Why Disney Doesn’t Want Fans to Hear Scar Sing in a Trailer for ‘The Lion King’

The Lion King remake – colloquially referred to as a live-action reimagining despite the lack of any “live” or “human-centric” action – is now less than a month away. As millennials await the opportunity to relive their childhoods, now with their own children, the anticipation keeps building. 

'The Lion King'
‘The Lion King’ | Photo by Gabe Ginsberg/WireImage

We’ve heard Beyoncé’s serenade as Nala, we’ve reminisced over James Earl Jones as Mufasa, and we’ve even seen a funny skit with Seth Rogen and Billy Eichner as Pumbaa and Timon respectively. However, though we’ve heard the new Scar speak – in his menacing tone – we haven’t heard one ounce of Chiwetel’s take on “Be Prepared.”

“Be Prepared” is one of Disney’s most famous villain numbers in all history. The lyrical and musical genius is unparalleled; while kids likely missed the meaning underlying “we’re talking kings and succession,” all enjoyed watching the evil-doer jump and sashay about his lair. So, why no teaser focusing on this moment? There are two probable reasons: one gives Disney the benefit of the doubt, while the other insinuates a lack of confidence on Disney’s part.

Let’s talk Scar’s mixed reception following ‘The Lion King’ trailer

After The Lion King trailer featuring a menacing Scar took over the internet, so did the divisive reactions to his character. #NotMyScar began trending on Twitter, for many felt – as a result of his more photo-realistic incarnation – that Scar lost his signature look: his beautiful mane was gone. The righteous and cunning Scar became a malevolent and scraggly-looking street cat.

Scar’s appearance was not the only problem cited. Many argued that his voice and overall disposition was adjusted to match the current climate surrounding cinematic villains: his voice became dark and intimidating, as opposed to his former vocal styling, which was marked by sass and superiority; he was no longer the lion ready to slither his way to the top. One fan wrote:

#NotMyScar are we the only ones disappointed by Scar’s voice change more than anything? #JeremyIrons voice made the character, no offense to #ChiwetelEjiofor

Twitter

This sentiment has been echoed across various social media platforms. And with fans already disappointed in Scar’s talking voice, there is a great possibility that they will be even further disappointed with the new take on “Be Prepared.” Has Disney been avoiding snippets from this song to minimize any further backlash?

Many fans have discussed their dissatisfaction concerning the casting, feeling that Jeremy Irons is as intimately tied to Scar as James Earl Jones is to Mufasa. Meaning, both stars should have been asked to reprise their respective roles. With Jeremy Irons out, is “Be Prepared” set up to disappoint, or, is it such an important number that Disney wants to keep fans anticipating?

Theory #2: “Be Prepared” is a hype-building marketing tactic

If “Be Prepared” is awarded the same degree of attention granted to the original scene, the moment has the potential to be breathtaking. With the new technology available to those behind The Lion King remake, Scar’s signature song may be a visual spectacle worthy of the wait.

Chiwetel Ejiofor has some pretty big shoes to fill; however, if those behind the production believe he has done the number justice, holding off the iconic villain’s song may serve as another way to build hype, bringing audiences into the theatre for opening weekend.

This theory might be less juicy, but it’s quite possibly the accurate explanation, for it would prove to be a strong marketing tactic. The controversy surrounding Scar makes the character exploitable for financial gains. If this is the character-actor pair fans are most curious about, make them come to the theatre to find out how they will feel.

Will the new Scar be the letdown many fans fear he will be, or does he rise to the challenge, filling Jeremy Iron’s shoes with grace – paying homage to the original while bringing a unique flair to the famous part?