|“|| Shenzi: Friends? I thought he said we were the enemy.|
Banzai: Yeah, that's what I heard.
Ed: [giggles madly]
|~ The hyenas to Scar, right before turning on him and tearing him apart|
Shenzi is voiced by Whoopi Goldberg, Banzai is voiced by Cheech Marin and Ed is voiced by Jim Cummings.
Shenzi is the only female of the trio. She is confident, collected, tomboyish, intelligent and constantly scheming. This makes her the de facto leader of the trio, and probably the entire clan, a trait consistent with true spotted hyenas; females are usually larger than the males and dominate them. She comes up with the idea of telling Scar that Simba is dead after he escapes, confident in the belief that he'll never learn otherwise, and is confident enough to tell him that there's no food or water left. Her distinguishing features are three 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, and the dark patches around her eyes are shaped to resemble heavily applied eye-shadow. Her full name, according to The Lion King 1½, is Shenzi Marie Predatora Vendetta Jackalina Hyena. Shenzi was originally going to also be male and played by Tommy Chong, reuniting him with his old comedy partner Cheech Marin, who was playing Banzai. She is played by Whoopi Goldberg.
Banzai is the most aggressive of the trio, usually speaking in a raised voice, with a shorter temper than Ed or Shenzi, and always ready to get into a fight. But since he usually thinks with his muscles, he still submits to Shenzi. He is also extremely greedy, talking about food frequently. His aggressive nature gets him into trouble more often than his friends - he gets the worst injuries in the battle with Mufasa (whilst Shenzi and Ed only received a few minor scratches, Banzai's butt were severely lacerated by Mufasa's sharp claws, causing him to be unable to sit down for a long time), is knocked into thorn bushes when chasing Simba, and complains out loud to the other two that "I thought things were bad under Mufasa" under Scar's reign, which nearly gets him into trouble with Scar. His distinguishing feature is his unusually heavy eyebrows, but apart from these he is the model for most generic hyenas.
EdEd communicates entirely through crazed laughter and sports a permanent idiotic grin. He seems to be manic depressive. His eyes never seem to focus on anything properly, he has two round cuts on each ear and his tongue is almost always lolling out. In the Special Edition of The Lion King, character profiling reveals that Ed is not actually stupid; he "knows the score", but he cannot speak (it's never explained why he cannot speak). Jim Cummings recorded over four hours of different laughter clips for use with Ed's dialogue.
The Lion King
The Hyena Trio are the secondary antagonists in the first film. They first appear in the Elephant Graveyard where they, under Scar's orders, chase the young Simba and Nala in an attempt to kill and devour them, but are frightened off by Mufasa. Afterwards, they help Scar carry out his plan to murder 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 eludes the hyenas as they cannot follow him through the thorn-bushes he falls into. Years into Scar's reign, they complain about lack of food in the Pride Lands but Scar ignores them. When Simba returns to Pride Rock, Scar angrily stares at the hyenas for failing to kill him, making them feel very nervous. As Simba tries to chase and overthrow Scar, the hyenas join the fight, but most are defeated by the lionesses, and Shenzi and Banzai are ruthlessly beaten up by Pumbaa for trying to eat Timon and Zazu and calling Pumbaa a "pig". When Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed overhear Scar trying to foist all blame for the events on them to Simba, claiming that it was all their idea, they alert the rest of the clan to his treachery. After Scar is defeated by Simba and is surrounded by the hyenas, he tries to explain that he didn't really mean it, but the hyenas have had enough of his lies, derogatory treatment and broken promises of never going hungry again, and they close in leap on Scar and viciously tear him apart.
The Lion King II: Simba's Pride
They did not appear in the sequel, however they are mentioned by Nuka, who says that the graveyard has become creepy since the hyenas ran off. They were originally going to be Zira's henchmen, but the idea was canceled, because of the fact that the hyenas killed Scar because of his treachery against them. Mostly the hyena trio are replaced by Zira's children Vitani and Nuka. Vitani is the equivalent of Shenzi and Nuka was the equivalent of both Banzai and Ed.
It is possible that the hyenas Nuka mentioned weren't Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed, but several unnamed hyenas since hundreds were shown during the villains' song, and only some of them (Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed among them) were sent to the lower area where they eat Scar, and could possibly have been consumed by the flames. Those who didn't fall below presumably returned to the elephant graveyard, and later "ran off".
The Lion King 1½
They re-appeared as the main antagonists in The Lion King 1½, though their role in the film is small. 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. 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.
Timon and Pumbaa and other media
In the TV series, the hyenas are the main antagonists, continuously bullying Timon and Pumbaa. 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 II
The hyenas appear in Kingdom Hearts II. Other hyenas appear as well, but while they are brown in color, the trio are still gray.
When Sora, Donald Duck, and Goofy arrive in the Pridelands, they are met by the hyenas. The hyenas surround them and try to kill them, but Scar calls for them and they reluctantly leave. The hyenas attack them again and Scar plans to eat them but Nala knocks him down and allows Sora, Donald, and Goofy to escape.
The hyenas are later seen at Pride Rock during the final battle between Simba and Scar. The hyenas attack Timon and Pumbaa but they are attacked by Sora, Donald, and Goofy. They run away and are banished after Scar's death.
Later on, Sora, Donald, and Goofy are wandering across the landscape when they see the hyenas running towards them. Upon realizing it is them, they stop, upset that they are not the meal they thought. They then laugh when Sora mentions Simba, who is being haunted by Scar's ghost.
Simba and the trio confront the hyenas again. The hyenas tell them to leave them alone. Simba asks if they know about Scar's ghost. They run away but are soon caught. Simba realizes they know nothing of Scar's ghost. Scar's ghost soon arrives though, and scares Simba away. The hyenas laugh at his cowardice and leave.
Personality and Appearance
All three spotted hyenas were rather dim-witted and obnoxious, most of all Ed, who is always cross-eyed with his tongue hanging out, and almost never talks, only laughs. Shenzi is female and Banzai and Ed are both males.
- While Banzai is similar to Eddy from Ed, Edd, n Eddy, Ed is similar to Ed. However, Ed, Edd n Eddy cartoon was premiered in 1999, and The Lion King was released in theaters in 1994, five years until the premiere of the cartoon series.
- Despite being the main antagonists of the 2004 midquel The Lion King 1½, the hyenas have little screen time.
- The Hyenas are similar to Lock, Shock & Barrel from the 1993 movie The Nightmare Before Christmas and are also similar to Pain & Panic from the 1997 movie Hercules.
- Ed is the only non-speaking hyena.
- Their descendants are the hyena trio Janja, Chungu and Cheezi, the main antagonists of the 2015 TV film The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar. This was confirmed by Disney.
- It's possible that Shenzi, Banzai & Ed will return in the new 2016 TV series The Lion Guard, with their descendants, Janja, Chungu, and Cheezi. It's not official, but was 99% probably. However, their fate after The Lion King II: Simba's Pride is unknown.