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NOTE: This article is about the incarnation of Shere Khan from the 2016 movie. The mainstream version can be found here: Shere Khan (Animated).
Does my face not remind you of what a GROWN Man can do? Shift your hunting grounds for a few years, and everyone forgets how the law works. Well, let me remind you: a Man-cub becomes Man, and Man is FORBIDDEN!!!
~ Shere Khan showing his scars and expressing his hatred for mankind.
Shere Khan is the main antagonist of the 2016 live action Disney film, The Jungle Book, a remake of the 1967 animated classic.
He is a notorious, fearsome, and scarred Bengal tiger who serves as the ruler of the jungle and is hell-bent on killing the man-cub, Mowgli because of his hatred towards mankind. He also appears as Mowgli's arch-nemesis.
Shere Khan first appears during the drought, when the animals gather to drink during the Water Truce from a watering hole where the animals maintain a truce not to attack each other while quenching their thirst. Upon scenting Mowgli, he threatens to kill him as the man is not allowed to live in the jungle. He also holds the scars on his face as proof of the man's cruel and destructive nature and issues a warning that when the Water Truce ends and the Peace Rock disappears, he will come for the boy and that the wolves should decide how many of their own kind they would be willing to sacrifice to protect a man-cub. He then leaves.
This causes Akela and his wolf pack to debate whether to have Mowgli leave the jungle or not, resulting Mowgli to leave the wolf pack with Bagheera to head over to a near-by Man-village. But Shere Khan ambushes them en route and fights Bagheera. He severely injures Bagheera and chase Mowgli, who managed to escape from him with the aid of a herd of buffalo. Shere Khan returns to confront Akela's pack and demand Mowgli be turned over to him, killing Akela by throwing him off a cliff when he learns Mowgli is on his way to the Man-village. He then assumes control of the wolf pack, deducing that Mowgli will return when he learns the news.
During Kaa's attempt to hypnotize and devour Mowgli, she reveals that Shere Khan himself is responsible for Mowgli being found by Bagheera, as he killed Mowgli's father (an event that left him with his facial scars and undying hatred for humans).
While reigning as the pack's leader, Shere Khan tells stories to the wolf pups about the other creatures of the jungle (in particular, the cuckoo, which preys upon the love of the other mother birds in order to deposit its own egg into their nest, starving them while benefiting its own chick). He directs his story at Raksha, citing her love for Mowgli as a sign of weakness. When Raksha asked why Shere Khan is doing this, he states that he wants Mowgli dead and that he'll be waiting when Mowgli returns. In the novelization The Strength of the Wolf is the Pack, Shere Khan goes an extra mile in his evil ways once he kills a jackal for begging for scraps of food in return for his information on Mowgli's whereabouts-despite the fact that said information turned out to be useful.
When King Louie informs Mowgli of Akela's death, Mowgli returns to face Shere Khan at the Water Truce with a burning torch stolen from the Man-village. But when he sees how all the animals of the jungle cower in fear at the sight of the fire he holds, he throws away his torch into the water, allowing Shere Khan to attack him. But Baloo, Bagheera and the Wolf pack joins Mowgli in the fight. Despite their numbers and strength, Baloo, Bagheera, and the wolf pack are overpowered by Shere Khan, who then chases Mowgli in the Wood as the jungle is being engulfed in flames thanks to the torch. Mowgli cunningly lures Shere Khan onto a dead fig tree and eventually defeats him by a branch of a dead fig tree which breaks under the tiger's weight, causing him to fall into a pit of fire to his apparent death. The elephants later put out the wildfire by using an irrigation system, putting an end to Shere Khan's tyranny once and for all.
This incarnation of Shere Khan is far more ruthless, manipulative, cold, and monstrous than his original counterpart.
