The Lion King may be one of Disney‘s undisputed top movies of all time, despite – or because of – the fact that the story is essentially Hamlet told by lions. That’s not the bit that will ruin your childhood. Everyone already knows it’s lion Hamlet.
The animated adaptation is, of course, far more kid-friendly than the Shakespearean tale upon which it’s based. Or so we thought.
With the photo-realistic remake by Jon Favreau out this week, Reddit’s fan-theory thread has been buzzing and this particular take will give you the heeby-jeebies.
According to Redditor brianayonce, Nala and Simba are not only lions in love, but also cousins. Or possibly even siblings.
Unfortunately, this incestuous theory is only bolstered by fact, according to Encyclopaedia Britannica online.
Roland W Kays, the Curator of Mammals at the New York State Museum, writes of lions: “Both sexes are polygamous and breed throughout the year, but females are usually restricted to the one or two adult males of their pride.”
Scar and Mufasa are, as far as we know, the only two male lions in the pride. The Redditor speculates Scar to be Nala’s father, due to them having the same eye colour.
So, Nala and Simba are cousins, but that’s not the worst of it. In reality, prides are vicious places where young males are ousted by age three.
By age five they either forcibly take over another pride or are relegated to a life of nomadic wandering. Nomadic lions rarely mate at all.
One thing The Lion King got right was small prides, according to Kays, usually consist of related males. Like Scar and Mufasa. Which brings us back to Nala and Simba as cousins. Insert bad-shiver here.
The Lion King is out in UK and US cinemas on July 19