You can't have been a child of the '90s and not be deeply, deeply disturbed by Mufasa's death in "The Lion King." Disney has a bizarre fetish for tragic parental deaths as it is. Bambi's mother. Nemo's mother. Both of Tarzan's parents. All killed violently right before our eyes. Not to mention all the orphan protagonists whose parents' deaths were not seen, from Snow White to Cinderella to Linguini. And while she never was able to conceive, Ellie from "Up" might as well have been a mother. And her passing, even at an advanced age, is pure Video Pepper Spray.
But none of those deaths is as powerful and haunting as Mufasa's. I'm not a child of the '90s. But I do have crippling daddy issues. So I'm just as (this pun is as unintentional as it is unavoidable, so work through it with me) scarred as anyone who saw it for the first time when they were 7 years old. And yet, while I didn't think it was possible, after all these years, a Disney theme park attraction, a Broadway production and a CGI remake, someone has come up with the theory that makes the whole thing even more disturbing.
Source - The adult-oriented Easter eggs in Disney films range from false to debatable to very, very real. But, regardless of credibility, there’s enough of them out there to indicate the House of Mouse’s animators are extremely horny. And, if we’re to believe the latest Disney conspiracy theory, they’re also sadistic as all hell.
Just check out the video below, which has gone viral for asking the chilling question of what, exactly, happened to the body of Simba’s dad, Mufasa, The Lion King. Per this reading, the film’s antagonist, Scar, did much more to his brother than just kill him.
I. Just. Cannot.
I guess I just never gave it much thought. During all those viewings with my kids, I always been too preoccupied with trying to hide the fact their father was tearing up over an anthropomorphic cub walking around his father's lifeless body trying to get it to wake up (and processing unresolved aspects of my own childhood grief) to focus on Mufasa's post-mortems. Or maybe I subconsciously presumed that since it's the African Savannah, and we'd already been schooled about the Circle of Life thing, that nature would reclaim his carcass, whether he was trampled into street pizza by the wildebeest stampede or ended up as a feast for buzzards and insects.
But this? The idea that Scar went all Hannibal Lecter on his own brother? It's too disturbing to contemplate. But it's plausible. And I wouldn't put it past Disney because they can be a really sadistic lot. (Ask anyone who went on the ExtraTERRORestrial ride at Tomorrowland before they switched it to a Lilo & Stich attraction before the lawsuits for mental anguish got out of hand.) And if so, then Scar automatically goes to the top of the Movie Villain power rankings. Darth Vader, John Doe and even Hannibal the Cannibal were no boxes of chocolate. But even they didn't eat their brothers' corpses.
Fortunately, there is one hole in the theory. Also from AV Club:
It hinges on the fact that, in real life, hyenas don’t eat lions—therefore the characters of Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed couldn’t have possibly devoured Mufasa’s corpse, as we’re led to believe. But, as the end of the film shows us, in the world of The Lion King hyenas very much do eat lions. Remember what happens to Scar?
OK. That I can live with. Maybe Scar didn't eat Mufasa. Just his three closest lieutenants did. All he did was make a parrot prison out of his brother's rib cage and a puppet out of his skull. That's not so bad. I could see my brothers doing that with me. But devouring your brother's flesh is a line I just don't think you can cross, no matter how bad you're trying to make your bad guy.
P.S. On an only tangential note, while we're on the subject, "Lion King" is a direct ripoff of a Japanese Anime show that was on when I was a kid called "Kimba the White Lion." It was objectively awful. And the only kid on my street who watched it drew sideeye from me and my friends when we found out because it was so weird. But everything about it was directly lifted by Disney. Kimba, Simba. His dad is the king of the jungle who gets murdered by his brother. The brother's name was Claw instead of Scar. The king's assistant was a parrot and his witch doctor was an eccentric baboon. Someone got bought off, that's for damned sure.
But at least Kimba had little to no intra-family cannibalism as I recall. Chalk one up to awful old TV cartoons.