- NOTE: This article is about the incarnation of the hyena trio from the 2019 movie. The mainstream version can be found here: Shenzi, Banzai and Ed.
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|“|| Kamari: Friends, huh? I thought you said we were "revolting scavengers".|
Azizi: Yeah! And you wanted to kill us.
Shenzi: There's only one true thing you ever said, Scar.... a hyena's belly is never full.
|~ Shenzi, Kamari and Azizi turning against Scar for his betrayal against them.|
Shenzi, Kamari and Azizi are the secondary antagonists of the 2019 Disney film The Lion King, based on the 1994 animated classic. They are a trio of sinister hyenas who were in league with the infamous Scar.
Shenzi was voiced by Florence Kasumba, Kamari was voiced by Keegan Michael-Key (who also voiced Alpha Wolf), and Azizi was voiced by Eric Andre.
Meeting Simba and Nala
The hyenas first appeared when a young Simba and Nala visit the elephant graveyard against Mufasa's orders. Being aware that Simba is Mufasa's son and true heir to the throne, Shenzi orders Kamari, Azizi and their clan to slaughter the cubs. Though Kamari and Azizi are able to get their fellow hyenas to surround the lion cubs, their chance was foiled when Mufasa arrives by warding off the hyenas after being alerted by Zazu. Mufasa then issues a warning to Shenzi that he will come for her and her clan if they ever come near his son and his friend again. Not wanting to incur Mufasa's wrath, Shenzi fearfully obliges and watches as Mufasa leads Zazu, Simba and Nala away from the graveyard.
During the night, Shenzi, Kamari and Azizi were met by the arriving Scar, who happens to be Mufasa's brother. They initially attempt to eat him at first, but Scar confesses that he was the one who tricked Simba and Nala into entering the graveyard as he intended to have them fed to the hyenas. Scar also states that he has a plan to dispose both Mufasa and Simba so that he can be the new king, and convinces the hyenas to join him in exchange for having free rein of food in the Pride Lands, as he states that a hyena's belly is never full. Finding Scar's proposal to be fair, Shenzi and the hyenas accept the proposal.
Taking Over the Pride Lands
As part of Scar's plan to kill both the king and prince, Shenzi, Kamari, Azizi and another unnamed hyena drive a massive herd of wildebeests into a gorge, putting Simba's life at risk. Scar also lures Mufasa there, where he murders him by knocking him into the gorge, where is trampled to death by the wildebeests. After banishing Simba by putting the blame on him for Mufasa's death, Scar orders the hyenas to kill him. Though the hyenas ar able to catch up to Simba, the lion cub falls off a cliff while another hyena close to catching him falls to its death. Oblivious to the other hyena's fate and believing that there may be a chance that Simba may have survived the fall, Shenzi orders both Kamari and Azizi to go down and find Simba's body before leaving. However, Kamari and Azizi are unable to do so as the cliff is too steep and decided that there is no way that Simba could've survived such a fall before leaving. As such, they lie to Scar and Shenzi that they killed Simba. Unknown to the hyenas, Simba actually survived by hiding behind a ledge before leaving the Pride Lands out of shame for his father's death.
With both Mufasa and Simba gone, Scar takes over as the new King of the Pride Lands, and allows Shenzi, Kamari and Azizi to bring their clan to have their free hunting reign, much to their delight. As the years go by, the Pride Lands becomes a barren wasteland due to the hyenas' overhunting under Scar's leadership. When Scar asks Mufasa's widow Sarabi to become his mate, Sarabi refuses by stating that she will never be the mate of a selfish lion. This prompts an furious Scar to declare that the hyenas will have more hunting grounds than the lionesses, leaving the latter to have little to no food, much to the hyenas' delight.
Eventually, a fully-grown Simba returns to Pride Rock (alongside a fully grown Nala, Timon and Pumbaa) and reveals himself to the lions and hyenas. This makes both Scar and Shenzi (along with the other hyenas) realize that Kamari and Azizi lied about Simba's fate. With the other hyenas staring at them for their lie, Kamari and Azizi bow down in shame. Eventually, Simba is able to trick Scar into confessing that he was the one who murdered Mufasa to the other lionesses. With the truth exposed, Scar orders the hyenas to kill Simba and the lions.
During the battle as Pride Rock is being engulfed by fire, Shenzi faces a fully-grown Nala. Shenzi confesses that she's been waiting years for another attempt to kill Nala, but the latter confronts her of the fact that she's no longer a cub anymore. The two fight and despite Shenzi holding her own for a while, Nala eventually manages to throw the hyena matriarch off of Pride Rock. In the meantime, Kamari and Azizi try to take down Zazu, but Rafiki arrives to the rescue by beating both of them and the hyenas down with his staff; even Pumbaa manages to take down several more hyenas with his tusks when one of them starts calling him 'chubby'.
