Black Panther has become the movie craze of the year so far as it has generated the most social buzz for a movie ever, has people yelling Wakanda Forever around the globe, and has become the highest grossing superhero movie of all time!!! And while all of this is absolutely spectacular I have discovered a huge conundrum with this film and it has something to do with The Lion King.
This past Friday I watched The Lion King after not having seen it in years and as I watched the movie I realized, to my great shock, that the story of Simba’s rise to becoming a king was nearly identical to T’Challa’s journey to becoming king of Wakanda. So, after discovering the stunning parallels to the two movies I had to write a post about it. Enjoy!
Both Simba and T’Challa’s Fathers Died Tragically
For young Simba he had to witness his father Mufasa fall to a grisly death after Scar secretly killed him. For T’Challa his father was caught in a devastating explosion that ended up taking his life. Both Simba and T’Challa deeply loved their fathers and looked up to them as they were raised. The only difference between the two future kings was Simba ran away in fear while T’Challa plotted his revenge to kill his father’s murderer. And that leads me to my next parallel between the two characters.
Both Characters Saw Their Fathers in the AfterLife
For Simba and T’Challa they had unique rites of passage that let them come into contact with their fathers in the afterlife and both moments for these characters were pivotal to their stories. Simba, after seeing his father again, decided to turn his back on the leisurely life he was living to pursue his title as King of Pride Rock. T’Challa, after his final encounter with his father, decided to open Wakanda to the world after learning the terrible truth his father had tried to keep from him that he had killed T’Challa’s uncle and left his nephew stranded and orphaned in the United States. That decision to leave Erik behind almost led to the doom of Wakanda.
Simba and T’Challa Were Both Thought To Be Dead
One of the major story lines in Black Panther and The Lion King was the disappearance of Simba and T’Challa when their countries needed them most. For Simba he ran away as a child after his father’s death, leaving the lionesses and the other animals within the region under the tyrannical reign of Scar. T’Challa was presumed to be dead after his confrontation with Erik Killmonger and Killmonger assumed the throne, casting Wakanda into a dark time indeed. And that leads to yet another parallel between the two movies.
The Main Villains of Both Films Were Family Members
In The Lion King Simba’s arch nemesis was his uncle Scar who wanted control over Pride Rock and the throne for his own selfish gains. In Black Panther T’Challa’s main foe was his African-American cousin, Erik Killmonger, who wanted to take the mantle of king since he felt it was his rightful place as second heir to the throne. That’s a very blatant parallel between the two films.
These four topics are the most blaring similarities between the two movies. Black Panther is, of course, the much better told story of the two as it is crafted for older audiences and presents ideas and topics that really resonated with the world and its internal struggles today. And besides, it’s a fun Marvel film. You can’t beat that. But it’s kind of disappointing to find out this incredible superhero flick that I thought was so original was just a ripoff of an iconic Disney film that came out two dozen years ago. Both films had their slight differences but each film’s main gist was nearly identical! I couldn’t believe it!
It also feels a little strange considering The Lion King was a fictional Disney movie based in Africa through the story of Africa’s animals and over two decades later another Disney film has arrived starring a superhero’s journey out of Africa and it was basically the exact same story. They really couldn’t make a fantastic Black Panther film with an original plot? Does this mean we’re going to have another Disney movie set in Africa twenty-four years from now in 2042 that’ll be an updated version of Black Panther‘s story? I guess Disney’s logic was this; if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. *shrug*
I still love Black Panther though. I’m just surprised at how unoriginal the movie actually is.
I thank you for reading and I hope you have a magnificent day.