The Hyena Clan, or the Hyenas, are the tertiary antagonists of The Lion King. They are Scar's former henchmen.
The Lion King (1994)
The hyenas first appeared in the Elephant Graveyard during the song "Be Prepared" when Scar, along with Shenzi, Banzai and Ed, plan to dispose his brother Mufasa and his nephew Simba to become the new King of the Pride Lands. Following Mufasa's death at the paws of Scar and Simba's self-exile, the hyenas enter the Pride Lands as Scar takes the throne in Pride Rock, as he allows them hunt down as much as they want, much to their delight.
Even though it would have seemed the hyenas have finally achieved what they came for, the Pride Lands start to dry out of food and water, and hyenas start to complain due to their hunger. Unconcerned by the hyenas' hunger, Scar rebukes them sharply and does not allow them to complain nor compare him to Mufasa. When a young adult Simba returns to overthrow Scar, the hyenas join in the fight against Simba and the other lions, Timon, Pumbaa and Rafiki. When Simba confronts Scar on the top of Pride Rock, the helpless king turns on his minions, telling his nephew that Mufasa's death was their idea, without knowing that Shenzi, Banzai and Ed came to help their king overheard, but Simba refuses to believe him. After Simba defeats Scar by throwing him off Pride Rock, Shenzi Banzai and Ed along with the other hyenas appear to the scene, having previously overheard Scar's treachery against them. A terrified Scar tries to explain himself, but the hyenas refuse to listen to him as they are fed up with his broken promises of never going hungry again. Giving into their hunger, the angry hyenas devour Scar alive as the fire sweeps over them. It is unknown if some or all of the hyenas perished in the fire or escaped.
The Lion King 1 1/2
The hyenas briefly reappeared in the film, where they tried to aid Scar in taking down Simba and the Pridelanders. Fortunately, Timon and Pumbaa managed to formulate a successful plan to dispose of the hyenas by making them fall into a hole. Scar would later fall into the same hole after Simba defeats him, where he would meet his fate at the jaws of the hyenas.
The Lion King 2: Simba's Pride
The hyenas don't appear in the sequel, but are mentioned by Nuka, who was visiting the abandoned elephant graveyard with his sister Vitani, as their mother Zira (the leader of the Outsiders) plans to overthrow Simba to have her son Kovu become the new King in order to avenge Scar's death. Nuka commented that the elephant graveyard has become more creepier ever since the hyenas ran off, implying that some of them may have survived the battle of Pride Rock and fled the Pride Lands.
It was also told that Zira believed that Simba was responsible for Scar's death, unaware of the fact that the hyenas were the ones responsible for Scar's death due to his treachery against them in the first place. However, Kovu soon learned the truth from Simba after having a change of heart and successfully convinced the Outsiders to make peace with the Pridelanders, though Zira ends up falling to her death in a gorge after refusing to give up her rage against Simba, for Scar and Nuka's deaths, much to Kovu's dismay.
The Lion Guard
The clan are absent from this series (which takes place some years after the first film), but it is shown that they have descendants led by a young hyena named Janja and live in the Outlands. They are the main enemies of The Lion Guard (which is led by Simba's son Kion). This clan later join forces with Reirei's pack, Kiburi's float and Ushari to serve the spirit of Scar to help him destroy The Lion Guard and Simba. Finally, Scar is destroyed for good, Ushari is killed and Jasiri becomes the new leader of the Outlanders.
The Lion King (2019)
The clan first appear when Shenzi orders them (along with Kamari and Azizi) to kill a young Simba and Nala in the elephant graveyard. However, the arriving Mufasa comes to the rescue by fighting them off before issuing a warning against them if they threaten the cubs again.
Eventually, Scar visits the graveyard and manages to convince the hyenas to help him dispose of Mufasa and Simba so that he could be the new king in exchange for the hyenas getting free hunting reign in the Pride Lands. After killing Mufasa and exiling Simba, Scar takes over as the king and personally oversees hunts for the hyenas, putting the Pride Lands in losses of food and resources. Despite this, the hyenas became loyal to Scar due to him making good on his promise to satisfy their hunger; they even became delighted when Scar condemns the lionesses to starve in response to Sarabi's refusal to mate with him.
However, a fully-grown Simba returns and challenges Scar for the fate of the Pride Lands, and the hyena clan fights against the lion pride. While many of the hyenas are killed, the survivors are beaten and forced to retreat from Pride Rock. However, Shenzi, Kamari and Azizi overhear Scar calling them 'revolting scavengers' that he was planning to kill, making them realize that they were being fooled by Scar. After Simba defeats Scar, the remaining hyenas surround Scar and, at Shenzi's command, attack him for his betrayal. Despite Scar's pleas for mercy and attempts to fight back, the hyenas quickly overpower and devour him alive. Afterwards, the clan leaves the Pride Lands.
- Male hyenas are low on the hierarchy chain; however, Ed and Banzai seem to be Shenzi's equals, although Shenzi's directors state otherwise. They could possibly be her brothers, since real hyenas act this way.
- The term "Shadowland" is derived from Simba, describing the Graveyard as a "Shadowy place" and Zazu's confirmation that it's their land, therefore they have no rights.
- Originally, the hyenas were going to be cape dogs, but were changed to spotted hyenas because cape dogs are endangered.
- In the original plot for the movie (called King of the Kalahari then), the hyenas were baboons, but still served as Scars henchmen.
- They are similar to Tom and Tab from Osamu Tezuka's anime, Kimba the White Lion. The hyenas in both cartoons serve an evil lion. Claw was Tom and Tab's supervisor while Scar was Shenzi, Banzai and Ed's supervisor.
- In the musical, they are revealed to be one of the reasons the Pridelands has depleted, as they had forced the lionesses to overhunt.
- It is unknown why the hyenas were forced to leave Pride Rock. The only possible explanation would be that they were dominant over lions in hunting, causing the lions to grow hungry.
- What happened to the hyenas after the events of the original film was that they have survived. Banzai and several other hyenas had returned (with Shenzi and Ed in the sequel as the henchmen of Zira, and Kovu replacing the Outsiders in some broadcasts.