Kovu with scar.png

Adolescent Kovu.png

Cocky Cub.png

Physical information




Hair color

Black, brown, and cream

Eye color


Biographical information
Also known as

   Fuzzy maraca (by Timon)
   Green eyes (by Jasiri)
   Little termite (by Nuka)
   Little Termite Kovu (by Nuka)
   Riffraff (by Zazu)
   Scar's heir (by Simba)
   The Chosen One (by Outsiders)




   Pride Lands
   Outlands (formerly)


   Pride Landers
   Pride Lands monarchy
   Simba's pride
   Outlanders (formerly)
   Outsiders (formerly)


Prince of Pride Rock

Relationship information

Zira (mother)
Nuka (brother)
Vitani (sister)
Kiara (mate)
Simba (father-in-law)
Nala (mother-in-law)
Kion (brother-in-law)


   Simba (formerly)

I have left the Outsiders. I am a rogue. Judge me now, for who I am. Or am I to be blamed for a crime I didn't commit?

Kovu is a male lion. He is the prince consort of Pride Rock through his marriage to Kiara. He is the son of Zira, and the brother of Nuka and Vitani.

Shortly after his birth, Kovu was named the chosen heir of Scar. However, once Simba rose to the throne, he exiled Kovu and his pride to the Outlands, where Kovu's mother, Zira, raised him to resent the Pride Landers and, in particular, the royal family. Kovu's view of the enemy pride was slightly altered when he encountered the princess of Pride Rock, Kiara, who had wandered into the Outlands in search of adventure. The two cubs formed a tentative friendship, though they were quickly separated by their feuding parents.

Upon finding out about Kovu's friendship with Kiara, Zira resolved to use her son to infiltrate Simba's pride and seize the throne. For years after, Zira trained Kovu to be a ruthless killer, and when it came time for Kiara's first hunt, she had her children set fire to the grasslands while Kovu was sent ahead to rescue Kiara. Kovu delivered Kiara safely to the Pride Lands, where he requested to join the pride. Simba reluctantly agreed, though he reserved judgment on Kovu's character.

Over the next few days, Kovu's attempts on Simba's life were thwarted by Kiara, whom Kovu began to grow fond of. The two's friendship, through the help of Rafiki, slowly blossomed into love until Kovu resolved to tell Kiara the truth about his mission. Zira caught wind of Kovu's betrayal and framed him for an ambush, which led to his expulsion from the Pride Lands. Kiara sought Kovu out and convinced him to unite their feuding prides. Though Zira refused to see reason and died trying to kill Simba, Simba accepted the Outsiders, and Kovu was allowed to rejoin the pride. In a ceremony at Pride Rock, Kovu was accepted as Kiara's mate and the future king consort of the Pride Lands. Not long after, Kovu attended the coronation and wedding of his brother-in-law, Kion, to Rani at the Tree of Life.


Early life

Kovu was born to Zira in the Pride Lands during the reign of Scar, who picked Kovu to be his heir to Pride Rock. Sometime after this, Scar's nephew, Simba, returned to the Pride Lands, battled and defeated Scar, and took his place as king. Afterward, Simba banished Kovu, his family, and several other lionesses who were loyal to Scar to the Outlands.[1]

Meeting Kiara

Kovu encounters Kiara, the daughter of Simba

Kovu is first seen in the film when Kiara, a Pride Lander cub, wanders into the Outlands and accidentally trips off a fallen log and knocks into him. The two cubs sprawl on the ground, coughing. Kovu immediately jumps back up and snarls at Kiara, who backs away in fear.

He demands to know who she is, but she doesn't answer, only tries to evade him without turning her back. He stops, puzzled, and asks what she's doing. She fiercely explains to him that her father had told her to never turn her back on an Outsider. Kovu teases her and asks if she always did what "Daddy" said. Kiara vehemently denies it, but Kovu just laughs and teasingly calls her "Daddy's Little Girl."

