- NOTE: This article is about the incarnation of Scar from the 2019 movie. The mainstream version can be found here: Scar (Disney).
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|“||Long... live... the KING!||„|
|~ Scar revealing his true nature to his brother Mufasa before murdering him, and his most famous quote.|
|“||This is MY kingdom! MY DESTINY!||„|
|~ Scar as he battles against his nephew Simba.|
Taka, better known as Scar, is the main antagonist of the 2019 live-action/CGI film The Lion King, a remake of the 1994 traditionally animated classic film of the same name, and will return in some capacity in its upcoming follow-up film.
He is a lustful, envious, ambitious, and megalomaniacal African lion who acts as the temporary king of Pride Rock, the younger brother and killer of Mufasa and the evil uncle and arch-enemy of Simba. He is also based off his original incarnation with the same name.
In the first film, he was voiced by Chiwetel Ejiofor, who also played Karl Mordo in Doctor Strange, Luke in Children of Men, and Victor Sweet in Four Brothers. In the second film, he will be voiced by Kelvin Harrison Jr. in his first villainous role.
Scar was the younger brother of Mufasa, heir to the throne of Pride Rock. When Scar and Mufasa were young, they both fell in love with a lioness named Sarabi. However, Sarabi chose Mufasa over Scar. This, coupled with his desire for the throne, led Scar to challenge Mufasa to a fight, from which Mufasa emerged victorious. While unconfirmed, it is heavily implied that it was during this fight that Scar got his namesake injury, which marked him for life and increased his resentment towards his brother.
The novelization of the film also reveals that after Scar got his scar, his father refused to take him on any more hunts as he deemed him ineffectual. This, of course, likely led to Scar's hatred towards his own family to extend in a matter of time because of the feeling of rejection. It might also be what convinced him to go through with his plan of murdering Mufasa.
Despite his victory, Mufasa refused to banish Scar and allowed him to remain in the pride due to them being brothers, but Scar's desire to overthrow his brother and his undying lust for his sister-in-law secretly remained, searching for any ways to get rid of Mufasa to become king and have Sarabi for himself. Unfortunately, Scar's hopes to ever become king were seemingly crushed with the arrival of his nephew Simba.
Plotting against Mufasa and Simba
Scar first appears speaking to a mouse how unfair life is since he lived his entire life in the dark and he deserved to rule the kingdom of Pride Rock. But Zazu interjects and asks Scar angrily why he did not come to Mufasa's ceremony of Simba's birth. Scar tries to devour Zazu, but he is interjected when Mufasa arrives at his cave and makes an excuse that he did not remember the day of the ceremony. Mufasa tells him that Simba is going to be the king of Pride Rock one day and that he must obey Simba's orders by the time that he rules the lands. As unperturbed Scar leaves, Zazu suggested to Mufasa that he should have banished Scar when he had the chance, but Mufasa retorts this by saying that Scar is free to live in Pride Lands since he is still family.
A few months later, whilst Mufasa is busy chasing hyenas out of the Pride Lands, Scar witnesses Simba attempting to practice pouncing on a beetle. He tells Simba to go back to his den as he is not a babysitter, thus showing some cold hatred towards the young cub. And yet, Simba told him that someday he is going to be the king of Pride Rock, much to Scar's displeasure. Scar sarcastically told Simba not to go towards the abandoned areas beneath the light, but he tempted Simba into going there by mentioning it is an elephant graveyard and fibs that only the bravest lions go there.
Simba goes on a voyage with Nala and they manage to enter and escape the Elephant Graveyard with Mufasa's help. Scar realizes that Simba is still alive, and goes to the Elephant Graveyard to convince the Hyena Clan (led by Shenzi) that they should be teaming up to kill Mufasa and Simba.
