Shenzi, Banzai and Ed are a trio of spotted hyenas who first appeared in Disney's 1994 animated film The Lion King as the secondary antagonists who later become supporting protagonists in the Judy & Elroy series. They were originally the loyal followers and minions of Scar and later betrayed him after bad-mouthing about him and his laws on the pride lands.
While not especially bright (except for perhaps Shenzi), the hyenas do display a degree of competence rarely associated with comic-relief lackeys, generally foiled by their adversaries' own luck. They originally corner Simba as a cub (foiled only by Mufasa's unexpected rescue), successfully drive the stampede into the gorge, and would have captured the young Simba had he not escaped through the thorn bushes through which they couldn't pass. Despite this, and their loyalty to Scar, he has an extremely low opinion of them (except after their betrayal), considering them to be stupid and incompetent.
Through the movie, the hyenas display their inner personalities. When they meet Simba, they show they are strong and powerful, but later show they can also be cowardly when Simba's father Mufasa comes, and later becoming Simba's friends after Scar's reign.
Judy and Elroy's adventures in The Lion KingEdit
The hyenas first appear in the Elephant Graveyard that Simba and Nala venture into. The hyenas, under Scar's (who was in supervision with King Ghidorah) orders, chase the cubs in an attempt to kill them. While in pursuit, Shenzi catches up with Nala, and is about to savage her when she is struck by Simba, which results in three visible blood-like scratches on her cheek. The hyenas push Zazu into a 'birdie boiler', they plan to kill Simba and Nala and corner Simba and Nala but are thwarted by Mufasa's arrival. They attack him, but are quickly defeated and frightened off.
Later, Scar arrives in the Elephant Graveyard, to tell off the hyenas for failing to kill Simba. However, after Banzai and Shenzi ask sardonically whether Scar should kill Mufasa to claim the throne while feasting on a zebra's leg that Scar supplied to them (Banzai: "Yeah? So what are we supposed to do? Kill Mufasa?"), they unwittingly gave him an idea: He then informs them of the newly-formed plan to kill both Mufasa and Simba during the song "Be Prepared". Afterwards, they help Scar carry out his plan to kill Mufasa by triggering the wildebeest stampede. Immediately after Scar tells Simba to run away and never return, he commands the hyenas to kill Simba too, but Simba falls into thorny bushes where the hyenas can't follow him. Shenzi decides that Simba is as good as dead out alone in the desert, that if he survives he probably won't come back (not unreasonable assumptions), and that IF he comes back, they'll kill him then. The entire pack then enters the Pride Lands.
Some months into Scar's reign, the hyenas' excessive presence in the Pride Lands has damaged the ecological balance. The trio, who appear to be the same age as they were, come to Scar's cave to inform him that there's no food or water, and that the lionesses refuse to follow his orders. Banzai quietly remarks that Scar was such an "ignorant Ass-hole", implying that Scar was a psychopath meaning that they secertly liked Mufasa's laws better than Scar's. Scar angrily orders Banzai to repeat what he just said, Banzai said that he is an igonorant ass-hole, but a nervous Shenzi elbows him and Banzai quickly and he angrily repeats to Scar by saying "WHY DO YOU HAVE TO SUCH AN IGNORANT ASS-HOLE???". Still touchy about Banzai's remark and angry at being treated in a bad way, Scar throws them out without listening to their complaints and instead of banishing them from the pride lands, Scar had the Heartless throwing his former minions in a huge elephant ribcage.
When Simba returns to overthrow Scar, Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed were finally released by Hayley after Timon and Pumbaa distracted the hyena clan, (Scar glared at both Arthur and Cecil, indicating that he found out that the two vultures and his former minions have not done their job, and that Shenzi, Banzai, Ed, Arthur and Cecil had presumably never informed Scar of that development) but then the rest of the hyenas (along with the Heartless, Arthur and Cecil) demonstrate their continued loyalty to Scar by joining the fight on his side, but most are defeated, and Arthur and Cecil are ruthlessly beaten up by Pumbaa for calling him a "pig" while reformed hyena trio watches. When Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed follow Scar and Simba at the top (possibly to help Simba fight Scar), they overhear Scar trying to foist all blame for the plot on them to Simba, they furiously turn against their former boss. Alerting the other hyenas to his treachery, they corner Scar after he is defeated by Simba. Scar frantically tries to absolve himself, but the hyenas have had enough of his lies, derogatory treatment and broken promises. They surround Scar, leap on him and tear him apart, as flames raise around them. They left with the league of heroes and is welcomed and forgiven by Simba, Rafiki, Nala and Sarabi after this.
