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Villain Overview
Ah, you have spirit for one so small! And such spirit deserves a sporting chance. Now, I'm going to close my eyes and count to ten; it makes the chase more interesting for me. One, two, three, four... you're trying my patience. Five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten!
~ Shere Khan giving Mowgli a chance to run.

Shere Khan (sometimes spelled as Shere-Khan) is the main antagonist of Disney's 19th full-length animated feature film The Jungle Book, and it's sequel The Jungle Book 2, an anti-hero in TaleSpin, Jungle Cubs, and the 1994 live action film Rudyard Kiping's The Jungle Book. He is a ferocious Bengal Tiger with an undying hatred of mankind, as well as Mowgli's arch-nemesis. 

In the first film, he was voiced by the late George Sanders, who also played Mr. Freeze. In the second film, he was voiced by the late legendary actor, Tony Jay, who also voiced Baron Mordo, Khartoum, Megabyte, Monsieur D'Arque, the Transcendent One and Judge Claude Frollo.

Personality

Shere Khan is a large and powerful tiger who is known for his sadistic, greedy, intimidating, ruthless, and vicious attitude. Everyone including Bagheera knows that he is powerful, especially he himself, resulting in a very arrogant, proud, boastful, and supercilious personality. He is very sophisticated and suave, and shown to be incredibly enthusiastic and polite when he wants to, but becomes incredibly dangerous when angered. All animals of the jungle fear Shere Khan and he is often known as the "Lord of the Jungle". The vultures addressed him as "Your Highness." He puts on a cocky, yet friendly face, even when about to kill.

His only known fears are man's guns and man's fire which he overcame in the sequel as the climax took place in a temple surrounded in lava, though he didn't seem to care. This fear led to Shere Khan's vow to murder any human that entered his jungle which he has been known to do successfully with the exception of Mowgli. Shere Khan speaks with a British accent and openly thinks highly about himself seeing various other animals namely Colonel Hathi as "ridiculous". Although fellow villain Scar speaks with a British accent Shere Khan has a more gentlemanly, upper class accent saying phrases such as "Good Show". In his youth he spoke with an American accent and was friends with Bagheera, Baloo, Hathi and Prince Louie but at some undetermined time he developed a strong British accent, lost his friends and became a ferocious predator.

Story

Jungle Cubs

Shere Khan appears as a cub in the (non-canon) animated series Jungle Cubs. In this series it shows that Shere Khan was originally friends with Baloo, Bagheera, and others. He was also more of a cocky bully in the series rather than a dangerous predator, as he usually tags along with Baloo and their friends on many adventures.

The Jungle Book (1967)

Despite having been referred to and spoken of several times, Shere Khan did not make a live appearance in the original film until about two-thirds into it. He is first seen stalking a deer, but his hunt was ruined when Colonel Hathi came marching by with his heard and scared it away, much to Khan's disgust. After Bagheera stopped them, Shere Khan eavesdropped on their conversation and was delighted when he heard about Mowgli. After they had left, he began his hunt for Mowgli.

After searching some, he heard Kaa singing and became suspicious. He grabbed his tail and got him to come down. He politely questioned Kaa about Mowgli and Kaa acted strangely while answering his questions. Kaa's suspicious behavior prompted Shere Khan to search his coils for Mowgli, but still wasn't totally fooled when he didn't find him. He told Kaa if he did see him, he was to inform him first before continuing his search.

Later, he heard several vultures singing and investigated the occasion. He then found Mowgli and easily scared off the vultures with the word "Boo." He intimidates Mowgli and after being impressed by his courage, gave him ten seconds to run away (mainly for his own enjoyment). Refusing to run, Mowgli instead fetches a stick to fight off Khan, causing Khan to become annoyed. However, Baloo, arriving just in time, grabbed Shere Khan' tail before he could get to the boy. After a chase, the vultures help Mowgli get to safety.

Furious, Shere Khan attacks Baloo, almost killing him, but the vultures distract him long enough for an angry Mowgli to tie a burning stick on Shere Khan's tail, much to his shock. As a result, Shere Khan roars in pain as runs off in defeat as the burning stick hurts his rear.

The Jungle Book 2 (2003)

Oh please. Don't insult my intelligence. It makes me...irritable.
~ Shere Khan interrogating Kaa on Mowgli's whereabouts, despite the snake truthfully telling him that he has no idea where the Man-Cub is.
Isn't it ironic that your name.. is.. Lucky?
~ Shere Khan about to attack Lucky.