Taking Over the Pride Lands
Scar meets the hyena clan at the graveyard. At first, they threaten to eat him as they thought that Scar is just another lion from the Pride Rock. And yet, Scar reveals to them his ambitious plans and promises that they shall get unlimited food as their bellies are never full leading the clan to join him. Scar sets up a trap for both Simba and Mufasa at long last. He asks Simba to practice his roar in the middle of a vast gorge, and he tells his nephew he would be back later. In the meantime, he signals the hyenas to drive a massive herd of wildebeests into a stampede. Simba almost gets killed inside the stampede, but Scar calls Mufasa and Zazu for help. Scar orders Zazu to call the pride for help. Mufasa arrives on time and puts Simba onto a rock before he climbs up to ask Scar for help. However, Scar cruelly grabs Mufasa's paws and snarls "Long live the king" before he smacks his older brother in the face with his claws, thus causing Mufasa to lose his grip and fall back into the gorge, where he is trampled to death by the stampeding wildebeests.
Simba finds Mufasa's corpse and tearfully starts calling for help afterward. Scar shows up and convinces Simba that he is responsible for the death of Mufasa. He coldly orders Simba to run away and never return to Pride Rock. As Simba runs away, Scar sends Shenzi, Kamari, Azizi and an unnamed hyena to kill him, but in the ensuing chase Simba and the unnamed hyena fall off a cliff. Then, Shenzi orders Kamari and Azizi to confirm Simba's death, but they are too frightened to try to climb down the cliff and instead lie to Scar and Shenzi that they ate Simba. As the pride and the citizens of Pride Rock gather up together, he delivered the news of Mufasa's and Simba's deaths, claiming he was too late to get to the gorge to save them and feigning grief. After this, he announced that as he was next in line, he must take the throne. Stating that ruling the Pride Lands was a task he couldn't manage on his own, he revealed that he had allowed the hyenas into the Pride Lands, much to the horror of the lionesses Few years later Scar calls out to Sarabi for a meeting, and asks her to become his queen, and join him so that the entire pride will obey him.
Sarabi angrily stated that she will never be the queen of such a selfish and ruthless lion. Scar gets mad, and out of anger and frustration, he announces that from now on the hyenas will hunt first and leave the lionesses with little to no food to eat afterward. Because of this act of overhunting, the Pride Lands become scarce in food and water, eventually becoming a barren land, much to the lionesses' distraught. One night, Nala attempts to slip away from Pride Rock to find help. Scar is awakened and bellows loudly, trying to scare off any intruders. He almost finds Nala during her escape attempt, but is distracted by Zazu who gets chased by Scar and the Hyenas.
Final Fight and Death
Eventually, an adult Simba returns to Pride Rock, and with the help of Nala, Zazu and his new friends Timon and Pumbaa, the young prince is ready to fight Scar for the throne. After Scar fights with Sarabi due to her once again rejecting his offer to be his queen and insulting him, Simba returns surprising his uncle who lies that he is so happy to see him while glaring at the Hyenas. Scar tries to convince the pride that Simba was responsible for Mufasa's death, and asks Simba to tell his secret and admit to "the truth". Simba finally confirms that he is responsible for Mufasa's death. Scar forces Simba onto the tip of Pride Rock afterward, where a lightning bolt strikes the ground and causes a wildfire.
Noticing how similar Simba is hanging just like Mufasa, Scar points out the similarity. He then lunges towards Simba and grabs hold of his paws before quietly admitting to him that he was the one who killed Mufasa. Realizing the horrible truth, Simba uses his jaws to grab Scar by the mane to pull himself up, berating him for his actions and ordering him to tell the truth to the other lions. At first, Scar denies by calling Simba a liar and accusing him of trying to kill his uncle, but Sarabi furiously states that she overheard Scar taunting Simba about the way Mufasa looked before he died, which contradicts Scar's previous claim that he didn't get to the gorge in time. Realizing too late that he inadvertently exposed himself, Scar furiously orders his hyena minions to kill the entire pride.
