who told him that he was on territory that belonged to an enemy pride. Three lions beside him scared him off, and Simba got lost in a sandstorm. Meanwhile, back in the Serengeti, Zazu received assistance from Rina and Rada, who repaired his injured wing. The lionesses were gathered on a rock plateau, weary and pale over the shortage of food. An angered Sarabi engaged in a quick duel with Baasho, but it was put down by Scar. Naanda tried to calm down her sister, and Nala questioned her mother as to why they could not just run. Naanda replied that this territory had belonged to them for many generations.

Simba gives his allies orders against Scar and the hyenas.

Simba awoke from the sandstorm and saw two vultures. He then remembered Zazu's advice to follow the vultures to food and water, which led him to follow the birds to where cheetahs were eating a gazelle. Back at Pride Rock, Banagi harassed the lionesses to hunt for more food, while Kwashi talked with Zazu about finding a lion to champion Scar. Meanwhile, Nala tried to approach Scar romantically, as Scar had been looking for a mate for some time.

Across the savanna, Simba asked the Lion in the Moon to tell him the status of the pride. Soon, he was approached by Timon, who told him that younger meerkats were trying to sleep. Simba learned of Timon and Tesma's species, and Simba proclaimed that he was a lion.

Back in the Serengeti, Nala grew tired of Scar and told him that she wished to go back to hunting. Scar refused and slapped Nala, causing her to run from him. Nala then told Scar that Banagi was controlling him, and Scar angrily objected to this, attacking a nearby Baasho. Back at the meerkat mounds, Simba was with Timon and his mate, Tesma, who was on sentry duty. There, Timon, along with the Komboli Rangers, scouted for food. Timon grabbed hold of a seven-foot yellow cobra, who attempted to attack the colony. The Komboli Rangers eventually buried the cobra alive by digging under it.

While Kwashi and Zazu continued to search for a new lion to take over the pride, Timon accepted Simba as a Komboli Ranger and welcomed him into the colony. Simba soon departed from the meerkats, as he had learned that size did not always equal strength. Soon, Kwashi and Zazu awakened Simba and told him that he had to return home to confront Banagi and the hyenas. Before he returned home, Simba invited Herr Rhino to accompany him to the fight. When Simba returned home, he was shocked by the emptiness of his homeland and organized a strategic plan.

Scar emerges before Simba and his allies.

Within the pride, Scar was told by Banagi and Baasho that Nala was responsible for rebelling against him. After Scar had an angry outburst, the lionesses protected Nala. Scar broke through their resistance, and Nala fled into the marshy borderland, where she found Simba. Simba asked Nala about Scar's weaknesses, and she replied that Scar was fearful of lightning. Nala, Herr Rhino, Daabi, her cousin aardvarks, Kwashi, and the baboons became Simba's allies. Simba ordered the aardvarks and ratels to dig a tunnel for Scar to fall into, while the baboons gathered rocks overhead.

A storm broke out, and Nala got Scar to follow her into the trap tunnel. Because of his fear of lightning, Scar fell into the tunnel, and Nala sprang out of the hole as Simba's allies buried Scar in dirt. The baboons threw rocks at the fleeing hyenas, and with the help of the lionesses, Simba dispersed the hyena pack. However, lightning struck, and Scar sprang from the trap. Simba and Scar engaged in a fight. Unable to defeat Scar, Simba stopped at a dead tree, and there, a dead branch fell on Scar, crushing him. After the fight, Simba banished the hyenas to the desert and became the rightful king. The land eventually recovered, and Simba grew into an adult with a full mane. He joined his young son, his mate Nala, and the pride, where there were more cubs playing at their paws.