He is utterly violent, bloodthirsty, and savage, so he mostly enjoys antagonizing and harassing Mowgli by not only gloating about him being a human but also gloating about his father's death as well as Akela's demise. He is attempting to make Mowgli afraid of him, and he briefly succeeds, but it does prove that the fear of him is what gives him the stage and the power to control the animals in the jungle.
As Mowgli confronted him and said that he is no longer afraid of Shere Khan, he roared on him, most likely because this claim made him angrier as Mowgli is taunting him and his power.
This portrayal of Shere Khan by Idris Elba is heavily praised.
Cath Clarke of Time Out compared this Shere Khan to Scar from The Lion King, calling him "baddie of the year". Matt Zoller Seitz of rogerebert.com also had high praise for Elba's portrayal of Shere Khan stating: "His loping menace is envisioned so powerfully that he'd be scary no matter what, but the character becomes a great villain through imaginative empathy." "-we understand and appreciate his point-of-view even though carrying it out would mean the death of Mowgli."
I can't help but notice there's this strange odor today. What is it? This scent that I'm on. I almost... almost think it was some kind of... Man Cub.
~ Shere Khan sensing Mowgli at the water hole.
(Akela: Mowgli belongs to my pack, Shere Khan.) Mowgli? They've given him a name. When was it you came to adopt man into the jungle? (Akela: He's just a cub.)
~ Shere Khan mocking the wolf pack about Mowgli.
But the one you have to watch out for is the cuckoo bird. Do you know how the cuckoo bird survives? By preying on a mother's weakness. The cuckoo bird is too clever to raise it's young instead, it sneaks its eggs into the nests of several birds. So when they hatch, the mother bird is fooled, she feeds them, nurtures them. And do you know what happens to her own chicks? They starve and die from neglect. All because the mother loved the chick that wasn't her own.
~ Shere Khan interrogating the wolf cubs and directing the story at Raksha.
(Raksha: Why are you doing this? He's gone. Isn't that what you wanted?) I want him dead. Once he gets word of what happened here, he'll come back and I'll be waiting.
~ Shere Khan and Raksha discussing about Mowgli.
So, the Man Cub left the jungle. (Akela: Yes. And, you and I no longer have a quarrel. And, most importantly, we have peace.) Well, I guess it's done, then... ...unless, I can draw him BACK OUT!!!!!
~ Shere Khan learning about Mowgli's departure, moments before killing Akela.
Have I got your attention now?! I didn't want to be this way. I made it so simple. All I asked for was one thing, and you denied me! Well, that ends now! Spread the word: until I have the man-cub, these hills are my hills. You did not respond to reason! So now you will know fear.
~ Shere Khan becoming the new leader of the wolf pack after killing Akela.
I'll have you ALL IN MY TEETH!!
~ Shere Khan vowing to kill Baloo, Bagheera and the wolf pack for siding up with Mowgli.
Did you think I would let you grow old? Either I'll devour you or the red flower will! It's just a matter of time. How long did you really think you'd survive against me? Longer than your father did? Longer than.... Akela?!
~ Shere Khan's last words as he attempts to kill Mowgli one last time only to fall to his death into the fire pit below.
A promotional picture of Shere Khan.
Shere Khan and Bagheera fighting each other.
Shere Khan asserting control over the wolf pack after killing Akela.
Shere Khan's evil grin as Mowgli throws away a fire torch, knowing that it be a perfect opportunity to strike him down defenseless.
Shere Khan's breakdown as he angrily swears to kill the wolf pack when they came to Mowgli's aid.
Shere Khan and Baloo fighting each other.
Shere Khan fighting the wolves.
Shere Khan cornering Mowgli on a large fig tree.
Shere Khan preparing to lunge to deliver the kill on Mowgli.
Unlike his original incarnation, this version of Shere Khan has little fear of fire, has scenes with Bagheera and the wolf pack. Plus he is also far much stronger as he was able to defeat Baloo, Bagheera and the wolf pack in combat.
This is by far the darkest version of Shere Khan, alongside the 2018 version.