On the character designs, Stephan said:

“It would jar me out of the film, literally. Especially with little Simba walking around. It was too real. And then when he would talk, it reminded me of those old nature films where they would dub the voices over and the lips would move. I thought, ‘Oh, this is really cheap.’ I think it was just too soon for this one. … I just came away going, ‘Wow, that was a great story that I worked on back in ’93.’ … How come the apes in ‘Planet of the Apes’ look so much more alive than the animals in ‘Lion King’? This one just said, ‘You know what, let’s cut the expressions out completely. Let’s just keep it real as possible.’ And I think it just diminished the film.”

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