Shenzi, Banzai and Ed are a trio of villainous spotted hyenas who first appeared in the 1994 Disney animated film The Lion King. They were the loyal followers and minions of Scar. In spite of being perceived as villains, they were an undeniable popularity among fans and are appreciated for their humor. They are also the archenemies of Timon and Pumbaa. They served as the secondary antagonists in The Lion KIng and The Lion King 1 1/2.
Shenzi, voiced by Whoopi Goldberg, is the only female of the hyenas. Her name means "savage", "pagan", "uncouth", or "barbarous" in Swahili. Hyenas are born in litters but it is never mentioned if she has brothers or sisters.
According to Timon in The Lion King 1½, her full name is Shenzi Marie Predatora Vendetta Jackolina Hyena. She is the de facto leader of the trio and the smartest hyena, traits which are consistent with real spotted hyena behavior, in which the females are generally more powerful physically and politically than the males. She also serves as the secondary antagonist in Lion King and the main antagonist in Lion King 1.5. She is wounded when Simba takes a swipe at her cheek whilst trying to save Nala. She deals best with Scar and knows how to talk with him. She is intellegent. She seems to be the smartest of the trio.
She has a big, black tuft and a grey snout (unlike Ed and Banzai). The animators apparently designed Shenzi using her voice actor Whoopi Goldberg as a reference, as Shenzi's face resembles Whoopi's to a certain extent. Shenzi was originally going to be male and played by Tommy Chong.
Banzai was voiced by Cheech Marin. His name means "skulk" or "lurk" in Swahili. It can also mean "ten thousand years" in Japanese.
In the film, Banzai is the most unfortunate of the hyenas, being wounded twice. His rear end was swiped by Mufasa in the elephant graveyard, Banzai tired to "explain" to Mufasa why him and the others were chasing Simba. Later he became the only hyena to fall into a bramble patch while chasing Simba. He also seems to get hungry more easily than the other hyenas, frequently making references to food and being the most discontent of the hyenas when the Pride Lands lacks food under Scar's rule ("It's dinnertime, and we ain't got no stinkin' entrees!"), to the point that he quietly remarks to his friends that Mufasa was indeed a better king than Scar. Banzai is sadistic and sarcastic but intelligent, though does not seem to be the smartest of the trio.
According to the stageshow version of the Lion King, Banzai's father was killed by Sarafina.
Ed almost always has a smile on his face and usually laughs to communicate (his only line of dialogue in a chorus during the song Be Prepared). He has two round cuts on each ear and his tongue is almost always hanging out. He was voiced by Jim Cummings who recorded four hours of all kinds of laughter so that it could be inserted in the movie depending of the situation (such as a worried laugh, nervous laugh, etc.)
Although Ed is considered insane, he sometimes seems to act either more alert than Shenzi or Banzai at points, or completely unaware of what is going on around him. For example, in the elephant graveyard, Ed was the first to notice Simba and Nala's escape while his two distracted peers were still occupied exchanging jokes. However, when Mufasa attacked them, they got into even more trouble when Ed confirmed (by nodding) that he knew Simba was Mufasa's son. Later, he laughed at Banzai because his rear end was scratched by Mufasa. Banzai got angry and attacked him, but after the scuffle ended Ed was actually revealed to be biting his own leg.
Ed understood Scar's betrayal near to the end of the film as well as anybody else. As Shenzi and Banzai asked Ed for his opinion on what to do with the fallen Scar, at first Ed's face bore a sullen, angry frown, the only time he did not smile. When he did smile in response to the question, unlike the crazed, goofy grin he previously always carried, it was sadistic grin. His laugh, unlike his usual crazed laughter was a low, frightening chuckle, after which he licked his lips and moved in on Scar along with the other hyenas.
Character profiling reveals Ed is neither totally insane or stupid - he 'knows the score', but from observation of his actions and reactions, he is probably a Manic Depressive, with violent mood swings, a low understanding of social conduct, and episodes of mania.
The Lion KingEdit
The hyenas first appear in the Elephant Graveyard that Simba and Nala venture into. The hyenas, under Scar's orders, chase the cubs in an attempt to kill them, but are frightened off by Mufasa. Afterwards, they help Scar carry out his plan to kill Mufasa by triggering the wildebeest stampede. Immediately after Scar tells Simba to run away and never return, he commands the hyenas to kill Simba too, but Simba eventually eludes the clumsy hyenas. Years into Scar's reign, they complain about lack of food in the Pride Lands but Scar ignores them. When Simba returns to overthrow Scar, the hyenas join the fight, but most are defeated, and Shenzi and Banzai are ruthlessly beaten up by Pumbaa for calling him a "pig". When Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed overhear a helpless Scar telling Simba the hyenas are the enemy, they furiously turn against their master and alert the defeated packs to his treachery. Together, with the aid of other hyenas, they corner Scar after he is defeated by Simba. Scar tries to absolve himself, saying that he did not really mean it. The hyenas refuse to listen, killing him by devouring him alive, just before a giant flame engulfs them. Whether they perished in the flames or survived and fled the Pride Lands are unknown, but the latter is more commonly accepted as they are seen later in The Lion King's Timon and Pumbaa.