Shere Khan returns in the 2003 sequel, where he is determined to kill Mowgli in revenge for humiliating him. He made his way to the Man-Village where Mowgli currently lives, sneaking quietly past the sleeping villagers. He heard one of Mowgli's friends, a girl named Shanti, call out his name and found Mowgli's house. He then waited impatiently for the Man-Cub to show himself. However, he was chased off by the villagers just as he saw Baloo and Mowgli heading into the jungle. He interrogated Kaa on Mowgli's whereabouts; Shere Khan believes Kaa knows where Mowgli is (after hearing him say "Man-Cub"). Though Kaa truthfully has no idea where Mowgli is, Shere Khan won't believe him, and continues to threaten the python, which finally forced Kaa to fearfully lie that Mowgli's at the swamp, allowing him to flee.

When Shere Khan arrives at the swamp with Mowgli nowhere to be found, he splashes the water in fury after realizing that Kaa lied to him. Shere Khan then gets annoyed by Lucky, the newest part of the vulture gang. However, he gets alerted of Mowgli's actual location from the unwilling Lucky, whom he seemingly killed as revenge for his utter annoyance. With that in mind, Khan encounters Mowgli, Shanti, and Ranjan. He chases down Mowgli to a place of ruins with a moat of lava. After confusing Khan, one of the gongs fell off, revealing Shanti. Mowgli revealed himself and Shere Khan chased them both. In the end, he gets trapped in the lava gorge with a large head on top. Lucky (who has survived Khan's attack, but is left bruised) came back and annoyed him even more as retaliation for attacking him, much to Khan's distraught.

Other Appearances

Television

TaleSpin

Like a jungle, a corporation is only as healthy as the green it produces. Last quarter, our green dropped a leaf...... I trust that won't happen again. Wilberly, give us an update on the top-secret project that will put us back in full bloom.
~ Shere Khan supervising a meeting his with fellow employees.

Shere Khan appeared, in a more anthropomorphic form, in the television series TaleSpin as a recurring antagonist (and sometimes an anti-hero). His character, while still villainous, had taken on a more corporate identity, as he serves as the CEO of his very own corporation Khan Industries (founded by his ancestors). He wears a white shirt, a red tie, and a blue suit, but he still goes barefoot.

Depicted as a stereotypical businessman that owns his business and a fleet of planes and navy to protect his shipping and business interests worldwide, Shere Khan is extremely ruthless and willing to do anything to make money to expand his business by running smaller companies out of business; at one time in the episode "On a Wing and a Bear", he barged a deal with Don Karnage and his band of Air Pirates to create an artificial oil shortage so he could extort higher prices from the public.

However, despite his threatening and villainous presence, Khan holds a sense of morals and honor, as he would be more than willing to aid those who have helped him, proving himself more of an ally than a villain. For one example, in the story arc "Plunder and Lightning", Shere Khan learns of a horrifying event that Karnage and his Air Pirates have created a large gun that can utilize electricity to destroy Cape Suzette, and without hesitation, Khan calls in his navy to protect the city from the Air Pirates at all costs. In another episode "From Here to Machinery", his plane is being attacked by the Air Pirates, and the robot pilot (created by the sleazy Professor Torque) is unable to deviate from its flight programming, causing an arriving Baloo to take action by destroying the robot and taking control of the plane to evade the pirates, an act that has impressed Khan and causing him to develop a certain respect for Baloo's piloting skills.

Cameo Appearances

  • The version of Shere Khan from TaleSpin makes a cameos on a mugshot in Darkwing Duck and Bonkers.
  • Shere Kahn appears as a regular guest and antagonist in House of Mouse.

Video game appearances

  • Shere Khan appears as a boss in the Donald Duck game QuackShot.
  • Shere Khan appears as the main antagonist of the Virgin Studios video game adaptations of The Jungle Book and The Jungle Book 2.
  • He appears as the main antagonist of The Jungle Book Groove Party, singing the original song "Run".
  • He appears as a costume in Disney Universe.

Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book

Shere Khan also appears in the 1994 live-action film, being portrayed by a real-life tiger. However, Shere Khan is presented as a more sympathetic character in this film. Khan appears rarely and instead serves as a major antagonist (later anti-hero) in the film while a greedy British captain named William Boone (portrayed by Cary Elwes) serves as the main antagonist of the film. Unlike his animated counterpart, Khan refuses to kill for sport, and his sole goal is to protect the jungle from those who break its "laws," namely humans who kill animals for fun instead of food. He is described by Colonel Geoffrey Brydon (the film's narrator) as "the jungle's royal keeper," and by the infamous hunter Buldeo as the "king of tigers."

In the beginning of the film, Khan spots Buldeo and two soldiers hunting down several animals for fun, and becomes enraged at this. He proceeds to attack the camp, killing the two soldiers and the local guide Nathoo, who was trying to defend Buldeo, who ungratefully left Nathoo to be mauled to death by the tiger. This event led Nathoo's son Mowgli to be separated from civilization and to be raised by the wolf pack until he became a young adult.

Khan appears again when he spotted Boone, Buldeo and their men trying to seek Monkey City (the home of King Louie and the Bandar Log, as well as Louie's treasure guardian Kaa) to find its hidden treasure. Khan then chases down Lieutenant John Wilkins (one of Boone's men) and proceeds to maul him to death in revenge for shooting down Baloo. After Buldeo is buried alive inside Monkey City while Boone gets killed by Kaa, Khan confronts Mowgli as he distrusts all humans in general. He tries to roar at Mowgli to make him run for his life, but Mowgli roars back to stand his ground. At that point, Khan sees Mowgli as a 'fellow creature of the jungle', deciding to spare him and allowing him and the Colonel's daughter Katherine 'Kitty' Brydon to leave the jungle in peace.

The Jungle Book: Mowgli's Story

Shere Khan is first seen attending the jungle meeting called by Hathi. He then contemplates on who he is going to eat, with his sidekick Tabaqui telling jokes about it, much to the tiger's annoyance. He then decides to hunt man, claiming to have a craving for "Indian food". He and Tabaqui then ambush some humans visiting the river, but when he is shot at by hunters, he flees and is assumed dead. Years later, he reveals himself alive to the wolf pack and demands that Mowgli be given to him, but Akela refuses, and Shere Khan swears revenge. He is later seen conspiring with the wolf pack bullies about separating Mowgli from the pack, which succeeds. He and Tabaqui then conspire with the chimps about separating Mowgli from Bagheera and Baloo.

The Jungle Book (2016)

In the 2016 live action remake of the 1967 film, Shere Khan, voiced by Idris Elba, appears once again as the main antagonist. In this incarnation, Shere Khan has a burn scar on the left side of his face sustained in a fight with Mowgli's father; plus, he is far more malevolent and dangerous than his original cartoon counterpart.

Disney Parks

  • Khan is the main antagonist of Journey into the Jungle Book at Disney's Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World.
  • He appears in the Once Upon a Dream parade at Disneyland Paris.
  • At Hong Kong Disneyland, he appears in Flights of Fantasy, Villains Night Out!, and The Nightmare Experiment.

Trivia

  • Voice actor Richard Waugh claimed that he got the inspiration for his voice for Albert Wesker on Shere Khan (specifically, the 1967 original classic).
  • All in all, Shere Khan is the Big Bad in the franchise, except for the 1994 film, where his role as the Big Bad is taken by William Boone, who has bigger plans than anyone else in the film; Boone even desired to kill both Shere Khan and Mowgli for his own pleasure.
  • In the planned third installment of the Jungle Book franchise, Shere Khan escaped from the statue at the beginning of the movie, and end up captured alongside Baloo and forced into a Russian circus environment. During this time, Shere Khan will also end up regretting his actions from the previous two films and intend to reform as Mowgli and the other animals attempt to rescue them. However, due to the Jungle Book 2's poor sales, it was scrapped. Had that film came to fruition, he would also have been one of the few Disney Villains to be redeemed, although Khan was already a hero when he was young.
  • Much like Ronno in Bambi and Madam Mim in The Sword in the Stone, Shere Khan did not make an appearance near the beginning of his respective film until the second half, as the majority of Mowgli's scenes focus on him with Baloo or Bagheera.
  • Tailspin's Shere Khan is similar to Animalia villain Tyranicus Tiger, due to them both wearing human clothing and being the head of a large corporation.

External links

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