Be Prepared

Album: The Lion King Soundtrack (1994)
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Songfacts®:

  • In this vengeful tune from Disney's The Lion King, the villainous Scar details his dastardly plan to seize the throne by murdering his brother, King Mufasa, and the young Prince Simba. Written by Elton John (music) and Tim Rice (lyrics), it was inspired by the fervor of a Nazi rally, only instead of soldiers, throngs of hyenas are saluting their corrupt leader. "A song like that is meant to be funny and sinister," Rice told Vulture. "That'll intrigue the audience."
  • With his eloquent diction, courtesy of British actor Jeremy Irons, Scar talks "quid pro quo" deals and relishes "the coup of a century," hardly terms found on the average youngster's vocabulary list. But Tim Rice thinks the elevated language fosters learning. "It's good that there are words they don't understand," he explains. "They'll wonder what they mean. I found that with lots of things as a kid."
  • There's some dispute over how much of the tune is actually sung by Irons, as Jim Cummings – who played a hyena alongside Whoopi Goldberg and Cheech Marin – had to take over when Irons' voice gave out. At the 2012 Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo, Cummings said he sang most of the song himself, but behind-the-scenes footage proves otherwise.
  • The film's co-director Rob Minkoff told Yahoo Movies that Irons smoked throughout the entire recording and all of his pauses to take drags on his cigarette had to be edited out.
  • This was originally titled "Thanks To Me."
  • In the 1997 Broadway adaptation, this is performed by John Vickery as Scar, with Kevin Cahoon, Tracy Nicole Chapman, and Stanley Wayne Mathis as the hyenas.
  • The soundtrack version opens with the soliloquy, "I never thought hyenas essential. They're crude and unspeakably plain. But maybe they've a glimmer of potential if allied to my vision and brain," before launching into the song. The soliloquy was cut from the movie because Scar had already had the hyenas do his evil bidding before the musical number. It is, however, included in the Broadway rendition.
  • The song was nearly omitted from the 2019 live-action remake, but was ultimately included, with Chiwetel Ejiofor voicing Scar.

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