Creators of The Lion King Say Mufasa and Scar Aren't Related

Disney
Disney

Tensions run high between parents, children, and siblings throughout the Disney canon, but The Lion King (1994) may present the studio's most extreme example of a dysfunctional family. The plot is the same in the new live action remake coming out July 18, 2019 as it is in the original: Determined to rule the lions of Pride Rock, Scar mercilessly kills Mufasa by flinging him into a stampede and then leaves Simba, Mufasa's heir, for dead. The fact that Mufasa and Scar are presented as brothers makes the murder all the more gut-wrenching, and it mirrors the murder of Hamlet's father by his uncle Claudius in Hamlet, upon which The Lion King was based.

But in 2017, the makers of the animated film revealed that this dynamic isn't as straightforward as it seems. Speaking with HelloGiggles, The Lion King director Rob Minkoff and producer Don Hahn revealed that Mufasa and Scar likely wouldn't have been related by blood. In the real world, male lions rarely survive to adulthood. When the sole male in a pride of lions gets old, he's usually taken out by a younger rogue male, who then assumes his place as head of the pack. The new male in charge nearly always kills all the cubs in the pride, thus wiping out the gene pool of his successor. If males aren't killed as cubs, they're kicked out of prides when they reach adolescence and forced to wander the savanna looking for a new group to take over. Most of them will die or be killed before finding a new home.

It turns out the politics in The Lion King aren't too far off from the brutal reality actual lions face in the wild. While lions murdering each other to gain power may be true to life, Mufasa and Scar's status as siblings is less accurate. Situations like we see with those characters—a pride with two adult males—do exist, but they're rare. In prides with two to three males, the males are usually unrelated and were born in separate packs. (Not to mention the fact that in real life, Simba's mom would be the one in charge—lion prides are matriarchal societies.)

"We were trying to use those animal truths to underpin the story so we sort of figured Scar and Mufasa couldn't really be from the same gene pool," Hahn told HelloGiggles. "In fact, that's what [Scar] says. There's a line, he goes, 'I'm from the shallow end of the gene pool.'"

An early version of the script avoided this problem all together. Scar was originally meant to be a rogue lion with no relation to Simba or Mufasa, and he was in charge of a pack of baboons instead of hyenas. The version they went with may make the relationship between Scar and Mufasa slightly more confusing, but it does make for one of the more twisted family dynamics in animated film history.

[h/t HelloGiggles]

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Late MythBusters Star Grant Imahara Honored With New STEAM Foundation

Grant Imahara attends San Diego Comic-Con
Grant Imahara attends San Diego Comic-Con
Genevieve via Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Fans of MythBusters and White Rabbit Project host Grant Imahara were saddened to hear of his passing due to a brain aneurysm in July 2020 at the age of 49. Imahara, a graduate of the University of Southern California, used the television medium to share his love of science and engineering. Now, his passion for education will continue via an educational foundation developed in his name.

The Grant Imahara STEAM Foundation was announced Thursday, October 23, 2020 by family and friends on what would have been Imahara’s 50th birthday. The Foundation will provide mentorships, grants, and scholarships that will allow students from diverse backgrounds access to STEAM education, which places an emphasis on science, technology, engineering, arts, and math. (Formerly referred to as STEM, the “A” for art was added more recently.)

Imahara had a history of aiding students. While working at Industrial Light and Magic in the early 2000s, he mentored the robotics team at Richmond High School to prepare for the international FIRST Robotics Competition. Whether he was working on television or behind-the-scenes on movies like the Star Wars prequels and The Matrix sequels, Imahara always found time to promote and encourage young engineering talent.

The Grant Imahara STEAM Foundation’s founding board members include Imahara’s mother, Carolyn Imahara, and close friends Don Bies, Anna Bies, Edward Chin, Fon H. Davis, Coya Elliott, and Ioanna Stergiades.

“There are many students, like my son Grant, who need the balance of the technical and the creative, and this is what STEAM is all about,” Carolyn Imahara said in a statement. “I’m so proud of my son’s career, but I’m equally proud of the work he did mentoring students. He would be thrilled that we plan to continue this, plus much more, through The Grant Imahara STEAM Foundation.”

Imahara friend Wade Bick is also launching an effort in concert with the USC Viterbi School of Engineering to name a study lounge after Imahara. Donations can be made here.

You can find out more about the foundation, and make a donation, on its website.