When Simba corners Scar on the top of Pride Rock, Shenzi (who is revealed to have survived her fall), Kamari and Azizi pursue them to help their leader, but instead they witness Scar blaming them for Mufasa's death, denouncing the hyenas as 'revolting scavengers' that he intends to kill, causing them to growl in anger. However, Simba (being aware of Scar's true nature) refuses to believe this by stating that Scar manipulated the hyenas as he did him and proceeds to battle Scar, sending the latter to fall off Pride Rock in defeat. Though Scar survives the fall, he is met by Shenzi, Kamari and Azizi, who have rounded up their remaining clanmates. Being aware of what happened, Kamari and Azizi angrily confront Scar for using them by saying the words he said before. Realizing they are turning against him, Scar tries to talk his way out of the situation, but Shenzi appears and coldly states that while everything what Scar said were all lies, he was right about the fact that a hyena's belly is never full.
Cornered and outnumbered, Scar desperately attempts to fight off the hyenas as they attack him, but is quickly overwhelmed and eaten alive. It is unknown what happened to Shenzi, Kamari and Azizi afterwards, but it's implied that they escaped along with their remaining clan from the Pride Lands after devouring Scar.
Shenzi is a cold, cunning and ruthless leader who is willing to do almost anything to ensure the survival of her clan. Unlike her subordinates, she never tells a joke and hardly ever laughs, although she does chuckle at Simba's attempt to command her. Shenzi harbors a deep hatred for Mufasa and lions in general due to the ancient rivalry between her kind and theirs, though she does hold fear and respect for Mufasa, acknowledging that she and her clan are no match for him. Despite this, Shenzi is no coward, boldly taking on a fully-grown Nala despite the latter being both larger and more powerful. Shenzi is also capable of forgiveness despite her ruthlessness, as although Kamari and Azizi lied to her about Simba's fate, despite knowing of the threat he could grow to be, she shows no visible anger and even allows them to travel with her when they hear Scar's confession. Like the rest of her clan, once they learn of Scar's plan to betray them, she has no hesitation in ending their alliance and ordering her fellow hyenas to kill him, even joining them in doing so.
Kamari is tougher, smarter and more cunning than his partner Azizi, but less than his leader Shenzi, whom Kamari holds a deep fear and respect for. He is constantly annoyed with Azizi due to the latter constantly invading his personal space. Despite his respect for Shenzi, Kamari has shown that to avoid potentially falling to his death, he has no issues lying to her about Simba's fate, though he does show shame once she and the other hyenas discover his deception. But despite this, he is shown to value loyalty, as once Scar reveals his intent to double-cross his clan, he has no issues being one of the first to attack the traitorous lion. He also has a sarcastic, albeit slightly malicious sense of humour, mockingly asking if Simba and Nala would stay for dinner while preparing to kill them. This is again shown when after being knocked off of Pride Rock and being confronted by the hyenas, Scar reassuringly calls them friends, only for Kamari to mockingly remind the lion of his statement that Kamari and his kind were "revolting scavengers".
Azizi is the weakest and least intelligent of the hyenas. This is shown when he constantly fails to understand Kamari's jokes and invades his personal space (though the latter claims he does it on purpose). Like Kamari, he has no trouble lying to Shenzi, despite his respect for and fear of her, to avoid potentially falling to his death, though like Kamari, shows shame once their deception is discovered. Like his fellow hyenas, once Scar reveals his intent to betray them, Azizi is perhaps the angriest over the lion's treachery. While Kamari and Shenzi keep a calm, if mocking tone, Azizi does not attempt to hide his rage, and once Shenzi gives the order, is among the first of his clan to attack the treacherous lion.
- There are several differences between Shenzi, Kamari and Azizi and their original counterparts:
- While the hyenas are presented as comic relief in the original film, Shenzi is the only one presented in a more menacing role as she acts as the de-facto leader of the hyena clan (which is accurate considering female hyenas are leaders of their clans in real life) while Kamari and Azizi retain their sense of humor. Even so, the three hyenas are generally depicted as more dangerous than comical in comparison to the original film; director Jon Favreau and actress Florence Kasumba themselves acknowledged this, as the former felt that the trio's original personalities didn't match with the film's vision.
- Ed only laughs and cackles while Azizi is capable of speaking.
- The hyenas were friends with Scar in the original film. But in the live-action film, they never met Scar until he came to them for help in his plot. Likewise, while in the original film the first time the hyenas faced Mufasa directly was when they tried to devour Simba and Nala (not counting most of the franchise's early literary material, which is often disregarded as non-canonical due contradictions with further stories), in the remake it's implied that Mufasa, along with Zazu, at least knew about Shenzi, because he referred to her by name, hinting that they may have met before.
- The hyenas in the cartoon questioned Scar's reign due to shortage of food and water (to which he completely ignores), but in the live-action film, they actually supported him due to him making good on his promise by personally overseeing their hunts and allowing them free rein of food.
- While the three mostly acted as equals in the original, here Kamari and Azizi are both subordinates to Shenzi and are visibly afraid of her.
- A running gag in the movie is that Azizi and Kamari argue about distance away from each other.