Zazu is a fictional character who first appeared in the Walt Disney Pictures
animated film The Lion King
. Zazu is an anthropomorphized hornbill
and is the polar opposite in temperament of the heroes, lion
. In the original film, he was voiced by Rowan Atkinson
and his singing voice in the Morning Report sequence in the 2003 Special Edition was provided by Jeff Bennett
. In The Lion King II: Simba's Pride
and The Lion King 1½
, Zazu's voice was provided by Edward Hibbert
. Hibbert also provides Zazu's voice in the Disney World
attraction The Enchanted Tiki Room: Under New Management.
Zazu in The Lion King
Zazu's role in the film is primarily comic relief. The story becomes very dark near the halfway point, and Zazu is played
as a tool for laughter when it's desperately needed, much like the characters Timon and Pumbaa. Most of Zazu's contributions are during the first half of the movie, where the main characters are still children. He is
the majordomo to the king—originally Mufasa, then Scar. Zazu always sticks to the rules.
After Simba runs away, Zazu is hardly seen again. He briefly appears in a scene where Scar has assumed the kingship of
the Pride Lands. In this scene, Zazu is imprisoned and is being forced to entertain Scar with a song. Later, he pleads with
Timon and Pumbaa to let him out of the ribcage he is imprisoned in.
Zazu in The Lion King II: Simba's Pride
The character makes a few brief appearances in The Lion King II: Simba's Pride, but he is no longer a comic character and his presence in this film is a little redundant.
Zazu in The Lion King 1½
Zazu appears very briefly in The Lion King 1½ at Simba's dedication. He is then seen going to rescue Simba from the hyenas with Mufasa. In the credits for this film
he is incorrectly listed as 'Zasu'.
Zazu has two conflicting histories as to how he became the king's majordomo.
Friends in Need
Young Zazu is about to be cooked and eaten by the three hyenas Shenzi, Banzai and Ed, when a young Mufasa comes along, frightens off the hyenas and saves him. Zazu is thankful and hopes that he can be of service to the Lion King
someday. Mufasa is doubtful of this. How could a small bird be of any use to a lion?
Zazu follows Mufasa around and watches over him. Mufasa tires of this quickly as Zazu disturbs his hunts and his private
time with Sarabi.
One day Zazu notices some vultures hovering. He asks Mufasa if Mufasa wants him to fly over and see what's happening, but Mufasa is not concerned and lies down
for a nap. Zazu flies over to where the vultures are anyway and sees that Sarabi has fallen into a pit and can't get out.
Zazu flies back to tell Mufasa who leaps up and runs to the gorge. But Mufasa can't find a way to rescue Sarabi. Zazu finds
a tree trunk that Mufasa drags over to the pit, allowing Sarabi to climb out.
Mufasa realizes that the little hornbill is useful after all and appoints him as royal advisor.
Zazu's mother, Zuzu, was a steward to Kopa's great-grandfather Ahadi. When Zazu was young, Zuzu trained him to take her
place when Mufasa's rule began.
In the book, Zazu reports everything he sees and tends to jump to conclusions. He ends up reporting false stories to Mufasa
as three young animals make up stories to trick Zazu. Zazu redeems himself though as he spies an army ant attack and alerts
Mufasa to the problem