The Lion King II: Simba's PrideEdit
In the direct-to-video sequel The Lion King II: Simba's Pride, the hyenas are only briefly mentioned by Nuka as he and his grown sister Vitani arrive at the Elephant Graveyard: “ Ew. This place looks even creepier since the hyenas ran off. ”
This quote could imply that the hyenas had indeed, fled the Pride Lands.
The Lion King 1½Edit
In the direct-to-video midquel The Lion King 1½, the hyenas have a fairly major role despite being minor characters in the original film. They can even be called the movie's villains
In their first appearance, they attack a meerkat colony when Timon, who is the sentry on duty of the colony, is daydreaming. They fail to catch any meerkats, but this incident drives Timon to leave the colony to find where he truly belongs. The hyenas make an appearance again during the film's climax at Pride Rock. Some anonymous hyenas are seen chasing Timon and Pumbaa into a cave (after the Hula Song in the first film), and are driven out by Pumbaa's flatulence. Eventually, Timon and Pumbaa are cornered by the hyenas. Timon proposes to Shenzi as a desperate move to buy time for his mother and Uncle Max as they dig a tunnel, which she turns down abruptly. The hyenas then fall into the tunnel, which transports them to the ground just in time for them to confront Scar.
The hyenas were also featured in two spin-off books of The Lion King, set before the events of the original film.
In A Tale of Two Brothers, the young hyenas appear at the beginning where they surround a helpless Rafiki who had just arrived in the Pride Lands. King Ahadi comes to the rescue just in time, with his sons Mufasa and Taka, and demands the hyenas to leave. The hyenas appear again later, where they advise Taka to make Ahadi think Mufasa was useless by making Mufasa enrage a selfish buffalo named Boma. But unfortunately the plan didn't turn out well, and Taka's eye was wounded by the buffalo herd in the process, and hences the nickname "Scar" from that day on.
In Friends in Need, the teenage hyenas appear again at the beginning, where they are preparing to boil a teenage Zazu in the elephant graveyard like in the first film. Until Mufasa passes by, scares the hyenas away, and befriends Zazu.
Beyond the filmsEdit
The Lion King On BroadwayEdit
In the stage show adaptation of The Lion King, the hyena's role is very similar to their role in the film, although in the Broadway version they also sing the song Chow Down and have a bit more of an appearence in the Madness of King Scar scene.
The Lion King's Timon and PumbaaEdit
The three hyenas made occasional appearances in the TV series The Lion King's Timon and Pumbaa. While Jim Cummings reprised his role as Ed, Tress MacNeille and Rob Paulsen replaced Whoopi Goldberg (Shenzi) and Cheech Marin (Banzai) respectively. The hyenas were also more noticeably dimwitted in the series in comparison to the movies. When they were not defeated in Lion King, they were squashed by a whale.
It should also be pointed out that significant plot points involving the three hyenas and Timon and Pumbaa in this series (particularly, the episode, "Once Upon A Timon"), have since been reconnected by the events that took place in The Lion King 1½.
Kingdom Hearts IIEdit
The hyena trio also appeared in the Disney/Square Enix video game Kingdom Hearts II. In the game, they appeared in the Pride Lands world, and were also Scar's followers.
The hyenas first encountered the game's main protagonists, Sora, Donald Duck, and Goofy, when they first appeared in the Pride Lands and battled with them twice. Later on, Sora and company defeated the hyenas again when they were attempting to kill Timon and Pumbaa, just before helping Simba fight Scar. After Scar was destroyed, the hyenas went back to the Elephant Graveyard and started eating carcasses again, though Shenzi considered it a mixed blessing. The trio had one final part in the story, having some knowledge relating to Scar's "ghost" and forcing Sora and Simba to chase and attack them for answers. Once beaten, Shenzi remembers that Scar's ghost only appears when animals are frightened.
In the English version of the game, Tress MacNeille replaced Whoopi Goldberg as Shenzi's voice whereas Cheech Marin and Jim Cummings reprised their respective roles.
It is interesting to note that, out of all of the villains (Disney, Final Fantasy, or otherwise) that Sora has faced in the series, Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed are the only ones that have (canonically speaking) come the closest to actually killing him; at the beginning of their first visit, Banzai is just about to bite into an incapacitated Sora (unused to his new lion form), and it is only Scar calling for the hyenas that Sora survives this encounter.
House of MouseEdit
Disney theme parksEdit
Appearances by the hyenas at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts are extremely rare. In 2004, they were featured in Disneyland Resort Paris’s The Lion King Carnival, but since that time their most reliable presence has been as part of Walt Disney World Resort’s yearly Mickey’s Boo-To-You Halloween Parade.