|“|| Shenzi: Well, well, well, Banzai, what have we got here?|
Banzai: Mmm, I don't know, Shenzi. Uh, what do you think, Ed?
Ed: [giggles madly]
Banzai: Just what I was thinking... A trio of trespassers!
|~ The hyenas encountering Simba, Nala, and Zazu in the Elephant Graveyard.|
|“||I'm surrounded by idiots.||„|
|~ Scar referring to Shenzi, Banzai and Ed.|
Shenzi, Banzai and Ed are the secondary antagonists of Disney's 32nd full-length animated feature film The Lion King, and its 2019 remake of the same name, and the main antagonists of its 2004 midquel The Lion King 1½, despite having little screen time. They are three megalomaniacal spotted hyenas who are the leaders of the Hyena Clan, Scar's former minions and the archenemies of Timon, Pumbaa, and Zazu.
Shenzi was voiced by Whoopi Goldberg (who later played Stretch and Stormella) and Tress MacNeille, Banzai was voiced by Cheech Marin and Rob Paulsen and Ed was voiced by Jim Cummings, who also did Scar's singing voice, Razoul, Hernán Cortés, Dennis, Rasputin, and Hadrian.
Shenzi is the only female member of the trio. She is very confident, intelligent, manipulative and constantly scheming. This makes her the matriarch of the trio (and probably the entire clan), former second-in-command of Scar, a trait consistent with true spotted hyenas; females are usually larger than the males and dominate them. This also makes her the secondary antagonist in the first film and the main antagonist in the midquel.
She comes up with the idea of telling Scar that Simba is dead after he escapes, confident in the belief that he will never learn otherwise, and is confident enough to tell him that there is no food or water left. Her distinguishing features are three prominent bangs hanging over her face and a mane that reaches all the way to her bangs. She also lacks the dark gray "stubble" snout of the males, and the dark patches around her eyes are shaped to resemble heavily applied eye shadow.
According to The Lion King 1½, her full name is Shenzi Marie Predatora Vendetta Jacquelina Hyena.
Banzai is the most aggressive member of the trio, usually speaking in a raised voice, with a shorter temper than Ed or Shenzi, and always ready to get into a fight. But since he usually thinks with his muscles, he still submits to Shenzi. Although he talks big, he (along with the other hyenas) is really cowardly. He is also extremely greedy, talking about food frequently. Otherwise, Banzai is apparently just as intelligent as Shenzi, knowing a few languages like pig Latin, Spanish, and French. His distinguishing feature is his unusually heavy eyebrows, but apart from these he is the model for most generic hyenas.
The comedic member of the trio, Ed converses entirely through obnoxious chuckling and sports a permanently foolish grin. He is heavily implied and has proven to be mentally ridiculous, imbecilic, and crazy. His eyes never seem to focus on anything appropriately, he has two round cuts on each ear and his tongue is almost always lolling out. He is famous for his foolishness, his craziness, getting his friends in trouble, giggling maniacally and obnoxiously at unnecessary times, and usually being absentminded and oblivious to his surroundings.
Personality and Appearance
All three spotted hyenas are rather goofy, obnoxious and argumentative, most of all Ed, who is always cross-eyed with his tongue hanging out, and almost never speaks, only giggles. Shenzi is a female, while Banzai and Ed are males.
In the book "A Tale of Two Brothers" (which serves as the non-canon prequel to the original film), the then adolescent hyenas surround a helpless baboon named Rafiki who arrived in the Pride Lands. King Ahadi comes to the rescue just in time, with his adolescent sons Mufasa and Taka close behind him where Ahadi chides the hyenas, telling them that they already ate because it is against the rules to hunt for sport in the Pridelands, and commands the hyenas to leave Five Stones. After their failed hunt, the hyenas skulked at a distance from Pride Rock, complaining about Ahadi and his constant supervision. Banzai and Shenzi exchanged complaints about the king and advocated the ushering in of a new era, amusing that with Mufasa dead, they would be able to rule the Pride Lands. Later, Shenzi advises Taka to make himself look good by making Mufasa look bad. Taka has decided to incite a greedy and selfish buffalo named Boma to fight Mufasa. But the plan didn't turn out so well, and Taka's eye was wounded by the buffalo herd in the process, and hences the name "Scar" from then on.
They are seen in the book, "Friends in Need", where they are preparing to boil a young Zazu until Prince Mufasa passes by, and scares the hyenas away next.
The Lion King 1½
They re-appeared as the main antagonists in The Lion King 1½ (which takes place before, during and after the first film) though their role in the film is small since they are only appeared twice in the third film.
