I'm to do a presentation on characters and stereotypes in the Lion King for my animation class soon (with two friends), and I just wrote up a quick page on the designs of Scar and Mufasa... think it'll be okay?
It has to fit into 5 minutes too haha.
"Despite being brothers, parents are about the only thing Scar and Mufasa have in common. Disney decided to design them as complete polar opposites (for some reason. Some of the early concept arts actually show them as looking more similar to each other, body-build wise and colour-wise).
Why did Disney decide to go down the route of generic "good/evil" looking characters? Everything about one character is the complete opposite on the other. Well, that's what we're going to look into now.
Mufasa is the strong wise king, or, as the Somatexts at the Disney Workshop by Elisabeth Bell might describe him (despite being a male animal character), he would most likely be closest to the "grandmother" type of character. This actually fits perfectly as the "grandmother" character is built to contrast the "femme fatale" character (which would be Scar). The text describes this stereotype as "calm, relaxed, cooperative, warm, forgiving, sympathetic, soft-hearted, generous, affectionate, and kind". They are also there to nurture the main character (in this case, cub Simba). Mufasa fits perfectly all these descriptions as he is a king and has to be like this for the audience (and the characters in the film) to see the difference between his reign and Scar's reign of terror.
Mufasa is heavily built- wide jaw, muscular arms, large mane, and is definitely the largest character in the film. He overshadows his scrawny, darker coloured brother. Even their colours contrast. Where Mufasa is a golden colour with a lush red mane, Scar is of a darker complexion.
Not only are their good/evil personalities shown through their colours, but also through their postures. Mufasa carries himself proudly, straight backed, whilst Scar is constantly hunched over.
To show Scar as the male "femme fatale" type, the animators had to design the character in a way that would fit an animal character (since an animal in this type of film couldn't really wear coloured clothes) to represent his personality. They did this through his darker fur colour and more "triangular" type-features (as opposed to Mufasa's more square features), and perhaps more subtle things such as the fact that he never, not once in the film, retracts his claws, whereas all the good guys only bring out their claws during battles, or when they're angry or trying to grip onto something. Another little thing is that Scar is never drawn with a light reflection in his eyes, which all the other characters have. This gives the impression of a lack of "soul", so to speak. His toxic green eyes are lifeless, absorbing any light that goes into them. His green eyes also contrast against Mufasa's red eyes.
Whilst researching for this project, I have also come across some controversial theories that Scar may actually be gay, or at least, very camp. This could possibly make sense in that Mufasa is represented as a giant, manly kind of character, and with all these polar opposites going on, it wouldn't be very surprising if Disney did something like this. One particular person who voices their opinion on this theory is a woman named Margaret Lazuras, who wrote a small review named "All's not well in the land of the Lion King". She explains how Scar speaks in an effeminate, "limp-pawed" British style, and how he has no lionesses or cubs (although this could possibly be argued in that he is actually revealed to have a son and a partner in the second movie).
The most sensible conclusion from this is that Disney designed these characters as polar opposites to make it easier to differentiate between their personalities. There could possibly be a more serious underlying reason for this, however it mainly seems like they just followed their usual generic "Disney styled evil/good character" route, but applied it in animal form instead.