Kovu and Kiara work together to escape a float of crocodiles

He then walks across a trail of stones that are jutting out of a nearby swamp, boasting that Outsiders don't need anybody and that he could take care of himself. Kiara follows him out onto the stones and Kovu turns around to see a crocodile about to swallow her whole. The two cubs run away in fear and a chase instigates. Eventually, Kovu decides to distract the crocodiles so Kiara can get away. But when he runs out of stones to jump on, he falls into the water and nearly gets eaten, if not for Kiara, who leaps on the crocodile's snout. The two escape up a thin tree branch and collapse on dry land, but not before Kiara smugly blows a raspberry at the crocodiles before the two leave.

Kovu cowers as his mother, Zira, faces off with Simba

They run into a patch of grass and Kovu listens enthusiastically as Kiara vents about how exciting the chase had been. Eventually, she softens and tells Kovu that he had been really brave. He compliments her as well and then introduces himself.

She tells him her name and then tries to play tag with him, but he doesn't understand what she's doing. Kiara quickly picks up on this and begins to growl and bounce back and forth. Kovu, recognizing the new game, snarls in response. But as he does so, out of nowhere, Simba appears and roars over Kiara. In response, Kovu's own mother, Zira, jumps to the defense of her son.

Zira scolds Kovu for interacting with Kiara

She then introduces Kovu as her son and the young lion Scar had chosen to be his successor. Simba growls at Kovu, who quakes in fear. Zira goes on to explain that Kovu had been the last born before Simba exiled Scar and his pride to the Outlands. Simba forcefully reminds her about the penalties of entering the Pride Lands, but Zira reminds him that Kovu was just a cub. As a test, she offers Kovu to Simba, but the lion king tells Zira to "take him and get out." He then takes Kiara by her scruff and carries her away. Zira does the same to Kovu and the two cubs whisper good-bye to each other before separating.

Upon returning to the Outlands, Zira sets Kovu down beside his sister, Vitani, who challenges him to a play-fight. Zira then accusingly turns on Nuka and shouts that he was supposed to be watching Kovu but Kovu quickly jumps to his brother's defense and explains that he had wandered off on his own. Zira demands to know what he'd been doing. Kovu says, "Nothing." and begins to back away.

Kovu sleeps as Zira sings "My Lullaby", during which she plots to take over the Pride Lands

Relentless, Zira asks him who had made them Outsiders, to which Kovu answers, "Simba." She asks him who killed Scar and he gives the same answer. She then growls, "And what have I told you about them?" and Kovu apologizes to his mother and tries to defend himself, admitting that he didn't think Kiara was that bad. Zira is disgusted and vents on how Kovu had thought "Simba would welcome him with open arms." She then stops, realizing that this could be a good way to defeat Simba. Enthralled, she calls Kovu a "brilliant child" and says that he had "the same conniving mind that made Scar so powerful."

She then takes him into the Outsiders' cave and sets him down in his nest. She hushes him to sleep and sings "My Lullaby", a song about the Outsiders' rise to power.[1]

Conflict with Jasiri's clan

Mom? What's going on? Kion said he'd talk to Simba about letting us go back to the Pride Lands. Why can't we be friends?!
―Kovu to Zira[src]

Kovu and Nuka meet Kion, the son of Simba

When Kovu and his family drive a clan of hyenas away from their watering hole, one of the hyenas, Jasiri, goes to Kion for help. Kion and Jasiri return to the watering hole, where they are attacked by Nuka, Kovu's older brother. Kion fends off Nuka, which draws the attention of Kovu. Kion questions Kovu as to how he knows Nuka, and Kovu admits that they are brothers.

Kovu defends Jasiri from his brother, Nuka

With Kovu having joined the fray, Nuka declares that Kion is outnumbered, but Jasiri jumps to his defense and declares that they are even. Slowly, the four begin to circle each other, and Kion learns that Kovu and Nuka's family is not welcome in the Pride Lands. Confused, he asserts that his father would likely welcome them into the kingdom, and Nuka asks who his father is. Jasiri answers that Kion is the son of Simba, the king of Pride Rock, and a shocked Kovu and Nuka wonder if they really can return to the Pride Lands, with Kovu hoping that he might see Kion's sister Kiara again. Kovu points out that Kion must first speak with their mother, Zira, and Kion and Jasiri agree to visit the watering hole.