The hyenas are eventually defeated, however, and Simba chases after a fleeing Scar until the latter reaches a ledge near the top of Pride Rock where he cannot jump due to the height. Cornered, Scar begs for mercy and even double-crosses the hyenas in his desperation, lying that they forced him into committing Mufasa's murder and denouncing them as "revolting scavengers" he was planning to kill. Unfortunately, Shenzi, Kamari and Azizi overhear this nearby and angrily leave to inform the other hyenas of Scar's treachery knowing that they were just pawns. Simba won't have any of it, stating that Scar used the hyenas just like he used Simba a long time ago. Scar then asks if Simba is going to kill him to avenge Mufasa's death, to which Simba replies that he won't since he will be no better than the monster Scar is. Feigning gratitude, Scar asks what he could do to make up for all that he had done, possibly expecting to remain in the Pride Lands long enough to retake the throne.
Simba, knowing that Scar cannot be trusted at all, banishes him from the Pride Lands by coldly saying the same words that Scar said to Simba after Mufasa's death. Scar pretends to agree to that consequence, but then throws burning embers in Simba's face and attacks him while he is blinded. The two lions engage in a fierce duel for the throne of Pride Rock, with an outraged Simba declaring that he will not let Scar win, only for an angry Scar to declare that it's his destiny to rule the kingdom however he likes. Although Scar proves to be a surprisingly formidable opponent despite his weak appearance, Simba eventually manages to overpower his uncle and slam him to the ground at the edge of Pride Rock. As Scar begins to slip, he grabs onto Simba’s mane for a brief second before sliding down and falling through a cloud of smoke.
Scar survives the fall, and slowly gets to his feet after regaining consciousness. Just as Scar is about to leave the Pride Lands in defeat, Kamari, Azizi and several other surviving hyenas arrive and slowly encircle him. Scar pleasingly greets them, saying they will have to spend their time in exile to build a huge army so that they can take down the pride and reclaim Pride Rock. But, his relief turns to horror when the sarcastic Kamari and Azizi reveal that they overheard Scar's insults and plan to double cross them when he called them "revolting scavengers" and how he was going to kill them. Realizing the hyenas have turned against him, Scar desperately tries to talk his way out of the situation, claiming that he only tried to fool Simba and promising that together, he and the hyenas will rule the Pride Lands. However, Shenzi appears through the smoke and coldly rejects Scar's empty promises by telling him that he was right only about one thing: a hyena's belly is never full. Cornered, outnumbered, and realizing he's doomed, Scar furiously attempts to fight off the hyenas as they attack him, but is quickly overwhelmed and screams in agony as he is devoured alive, ending his reign of terror for good.
After Scar's death, Simba takes his place as the rightful king of the Pride Lands and undo all of Scar's careless mistakes, thus finally avenging Mufasa and restoring the land back to its former glory.
In contrast to his animated counterpart, this Scar has a more realistic, but also more unhealthy appearance. He has grayish-tan, slightly bleached fur and a rather emaciated frame separating him from the rest of the lion pride. His mane is thin and ragged, mostly dark brown, but paler around his face, until his regime over the Pride Lands. By then, his mane is closer to the original's fuller black mane. As his name suggests, he has numerous scars, most notably a long, thin, vertical gash over his left eye, which is slightly cloudy. He also has a notch in his right ear, a small cut on the right side of his muzzle, and several small scratch marks on his flanks. Scar also has amber eyes, a dark stripe down his forehead, and a tan muzzle complete with a goatee.
Like his animated counterpart, Scar is an extremely manipulative, ruthless, determined, cruel and coldhearted lion who cares about nothing else than the throne and being on top of everyone else. He committed unspeakable crimes to achieve his goals and is shown to be as if not even more spiteful than his animated counterpart. This version of Scar also lusts Sarabi for himself and he desires to be every bit like Mufasa but does the opposite. Though certainly manipulative and deceitful, Scar's not that good of a liar, as proven by the contradictions in his story about Mufasa's death.