As the moon burned high in the nighttime sky, a fire ravaged over the grasslands. Simba, a young lion cub, observed the fire in fear beside his mother, Sarabi. Dwala, Diku, Naanda, and Nala also observed the fire. Simba asked his mother why the animals were not running, and Sarabi replied that they had not received his father's orders yet. Mufasa and the three other male adolescent lions emerged from the fire. One of the lions approached Mufasa, asking for safe passage through his territory, to which Mufasa agreed. As the fire raged on, an ancient acacia tree on the far side of the gorge toppled over, crashing onto an arena-like plateau in the middle of the gorge. Mufasa grew concerned, worried that the sparks from the burning tree might leap from the plateau to the near side of the gorge. Soon, Mufasa gave his mate the signal to run, and the Ndona Pride, the animals, Mufasa, and Zazu fled.

The next morning, Simba was playing with his friends, Lemuta the zebra colt and Daabi, an aardvark. He ran down a slope, with his friends chasing after him. Simba slipped into a pool of water, with his friends laughing at him, knowing his dislike of water. Soon, the three friends saw the lionesses hunting down Lemuta's herd and some gazelles. Lemuta was relieved that his mother escaped unharmed and left to join his herd, but Simba and Daabi continued to play. Daabi knocked Simba over into a termite mound, and as the friends brushed themselves off, Nala emerged. Simba invited her to play, but Nala, who disliked Daabi, decided to play another time. Feeling snubbed, Daabi left, pretending to hear her mother calling for her.

Simba decided to catch up with Nala and asked her to play "King of the Beasts." Simba told her that he must sleep and that Nala must hunt for something to eat. Nala retrieved something to eat, and the cubs playfully wrestled with each other and rolled down into a dark hole. There, the cubs ran into an angry warthog, who charged at them. Simba climbed into a tree. Unable to get to the cub, the warthog smashed into the tree, breaking it. Meanwhile, Banagi, the prince of the hyenas; Baasho, his lieutenant; and three other hyenas were discussing whether to let a fourth hyena join their "brotherhood" or not. Their meeting was suddenly interrupted when they heard Simba fleeing the warthog. Banagi quickly made a decision to save the running cub from the warthog. He then told Simba to give his father Mufasa his best wishes. Just then, Sarabi and Nala arrived, astonished by Banagi's rescue. Simba told his mother all that had occurred, and Sarabi was not pleased that her husband was in debt to the hyenas.

Scar faces Mufasa in a fight.

Later, some vultures gathered on top of a baobab tree, and below them, a pack of jackals and hyenas came forward. The lionesses of the Ndona Pride came shortly after, and Mufasa arrived, asking for Banagi. Banagi stepped forward, and Mufasa offered him a kill in payment of the debt. The hyenas viciously devoured the meal, while Simba saw a rogue lion named Scar, who was half the size of Mufasa. Sarabi held her son back, and Zazu told the rogue to leave the territory. Scar ignored the warning and entered into a fight with Mufasa. The rogue retreated, leaving Banagi intrigued by him.

Back home, Simba and Nala had their final play for the night. Simba went to lay with his mother and asked about the whereabouts of his father. She told that Mufasa had went to look out for the rogue lion. She then sang a lullaby, promising Simba that he would be king.

A few years later, an adolescent Simba was awakened when a fly flew into his ear. He saw his friend Daabi, now fully grown, and she asked Simba to come play. Simba, who was very sleepy, turned down the offer but jolted awake when the aardvark told him that his mother was looking for him. Simba scanned the horizon and spotted Nala, also grown, hunting with the lionesses. He pounced on her, and Sarabi told him that his father was waiting for him at the hungodo tree by the riverbank. Simba raced down to the riverbank. When he arrived, Zazu scolded him for his irresponsibility. Zazu escorted the young lion to his father, while Simba apologized for his lateness. Mufasa then ordered Zazu to complete a census of the nearby herds. Meanwhile, Mufasa took his son to the grasslands, where Simba saw his friend Lemuta, who had grown up. Mufasa told his son that Lemuta could no longer be his friend. Simba questioned this, and Mufasa replied that it was how the "Lion in the Moon" had designed nature, so that lions could eat and zebras would not overpopulate.

