The Hyena Clan are the tertiary antagonists of the 1994 animated Disney film, The Lion King. They worked for Scar until the end of the film. They are also the secondary antagonists in The Lion King 1 ½ and the main antagonists in The Lion Guard.
Although only three are important to the plot, the hyenas are mainly perceived as being crazy and dimwitted servants of Scar. They resent the lions for being "at the top of the food chain," and are willing to work for Scar to gain hunting rights in the Pride Lands. However they can be quite aggressive and vengeful when Scar appropriates the blame of his evil plot of them, which led to his demise at their jaws.
The Lion King
The most famous members (and trio) of the clan are Shenzi, Banzai and Ed, the "friends" and allies of Scar. The clan itself was first mentioned when Zazu (upon learning the news from a gopher) informs Scar's older brother King Mufasa while the latter was attempting to train his son Simba at pouncing that hyenas were currently in the Pride Lands (apparently causing some trouble), thus forcing Mufasa to break off the training to dispel the situation, although it is never specified whether Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed were involved in this particular raid or whether it was unnamed members of the group. They first appear trying to dispose of Simba and his friend Nala, a plan later revealed to be set up by Scar. When they fail due to Mufasa's intervention, Scar is angry at them, but forms another plan, promising the hyenas that when he became king, they will never go hungry ever again.
They later aid Scar in killing Mufasa, via a stampede, and chase Simba away from the resulting corpse. After the monarch and his heir are done away with, the hyenas infest the Pride Lands with Scar as their king and them presumably, as his bodyguards. However, though it would seem that the hyenas have accomplished what they came for, the Pride Lands became barren over the days, and the hyenas started to become more hungry, but Scar just ignored them.
Years later, when Simba returns from his self-exile from the Pride Lands, the hyenas reinforce Scar's position as king when Simba orders for Scar to step down. After Scar gets Simba to confess his responsibility for Mufasa's death, the hyenas surround the two lions as they head toward the edge of Pride Rock, presumably protecting Scar. After Simba gets Scar to confess he killed Mufasa, a climatic battle between the Pridelanders (with Rafiki, Timon and Pumbaa) and the hyenas break out while Simba goes after Scar at the top of Pride Rock in hopes of avenging his father's death. Scar tells the confronting Simba that the hyenas were "the real enemies" that were responsible for killing Mufasa, which angers Shenzi, Banzai and Ed, who were overhearing him. A brief duel erupts between the two lions, which ends with Simba flipping his uncle over a cliff where Scar lands in an area with the defeated hyenas.
The hyenas, determined to get revenge on Scar for his treachery and his broken promises, begin to surround their former leader with gleaming eyes and manic smiles. Scar continually pleads for his life, but the hyenas, ignoring his pleas and giving in to their hunger, close in by leaping on Scar and mauling him to death, as the flames rise up around them.
The Lion King II: Simba's Pride
During the early production of the sequel, Zira was initially suggested to ally side-by-side with the surviving members of the hyenas who fled during the battle. However, this idea was scrapped, probably because the hyenas are the ones who really killed Scar, and Zira would never ally with them if she had known that.
Though the hyenas don't appear in the sequel, they were mentioned by Zira's son Nuka (when he comes to the Elephant Graveyard with his sister Vitani to collect fire to start a wildfire in the Pride Lands) who states that the empty elephant graveyard has become more creepier ever since the hyenas fled from the Pride Lands, implying that some, but not all, hyenas survived the battle at Pride Rock.
The Lion King 1½
When Timon and Pumbaa venture into a different section of the Elephant Graveyard where Scar's hyena army are singing "Be Prepared" while marching. Later on in the film, after Timon and Pumbaa perform their hula song to clear the way for Simba to confront Scar, some of the hyenas pursue them only to flee after being gassed by Pumbaa's stench. After Timon reunites with his mother and his uncle, Pumbaa notices the hyenas protecting Scar while Simba is dangling from the edge of Pride Rock. Timon coordinates a plan for Ma and Uncle Max to dig a tunnel to trap the hyenas while he and Pumbaa try to get the hyenas away from Simba.