Kovu ducks out of the way of Kion's Roar of the Elders

Once there, Kion and Zira move off to speak privately about the Roar of the Elders while Kovu, Nuka, and Vitani stay with Jasiri. During the wait, Nuka grows impatient and tries to attack Jasiri, but Kovu jumps in the way and warns his brother not to start a fight. Just then, Zira returns and lies to Jasiri that Kion has agreed to let the Outsiders keep the watering hole. She then brings her cubs to where she has surrounded Kion with her lionesses.

Once Kovu realizes what his mother is doing, he questions Zira as to what is going on and wonders why they cannot be friends with Kion. Just in time, the rest of Kion's Lion Guard arrives and forces the Outsiders up against a wall. As Kion readies himself to use the Roar of the Elders, Kovu backs away and ducks down in time to avoid the Roar. The force of the Roar blows his family away, and he scrambles to catch up to them.[2]

Infiltration of Simba's pride

Kovu rescues his childhood friend, Kiara, from a fire as part of his mother's plan

Zira trains and conditions Kovu until he is a fit lion in his young adult years. One day, she proclaims him ready to take on the task of killing King Simba. She circles around him, pleased with his progress, and comments that he had the same blackness in his soul that Scar had. She questions her son about his destiny, and he says that he will avenge Scar and take his place as king of the Pride Lands. She asks him what he'd been taught and he replies that Simba is the enemy. Finally, she asks him what he must do, and Kovu says that he must kill Simba.

Later, Nuka and Vitani set the Pride Lands alight while Kiara is on a hunt. Zira sends Kovu to retrieve and rescue the princess. He manages to carry her through a burning forest and plunges off a cliff face into a lake below. After dragging her through the water, Kovu drops her on land and she asks where she is. He replies that she's "safe in the Pride Lands."

Kovu requests permission to join Simba's pride

Angered, Kiara demands to know why he'd brought her here and who he thought he was. Kovu is offended and reminds her that he'd just saved her life. Kiara protests that she'd had everything under control, but Kovu says, "Not from where I'm standing." Kiara retorts, "Then move downwind!" She tries to get around him, but he blocks her path. Refusing to turn her back on him, she prepares herself for a fight. But then Kovu asks her what she's doing, and Kiara recognizes her old childhood friend.

But before they can catch up with each other, Simba jumps in front of Kiara and roars aggressively at Kovu. After a brief exchange with his daughter, he figures out that the lion standing in front of her is Kovu. He roars a challenge and Kovu roars back. But before a fight can instigate, Rafiki indirectly tells Simba that Kovu had saved Kiara's life. Simba asks him why he'd saved her and Kovu "humbly" asks to join his pride.

Kiara challenges Kovu to teach her to hunt, to which he accepts

Simba refuses and reminds Kovu that he'd been banished with the other Outsiders. Kovu reveals that he has left the Outsiders and is a rogue. He tells Simba to judge him for who he was or accuse him of a crime he didn't commit. Simba growls, thinking over the proposition. Nala reminds him that Kovu had saved Kiara's life, and Zazu adds that "royal protocol demands all debts be paid. Though in this case you might want to make an exception." Simba finally comes to a decision, deciding to follow the laws of his father. Kiara is delighted, but as the Pride Landers turn their backs, Kovu grins slyly.

Upon reaching Pride Rock, Simba notices Kovu about to go into the inner cavern with the lionesses, but quickly jumps in front of him with a growl and intimidates him away from the cavern opening as he goes inside. Kovu glares at Simba before walking to the rocks outside the cavern to sleep.

Kovu's attempt to assassinate Simba is foiled by an unsuspecting Kiara

Kiara is the last of the lionesses to reach Pride Rock and sees Kovu lie down beside the rocks. She approaches him and thanks him for saving her life. Kovu smugly asks her what kind of a hunter she thought she was and points out that she could've been killed. He tells her that she couldn't last three days on her own. Provoked, Kiara asks if he could teach her how to hunt, to which Kovu is confident. Simba then yells for Kiara and she quickly tells Kovu to "impress her"; they'd start at dawn. Kovu smiles smoothly as she walks away and says that he would be looking forward to it.