This Scar is also darker and less comedic, as his jokes are more malicious in nature, and his anger is more apparent. This is shown when he sings his song, singing at first in a calm and normal way, but gradually becoming more and more intense until the end, as if his mask had slipped and all the hidden rage and hatred appeared. Another example of this is when he pushes Mufasa off the cliff, saying "Long live the King" in a hatefully angry tone rather than a gleefully malicious one like in the animated movie. Scar also has a lust for Sarabi, unlike the animated one, but he does not love her genuinely because when she refuses to be his queen, he punishes all the lions by giving all the food to hyenas first. Scar is also a hypocrite, begging Simba to spare him because they were in the same family, completely ignoring the fact he killed his own brother in cold-blood.
Like his original counterpart, Scar is good at bribing others to get what he wants. The best example would be when he offered the hyenas all the food they can eat in return for their services. Unlike his original counterpart, however, Scar keeps his word by overseeing hunts for them to earn their genuine loyalty and lets them eat before the lionesses, resulting in the hyenas becoming loyal to him until he betrays them and he was less verbally abusive towards them, which proves this Scar to be more pragmatic than the original. Other than that, Scar is also shown to be somewhat braver than his original counterpart, as he was more willing to fight back against his enemies if necessary. This is shown by the fact that he challenged Mufusa once in the past for the throne and did the same to Simba before his defeat; he even briefly tried to fight back against the hyenas when they turned against him.
Scar has a more flagrant disregard for his own species and family, as he not only murdered his own brother and tried to do the same with his nephew, but also ordered the hyenas to kill all the lions when his lies are exposed by Simba and Sarabi.
Powers and Abilities
Like his original incarnation, Scar's primary and most dangerous weapon is his exceptionally sharp intellect. He is a cunning and deceitful planner who can easily get inside others' heads and manipulate them into doing his bidding, as well as come up with and execute complex strategies. This is shown when he easily rallies Shenzi and her entire clan to his side with a single speech, and sets up the wildebeest stampede knowing full well that Mufasa will jump in to save Simba. He is less lazy and arguably even more effective than in the original, as he sent Zazu for help instead of knocking him out and made sure to keep the hyenas loyal to him by personally overseeing their hunts and letting them eat before the lionesses.
Also as in the original, Scar is surprisingly strong, fast and agile. This is shown when he sings "Be Prepared" and while he is being chased by Simba, where he performs impressive feats such as leaping long distances and climbing up steep slopes gracefully and with no noticeable effort. His physical strength is again shown in his fight against Simba; although he ultimately loses, Scar manages to put up a considerable fight against his much younger and more strongly built nephew, as he strikes him three times across the face hard enough to make him reel in pain, briefly knocks him onto his back twice, and at one point very nearly manages to push him off the cliff while grappling with him. Scar was also durable enough to survive a long fall from a ledge near the top of Pride Rock with no major injuries.
This version of Scar, while constantly compared with the original, is still generally well-received by both fans and critics. For example, many people such as Renaldo Matadeen from CBR Exclusives praised Scar's remake incarnation as being more frightening than the original, for having more motives behind his evil actions instead of a simple jealousy and how Scar is more active in leading the hyenas.
Similarly, Chiwetel Ejiofor's performance as Scar is also well-received. Owen Gleiberman from Variety praised Ejiofor's voice acting, commenting that his Scar raised the film’s dramatic stakes, upping the ante on what Jeremy Irons did as Scar in the 1994 version. Also, Scott Mendelson from Forbes commented that while he preferred Jeremy Irons' Scar, he still praised Ejiofor's performance for making Scar "excellent" and "nuanced".
However, some people criticized Ejiofor's Scar, feeling he lacked the silkiness and humor of Irons' Scar. Also, many fans of the original criticized the new Scar's physical design, with many complaining about his lack of a full black mane, green eyes, prominent goatee and sly facial expressions. However, others considered the redesign to be valid and some praised it as being more battle-worn and emaciated than the original, believing it better reflected Scar's inner trauma and unhealthy nature.
