Why Scar's New Look In The Lion King Remake Is A Good Thing
Be prepared for a very different-looking Scar in The Lion King remake. Any Disney film is only ever as good as its villain (or, in the new era, internal conflict), so it's hardly surprising The Lion King is regarded as one of the very best: Scar was cold, calculating, brutal, striking and yet incredibly flawed.
In the 1994 original, Scar was voiced by Jeremy Irons, whose silky English accent provided the most devious uncle this side of Claudius. In The Lion King remake, the responsibility of bringing Scar to life falls on Chiwetel Ejiofor, Oscar-nominated star of 12 Years A Slave. After much anticipation - and a teaser marketing campaign focused heavily on James Earl Jones' return as Mufasa - the new trailer for The Lion King provides a chance to see and hear the new Scar and, safe to say, there are some differences.
In the original Lion King, Mufasa's younger brother Scar is distinct among the pride, with a thin face, goatee-like whiskers, dark orange fur, luscious black mane and, of course, perfectly placed scratch over his left eye. That namesake injury (the fact he was seemingly named after it was explained in a tie-in comic), scraggly build and elegant facial hair remain in The Lion King 2019, but otherwise the Scar voiced by Ejiofor is a very different beast. His fur is light gold and mane thin and scraggly, still unnerving but in a decidedly different way.
While this may be initially surprising, it's only to be expected given Jon Favreau's approach with The Lion King. Scar is a brother to Mufasa, after all, so him being an entirely different color - something in the original to highlight his villainy - would be a step outside the realism the film is going for (and Disney's desire for remakes to address previous concerns about their stories). And with that in mind, making him more the runt of the pack, a creature whose position comes not just from lack of birthright (nature) but also the life he's lived so far (nurture) makes for a much more compelling antagonist figure who'd use his brains to seize power.
Indeed, The Lion King's new Scar is very much in the vein of what Favreau did with The Jungle Book in 2016, redesigning the highly-anthropomorphized characters to be somewhat believable. Sat alongside Baloo or King Louie, this Scar is rather close to the source. Conversely, a strange closeness to the original has been a point of criticism over Will Smith's unnerving blue Genie in Aladdin.
Indeed, based both Ejiofor's menacing line delivery and Scar's general presence in the trailer, it doesn't look like the redesign has lost much of the character. It's still very hard to get a proper lock on The Lion King - aside from "Circle of Life", none of the songs have been unveiled for one - but when it comes to the villain, you can feel the love in bringing him to life.