In their first appearance, they attack a meerkat colony when Timon, who is the sentry on duty of the colony, is daydreaming. They fail to catch any meerkats, but this incident drives Timon to leave the colony to find where he truly belongs.
The hyenas make an appearance again during the film's climax at Pride Rock. Eventually, Timon and Pumbaa are cornered by the hyenas when attempting to get them away from Simba as he goes to fight Scar. Timon proposes to Shenzi as a desperate move to buy time for his mother and Uncle Max as they dig a tunnel, which she turns down abruptly. Then, the hyenas fall into the tunnel, which transports them to the ground just in time for them to confront Scar.
The Lion King
|“|| Shenzi: Friends? I thought he said we were the enemy.|
Banzai: Yeah, that's what I heard.
Ed: (giggles madly and licks his chops)
|~ The hyenas before they kill Scar for his broken promises against them.|
When Simba returns to Pride Rock to reclaim his rightful place as King, Scar angrily stares at the hyenas for failing to kill him, making them feel a little nervous. As Simba tries to chase and overthrow Scar, the hyenas join the fight, but most are defeated by the lionesses, and Shenzi and Banzai are ruthlessly beaten up by Pumbaa for trying to eat Timon and Zazu and calling Pumbaa a "pig".
When Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed overhear Scar trying to thrust all blame for the events on them to Simba, claiming that it was all their idea, they are angry and alert the rest of the clan of what they just heard.
After Scar is defeated by Simba, and thrown off Pride Rock, he finds himself surrounded by the hyenas and greets them casually. However, they reveal they overheard him as he desperately tries to explain that he didn't really mean what he said, but Shenzi, Banzai, Ed and the entire clan are fed up with his broken promises of never going hungry again. Without hesitation, they close in to leap on Scar and fiercely rip him apart to his death. They then presumably eat Scar's body to satisfy their hunger, though this is unconfirmed but heavily implied. They are never seen again afterwards, possibly implying that they either fled or were killed in the fire.
The Lion King II: Simba's Pride
They didn't appear in the sequel. Although they were mentioned by Nuka, who says that the graveyard has become more creepy ever since the hyenas left the Pride Lands.
It is possible that the hyenas Nuka mentioned weren't Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed, but several unnamed hyenas since hundreds were shown during the villains' song, and only some of them (Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed among them) were sent to the lower area where they eat Scar, and could possibly have been consumed by the flames. Those who did not fall below presumably returned to the elephant graveyard, and later "ran off". The fate of Shenzi, Banzai and Ed remains unknown.
The Lion King (2019)
- Main article: Shenzi, Kamari and Azizi
Timon and Pumbaa
In the TV series, the hyenas are recurring antagonists, continuously intimidating Timon and Pumbaa. It should also be pointed out that significant plot points involving the three hyenas and Timon and Pumbaa in this series (particularly, the episode, "Once Upon A Timon"), have since been reconnected by the events that took place in The Lion King 1½.
House of Mouse
The hyenas made cameo appearances in several House of Mouse episodes. They're notably seen near the beginning of the premiere episode "The Stolen Cartoons".
In "House of Turkey", the hyenas are anxiously waiting to eat Mr. Turkey, but when they learn that he's a guest performer and not an entrée, they briefly try to eat Pumbaa.
In "Donald's Pumbaa Prank", they were seen at their table about to eat Zazu.
In "House of Crime", Shenzi can be seen in a cage along with other villains before they all disappear.
The hyenas were also part of the entourage of Disney villains featured in Mickey's House of Villains.
Kingdom Hearts II
The hyenas appeared in Kingdom Hearts II. Other hyenas appear as well, but while they're brown in color, the trio are still gray.
When Sora, Donald Duck, and Goofy show up in the Pridelands, they are met by the hyenas. The hyenas surround the three of them and try to crucify them, but Scar calls for them and they reluctantly leave. The hyenas attack them again and Scar plans to eat them but Nala knocks him down and allows Sora, Donald, and Goofy to get away.
Later, the hyenas are seen at Pride Rock during the final battle between Simba and Scar. The hyenas attack Timon and Pumbaa but they are attacked by Sora, Donald, and Goofy. They run away and are exiled after Scar's death.
Later on, Sora, Donald, and Goofy are wandering across the landscape when they see the hyenas running towards the three of them. Upon realizing it is them, they stop, displeased that they're not the meal they thought. Then, they giggle when Sora mentions Simba, who is being tortured by Scar's ghost.