The remake version of Scar's song "Be Prepared" has received generally mixed to negative reception. For example, Fuller criticized the remake of the song, commenting "it feels like Scar is merely relaying some information to audiences that could have been delivered in a speech" and felt it would have been better if the song is not included at all. Similarly, Weldon criticized the song for cutting most of the verses, commenting the song sounds more like "if the Boy Scouts imposed martial law" and make Scar's character like "a mere feckless politician attempting to sway a potential ally". However, some people did like and enjoy the new version of the song, praising it as being more sinister and powerful than the original, and for better reflecting Scar's different relationship with the hyenas.
- Unlike other live-action remakes of other Disney Villains, this Scar is the same as his animated counterpart as the film basically the same as the original, although there are certain differences between the two versions (listed below):
- In the original film, Scar was slightly effeminate in his mannerisms, which initially met a mild controversy back when the original film was released. In the live-action film, however, Scar never shows any kind of effeminate mannerisms, possibly to avoid further controversy. Likewise, rather than acting in a Machiavellian and elegant way like in the original film, Scar acts more like the rest of the lions in the live-action film.
- In the original film, Scar's motivation to become king was because he was upset when Mufasa was chosen by their father to become king, as well as hating Simba because he was born. In the live-action film, Scar's motivation was also to have Sarabi for himself because she chose Mufasa when they were young, and it was implied that Scar fought against Mufasa both for the throne and Sarabi's affections and lost; even his voice actor Chiwetel Ejiofor stated that the Scar in the live-action film is far more 'psychologically possessed' and 'brutalized' than the cartoon one for this reason.
- In the original film, how Scar got his scar goes unexplained. It has been confirmed in The Lion Guard that he got it after being attacked by a black-necked spitting cobra despite Rob Minkoff's opinion that Mufasa probably gave it to him when they were cubs (whereas the book "A Tale of Two Brothers", which is disregarded from canon, says that Scar got his scar when he was attacked by a large buffalo). In the live-action film, it was implied that Mufasa gave him the scar during their fight over Sarabi's affections, which made it clear why Scar did the same to Mufasa when pushing him to his death in the gorge.
- In the original film, Scar was friends with the hyenas from the start, but neglected them by leaving them and the lions to do the hunting tasks for him due to his laziness, which made the hyenas question his reign (due to shortage of food and water) and contribute to his downfall. In the live-action film, he wasn't friends with the hyenas until he first met them in the graveyard, but made good on his promise to them by personally overseeing hunts for them after taking over Pride Rock, which allowed him to earn the hyenas' genuine loyalty until the end when he tried to pin the blame of Mufasa's death on them. This makes him more pragmatic and (in some ways) more cunning than his original counterpart.
- In the original film, Scar was a bit reckless and didn't care in raising any possible suspicions; this was demonstrated when he knocked out Zazu in the gorge before proceeding to dispose of Mufasa. In the live-action film, Scar is more cunning and sends Zazu out for help and while he hurts Mufasa with his claws before pushing him to his death, Simba doesn't notice it due being just a cub. That said, he is also not as good at lying as he ended up contradicting what he said about his brother's death.
- Although mentioning the name of Mufasa makes him angry, he didn't make a rule that prohibits to mention the name of his brother.
- In the original film, Scar was forced by Simba, who threatened to strangle him to death, to admit his role behind Mufasa's murder to the lionesses. In the live-action film, Scar furiously stands his ground by calling Simba a liar, only for his efforts to fall flat when Sarabi revealed that she overheard him saying how he saw the look in Mufasa's eyes, thus exposing himself as the true murderer.
- In the original, Scar betrays the hyenas by calling them "the real enemy" and lying that all his crimes were their idea. In the live-action film, he blames them more harshly, as he calls them "revolting scavengers" and even threatens to kill them.
- In the original, Scar was very cowardly in nature as he prefers to run rather than fight; this was shown when he just cowered in fear when the hyenas were about to kill him for his betrayal against them. In the live-action film, he is less cowardly, as even though he is not above in begging for mercy, he is more willing to fight, as he challenged Mufusa in the past, and even tried to fight back against Simba and the hyenas.
- The original Scar was heavily based on Adolf Hitler. The live-action Scar leans more to an abstract dictator archetype.