Joining the league of heroesEdit
◾Ernie Sabella, who voiced Pumbaa in the film, originally auditioned for the role of Shenzi. But after Nathan Lane, who previously worked with Sabella on Guys and Dolls and were already good friends, auditioned for the role of Zazu, Lane and Sabella were instead cast as Timon and Pumbaa, respectively.
◾They are some of the most popular characters of the lion king franchise.
◾Shenzi's position as leader of the hyenas is very like that of real life - real spotted hyenas are matriarchal, and females dominate the males. For male hyenas to have any real power within a clan, they have usually performed long-time services for high-ranking females.
◾Shenzi was originally going to be male and voiced by Tommy Chong, who is best known for his collaborations with Cheech Marin, who voices Banzai.
◾Shenzi is probably NOT Banzai or Ed's sister. Reasons include (but are not limited to):
1. No canon material - whether movies, theater, comics, books or games - EVER refers to the three hyenas as being siblings. If Disney intended them to be related, they would surely have mentioned it at least ONCE.
2. In Disney's Broadway production of The Lion King, in the song "Chow Down", Shenzi says to Banzai, "Now wasn't it her (Nala's) mom, who ate your dad?" By Disney's incest and adultery-free logic, this would mean Shenzi's parents are not Banzai's parents.
3. Shenzi calls Banzai 'honey' and 'baby' on several occasions. In the TLH episode "TV Dinner" Banzai calls Shenzi 'girlfriend' (albeit in the context of 'a girl-friend', not 'my girlfriend'). These are terms which siblings would be highly unlikely to use on each other.
4. Male hyenas usually migrate from their birth clans to join another when they reach sexual maturity, while females often stay with their clan lifelong, inheriting the status of their mother - meaning that Shenzi is probably also the daughter of a high-ranking female.
◾In early production of The Lion King, Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed were originally to suppose to be cape dogs but were later changed to spotted hyenas. This may have been because the cape dog is an endangered species, and spotted hyenas and African lions are naturally enemies - more so than most animals.
◾Shenzi, Banzai, Ed and the rest of the hyenas are the second villain sidekicks to kill their former boss. The first being Iago, however he reformed and it's generally believed the hyenas did as well.
◾The way Shenzi, Banzai, Ed, and the rest of the hyenas kill Scar is similar to what the wolves from Beauty and the Beast were originally supposed to do to Gaston at the end of the film.
◾Currently, Shenzi has the longest name out of any character in the Lion King series, possibly more than any other Disney character created. Her full name being "Shenzi Marie Predatora Veldetta Jacquelina Hyena", a total of six names. However, given that Timon was trying to stall her and the other Hyenas while his family broke the tunnel underneath them, its unknown if it was actually her name, though it might be since Shenzi doesn't say that it's not her real name.
◾In the Kingdom Hearts series, Banzai comes the closest to killing Sora out of any villains in the series, and was only unable to since Scar called for him and the others.
◾According to The Lion King: The Junior Novelization, when Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed finally kill Scar out of revenge for betraying them and the other hyenas, they describe his death as being "a king fit for a meal."
◾In an early script for the climax of The Lion King, Banzai was originally going to be flung onto the ribcage imprisoning Zazu, thus freeing him and allowing him to peck Banzai on the head, then Ed comes to help. The two come close to killing Zazu when Timon and Pumbaa ram them from behind and send them flying to a burning tree. Also, it was originally going to be just Shenzi who follows Scar up Pride Rock and hears him betray the hyenas.
◾Banzai was the first hyena to make a bad comment about his former boss Scar by calling him an ignorant ass-hole (which means that he promised that if he sticks with Scar, he along with Shenzi and Ed will never go hungry again) this is only done in "Judy and Elroy's adventures in The Lion King".