The two lions later went to take a drink. At dusk, Mufasa was teaching Simba how to fight in the midst of a grove of fever trees. Simba threw himself at his father repeatedly, but always ended up on his back. Mufasa stressed the importance of knowing how to fight another lion and informed Simba of a special, little-known maneuver that would defeat an opponent through a bite on the back of the neck. Mufasa demonstrated the move by standing at a 45-degree angle to Simba and telling Simba to charge him. As Simba did so, Mufasa rolled into Simba's charge, sprang to his feet as Simba whirled around, then leaped onto Simba's back and pushed him to the ground, teeth bared at his son's neck. He told Simba to try the move, but Simba failed. He tried unsuccessfully two more times, but Mufasa told him that he was doing well so far. Night fell, and they decided to stay where they were and sleep in shifts.

The next day, at a meerkat mound, Timon Vandmeer, headman of the meervillage, was approached by Mufasa, who was amazed by the new members in the Raiders. Timon introduced the king to Desma, Jamila, Mandisa, Ozina, Lambida, and a meerbaby named Nute. During a banquet with the meerkats, Mufasa was informed that the Mbala Pride had recently reached the Ngoro Ridge along the Ndona River. The lions left the meerkat colony and approached the edge of the river. After a quick chat, the lions dove into the Limpopo River. After brief encounters with crocodiles, they successfully crossed over the river. At the Ngoro River, the three Mbala lions, with three tickbirds, quickly noticed Mufasa and Simba. The three tickbirds approached Mufasa, and the Elder Lion of the Mbala Pride dismissed them upon Mufasa’s request. Mufasa and the Elder Lion reached an agreement that the two prides could share the river peacefully. As Mufasa and Simba left, the Elder Lion told Mufasa that they had the rogue, Scar. Mufasa thanked him for the notification.

Back at Pride Rock, Simba boasted to Nala how he had "saved" his father from the crocodiles, while the lionesses questioned Mufasa about being away from the pride for so long. Mufasa replied that he had to in order to protect the pride from Scar. Meanwhile, at the hyena's den, Banagi approached Scar and persuaded him to overthrow Mufasa with help from his hyena clan. Scar dismissed this until he saw that Banagi's clan contained countless hyenas. The next morning, Banagi approached Mufasa, telling him that Scar had captured Baasho and challenged him to a fight at the Fire Tree Bridge. Simba suggested to his father that they could ambush Scar, but Mufasa disagreed with the strategy and planned to challenge the rogue at high noon.

At noon, the Ndona Pride arrived at the bridge. During the fight, Mufasa, knowing he could not win, pivoted himself to a 45-degree angle, using the move he had taught Simba, but the hyenas interfered in the fight. Scar yelled at them to stay out of it. The two lions continued the fight, and with Mufasa worn down, Scar leaped on top of him, breaking his bones. Sarabi told her son to run, but Simba stared, wanting to take on the hyenas. Zazu and Nala convinced Simba to run away, and Banagi ordered the hyenas to pursue him and to not return without Simba’s tail. After nearly a day of running, the hyenas grew weary, and Simba, with Zazu overhead, continued to flee.

However, Baasho and some of the hyenas caught up to Simba. After a brief fight, the young prince continued to flee. Along the way, Simba and the hyenas fell off a cliff, save for Baasho. Nearby vultures tried to feast on Simba, but Zazu tried to shield him from the buzzards. One of the vultures grabbed hold of Zazu, but an awakened Simba roared, scaring off the vultures. Simba then complained to Zazu that he was hungry. Zazu stated that there was not any food for miles. After seeing a cheetah hunt down a gazelle until scared away by a vulture, Simba leaped into action and scared off the vulture. Shortly afterward, the young lion consumed the prey, and Zazu instructed him to always "follow a bird to water."

A cheetah eats a gazelle.

Back at Pride Rock, Nala complained about the hyenas wanting them to hunt when there was not enough prey for them to eat. Soon, Scar approached her and asked her to sit down and talk about the situation. Suddenly, Baasho reported to Banagi and Scar, confirming that Simba and Zazu were dead. He then gave them Simba's tail. The lionesses wept at the sad news until Sarabi tried to attack Baasho. Scar blocked Sarabi from attacking, and Naanda calmed down her sister. At the bottom of Pride Rock, Nala complained about the lionesses tolerating Scar and the hyenas, and asked why they did not run away. Naanda replied that there was nowhere to go, as all of the surrounding territories were occupied by rogues and other prides.

