“Be Prepared” Lyrics & Style Drastically Changed in ‘The Lion King’ Remake: Why?

Be Prepared” – the song that typified Scar as he sashayed around his lair – has been reduced to mere villainy. The iconic tune from The Lion King – now absent of the devious disposition and lyrical loquaciousness inherent to the original – has received an unwanted adjustment. 

The original “Be Prepared” was scintillatingly sassy and coyly condescending. Scar’s holier-than-thou persona oozed from the screen with each elegant swish of his tail and superior remark. Now, Scar’s voice stomps with ferocity; he has become a typical villain. In DC fashion, his voice has grown hard and menacing. No longer cunning in delivery, the new “Be Prepared” is an exercise in rage, not “meticulous planning.”

'The Lion King' World Premiere
‘The Lion King’ World Premiere | Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney

Not to mention, the song has been stripped down to its bare bones. Half of the original lyrics are completely absent. A number – once coming in at nearly four minutes – is now only two minutes and three seconds long. The hyenas – the film’s bumbling buffoons, have relinquished their musical moment, and Scar has surrendered his insulting introduction, in which he calls their “powers of retention…wet as a warthog’s backside.”

The lyrics now focus on Scar’s superiority to Mufasa – his ability to be a better King, as opposed to his ability to manipulate the Hyena’s to assist in the pursuit of his ultimate goal. In the new movie, “Be Prepared” opens with the following two verses:

“Mufasa has always shown too much restraint

When it comes to hunting

When I am King

The mighty will be free to take whatever they want

Because a hyenas bellly is never full

Mufasa is yesterday’s message

A clapped-out, distracted regime

Whose failings undoubtedly presage

The need for a different dream”

“Be Prepared” Lyrics from 2019’s ‘The Lion King:’ MusixMatch

From the lyrical adjustments to the stylistic switch, one question remains: why has Scar been altered to such an extreme extent when the other characters, according to critical reviews, have virtually remained synonymous to their original counterparts? 

Why ‘The Lion King’ remake changed “Be Prepared:” the most probable explanation 

As for the stylistic change, Scar’s original personality has likely been completely relinquished. The choice to alter Scar is less likely the result of wanting to bring something new to the role, and moreso represents the desire to erase something inherent to the previous depiction. Over the past few years, Disney has faced a great degree of backlash for queer-coding its villains.

In several Disney tales – Hercules, The Little Mermaid, The Lion King, etc. – villains have been depicted with negative stereotypes surrounding the LGBTQ+ community. Evil men are often vain, prim, or flamboyant, as Rowan Ellis once explained. This tendency started years ago – back when it was unacceptable to depict LGBTQ+ characters in a positive light on the screen, and when typical female qualities were demonized. 

Hoping to avoid negative PR, Disney updated Scar to delete his unacceptable social statement. However, as a result, fans have lost the fabulous version of Scar they know and love. 

As for the lyrical adjustment, it has been reported that the hyenas will not be mindless creatures, merely following orders in the upcoming film. Meaning, much of the original lyrics will no longer apply. Not to mention, the film may feature Scar pining after one of his subordinates, further removing the sexual orientation that has been assigned to the character, and destroying Disney’s tendency to connect gay with bad.