The Lion King 1½ (also known as The Lion King 3: Hakuna Matata in some countries) is a 2004 direct-to-video
animated comedy film produced by Walt Disney Pictures and DisneyToon Studios and released by Walt Disney Home Entertainment (aka Buena Vista Home Entertainment) on February 10, 2004. It is the third and final installment in the Lion King trilogy. The DVD went to the Disney Vault in January 2005. The film is a prequel/parallel to the 1994 Disney animated film The Lion King as it focuses on the meerkat/warthog duo Timon and Pumbaa before and during the events of the original film. The film, setup as aframe story, starts out playing the very beginning of the original film. Timon and Pumbaa are shown in silhouette commenting on the movie being shown before them, in a style nearly identical to that of Mystery Science Theater 3000.
The original cast returns to re-voice their parts, with the exceptions of Rowan Atkinson, who voiced Zazu in the original film and was again replaced by Edward Hibbert who voiced the character in The Lion King II: Simba's Pride, Jeremy Irons, and James Earl Jones, who voiced Mufasa (who has no lines in this installment of the series). Also, Jonathan Taylor Thomas, who voiced Young Simba in the original film, is replaced by Matt Weinberg.
The Lion King 1½ was released on Blu-ray in The Lion King trilogy box set on October 4, 2011, and was released for individual sale on March 6, 2012 alongsideThe Lion King II: Simba's Pride. The Blu-ray and DVD releases, along with the previous sequel and the Diamond Edition release of the first film, will be put back into moratorium on April 30, 2013.