As the day turned to night, Simba, depressed and homesick, stared at the moon and accused the Lion in the Moon of allowing the past events to happen. Zazu tried to console Simba by telling him to go sleep, but Simba decided he would later on. Zazu then requested Simba join a local pride, but due to Zazu's elegant language, Simba believed he was telling Simba to take over a pride. Zazu was astonished by this, but Simba carried the dialogue, stating how horribly his pride was under Scar's reign. He then stated that the Lion in the Moon had a plan for his life, although he did not know what it was. Touched by this, Zazu told the young lion to sleep, and Simba did so. A marshal eagle swooped down on Zazu, but the two fended off the eagle. Simba then remembered his father's words about sleeping with guards: "you sleep with one eye."

The next morning, in the Pride Lands, after Scar finished a meal, he approached the lionesses, thanking them for the meal. Then Scar asked Nala if she wanted part of his meal, but Nala declined and left. The other lionesses followed her lead, only to complain privately about their situation. Nala requested permission to run away and find an ally, but Diku, Dwala, Naanda, and Sarabi shot down the idea.

At a termite mound, Banagi and Baasho plotted behind Scar's back to get rid of Nala, fearing she was coming between them and Scar. Daabi overheard their conversation and told Nala the next night. Nala thanked the aardvark for saving her life and ran away.

Banagi, Baasho, and other hyenas scheme to get rid of Nala.

After using Zazu as a compass, Simba decided to head east and return back home. Zazu tried to dissuade Simba, knowing that Scar would easily defeat him, but Simba decided that he could handle Scar if he could defeat Banagi. Finally recognizing Simba’s courage, Zazu decided to escort the prince all the way back home. As the two marched on the way home, they decided to lay down to sleep at a rock steppe. Timon approached and instantly thought that Zazu and Simba were looking for Nala. He told them that she was at a forest of fever trees. Zazu and Simba quickly ran to find her. At the fever trees, Banagi and the hyenas were also looking for her. Simba found Nala attempting to camouflage behind a bush and took her to their "secret kid place." The two began a conversation on how much they had matured, and Simba told Nala his plan.

The next morning, as Scar drank from a water spring, Nala approached him. Scar thought Banagi and the hyenas had found her, but Nala told him that another lion had found her. Nala then told Scar that the new lion wanted to challenge him in a match without the hyenas at the Fire Tree Bridge that night. Suddenly, Banagi arrived, finding the two lions, and was told about the challenge by Scar. After Banagi was told that Scar wanted no interference from the hyenas, Scar ordered Banagi to escort Nala back to Pride Rock. At Pride Rock, Nala tried to distract the hyenas by starting a fight with the lionesses. Zazu arrived to guide the hyenas to the fight, and the hyenas quickly followed him.

At the Fire Tree Bridge, Scar waited to challenge the lion. Simba arrived, telling Scar that the land belonged to his pride, and a fight ensued. Zazu and the hyenas arrived to watch the fight, angering Scar. The fight resumed, with Scar and Simba giving each other vicious blows. After knocking Simba off his feet, Scar lunged at Simba, but Simba pinned him down, suffocating him. After defeating Scar, Simba asked Banagi to challenge him, and Banagi summoned the hyenas to defeat him. With incredible strength, Simba defeated the hyenas and asked Baasho to challenge him. Trembling with fear, Baasho and the rest of the hyenas bowed before Simba. The lionesses arrived and welcomed their new king.

Now fully matured into an adult lion, Simba told Zazu to complete a census of the herds while he took his newborn son to watch over the Pride Lands, much as his father had when Simba was a cub.

Gallery

The Lion King

King of the Beasts

Outline

Concept art

Mel Shaw drew the most concepts centered around this version of the film.

External links