|Cub - Adult|
The Lion King:
There ain't no way I'm going in there. What, you want me to come out looking like you, cactus butt?
As a cub, Shenzi is shown to be small in size, as lean-bodied and skinny as her underfed companions. Slightly at odds with her adult self, young Shenzi sports a sallow brown pelt, a pale gray chest, and black ears and paws. The insides of her ears appear to be more brown in color, matching the pigment of the spots dotting her back and sides, and her eye shades are unusually dark. Her muzzle sports similar shades, being bare of speckles, and her eyebrows and mane remain as black and thick as those of her adult self, with loose bangs hanging over her forehead. Like her clan mates, Shenzi has black eyes with yellow irises.
Once full-grown, Shenzi displays the ordinary adult hyena anatomy, standing tall and long-legged but compact and strong. Unlike her companions, her appearance strays from the typical hyena, being noticeably more feminine.
With age, Shenzi changes color, losing the brown undertones in her pelt to give way to a more smoky gray color. Her chest remains pale, though it lightens considerably, and her ears and paws remain black, with her eyebrows and mane growing somewhat longer and more disheveled. The spots along her back and sides lighten, and the insides of her ears take on a more pinkish color, contrasting the dark browns of her cubhood. Her eye shades change from being dark brown to being dark gray, nearly matching the insides of her ears in color, and her eyes remain a glowing yellow. Her heavily lidded eyes and long bangs remain her most distinguishing features, only growing more prominent with age.
Whoopi's character came on as somebody who's particularly scheming all the time. She's the leader of the gang, and it's true about actual hyenas. They're led usually by females, by what is known as an alpha female, so her character was always cool, always scheming, very rarely lost composure, and so on.
Shenzi is sassy, but has a longer fuse than most hyenas. Due to her superior intelligence and the fact that she often takes command in more serious situations, she is the leader of the group of hyenas. Shenzi is vicious but also has a sense of humour, albeit a somewhat malicious one, stating that she wants a "cub sandwich" and teasing Banzai by calling him "Cactus Butt" when he falls into a thicket of thorns. This malicious sense of humor is shared wholeheartedly by Banzai and Ed. Shenzi's sense of humour sometimes distracts her however and she doesn't notice Simba, Nala and Zazu fleeing until Ed and Banzai point out that their dinner is escaping.
Throughout most of the film, Shenzi is very loyal to Scar and never disobeys his commands. She reprimands Banzai for wanting to attack wildebeest before Scar's signal. However as time goes on, Shenzi begins to doubt Scar, complaining about the lack of food and water. Finally her faith in Scar is broken completely when he tries to blame her and the other hyenas for Mufasa's death. She also shows a vengeful streak in the climax of the film as she and her fellow hyenas attack Scar and tear him apart for betraying them.
You know, if it weren't for those lions, we'd be runnin' the joint.
In her first appearance, Shenzi, along with Banzai and Ed, tries to coax young Simba and Nala to stay in the Elephant Graveyard for dinner. As the hyenas chase after the cubs, Shenzi tries to catch Nala, only to be scratched by Simba with his claws. As they corner Simba and Nala in the cave, Simba tries to protect Nala by attempting to roar at them, but Shenzi, becoming more amused than scared at his feeble roar, begs Simba to roar again. Just then, Shenzi and the other hyenas are hear a thunderous roar and, before they can know it, Mufasa wrestles the hyena trio to the ground. Frightened, the hyenas run away.
Later that night, Shenzi shares Banzai's mutual hate for lions, but Scar arrives and tells them that lions are not all that bad. They join Scar in the "Be Prepared" musical sequence in which they all plot to kill Mufasa and Simba so Scar can take the throne.
The next day, she tells Banzai to stop complaining about food and to wait for the signal from Scar at the gorge. When Scar arrives, Shenzi, Banzai and Ed trigger a wildebeest stampede that is planned to kill Simba. After Simba runs away believing that he is responsible for Mufasa's death, Scar then orders the three hyenas to kill him. When Shenzi and Ed both push Banzai into the bramble bush, they both laugh at him. Shenzi then spots Simba out in the distance. Banzai tells her to go after him, but she refuses, not wanting to look like "Cactus Butt," despite Banzai telling her that they must finish the job. Shenzi then decides that there is no way Simba can survive out there anyway and they will kill him should he return.Years into Scar's reign, when Shenzi, along with Banzai and Ed visit Scar, she talks to Scar about the Pride Lands being barren with no food and no water. She manages to get Banzai out of trouble after he foolishly mentions the name Mufasa.
When Simba returns to challenge Scar for the throne, Shenzi, along with Banzai and Ed, gulp in shame when Scar briefly discovers they had not killed Simba. She and the other hyenas take part in the ensuing battle, where she and Banzai chase Timon into Zazu's cage, only to be chased off by Pumbaa. After the battle on Pride Rock escalates, Scar tries to get out of punishment by saying the hyenas were the real enemy. Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed overhear this and turn against Scar. After Simba throws Scar off of Pride Rock, Shenzi and the other hyenas take their revenge and kill Scar, and then run off. It is unclear what happens to her afterwards, although it is known that she and her clan did not go back to living in the elephant graveyard.
The Lion King II: Simba's Pride
The Lion King 1½
|“||Timon: Shenzi Marie Predatora Veldetta Jacquelina Hyena. Would you do me the honor of becoming my "bride"?|
Shenzi: I don't think so!
