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Shere Khan (The Jungle Book 2016)

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Does my face not remind you of what a GROWN Man can do? You change your hunting grounds for a few years, and everyone forgets how the law works. Well, let me remind you: a Man-cub becomes Man, and Man is FORBIDDEN!!!
~ Shere Khan showing his scars and expressing his hatred for mankind
Have I got your attention now! I didn't want to be this way. I made it so simple. All I asked for was one thing, and you denied me! Well, that ends now! Spread the word. Until I have the Man-cub, this hills are my hills. You did not respond to reason! So now you will know fear.
~ Shere Khan becoming the new leader of the wolf pack after he kills Akela
Did you think I would let you grow old? Either I'll devour you or the red flower will! It's just a matter of time. How long did you really think you'll survive against me? Longer than your father did? Longer than Akela?
~ Shere Khan's last words as he attempts to kill Mowgli one last time only to fall to his death into the fire pit below
Shere Khan is the main antagonist of the 2016 Disney live-action film, The Jungle Book, a remake of the 1967 animated classic. He is a fearsome, scarred Bengal tiger who serves as the ruler of the jungle and is bent on killing the man-cub, Mowgli because of his hatred towards mankind.

He was voiced by Idris Elba, who previously portrayed Colin Evans in No Good DeedRussell "Stringer" Bell in the HBO series The Wire and will later on portray Krall in Star Trek: Beyond.

Biography

Shere Khan first appears during the drought, when the animals gather to drink during the Water Truce from a watering hole where the animals maintain a truce not to attack each other while quenching their thirst. Upon scenting Mowgli, he threatens to kill him as man is not allowed to live in the jungle. He also holds the scars on his face as proof of man's cruel and destructive nature and issues a warning that when the Water Truce ends and the Peace Rock disappears, he will come for the boy and that the wolves should decide how many of their own kind they would be willing to sacrifice to protect a man-cub. He then leaves.

This causes Akela and his wolf pack to debate whether to have Mowgli leave the jungle or not, resulting Mowgli to leave the wolf pack with Bagheera to head over to a near-by Man-village. But Shere Khan ambushes them en route and fights Bagheera. He severely injures Bagheera and chase Mowgli, who managed to escape from him with the aid of a herd of buffalo. During Kaa's attempt to hypnotize and devour Mowgli, she reveals that Shere Khan himself is responsible for Mowgli being found by Bagheera, as he killed Mowgli's father (an event that left him with his facial scars and undying hatred for humans). Though Baloo saves Mowgli from being eaten by Kaa, Shere Khan returns to confront Akela's pack and demand Mowgli be turned over to him, killing Akela by throwing him off a cliff when he learns Mowgli is on his way to the Man-village. He then assumes control of the wolf pack, confident that Mowgli will return when he learns the news. While reigning as the pack's leader, Shere Khan tells stories to the wolf pups about the other creatures of the jungle (in particular, the cuckoo, which preys upon the love of the other mother birds in order to deposit its own egg into their nest, starving them while benefiting its own chick). He directs his story at Raksha, citing her love for Mowgli as a sign of weakness. When Rahksha asked why Shere Khan is doing this, he states that he wants Mowgli dead and that he'll be waiting when Mowgli returns.

When King Louie informs Mowgli of Akela's death, Mowgli returns to face Shere Khan at the Water Truce with a burning torch stolen from the Man-village. But when he sees how all the animals of the jungle cower in fear at the sight of the fire he holds, he throws away his torch into the water, allowing Shere Khan to attack him. But Baloo, Bagheera and the Wolf pack joins Mowgli in the fight. Despite their numbers and strength, Baloo, Bagheera, and the wolf pack are overpowered by Shere Khan, who then chases Mowgli in the Wood as the jungle is being engulfed in flames thanks to the torch. Mowgli cunningly lures Shere Khan onto a dead fig tree and eventually defeats him by causing him to fall into a pit of fire to his apparent death. The elephants later put out the wildfire by using an irrigation system, putting an end to Shere Khan's tyranny once and for all.

Reception

This portrayal of Shere Khan by Idris Elba is heavily praised. Cath Clarke of Time Out compared this Shere Khan to Scar from The Lion King, calling him "baddie of the year". Matt Zoller Seitz of rogerebert.com also had high praise for Elba's portrayal of Shere Khan stating: "His loping menace is envisioned so powerfully that he'd be scary no matter what, but the character becomes a great villain through imaginative empathy." "-we understand and appreciate his point-of-view even though carrying it out would mean the death of Mowgli."

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