At the center of the Singa universe is Buster Moon, a theater owner who has big dreams and is not afraid to get involved in not always open schemes to achieve his goals. However, while he can push the boundaries of honesty and morality a bit from time to time, he is never slippery and never comes across as a sneaky swindler. That’s a good thing too, because a character like that can be hard to root for, especially in a children’s show.
However, when the character of Buster was still being developed, he was indeed a much more questionable and less attractive character. “On paper, he really was a bit more of a charlatan,” Garth Jennings explained to Insider. “There’s a fine line with characters like this where they’re a bit of a scammer. Chris [Meledandri] and I discovered early on that it became too unattractive because we pressed that button too hard. He was too rough. And his sympathy for us has declined.”
In the end, it was decided that such a character was not well suited to be the protagonist of an enjoyable family movie, so Buster was heavily retooled and toned down. The end result is a koala who can take short cuts that aren’t always “right”, but his heart is always in the right place and he always looks out for the best interests of the people he cares about.