She then returned as the main antagonist in this film, along with Banzai and Ed.
While Timon is singing "That's All I Need", Shenzi appears alongside Banzai and Ed. After Timon finishes the song, Shenzi pushes him aside and starts to infiltrate the meerkat colony with her two companions. The hyenas fail to devour the meerkats, as they escape into their burrows, but they nearly catch Uncle Max, who barely escapes in time.Shenzi is later seen at the top of Pride Rock, going after Simba to protect Scar. But, the hyenas are insulted by a joke made by Timon and Pumbaa, Shenzi tells them, "For your last meal, you're gonna eat those words." She and the other hyenas go after Timon and Pumbaa and corner them at an edge of Pride Rock. Timon and Pumbaa try several tactics to entertain them while Uncle Max and Ma dig a tunnel under the hyenas. One tactic Timon used was to propose to Shenzi so she can become his bride which Shenzi declines on. When the trap tunnel initially fails, Shenzi along with the other hyenas finally move in closer and closer to eat Pumbaa, Ma, and Uncle Max while Timon goes in to finish the tunnel. They eventually fall into the tunnel after Timon bravely finishes it, and they plummet to the bottom of Pride Rock to meet Scar after he is thrown off a cliff by Simba. After this they are not shown again for the rest of the film.
Shenzi's role is considerably the same in the Lion King stage musical. She is given an additional song, "Chow Down", to sing when Simba and Nala enter the Elephant Graveyard. She also sings in "The Madness of King Scar", in which she and Banzai give their complaints to Scar over a shortage of food and water anymore and tell Scar that he is adored.
As an adolescent, Scar (then named Taka) often meets in secret with the hyenas. During one particular occasion, Shenzi and her friends attempt to ambush Taka in an attempt to scare him, but the young lion reacts with boredom, commanding the trio to drop the act. He then warns the three that his father is searching for them, a statement which causes Banzai to suggest that they move to the mountains. Annoyed, Shenzi and Taka yank his whiskers, silencing the hyena.
The conversation soon takes a turn toward Taka and his father. When Shenzi suggest that Ahadi has ditched Taka again, the young lion reacts sensitively, yelling that he never gets ditched. Banzai and Shenzi then proceed to suggest to their lion friend that he get Mufasa in trouble with his father so that Ahadi might have second thoughts about which son becomes the next king. Encouraged by his friends' suggestion, Taka sets about to enact the plan.
Kingdom Hearts II
In the game, the trio are desperate for food and try and eat Sora as a cub, Donald Duck, and Goofy. Banzai almost killed Sora, but were stopped when Scar roared. The hyena trio ran to Scar to see what he wanted with other hyenas.The hyena trio was seen again at Pride Rock and were about to attack Sora, Donald, and Goofy but Scar roared then the hyena trio looked up and saw Scar and Pete. When Nala knocked down Scar and told Sora, Donald and Goofy to run. The three heroes ran with Shenzi, Banzai and Ed and other hyenas in pursuit. Sora, Donald, Goofy and Nala managed to get away from the hyenas. The hyena trio is later seen again at Pride Rock preventing Simba from getting to Scar. Sora then told Simba to go after Scar while his friends handle the hyenas. Timon and Pumbaa knocked the hyenas into the air but they were chased into Pride Rock by the hyena trio and other hyenas. Sora, Donald and Goofy battled the hyena trio inside Pride Rock. The trio was easily defeated and ran away out of Pride Rock.
Later on in the game, the trio of hyenas are fought again for information on the source of Scar's ghost, meaning that they survived the first Lion King movie. They know nothing of the ghost, and taunt Simba about it. They also seem to have somewhat of a grudge against Sora, Donald, and Goofy, as it was thanks to their part in overthrowing Scar that they were sent back to the Elephant Graveyard to only eat scraps. It's also noted that in the video game, Scar never said the hyenas were the real enemy. Thus, they remained loyal to him.
The hyena trio looked a lot like actual hyenas before their finalization.
- The Lion King - (1994) - (film) - Whoopi Goldberg (speaking and singing)
- The Lion King's Timon & Pumbaa - (1995–1998) - (TV series) - Tress MacNeille
- The Lion King (musical) - (1997) - (musical) - Tracy Nicole Chapman (original actress)
- The Lion King 1½ - (2004) - (film) - Whoopi Goldberg
- Kingdom Hearts II - (2005) - (video game) - Tress MacNeille
- Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom - (2012) - (attraction) - Jenifer Lewis
- In The Lion King 1½, when Timon proposes to her, he says her full name is Shenzi Marie Predatora Veldetta Jacquelina Hyena. Timon's Meerkat Colony probably knows her name because they have dealt with the trio more than once.
- It is possible that Shenzi may not be the only female hyena in the pack, though she is the obvious matriarch. She is also the only named female.
- During production, Shenzi was originally written to be a male to be voiced by Tommy Chong, opposite Cheech Marin as Banzai. However, when the directors couldn't get of hold of Chong, she was instead written as a female.
- Before Banzai says, "Kitty, kitty, kitty," Shenzi was supposed to say, "Look, boys. A king fit for a meal!" This line was deleted for reasons unknown though the line does feature in one of the film's books.
- Originally, Shenzi was the only hyena who testified Scar's betrayal.
The Lion King Wiki has a collection of images and media related to Shenzi.
|Characters from The Lion King|
|Characters from The Lion King 1½|