How old are the characters?

Re: How old are the characters?

Postby NaiaRulez » April 6th, 2015, 12:08 am

In my opinion (I'll put human and lion age to compare):

Cub Simba and Nala: 11 years old (human), 9-10 months (lion)
Mufasa and Sarabi: 45-55 years old (human), 4 1/2 years (lion)
Adult Simba and Nala (TLK): 25-35 years old (human), 3 years (lion)
Adult Simba and Nala (SP): 40-50 years old (human), 4 years (lion)
Timon and Pumbaa: 20-30 years old (human)
Hyenas: 20-30 years old (human)
Scar and Zira: 40-50 years old (human, younger that Mufasa and Sarabi)
Teen Nuka: 16-17 years old (human), 1 3/4 years (lion)
Adult Nuka: 25 years old (human), 2 1/2 years (lion)
Cub Vitani: 13 years old (human), 11-12 months old (lion)
Adult Vitani: 22 years old (human), 2 1/4 years (lion)
Cub Kovu: 12-13 years old (human), 11 months old (lion)
Adult Kovu: 21-22 years old (human), 2 years old (lion)
Cub Kiara: 10-11 years old (human), 9 months old (lion)
Adult Kiara: 19-20 years old (human), 1 year and 11 months (lion)
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Re: How old are the characters?

Postby Captain Cupcake » April 6th, 2015, 12:28 am

^The cub ages are bit off in that list. They're all presented as still very small compared to the adults, which would put them somewhere around 3-4 months at the most(Cub Kovu's a weird exception, as he should be a few months older than that if we were to make sense of his age, but they tried to make him the same size as Kiara so things don't look as awkward). 9-10 months is already too large for the average cub.

Adult Kovu would also be somewhat more than just two years old given how much of his mane has grown out. A 2 year old's wouldn't nearly be as full as his. Kiara's age would be a few months behind, and Vitani would be the same age as Kovu as they're littermates.

Also, if we were to take Scar's line during "Be Prepared" as truth, then he and Mufasa would be over two decades old. Most lions in the wild wouldn't be able to manage living past 20 years, but if what Scar said isn't just a throw away line made for exaggeration and him being melodramatic(which is most likely the case, haha), you could just imagine that the Pride Rock lions live a healthy life matching the standards of lions in captivity(as they can live longer in those healthier conditions) for whatever reason.
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Re: How old are the characters?

Postby Marizzle » April 6th, 2015, 2:24 am

I'm no lion expert, sp I can't tell what age the characters appear to have in animal years, but, for me, these are their ages, in human years:

Cub Simba and Nala: 7 to 9
Mufasa and Sarabi: 40 to 50
Adult Simba and Nala (TLK): 18 to 22 (Max)
Adult Simba and Nala (SP): 30 to 35
Timon and Pumbaa: 20 to 30
Hyenas: 20 to 25
Scar and Zira: 35 to 40
Teen Nuka: 15 to 17
Adult Nuka: 25
Cub Vitani: 10 to 12
Adult Vitani: 20 to 22
Cub Kovu: 9 to 11
Adult Kovu: 19 to 20
Cub Kiara: 7 to 9
Adult Kiara: 17 to 19
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Re: How old are the characters?

Postby Iberian » April 11th, 2015, 12:36 pm

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Re: How old are the characters?

Postby Panpardus » October 4th, 2016, 8:13 pm

Okay, this is a fun topic...

So when I had some free time a few months back, I decided to try and figure out a realistic timeline of events for the franchise's story arc as a whole. Whether or not this will lead to a fanfic (which I doubt because I don't write fiction very well) I don't know, but I like applying real science -- especially biology -- to movies and TV shows when possible. I know The Lion King plays fast-and-loose with various aspects of lion biology and ecology, but to give Disney credit they are pretty consistent with how the lions age relative to their real-world counterparts. I won't go through every single canon franchise character or detail, and I'll probably start my own new thread that details the full canon timeline, but as far as the characters seen in the original film (note, not including characters who were old enough to live through these events but weren't onscreen because Disney hadn't invented them yet), here's what I've got based on actual biology:

Simba
The first time we see Simba is at his presentation, which is not the day of his birth. Lion cubs don't open their eyes until some point within their first week, and it can take them another week or so before they can actually see clearly, so based on the little stick ball game Rafiki played with Simba in the opening scene, Simba's probably about 2 weeks old at his presentation.
The cubhood scenes all happen within the span of a few days, so the characters don't really age in that span of time. Field researchers can roughly estimate the age of a lion cub by comparing its height to that of its mother, so after looking at some good screenshots it's safe to say that Simba is about 3 months old. This corroborates nicely with that fact that he has already eaten meat -- he asks Timon about antelope and hippo -- as lions usually start weaning around this time.
The last half of the movie (which also spans the course of a few days) jumps ahead about 3 years, a fact which the producers state was intended to be indicated onscreen with text. At about 3.25 years, lions have reached adulthood (it's about the same as the early 20s for humans) and males have relatively small, scraggly manes while still retaining a younger, cub-like expression. This seems to match up pretty well with what we see of Simba at this point in the film, so we're good there.
The final scene of the movie -- the presentation of Kion; yes, Kion, for reasons I'll explain later and elsewhere -- happens about 4 months after the battle at Pride Rock. This assumes that Kiara and Kion are their parents' only cubs, and that they were conceived sometime around the "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" scene, which Simba implies in The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar with the "the talk" gag. So at the end of the movie (and the start of Simba's Pride) Simba is about 3.5 years old.

Nala
Based on the one screenshot I could find of her sort of standing next to Sarafina's front leg -- during Scar's ascension the night of Mufasa's death -- Nala looks to be a little younger than Simba, in the 2-3 month range, but they're basically the same age so no need to rehash everything I said before.

Mufasa
We don't know much about Mufasa's history within canon but based on his size and mane, he seems to be middle-aged in the prime of his life, which for a lion is about 7 years old.

Scar
Assuming he and his brother are litter mates, Scar is also about 7 years old in the first half of the film, then about 10 years old when Simba comes back, which for a human is roughly the equivalent of being in your late 50s to early 60s -- technically a senior citizen, but still fairly physically capable. Most male lions at that age are usually driven out by interlopers if they've been able to hold onto control of their pride and territories for long enough, so the movie works out pretty well in accordance with this.

Sarabi
Lionesses are harder to age than males, and Sarabi already has a fairly stocky build, but I'd place her somewhere in the 5-6 year old range for the first half of the movie, since she's clearly a bit more mature than Nala was at the end of the movie. That would make her 8-9 years old at the end of the film, which is about the cusp of old age in lions and is usually when healthy female individuals really get bulky, which does show a bit in Sarabi's design in the scene where she confronts Scar.

Sarafina
She has a bit of a more youthful look than Sarabi, so I'd pin her at about 4-5 years old in the first half of the movie. This would make her 7-8 years old in the latter half, although she doesn't show up in these scenes and I presume she either died or left. (Maybe something that could be delved into in the remake?)

Timon
For meerkats, young males (as recorded by the Kalahari Meerkat Project, the people behind the Animal Planet show Meerkat Manor -- talk about a throwback) typically leave their homes at around 3 years old, so that's where I'm putting Timon at the start of the movie and around the time he meets Simba. Thus, he'd be about 6 years old in the second half of the movie, and with the protection from predators afforded to him by Simba's inclusion of him in the lion family, he could reach a lifespan of up to 14 years or so, so it's not unrealistic for him to still be pretty spry throughout the entire story arc seen in the cartoon films.

Pumbaa
These figures aren't as well-detailed as with lions and we don't know much about Pumbaa's history, but since he seems to be an adult that would put him at minimally 2 years old when we first see him, then minimally 5 years old in the second half of the movie. As a warthog, he'd have a minimum lifespan of about 10-12 years, so there's nothing wrong with him being around through the end of the second movie.

Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed
They all seem like adults throughout the film and don't age much, so I'm going to put a conservative estimate of 3 and 6 years for all of them for the first and second halves of the film, respectively. (3 years is the age of maturity in spotted hyenas, but they can normally live for about 12-15 years under good conditions.) For now I'm not assuming that Janja or any of the other hyenas seen in The Lion Guard are related to any of the original trio, as there's not real evidence for that and it would change my estimates.

Rafiki
Assuming Rafiki is just a mandrill with an abnormally long tail (although I'm toying with looking into the possibility of hybridization between mandrills and baboons, specifically olive baboons which are the only baboon species whose range fairly overlaps the mandrill's), and knowing that they can live up to 20 years in the wild and over 30 years in captivity, it would be fair to put him at minimally 13 years old at the start of the film, which is probably already on the older side for this species. It lends a lot to his fairly static old man appearance.

Zazu
Assuming Zazu is just a stylized red billed hornbill, he's got a pretty long life ahead of him. Birds in general are pretty long-lived animals, and according to the sources I've been able to pull up hornbills can live for some 40 years or so, though they usually go about 15 years in the wild. Since they reach maturity anywhere between 1-3 years old, Zazu could be at least 3 at the start of the film although we don't know enough about canon events before The Lion King film to pinpoint when he started out being Mufasa's majordomo or if he served the previous king.

