The director of the stage adaptation of The Lion King revealed that the show had a very different (and a very weird) ending originally.
“In my original idea… [Simba] doesn’t go back at all. That never happened,” she said of Simba returning from his adventures in the jungle at the end of the show to become king. Instead, “He goes to the desert. And in the desert, he comes out of the jungle… And he sees Vegas.”Source
The audience burst out laughing. “No, seriously!” Taymor said. She proceeded to explain the rest of the story. She wanted to introduce a new villain named Papa Croc who had struck a deal with Scar, the villainous lion from the original story, to buy up all the water in the land. Papa Croc then funneled this water to create a desert oasis: Las Vegas (complete with plays on animals and humans like Papa Croc’s Pussycat Lounge).
“And here comes Simba the wild beast from the jungle, and he falls for Papa Croc because he doesn’t have a father,” Taymor said, as Simba’s father Mufasa dies both in the movie and at the end of the first act of her musical.
But Papa Croc then puts Simba in the Coliseum and forces him to fight against animals from other lands in a brutal animal gladiator show. Needless to say, the head of Disney Theatrical wasn’t thrilled with the idea of a musical that ends with Simba in a fighting pit in Las Vegas.
So Taymor scrapped the idea and instead created the musical everyone’s now familiar with. “It was the right thing that happened in this collaboration,” she said, “Which is he knew we don’t need to go that far, but I figured out how to do the animal and the human,” a collision she had struggled with when starting to conceptualize the show. But this may not be the last you hear of Taymor’s crazy alternate ending: “I still think it would be fun to make,” she said.
: http://time.com/4051165/lion-king-music ... te-ending/
“If you know Joseph Campbell and The Hero With a Thousand Faces, Simba has to go through a trial. In the movie, he didn’t go through a trial,” she says. “The prodigal son has to go through hell, basically, before he’s allowed to come back.”Source
So Taymor came up with a plot line for Act II that would take Simba to an oasis in the desert; it’s a Las Vegas-like city, full of animals who have evolved halfway to human: “lounge lizards” in sharkskin suits and “alley cats” that are like lions, but seedier and more evolved into a human form. “It’s funny and it’s Broadway,” she says. At the heart of it all would be Papa Croc, a villain who has struck a deal with Scar to take water from the desert (hence the drought in the film) to power the electricity in his city. Simba would end up becoming a champion fighter in an arena, earning the nickname “The Lion King,” much to the delight of the “humanimal” spectators.
“Their whole entertainment is watching these wild animals, pre-the-transformation, fight each other. This is really our society,” she says. “In fact, I did The Hunger Games before The Hunger Games.”
The dance form for these fight scenes would be inspired by different kinds of martial arts from around the world. But Simba would have his values tested when Timon and Pumba were caught and put in the ring. Not wanting to fight his friends (and with encouragement from Nala, who has turned up in the oasis), he would escape and return to Pride Rock to defeat Scar and restore water to his community.