Complete the Circle of Life With These ‘Lion King’ Facts

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Everyone who knows The Lion King remembers that signature opening sequence with the classic musical number “The Circle of Life.” But did you know this great scene was conceived without the song? Originally, Disney filmmakers thought this sequence would be heavy on dialogue, laying out all the various characters and aspects of the plot. But then they heard the instrumental version of “Circle of Life” and realized the scene would be much stronger as a visual experience with music. That’s just one of the kingly facts in the newest episode of You Think You Know Movies!

Here’s some more cool Lion King musical trivia. Timon and Pumba were supposed to have a musical number called “Warthog Rhapsody.” But then lyricist Tim Rice heard animators saying the phrase “hakuna matata,” which they’d picked up on a research trip to Africa. Sensing it could make for a good Disney tune, he reworked his earlier ideas into one of The Lion King’s signature numbers. (And, yes, it really does mean “no worries” in Swahili.)

You Think You Know Movies? is a ScreenCrush original series that dives deep into the cinematic worlds of your favorite movies and freeze frames a few tidbits you might not have known. We’ve already tackled Star Wars, The Avengers and Spider-Man, but this time we have no worries because we’re talking about The Lion King. Watch more installments of ‘You Think You Know Movies?’ below and let us know in the comments what movies we should cover next.

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