Simba and the trio confront the hyenas again. The hyenas tell them to leave them alone. Simba asks if they know anything about Scar's ghost. They run away but the three of them are caught soon enough. Simba realizes they know nothing of Scar's ghost. Soon, Scar's ghost arrive though, and frightens Simba away. The hyenas laugh at his nervousness and depart.
- With The Lion King being a combination of Kimba the White Lion (also known as Jungle Emperor Leo) and Hamlet (having been precisely inspired by the latter), Shenzi and Banzai and Ed are a combination of Fortinbras and Dick (aka Tom) and Bo (aka Tab).
- Being the leader of the trio and entire clan, Shenzi is realistically portrayed as a female; in real life, hyena clans are lead by the females.
- Ed is shown to have notches in his ears; it is actually common for hyenas to receive notches in their ears due to frequent fighting.
- Originally, Shenzi would be a male hyena and not a female hyena, and his voice actor would be Tommy Chong, a voice actor that is friend of Banzai's voice actor, Cheech Marin. Ernie Sabella, Pumbaa's voice actor, auditioned for Shenzi before he was given the role of Pumbaa.
- In some ways, just like Zazu pointed out, Shenzi, Banzai and Ed were on their own right when they threatened Simba, Nala and Zazu in the Elephant Graveyard for trespassing their territory much like how they were prohibited from entering into the Pride Lands, not to say that Simba worsened the situation by insulting them thanks to Zazu's previous comments.
- Originally, Shenzi, Banzai and Ed were planned to appear as Zira's henchmen in The Lion King II: Simba's Pride. However, the idea was scrapped, because the hyenas killed Scar, and Nuka and Vitani were created as Zira's henchmen. Vitani was the equivalent of Shenzi, and Nuka was the equivalent of Banzai and Ed. However, from the whole trio, only Banzai was confirmed to appear as Cheech Marin's intended return was reported by Daily News.
- Ironically, in The Lion Guard, the Young decentints of Shenzi, Banzai and Ed's clan initially join forces with the spirit of Scar to kill Simba and Kion and take over the Pride Lands, with them notably being unaware of their ancestors' betrayal against Scar, and Scar himself allying with the clan, despite being murdered by their ancestors (similarly to how Zira would've joined forces with the hyenas despite their murder of him). However, in the third season, the hyenas betray Scar (much like the original film) and join forces with Scar's great-nephew Kion and help defeat him for good.
- Despite being the main antagonists of the 2004 midquel The Lion King 1½, the hyenas have little screen time for obvious reasons. Plus, Scar is obviously more evil than the hyenas considering Scar is Pure Evil.
- They were initially intended to make another appearance during the Elephant Graveyard scene. In this scene, Timon and Pumbaa would've gone to the Graveyard in search of Mufasa (a plot-line which was scrapped from the film), but instead would've been chased by Shenzi and company. After spotting Scar's shadow, mistaking it for his older brother, the due follow it, but then spot Scar and the hyenas who have finished singing the Be Prepared number from the original film, before being chased out of the Graveyard by the Hyena Clan. For unknown reasons, this scene was cut.
- Although they serve as the secondary antagonists in the film, Shenzi, Banzai and Ed are considerably less evil in Timon and Pumbaa. While they maintain their carnivorous nature, they don't appear as threatening than in the film. Furthermore, in the episode "TV Dinner", when Martin Pardon kicks Ed towards them, Shenzi and Banzai succeed in catching him to don't hit himself as they did when Pardon kicked them respectively, showing that at their core, they care for each other's welfare.
- Ed is the only non-speaking hyena. Curiously, Jim Cummings, his voice actor, voiced Scar in the final moments of Be Prepared and in The Lion King II: Simba's Pride.
- Whilst Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed do not return for The Lion Guard, they are alluded heavily, as cave paintings of the hyena clan are seen throughout the series (specifically Season 2). In addition, a promotional video for Return of the Roar noted that Janja and his clan are descendants of the hyenas of the original film.
- Originally, they were planned to appear in Kingdom Hearts. However, The Lion King world was scrapped, and for this reason, the three hyenas were cut from the video game, but later appeared in Kingdom Hearts II.
- The voice actors of Shenzi and Banzai, Whoopi Goldberg and Cheech Marin, also voiced Pixar characters which Marin voiced Ramone in the Cars franchise while Goldberg voiced Stretch in Toy Story 3. They voiced these characters after a decade since the release of The Lion King. They later voiced Quita Moz and Lama, the two sunbirds from Elena of Avalor, which marks the first time Whoopi Goldberg and Cheech Marin voiced Disney characters together since The Lion King.