- NOTE: This article is about the incarnation of Zazu from the 2019 movie. The mainstream version can be found here: Zazu (Disney).
Zazu is a major protagonist in the 2019 remake of The Lion King. He is a yellow-billed hornbill who serves as the majordomo to King Mufasa and later Simba after the death of his father.
He is voiced by John Oliver.
Zazu attends the presentation of Simba.
After the ceremony, he warns Scar that Mufasa is coming, as he is displeased with Scar for missing Simba’s presentation. Scar attempts to eat Zazu, but Mufasa stops him. The brothers argue over Scar’s right to the throne, with Zazu supporting Mufasa’s claims. Eventually, Scar wanders off, and Zazu wonders why Mufasa refuses to run him off. He then tells a story about his cousin who’d thought he was a woodpecker.
Months later, Zazu delivers a morning report to Mufasa. As he drones on, Mufasa instructs Simba in a pouncing lesson. Simba pounces on Zazu, who flutters off in a huff. The hornbill soon returns with news that hyenas are invading the Pride Lands. Mufasa leaves to deal with the invasion, while Zazu guides Simba home.
Not long after, Zazu escorts Simba and Nala to the water hole. He informs them that they will one day be married, to which both react with disgust. Simba declares that he does not have to marry anyone, as he will be the king, but Zazu insists that it is tradition. The cubs race away and get lost in the water hole, with Zazu frantically pursuing them.
Eventually, Zazu finds them at the Elephant Graveyard and defends them from Shenzi and her hyena clan. He warns her that she will be starting a war with Mufasa should she harm Simba, but Shenzi orders the attack anyway. Mufasa shows up in time and fends off the hyenas.
The cubs return to the Pride Lands, and Mufasa instructs Zazu to take Nala home. Before going, Zazu encourages Mufasa to go easy on Simba, for Mufasa had been a rambunctious cub himself.
The next day, Zazu witnesses the stampede. Scar sends him to fetch the pride while he helps Mufasa save Simba.
After Mufasa’s death, Scar becomes the king. Zazu and Rafiki watch from a distance, displeased, as Scar allows hyenas into the Pride Lands.
Over the years, Zazu continues to report to Mufasa’s widowed queen, Sarabi, despite Scar’s efforts to run him off. One night, a young adult Nala attempts an escape. Zazu assists her by distracting Scar and the hyenas.
Later, Simba returns to the Pride Lands, and Zazu welcomes him back. He helps Simba defeat the hyenas and witnesses his coronation.
Zazu also attends the presentation of Simba and Nala's son.
Much more of Zazu’s compassionate side is seen in this film than the original. It is made clear from the start that he’s completely loyal to Mufasa and his family not just out of service to his boss, but out of genuine love and care as well, and even briefly dotes on Simba and admits he finds him adorable. Zazu pleads for Mufasa to go easy on Simba despite all the trouble he personally gave him. He is also shown to have no regard for Scar as king and reports to Sarabi instead, and throws himself into the final battle to help out.
- The original Zazu has a supporting role in the 1994 film and is captured by Scar after Mufasa's death. In the 2019 film, Zazu has a larger role in the movie and helps Simba defeat Scar.
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