When Simba goes after Scar, the hyenas follow him and try to prevent him from reaching Scar, but are distracted by Timon and Pumbaa, who insulted the hyena pack with an offensive joke. Ed stupidly laughs at it, to which Banzai slaps him for. The hyenas go after Timon and Pumbaa and manage to corner them at the edge of Pride Rock. Timon and Pumbaa try several tactics to stall them while Uncle Max and Ma dig a tunnel underneath them to make them fall off of Pride Rock. But when the trap tunnel initially fails, the hyenas move in to kill Ma, Pumbaa, and Uncle Max. Unwilling to give up, Timon jumps down between Shenzi's legs and bravely completes the tunnel. The hyenas then fall through the ground and plummet to the bottom of Pride Rock, where they meet Scar after he is thrown off a cliff by Simba.
The Lion Guard
Hyenas are the main antagonists of The Lion King's 2015 spin-off film The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar and its 2016 follow-up series The Lion Guard. The hyenas (who are descendants of Shenzi, Banzai and Ed's clan) in this series are based in the Outlands and led by Janja.
- Shenzi: The former leader of the clan.
- Banzai: the friend of Shenzi and Ed.
- Ed: the friend of Shenzi and Banzai.
- Janja: The leader of the Outland hyenas, descendant of Shenzi, Banzai and Ed's clan.
- Cheezi & Chungu: Members of the Outland hyenas, descendants of Shenzi, Banzai and Ed's clan. Henchmen of Janja.
- Nne & Tano: Presumed former members of the Outland hyenas. Briefly henchmen of Janja, until they turned against him.
- Mzingo: Despite the fact that he is a vulture and not a hyena, he is the butler of Janja.
- Scar: Despite the fact that he is a lion and not a hyena, he was the former leader of the clan for his coup d'etat, but was killed by the clan after his betrayal and broken promises to them.
- Banzai's Father: He was a former member of the clan, before was eaten by Nala's mother Sarafina.
- The Outsiders: This pride of lion traitors were former members of the Hyena Clan, because, after Scar's death, they left the Hyena Clan. After Zira and Nuka's deaths, the Outsiders reformed and returned to the Pride Lands.
- Deceased Hyena: This hyena was a former member of the clan. He died during the Scar's song "Be Prepared".
- Male hyenas are low on the hierarchy chain; however, Ed and Banzai seem to be Shenzi's equals, although Shenzi's directors state otherwise. They could possibly be her siblings since real hyenas act this way. In real life, female hyenas are leaders to the male hyenas. However, in The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar, Janja is the leader of the clan and is a male.
- The term "Shadowland" is derived from Simba, describing the Graveyard as a "Shadowy place" and Zazu's confirmation that it's their land, therefore they have no rights.
- Originally, the hyenas were going to be cape dogs but were changed to spotted hyenas because cape dogs are endangered.
- In the original plot for the movie (called King of the Kalahari then), the hyenas were baboons, but still served as Scar's henchmen.
- They are similar to Tom & Tab from Osamu Tezuka's anime, Kimba the White Lion. The hyenas in both cartoons serve an evil lion. Claw was Tom & Tab's supervisor while Scar was Shenzi, Banzai and Ed's supervisor.
- In the musical, they are revealed to be one of the reasons the Pridelands has depleted, as they had forced the lionesses to overhunt.
- It is unknown why the hyenas were forced to leave Pride Rock. The only possible explanation would be that they were dominant over lions in hunting, causing the lions to grow hungry.
- The hyenas will return as antagonists for the upcoming series, The Lion Guard.
- The defamation that presents Shenzi, Banzai & Ed and the hyena clan was generated a controversy.
- Jasiri is the only hyena of the Hyena Clan that isn't an antagonist (because she was exiled from the Hyena Clan time later).
- Scar, the Outsiders and Mzingo are the only members of the Hyena Clan that aren't hyenas (Scar and the Outsiders are lions and Mzingo is a vulture).
- Many fans confuse all the members of Hyena Clan as the main antagonists of The Lion King 1 ½. However, it isn't true, because Shenzi, Banzai & Ed (members of the clan) are the true main antagonists of the midquel, making the other members of the Hyena Clan secondary antagonists, because they are the archnemesis of Timon and Pumbaa.