- In The Lion King II: Simba's Pride, Scar is shown to have a successor, Kovu, the son of his most loyal follower Zira. In the live-action film, Scar lusts after Sarabi, implying he wants to have children with her along with having her by his side, indicating there are no signs that Scar already has an heir (Kovu is also not Scar's biological son meaning he would not be born). Along with that, there are no signs of any lions who supported Scar, which was presumably to fill in a plot-hole in the sequel where it claims that groups of lions who supported Scar was in the original animated film, despite them not being there, although this has been unconfirmed. So, among all the lions in the movie, he is the only one who is genuinely evil.
- When the animated Scar became king, Zazu was his personal singer while in the remake, he is banished from the Pride Lands and hunted both by Scar and the hyenas when he came back.
- Like in the animated one, Scar serves as a foil to Simba. They are both princes at the beginning of the story and display the same carefree attitude towards being king, believing that everything depends on power and privilege and not on duties. However, Simba ends up going beyond these beliefs and is ready and willing to be the ruler that Mufasa taught him to be. Scar, on the other hand, never learned the responsibilities of being king and he thinks that everything is about him, that he is free to do whatever he wants, and he rules without caring for his subjects.
- According to the French, Scar is the only character whose name is not from Swahili, but from English.
- Jeremy Irons, the actor who voiced Scar in the original film, was interested in reprising the role for the remake much like how James Earl Jones was brought back to reprise the role of Mufasa. However, Irons was never asked out nor contacted by Disney to reprise the role.
- Scar's lust for Sarabi in the film is very similar to, and was inspired by, his lust for Nala in The Lion King Broadway musical (which was originally intended for the original film but taken out when it was deemed that sexual harassment wasn't suitable for a family film). When deciding to incorporate that subplot on the remake, Jon Favreau agreed that it would be creepy for Scar to try to court Nala so he opted to have Scar try to court Sarabi as it had more sense given that the two were closer in age.
- However, unlike the Broadway musical, he doesn't harass Sarabi as he does with Nala in the musical, yet he still threatens her. Scar's lust for Sarabi is also similar to King Claudius' lust for Queen Gertrude in the play Hamlet (since The Lion King is partly based on the play). In fact, the musical plot served as a model for Scar's relationship with Sarabi in the live-action movie.
- Because his mane is much thinner than Mufasa's and Simba's, some say Scar looks more like an Asian lion.
- Hugh Jackman was originally rumored to play Scar, but said rumors were actually false.
- Scar was the character that took the most work to design. His body had to look vulnerable but at the same time his pose had to emphasize his cunning nature. The supervisor Adam Valdez said about him : "Scar needed to harken back to the older design from the original but couldn't look too different from the family, and couldn't be too wiry or thin. He needed to be a physical threat in his own way, a default menace in the way that he was designed in his entire physical presence".
- Although that, Scar was the favorite part to the VFX team to work. The animators of the original Lion King took inspiration from Irons' menacing vocal performance, exaggerating Scar's features and movements to make him more evil. It's an approach the MPC team tried to pay tribute to without upsetting the new film's focus on realism. The VFX supervisor Elliot Newman explained : "Whenever we were struggling with a shot, we would always say : It needs more Scar. He's such a good-looking character and worked in so many different lighting environments and framings. Every time we dropped him in a shot, the shot improved straightway. The voice of Scar lends itself to something that's a bit more pushed than the others. Out of all the characters, he's the least lion-like. His proportions are kind of exaggerated, although we did do a lot of reference and research. There can be huge differences in the proportions between real lions: We'd be looking at pictures, and the skull shapes would be so different, you'd think they're two different species".
- It has been recently confirmed that a prequel to the 2019 live-action remake of The Lion King is currently in the works. As such prequel has been stated to explore the origins of Mufasa, there may be a chance that Scar will make an appearance as well and possibly have his backstory expanded too. It was confirmed later that a young Scar will indeed make an appearance in the film and be known as Taka, possibly indicating that the A Tale of Two Brothers story from the non-canon novel series The Lion King: Six New Adventures will be adapted.