I think that covers everyone from the first movie. Like I said, I'll write a longer post on the other characters and the entire cartoon timeline eventually. I might even get to it later today when I have a little more time...
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Re: How old are the characters?

Postby Elton John » October 4th, 2016, 8:30 pm

I'm a bit fascinated about your explanation of Kion being presented at the end of the first movie.
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Re: How old are the characters?

Postby Aelwen » October 5th, 2016, 11:44 pm

I think that covers everyone from the first movie. Like I said, I'll write a longer post on the other characters and the entire cartoon timeline eventually. I might even get to it later today when I have a little more time...


Wow, I'm so glad that finaly someone makes a real-life comparison of TLK lions, not just in human years.
I'm looking forward to seeing your Kiara, Kion and Kovu's age.

Well, I'd consider Simba closer to 4-5 months old, because the tail tuff is developing only at 5 months and eyes become red only at 2-3 months.
I agree with your opinion that Simba in the end of the first movie was 3.25 yeras old. Males usually begin to grow rapidly when they are betwen 3.25 and 3.5 years old so the more bulkier Simba in the SP is easily explained.

From my point of view, Kiara is shown as a slightly older cub during her presentaion, maybe 1 month old. The problem is that cubs older than 8-12 weeks are not carried anymore, so Kiara must be around 3 months at the point of her meeting with Kovu. At the time of her first hunt Kiara is obviously a teenager, but stil not fully grown. I'd consider her around 20-24 months old.

IRL lion cubs start develop their manes at around 10-12 months and it appears on their chest and neck. I think that TLK cubs start grow it on their heads. Then Kovu-cub should have been around 9 months at the least and even closer to 10. But he's the same size as Kiara...
I think that he's around 2.75 years old as a young adult.

Kion is around 8-10 months old from my point of view.

I used this links to help myself.
https://www.panthera.org/blog/2016/08/18/how-age-lion
http://livingwithlions.org/mara/how-to/age-lions/
https://cbs.umn.edu/sites/cbs.umn.edu/f ... _Guide.pdf
Last edited by Aelwen on October 26th, 2016, 9:43 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How old are the characters?

Postby Panpardus » October 22nd, 2016, 4:05 am

Aelwen wrote:IRL lion cubs start develp their manes at around 10-12 months and it appears on their chest and neck. I think that TLK cubs start grow it on their heads. Then Kovu-cub should have been around 9 months at the least and even closer to 10. But he's the same size as Kiara...
I think that he's around 2.75 years old as a young adult.

Kion is around 8-10 months old from my point of view.

I used this links to help myself.
https://www.panthera.org/blog/2016/08/18/how-age-lion
http://livingwithlions.org/mara/how-to/age-lions/
https://cbs.umn.edu/sites/cbs.umn.edu/f ... _Guide.pdf


I just added the newest post (with a more or less full timeline) to my post in the "Beyond the Lion King" category, so you can check it out there. For the lions, particularly the males, I used those same websites you did and focused more on size-based comparisons than anything else to determine the ages. My interpretation assumes that mane growth is a bit more variable than in real life and can happen relatively early in some individuals like Kovu and Kion.
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Re: How old are the characters?

Postby Squeely » November 17th, 2016, 12:38 pm

Very well thought-out post, Panpardus! I don't have a ton to say on it, other than it was a fascinating read. Would love to see you tackle the ages for SP and TLG!

The Lionvengers wrote:I'm a bit fascinated about your explanation of Kion being presented at the end of the first movie.

I'm not sure if Panpardus thinks any differently than I do on this, but here's my 2 cents:
So, I probably need not tell you about how the presentation at the end of TLK differs from the one at the beginning of SP. Kopa fans have used this as one of their main arguments for Kopa's canon existence. It's entirely possible that some of the TLG staff were aware of this, and designed Kion similar to the baby at the end of TLK. His golden fur and ear rims would match up with Kion.

Panpardus wrote: My interpretation assumes that mane growth is a bit more variable than in real life and can happen relatively early in some individuals like Kovu and Kion.

I feel the same about mane growth. Simba's mane was roughly around average. Kovu's came in a bit sooner; he was also probably a tad older than cub Simba was, because Kiara also had to grow old enough to go out and play. Nuka's mane comes in slower than average, since he seems to nearing adulthood in the first half of SP, but is still very lacking in mane. Kion's comes in super fast, thanks to genetics from Nala's father.
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