For us, The Lion King was the best animated film of the '90s. Better than Beauty & The Beast. Better than The Pagemaster (which was part live-action, in fairness). Even better than, wait for it, Aladdin.
Yes, that's how much esteem we put in The Lion King. We all forget, of course, that it had some pretty dark moments in it. Sure, Mufasa (spoilers) getting trampled by wilderbeasts after Scar pushed him off was pretty bleak. However, there was a much, MUCH darker ending planned for The Lion King that's only just resurfaced recently.
According to early storyboards, the writers had planned a completely different ending to the animated classic which would have saw Simba, voiced by Matthew Broderick, falling to his death after Scar, voiced by Jeremy Irons, threw him off Pride Rock. Pretty bad, right?
The storyboards show that Scar, laughing maniacally, would have then be engulfed by the surrounding flames and be BURNED ALIVE. Yeah. The scene would have concluded with a line pulled straight from Shakespeare's Hamlet, which was the basis of The Lion King's plot.
Here's the storyboards in question.
In fairness, it's a pretty brave way to finish off a film - a Disney film, especially. We all forget that for all their light and cuteness, Disney films went to some dark places. Bambi's mother getting killed in the opening scene? The whole thing in Up where the guy's wife couldn't have children? Sid from Toy Story basically being a sadist?
When you put into that context, it makes a lot of sense. We can see why the writers would have went for it, but it makes more sense to finish it how it did. Scar getting eaten alive by hyenas. Much more family-friendly.