Was Scar really a bad guy?
Mufasa’s death was definitely one of the most traumatic events in film during the 1990s, and something that cemented Scar in our minds as a bona fide villain.
But is this necessarily the case?
Since Wicked and the StarKid Productions musical Twisted, we have been encouraged to look at villains – and particularly Disney villains – in a new light. To actively review their motivations and, in some cases, see that maybe they weren’t so bad after all; and that, by extension, maybe the heroes of their respective stories weren’t all born with the sun shining out of somewhere it probably shouldn’t have been.
There are undoubtedly theories about all of the Disney villains from over the years, analysing just how awful they were and whether or not their intentions were, in fact, honourable and that they just went the wrong way about achieving them. In this post, however, I want to focus on the person who killed off one of the most loveable characters in the Disney universe in one of the most horrific ways that any Disney character has ever been offed: Scar.
To do this, I will mainly be drawing on information from two sources :
The Cracked video, ‘4 Disney Movie Villains Who Were Right All Along‘
The titular song from the Starkid musical, Twisted
In the Cracked video, we see an argument being put forward for Scar’s potential goodness: that he was merely trying to undo a terrible thing that Mufasa has done. The hyenas have been exiled by Mufasa for an unknown reason, and are prevented from ever returning to the Pride Lands. As a result, the hyenas are starving. Indeed, in Be Prepared, the song in which Scar reveals his plan and recruits the hyenas to his cause, the hyenas are reluctant at first to go up against Mufasa. That is, until Scar makes them one simple promise: “Stick with me, and you’ll never go hungry again”. As Cracked put it, “When Scar recruits them, he doesn’t promise them power or wealth, just food; just the ability to live”.
In the Twisted song, Scar is given the chance to speak for himself, along with several other Disney villains who continually speak about what they “only wished [for]”. In Scar’s case, that is to “end segregation”, and to allow the hyenas back into the Pride Lands. While the song also hints at Mufasa killing Scar’s cubs in order to ascend to the throne, which seems a little out of touch with Lion King canon considering that Mufasa would have become king anyway as the eldest son of his parents, Scar’s intentions of bringing the hyenas back and ending the now seemingly tyrannous rule of Mufasa do not seem as dishonourable as they might appear once one sees Mufasa tumbling off of that cliff into the stampeding herd of wildebeest.
Thus, we can see that – although Scar’s reign as king only made things worse – in terms of Mufasa’s actions regarding the hyenas and Scar’s desire to simply allow them back into the Pride Lands where they aren’t guaranteed to starve, Scar isn’t actually as much of a bad guy as he originally appears to be.