The live action remake of Disney’s The Lion King might not have wowed the critics with it’s storytelling, but many agreed that the photo-realistic animation stood out as a truly impressive feat. it may then surprise you to learn that was not always the direction the film was going to take, as some newly released concept art shows everyone’s favourite jungle-dwellers looking a lot more cartoonish.
This Disney concept art is certainly a lot more child-friendly, especially when compared to the almost documentary style character designs that we got in the finished film. This newly released artwork gives the characters a lot more of the individual traits that helped differentiate between the lions, particularly with the colouring of Scar in comparison with Mufasa and Simba, as well as each character having a much more emotive and expressive face.
The influence of the 1994 animated original is much more apparent in this artwork than it was in the finished film in particular looking a lot more like his colourful cartoon counterpart. Aside from the vast differences with Scar, Timon’s big eyes and more animated face stand out as the furthest cry from the much more realistic meerkat that we ended up seeing on the big screen.
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Other than the changes in appearance, the concept art appears to show us some scenes which were omitted from the film completely, including Simba, Pumbaa and Timon relaxing on a tree in their isolated jungle home away from Pride Rock, as well as what one would assume is Simba and Nala running away from a large sandstorm.
The aforementioned sandstorm looks to be descending upon Scar and Mufasa during Scar’s infamous brotherly betrayal, which also looks to be taking place on a much higher cliff edge this time, so where this would have all fit into the finished film is unknown.
Whether this more cartoonish look would have appealed to audiences is anyone’s guess, and would more than likely have added further skepticism to the claim that the film is ‘live action’, but it surely would have lent itself better to merchandising and selling cuddly toys. Regardless, we got what we got, and though the film has its fair share of critics, none of those criticisms were aimed at the animation, which by and large is very successful, being described by many as a ‘visual triumph’.
The Lion King‘s was released earlier this year and has gone to break a $1 billion, as well as entering the top 10 highest grossing films of all time, beating the likes of Furious 7 and both Avengers: Age of Ultron and The Avengers, to take 7th place.
For those unaware, The Lion King follows a young lion cub named Simba who, after the murder of his father, flees his kingdom only to learn the true meaning of responsilbilty and bravery, and earn his place as king. This art comes from the artists Finnian MacManus and Michael Kutsche.