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Shenzi
Background information
Feature films The Lion King
The Lion King 1½
Mickey's House of Villains
Once Upon a Halloween

The Lion King (2019)
Television programs Timon & Pumbaa
House of Mouse
Video games The Lion King
The Lion King: Simba's Mighty Adventure
Meteos: Disney Magic
Kingdom Hearts II
Disney Crossy Road
Disney Magic Kingdoms
Disney Emoji Blitz
(Shenzi playable, and Banzai and Ed unplayable)
Park attractions Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom
Mickey's Boo-to-You Halloween Parade
Villains Tonight!
The Legend of the Lion King
Portrayed by Tracey Nicole Chapman (musical; debut)
Portrayed by
Animators Dave Burgess
Alex Kupershmidt
Rejean Bourdages
Alex Topete
Philip S. Boyd
Jesus Cortes
Ray Harris
Monica Murdock
Eric Pigors
Vincent Siracusano
Yung Soo Kim
Noreen Beasley
Will Huneycutt
David Recinos
Paulo R. Alvarado
Samantha Lair
Larry White
Lon Smart
Voice Whoopi Goldberg
Florence Kasumba
Performance model
Designer
Inspiration Laertes from Hamlet
Honors and awards
Character information
Full name
Other names
Personality Commanding, assertive, smooth-talking (sometimes), cruel, evil, heartless
Appearance
Birthday
Occupation Leader of the Hyena Clan
Affiliations
Goal
Home Elephant Graveyard (formerly)
Pride Lands (temporarily)
Jafar's Lair, Magic Kingdom
Relatives
Pets
Allies Scar (formerly), Hyena Clan
Minions
Enemies Simba, Timon, Pumbaa, Nala, Rafiki, Zazu, Mufasa
Likes Eating, laughing, nighttime, terrorizing, lazing around, hunting
Dislikes Lions, starvation, being on the low end of the food chain, betrayal
Powers and abilities
Weapons
Fate
Quote


Shenzi is a major antagonist in the 1992 animated feature film The Lion King and its 2019 remake of the same name. She is the female leader of the Hyena Clan.

Background[]

Shenzi is the leader and sole female of the trio. According to Timon in The Lion King 1½, her full name is Shenzi Marie Predatora Veldetta Jacquelina Hyena. Her first name means "savage", "pagan", "uncouth", or "barbarous" in Swahili. Her distinguishing features are five prominent bangs hanging over her face and a mane that reaches all the way to her bangs. She also lacks the dark gray 'stubble' snout of the males, the dark patches around her eyes are shaped to resemble heavily applied eyeshadow, and she has thicker lips with what seems to be black lipstick.

Despite the common belief in the Pride Lands that hyenas are brainless, Shenzi's sense of humor hides a merciless sense of cunning. She is not merely the leader of the trio, but the Matriarch of a Pack of over 200 hyenas, and her powerful leadership and diplomatic skills resulted in incredible gains for her pack, regardless of the cataclysmic results to the Pride Lands. And at the climax of the movie, Shenzi informs the hyenas that Scar has betrayed them. Additionally, despite not appearing in the sequel, it seems that she has successfully hidden from Zira the fact that the hyenas, and not Simba, killed him, allowing her Pack to escape the Graveyard and leave the Pride Lands.

Despite her dislike of Mufasa, Shenzi clearly has a measure of respect and fear for him, as she gets the "shivers" when she hears his name, and though she elbows Banzai before he can repeat the name in front of Scar, she clearly agrees with his opinion that they were better off when Mufasa was in charge (even if he did not like them or allow them to live in the Pride Lands, he at least treated them better and did not abuse or insult them for amusement like Scar). Despite this, she has shown cowardice, along with her partners, on several occasions, including running away from Pumbaa in the final battle and Mufasa during their first encounter.

Shenzi can be just as heartless as Scar, but unlike him, her first duty is to strengthen her clan rather than the pursuit of personal power. She allies the clan with Scar, even though the hyenas dislike the lions simply to provide for them, lies to Scar that Simba is dead to get them into the Pride Lands, and is even unafraid of informing him there is no food or water left, meaning the clan is starving and dehydrated. When Scar tries to pin Mufasa's death on the hyenas at the end, she does not hesitate to inform the clan of his betrayal, resulting in his death. In Simba's Pride, Shenzi presumably has taken the clan away from the Elephant Graveyard to find better hunting grounds.

Appearances[]

The Lion King[]

When Simba and his friend, Nala, ventured into the Elephant Graveyard, Zazu attempted to get them to leave. However, Simba insisted that he was not afraid and laughed mockingly in front of an elephant skull. Just then, Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed echoed his laughter and emerged from within the skull, while Simba hid behind Zazu in fear. The hyenas approached and remarked that the three were trespassing. Shenzi recognized Zazu as Mufasa's "little stooge," and Zazu clarified that he was the king's majordomo. Simba then asserted his own title as the future king, but the hyenas were not impressed. The three began to plot how they would eat the cubs, during which Simba, Nala, and Zazu managed to escape.

Eventually, the hyenas caught up to Zazu and grabbed him by the tail. They stuffed him into a geyser and watched it erupt, which caused them to burst into laughter. Simba and Nala approached, and Simba told the hyenas to pick on someone their own size. Shenzi pointed out that Simba was their size, and the hyenas gave chase. At one point, Shenzi nearly caught Nala, but Simba stopped her by clawing her across the face. Afterward, the hyenas cornered the cubs against a rock wall and mocked Simba for his piteous roar.

Just then, Mufasa arrived and fought off the hyenas. Though Shenzi and Banzai tried to insist that they had been unaware of Simba's relationship to Mufasa, Ed clarified that he had known, which infuriated Mufasa. The hyenas promptly fled the scene.

Relationships[]

Wiki
The Disney Wiki and Disney Fan Fiction Wiki has an article focusing on the relationships of Shenzi.

Gallery[]

Wiki
The Disney Wiki and Disney Fan Fiction Wiki has a collection of images and media related to Shenzi.

Trivia[]

  • Shenzi's position as leader is like hyenas in real life, as they are a matriarchal society. This matriarchy also tends to run in families as cubs of high-ranking hyenas get aggressive hormonal boosts. To have any power, male hyenas must perform services for high-ranking females, implying that Banzai and Ed may be Shenzi's suitors in order to be allowed to hunt and work with her.
  • Ernie Sabella, who voiced Pumbaa in the film, originally auditioned for the role of Shenzi. But after Nathan Lane, who previously worked with Sabella on Guys and Dolls and were already good friends, auditioned for the role of Zazu, Lane and Sabella were instead cast as Timon and Pumbaa, respectively.
  • During the villain song "Be Prepared", Shenzi starts laughing maniacally, and is the first to scream out to the pack, "Long live the king!". The pack then follows her command, proving that she is the Matriarch of the entire pack, not just the primary trio.
  • Shenzi was originally going to be male and voiced by Tommy Chong, who is best known for his collaborations with Cheech Marin, who voices Banzai. However, Chong was unavailable when Cheech Marin chose to voice Banzai. Chong would, however, later voice Yax the Yak in Disney's later success, Zootopia.
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