Et tu Zazu?!
As Disney gears up for their star-studded remake of The Lion King with Donald Glover, Beyoncé, Chiwetel Ejiofor and more, one fan decided it was time to share their theory on an over-looked character from the original classic. They proposed that Zazu, who appears to be a loyal servant of Mufassa and a comedic relief, was actually a traitor who was guilty of conspiring with Scar to kill both Simba and Mufassa.
While the theory seems unbelievable at first, Reddit user CombustableCompost actually delivers some pretty solid evidence to back up the claim. According to both fans, Zazu was sick of being humiliated by the powers that be, which ultimately influenced his decision to collude with Scar to take down Mufassa and, in turn, Simba’s legacy.
Read on and decide for yourself if this theory holds weight…
Considering Zazu’s position and power proximity to the king (Mufassa) at the beginning of the story, you almost had to feel kind of bad for how terribly he was treated by other animals in the kingdom. CombustableCompost points out that within the first act, Zazu was fed up with the lack of respect he experienced from Simba, the heir to the throne.
Not only does Mufassa allow this behavior, he partakes in it by using Zazu as a prop in Simba’s pouncing lessons when all Zazu was trying to do was inform him of the situation in the Kingdom. However, I do not believe that Zazu wanted Mufassa dead, but rather was worried about Mufassa bringing Simba up to be spoiled brat who would ruin the Kingdom. Zazu echoes these concerns through the film:
‘You’re shaping up to be a pretty pathetic King with an attitude like that.’
‘If this is where the monarchy is headed: count me out! Out of service, out of Africa, I wouldn’t hang about! This child is getting wildly out of wing.’
Not only this, but Zazu is worried about his own future. Simba declares that when he’s King he will fire Zazu, both directly and in his song. (CombustableCompost)
Scar plants his seed
Flashback to before Simba could even talk… Zazu confronted Scar (in one of the few times in the movie they appear on screen together) and asked him why he did not attend Simba’s “coming out” ceremony. It was then that Scar reveals to him that he wants to be king.
Zazu confronts Scar about not attending the ceremony. At this point, Zazu is loyal to Mufassa and as Simba isn’t even talking yet, he has no reason to believe he is a threat. Yet once Scar makes it clear that he wishes to become King, Zazu remembers this later when he doubts Simba, he remembers there is a more (in his mind) suitable heir. (CombustableCompost)
When Zazu escorts Simba and Nala to the watering hole, he is eventually abandoned by them as they follow Scar’s suggestion to visit the elephant graveyard. There, they’d ultimately be eaten by hyenas. This is where this theory gets interesting…
Zazu is off screen for a while as Simba and Nala leave him under a rhino as they venture to the Elephant Graveyard. As they arrive, Zazu reappears to scold them.
One problem: How did Zazu know they’d be there? Zazu was taking them to the waterhole, yet when he escapes he knows they’ve gone to outside the Prideland, who could have told him? Only one other person knows… Scar. (CombustableCompost)
Although it wasn’t presented on screen, Scar could have told Zazu the plan to get rid of Simba during their antagonistic confrontation in Scar’s lair. It wasn’t until Zazu became fed up with Simba that he decided to act on it.