What happened to the cub at the end as The Lion King developed?
IF you are bothered by articles that state facts about the cub, PLEASE click away from this page right now and don't leave a comment! No one is forcing you to read or think about this, so if you're bothered it's your own doing.
I've received new, interesting information, so I'm able to collect a more factual timeline. Enjoy, all you fact seakers!
1.) In August 1993 the movie script's final page is about "THE CUB". No name, no gender reference. Apparently they had not decidesd them. (Read the movie script here.)
2.) In 1994, the movie is not yet released but books with Disney's label on them are released. The books say it's a boy. Kopa from The Six New Adventures books was created by an outsider childrens book author who did not even know that the film makers had thought of a child for Simba and Nala! (Source: Alex Simmons the author of book 1 in The Lion King: Six New Adventures, in this e-mail.) And the books' stories contradict each others.
Thus, the books were apparently created by outsider childrens' book authors with no links between their and the film makers visions. Becauce of the contradictions that Disney chose to keep in the approved book universe, in the upcoming film the cub could turn out to be Kopa or another boy - or even a girl because all those boys were visioned by an outsider and only approved by The Walt Disney Company while approvement does not automatically mean agreement.
3.) June 1994 the movies is released and the cub looks similar to the boys in the books yet the gender and name is not stated, just like they were not in the 1993 movie script. Thus they meet the books in the design matter but ignore the books' stories and stick to their own original movie universe plan of no decision.
4.) In 1995, a non-fictional The Art of The Lion King Mini Book is released and it refers to the cub as just "a new cub". It seems like they indeed are keeping the cub genderless in the movie universe.
5.) In 1995 Disney releases a Laserdisc of the movie which includes a commentary by the film's producer and two of the directors. They refer to the cub as FLUFFY and make no gender reference. Calling it Fluffy confirms that Kopa indeed was not their creation and not even their vision. The given nickname being unisex makes it official that they have not decided the cub's gender for the movie itself. Now the cub connects with the books in design but to the film makers and Disney in general, in the movie universe, it's still genderless and nameless.
6.) In1996 Disney begins the production of The Lion King 2: Simba's Pride. This is refered to by the producer Jeannine Roussel, on the commentary track of Lady and the Tramp 2: Scamp's Adventure.
There's a rumour and a supposed 1996 e-mail from Tad Stones, a Disney animator/director, who's said that in the first script of the sequel the cub was a male named Chaka but later cut out for several reasons. The e-mail says the entire story was rewritten since Chaka was cut out and Disney has confirmed Fluffy to be Kiara, so Kiara definitely never had any siblings. Most importantly; there is no proof of that e-mail being really official, on the contrary there is no official source for Tad Stones ever having worked on The Lion King's sequel, so there's a good chance that that e-mail is a fake. So for all we know officially, the cub was never a male by any name.
7.) In 1998 Simba's Pride is released and we meet princess Kiara. She looks different from the cub at the end of the first film and her ceremony scene is different too. The cub from the first film is still Kiara when the two films are combined. This is confirmed in the official trailer of the film wherein Disney uses Fluffy and only Kiara beside it, and by one of the animators in a magazine interview wherein he states that the sequel starts off where the first film left us and that the cub is a queen. (All of this is uploaded into this video.)
8.) In 2003 the girl gets an appearence in the book universe when a little golden book is released as a novel version of the first movie, and it says "welcomed her to the Circle of Life". Also in 2003 Disney releases the first movie on DVD and includes the same commentary track that is on the 1995 Laserdisc, with no changes made. As in the cub is not confirmed Kiara but still remains just Fluffy for the first as in the canon film alone.
9.) Phill Weinstein from The Walt Disney Company, who worked as a storyboard artist at The Lion King 2: Simba's Pride, did not know who Kopa was even in the summer 2011! Hear it in this interwiev by Sourcecast, or read it in this pdf text version of the interwiev.
X The books were released first and the cubs in the books and in the first movie look alike but otherwise all the film makers ignore the books. I think it makes sense, because:
- the books authors did not work for Disney
- some of the book illustrators worked with Disney
- the movie was still in production when the books were creared and released, but the movie production had already decided that there would be a cub
In the light of those facts it's very likely the design came from the movie production to the books' illustrators and not the other way around. And if this is the case, the movie production had no obligation to redesign when they decided to ignore the books' authors' visions of the cub and keep their own movie vision genderless and nameless.
And Disney's fact that Kiara and Fluffy are the same cub makes sense too because:
- the creators of The Lion King 2: SImba's Pride movie were Disney's own people, even though not the same who worked on the first film. For example the director Darrel Rooney started to work at The Walt Disney Company in 1978. (Source. <-- A Wikipedia page but the information has a source reference.) Kovu's lead animator, Andrew Collins got a job at Walt Disney Television Animation Australia in 1989. (Source. <-- ArtMaker online animation education for which he produces.) And Disney has all the rights to change the design and scene of their own character without meaning it to be a different character.