That night, Kovu appears in Simba's climatic nightmare. Simba is trying to help Mufasa climb out of the gorge in which he died in the first film, when Scar appears on the ledge above them, mocking and cackling at Simba's inability to help his father. After Mufasa falls, Scar morphs into Kovu and kills Simba by throwing him down into the gorge after Mufasa.[1]

Romance with Kiara

Kovu instructs Kiara to walk softly in order to pull off a successful hunt

The next morning, Kovu sees Simba taking a drink at the waterhole. He prepares to attack, but is interrupted by Kiara, who jumps in front of him and cheerfully tells him good morning. She excitedly jumps around him and tells him that she was ready for her first lesson. Kovu looks at the waterhole and sees that Simba is gone. He growls to himself as they walk away, frustrated that his first attempt to kill the king has failed.

While tirelessly training Kiara, Kovu waits in the grass for her to pounce on him by surprise. He rolls his eyes and counts to three. He then ducks and Kiara leaps full over his evasion, landing on the ground a few feet away. Kovu steps toward her and looks down at her. Embarrassed, she asks if he had heard her, to which Kovu replies, "Only.... a lot." He then tells her that she was breathing too hard; he urges her to feel the earth beneath her paws, so it wouldn't shift beneath her. Kovu then decides to show her an example. He sees a flock of birds alight on a nearby hillside and runs up the side of the hill. He roars and unintentionally pounces on Timon, who cries out in fear and begs Kovu not to eat him.

Kovu and Kiara accidentally kiss while hiding from a herd of rhinoceroses

Kiara rushes up after Kovu and asks Timon what he's doing. Timon is relieved to see her and explains that he was not following her for once. He tells the lions that the birds were eating all their grubs, and gestures to the numerous birds poking at the ground.

He asks Kovu to lend a voice, but the Outsider doesn't understand. Kiara shows him what Timon means by roaring at the birds, scattering them into the sky. Kovu tries, and together, the two lions follow Timon and Pumbaa down the hillside, scattering birds in all directions. Kovu is still confused and he asks Kiara what the point of this training was. Kiara laughs and tells him that it was just for fun. Kovu is flustered, but Kiara's laughing and Timon and Pumbaa's whooping eventually bring him out of his shell and he says, "Yee-haw!" and yells right alongside them.

Kovu bonds with Kiara over finding pictures in the stars

Suddenly, the group accidentally runs into a rhinoceros herd, with the birds sitting atop the creatures' horns. The rhinoceroses snort loudly and Kovu and his new friends race back the way they came, with the rhinos in hot pursuit. The foursome manages to squeeze into a crevice and the herd of rhinos shoot past. They all laugh uncontrollably and even Kovu seems to be having fun.

As they're struggling to get out, Kiara and Kovu accidentally touch muzzles. They are both a bit flustered and smile in embarrassment, but it is perceived that the two secretly enjoyed the tense moment. All the friends climb out of the crevice and begin making their way out of the gorge.

Kovu realizes his blossoming love for Kiara during the musical sequence "Upendi"

That night, Kiara and Kovu are lying on the grass, gazing up at the stars. They try to decipher pictures in the stars, Kiara spots a baby rabbit and Kovu sees two battling lions. Kiara grimaces, but Kovu laughs and admits that he's never done this before. Kiara is surprised and tells Kovu that she used to do it all the time with her father, who told her that the "great kings of the past" looked down on them from the stars. Kovu wonders if Scar is up there, but Kiara doesn't answer.

Troubled, Kovu tells her that, even though Scar wasn't his father, he was still a part of him. Kiara tells Kovu that Simba had said there was a darkness in Scar that he couldn't escape. Kovu quietly wonders if that darkness was in him, too. Kiara doesn't answer, but puts her paw on Kovu's and they nuzzle. Simba and Nala watch them from a nearby hillside, and Simba seeks counsel with the great kings. He is hesitant to trust Kovu, especially around his daughter, but Nala urges him to give the Outsider a chance.

Simba offers Kovu a night's lodging in the den

Kovu then pulls away from Kiara and she asks what's wrong. Kovu starts to tell her his part in Zira's plan, but decides against it and starts to walk away again. Kiara softly urges him to stay and Kovu hesitates, then starts to leave again. But Rafiki suddenly appears out of the grass and asks where he thought he was going. Kovu is flustered and replies, "Nowhere." Rafiki laughs and says, "That's what you think." He then disappears into the grass and Kovu searches frantically for him. He then asks who that was, and Kiara laughs nervously and explains Rafiki as "a friend of the family." Rafiki then appears on Kovu's back.

