For your more detailed perusal.
1. “The story takes place in a kingdom of lions in Africa, and was influenced by the biblical tales of Joseph and Moses and the Shakespearean play Hamlet.”
2. “…despite the protests of Mufasa’s hornbill majordomo Zazu.”
3. “Jim Cummings as Ed, a dim-witted hyena who does not talk, only communicating through laughter. Cummings also voiced a gopher that talks with Zazu and replaced Irons as Scar in certain lines of “Be Prepared” after Irons blew his voice.”
4. “Katzenberg decided to add elements involving coming of age and death, and ideas from personal life experiences, such as some of his trials in his bumpy road in politics, saying about the film, ‘It is a little bit about myself.'”
5. “By 1990, producer Thomas Schumacher, who had just completed The Rescuers Down Under, decided to attach himself to the project ‘because lions are cool.'”
6. “Hahn found the script unfocused and lacking a clear theme, and after establishing the main theme as “leaving childhood and facing up to the realities of the world”, asked for a final retool.”
7. “The script also had its title changed from King of the Jungle to The Lion King, as the setting was not the jungle but the savannah.”
8. “…James Earl Jones was cast because the directors found his voice “powerful” and similar to a lion’s roar.”
9. “For the hyenas, the original intention was to reunite Cheech & Chong, but while Cheech Marin accepted to play Banzai, Tommy Chong was unavailable.”*
10. “Jeremy Irons had at first refused the role due to not being comfortable going from the dramatic performance as Claus von Bülow in Reversal of Fortune to a comedic role.”
11. “The development of The Lion King started concurrently with Pocahontas, which most of the animators of Walt Disney Feature Animation decided to work on instead, believing it would be the more prestigious and successful of the two.”
12. “Since the characters were not anthropomorphized, all the animators had to learn to draw four-legged animals.”
13. “Five specially trained animators and technicians spent more than two years creating the two-and-a-half minute stampede sequence.”
14. “As Menken was unavailable, the producers accepted Rice’s suggestion of Elton John, after Rice’s invitation of ABBA fell through due to Benny Andersson being busy with the musical Kristina från Duvemåla.”
15. “Certain elements of the film were considered to bear a resemblance to a 1960s Japanese anime television show, Jungle Emperor (known as Kimba the White Lion in the United States), with characters having simular analogues, and various individual scenes being simular in composition to the show. Matthew Broderick believed initially that he was in fact working on an American version of Kimba, since he was familiar with the Japanese original.”
16. “Hyena biologists protested against the animal’s portrayal: one hyena researcher sued Disney studios for defamation of character.”
* doing what, though?
Nicole is an Editor of The Toast.