The baboon slips off him and pulls his tail, telling him that "Rafiki knows the way." Kovu asks, "The way to where?" And Rafiki tells him that if he'd follow, he'd see. The baboon then springs away and Kiara follows after him, giggling. Kovu runs after her and Rafiki sings, "Upendi" to the young lions, encouraging them to like each other more. They sing to themselves afterward as they make their way back to Pride Rock. But as they reach the caves, they remember that Kovu isn't allowed inside.

Kovu resolves to tell Kiara of his feelings for her

They part and Kovu makes his way back to the rocks. But Simba, seeing Kovu happy after his night with Kiara, invites the young Outsider to come into the cave with him. As Kovu follows the king into the caves, Vitani watches him eagerly, waiting for him to attack Simba. But when the alleged attack never comes, Vitani runs back to the Outlands and reports all she's seen to Zira, who roars and growls angrily that Kovu could not betray them.[1]

Zira's ambush

Okay, I have to tell her today. Oh, where do I start? 'Kiara, Zira had a plot, and...I was part of it. But I don't wanna be, because...It's because I love you.'
―Kovu talks to himself about his love for Kiara[src]

The next morning, Kovu resolves to talk to Kiara and confess his true reasons for coming to the Pride Lands. He wants to tell her that he has abandoned the plot because he loves her. However, before he can do so, Simba appears out of the caves and informs Kovu that he wants to talk to him. The king leads Kovu out of Pride Rock and takes him out to a fire-ravaged section of the Pride Lands, still suffering from Scar's long-ago rule.

Simba tells Kovu the true story of Scar in an attempt to reconcile with him

As they walk, Simba explains to Kovu that Scar couldn't let go of his hate, and in the end, it destroyed him. Kovu admits that he'd never heard the story of Scar that way and that he really was a killer. Simba adds that fire was a killer, too, but then says that things "left behind can grow better than the generation before, if given the chance."

At that moment, there is an evil cackle and Simba and Kovu immediately look up to see the Outsiders surrounding them. As Kovu realizes that he has inadvertently completed the plot he'd formerly abandoned, he begins to panic. After taunting Simba, Zira congratulates Kovu on a job well done. Simba accusingly turns on Kovu for setting him up, but the young lion pleads his innocence and tells Simba that he'd had nothing to do with the ambush. Ignoring the exchange between Kovu and Simba, Zira orders her pride to attack. Kovu shouts in protest, but too late, the lionesses attack Simba. Kovu attempts to save him, but is knocked aside by Vitani. He hits his head on a rock and passes into unconsciousness.

Kovu attempts to defend Simba from the Outsiders

Simba flees from the Outsiders and falls into a gorge where a log dam is holding back the river. He climbs up the log pile to reach safety and Kovu appears on a ledge above him. Zira orders her son to attack, but he turns away and races back down the gorge. Nuka, wanting to impress his mother, takes Kovu's place in killing Simba. He climbs up the log dam and manages to grab Simba's ankle. But the logs dislodge and Nuka falls backward. Simba climbs for safety and more logs are dislodged, promptly falling down the pile and crushing Nuka.

Kovu races down into the gorge and begins clawing through the logs, trying to reach his wounded brother. But Zira pushes him aside and finishes digging through the logs until she sees Nuka buried beneath them. After a hushed conversation between the two of them, he dies. She sends a desperate prayer to Scar, asking him to watch over Nuka, then turns accusingly on Kovu. He looks up in shock just as she swings her paw forward and rakes her claws across his face. He cries out in pain, then looks up at her angrily with a fresh scar across his left eye. Zira snarls at him, demanding to know what he'd done.

Kovu defies Zira, resulting in his expulsion from her pride

After a moment's consideration, Kovu says that he's done nothing and Zira says, "Exactly. And in doing so, you betrayed your pride.... betrayed Scar!" Kovu shouts that he wants nothing more to do with him, but Zira says that he cannot escape it. She then accuses him of killing his brother, Nuka. Zira made the comparison between Scar and Kovu in this way with the killing of their own brothers. In anger of being constantly reminded of his and Scar's similarities, as well as grief and guilt over the loss of his brother, Kovu runs away.[1]

Exile from the Pride Lands

Kovu returns to the Pride Lands, but is not greeted warmly. An enraged Simba demands to know why he has come back, and Kovu starts to say that he had nothing to do with the attack, but Simba interrupts him, telling him that he didn't belong in the Pride Lands. Kovu asks for Simba's forgiveness and Kiara begs her father to comply. But Simba ignores them both and reminds Kovu that when the Outsider had first come to the Pride Lands, he had asked for judgment. Simba states that he will pass it now and promptly exiles Kovu. The animals of the Pride Lands sing "Not One of Us" as they drive Kovu away from Pride Rock.

Kovu flees after Simba exiles him from the Pride Lands

Distraught, Kiara ignores Simba's orders to not leave Pride Rock unescorted and runs away to find Kovu. But when she is unable to find him, she begins to mourn and sing "Love Will Find a Way." But in the midst of the song, Kovu finds her and they reunite. They laugh together and lie down next to a pool. Kovu looks at their reflection, which has merged through the ripples, and says to her, "Look. We are one." He smiles at her and she smiles back, then realizes what Kovu has just said and looks shocked.

Kovu leaps away from the pool and announces that they should run away together and start a pride of their own. Kiara smiles affectionately and reminds him that they had to go back. Kovu thinks she's kidding and reminds her that they were finally together. She tells him that their place was with their pride and that if they left, their families would be divided forever. Kovu doesn't seem entirely convinced, but agrees to return with her.

Kovu is reunited with Kiara

The battle of the prides begins, and Kovu and Kiara race back to stop their battling families. They run down an embankment covered with fallen logs; Kovu nearly slips, but catches onto one of the logs and jumps to safety. The logs begin shifting. The battle continues until Simba and Zira start a showdown. But just as they raise their paws to inflict a blow, Kovu and Kiara jump in front of their parents. Zira orders Kovu to move, but he says to his mother that he would never let her hurt Kiara or Simba; at least not while he's there to stop her.

Kovu defends Kiara and Simba from Zira

Kiara then convinces her father to accept the Outsiders as "one" with the Pride Landers. After Simba sees the wisdom in his daughter's words, he complies. The Outsiders, realizing that there's a better way, abandon Zira and walk across the battlefield to join Simba's pride. But Zira, unable (and not wanting to) to let go of her hate, attacks Simba in a last resort to avenge Scar, but Kiara leaps in her father's way to protect him and both lionesses go rolling into the gorge, where the logs have dislodged and a raging river is now flowing. Kiara manages to find a ledge to cling onto, but Zira is less fortunate. After refusing help from Kiara, the conflicted leader of the Outsiders falls into the river where she is killed in the floodwaters below. Kovu sighs sadly as he watches his mother disappear beneath the current.[1]

Marriage to Kiara

Simba finally accepts Kovu as one of the pride

Kiara then climbs back out of the gorge with help from her father. Kovu embraces her and the two reunite affectionately. King Simba watches his daughter embrace the Outsider, and tells Kovu that he had been wrong: Kovu did belong with the pride. The two prides then join together and go back to Pride Rock as one. They gather on Pride Rock, where Rafiki shakes his stick over top Kiara and Kovu's head, blessing their union and hinting that they are now mates.

King Simba and Queen Nala lead the procession through the pride, who are lined up along Pride Rock with bowed heads; Kiara and Kovu follow behind them. Both couples make their way to the tip of Pride Rock; first, Simba roars, then Kovu. Finally, all four roar together while the rest of the pride roars in answer.[1]

Battle of the Lion Guards

Jasiri warns Kion that Zira is invading the Pride Lands with the help of her full-grown children, Kovu and Vitani. When the Lion Guard arrives in the Outlands, Anga sees Kovu standing at the edge of Pride Rock. He and Kiara then go to the Outlands and stop the Lion Guard before Kion can use his Roar on Vitani and her lionesses. Kovu reveals that Zira had died. Later, at the Pride Rock, he and Kiara explain how Zira's pride and Simba's pride had merged into one. After the misunderstanding is cleared, Kovu spends the rest of the day with the royal family.[3]

Kion's wedding

Later, together with the royal family and several animals from the Pride Lands and the Tree of Life, Kovu attends Kion's coronation and wedding to Rani at the Tree of Life.[4]

Physical appearance

As a cub, Kovu's fur is auburn, and his muzzle, paws, and underbelly are creamy brown. He sports a dark brown head tuft and tufts of fur on his elbow joints. His dark eye shades mirror those of his siblings, and he has emerald green eyes.

As a young adult, Kovu is large and powerfully built, having undergone intense training under his mother, Zira. He has a dark brown mane. He later acquires a scar across his left eye.[1]

Personality and traits

Kovu: Why are we doing this? What's the point of this training?
Kiara: Training? This is just for fun!
Kovu: Fun...?
Kiara and Kovu[src]

A young Kovu boasts to Kiara, showing his cocky side

Having grown up under the care of the scheming Zira, Kovu is aggressive and crude, even as a cub. Upon first meeting Kiara, his first reaction is to snarl a challenge, and the only game he appears to understand is play-fighting. His violent tendencies are reinforced by a knack for taking care of himself, as he is physically fit and an able hunter, two features that make way for his more arrogant and cocky side. However, while aggressive, Kovu actually prefers to settle things peacefully rather than by force.[1]

Even as a cub, Kovu strives to please and takes no shame in showing off to the more innocent Kiara. However, when faced by his mother, Kovu is submissive and prone to showing his softer side, exposing a desire to befriend and treat kindly the new cub he has just met. Despite this, Kovu shows a great amount of bravery as a cub. Rather than abandon Kiara to the crocodiles, Kovu risks his life to distract the crocodiles and thus allow Kiara to escape. His bravery is shown again when he defends his brother Nuka by taking the blame for his failure to watch him. After his first meeting with Kiara, Kovu is shown to be less crude, as he reacts calmly when he first meets Kion, despite the tense situation. Unlike his pride and lions in general, Kovu doesn't seem to hold hyenas in contempt, not minding Jasiri's presence and protecting her from his brother.[2]

An older Kovu is schooled by Zira, showing his malicious nature

This softer side is beaten down by Zira as he grows older, though it does not entirely disappear. As a young adult, Kovu retains his arrogance, though his skills have taken a deadly turn, sharpened by his growth into a skilled hunter and killer. He remains violent, but his temper appears to have improved, as he tends to be more patient with Kiara, though no kinder than before. His attempts to kill Simba are slick, and he proves himself to be a good actor by tricking Simba's entire pride into believing that he's changed for the better, despite Simba detecting malicious intent early on.

An older Kovu, reflecting his more gentle and kind nature

After meeting Kiara again as a young adult, Kovu begins to cave to his inner good, proving himself to enjoy laughter and good times. His dark side occasionally slips in, as seen when he can only pinpoint violent pictures among the stars, and his ties to Scar and his mother continuously bog him down. He does ultimately choose to betray his pride, revealing that even years of evil and violence cannot destroy the kindness in his heart. He becomes gentler with and more respectful of Kiara, no longer mocking her for that which she cannot do. Having shown his good side, Kovu matures into a character who is always willing to do the right thing, even if it means disappointing those he loves. Despite having betrayed them, Kovu still continues to love his family. This is shown when, despite Nuka's resentment and jealousy toward him, Kovu still loves his brother unconditionally and is greatly devasted by his death. He also mourns for Zira when she falls to her death, despite their bitter estrangement.

As an adolescent, Kovu maintains his bravery from cubhood. This is shown when he angrily stands up to his mother after Nuka's death, something he wasn't capable of doing as a cub. During his trial, though he is visibly frightened of its outcome, he nonetheless accepts his punishment without complaint. In addition to his bravery, Kovu, unlike his vengeful mother, has also been shown to be very forgiving. Despite his horrible treatment and unjustified exile, Kovu bears no grudge against Simba and humbly accepts his apology. His forgiving side is shown again when he makes amends with his sister Vitani and reestablishes the strong bond between them.[1]




  • Kovu's name means "scar" in Swahili.[8]
  • Like the other Outsiders, young adult Kovu's claws are initially extended at all times. However, after he forms a bond with Kiara, his claws retract. Likewise, the other Outsiders retract their claws after Simba welcomes them back to Pride Rock.[1]
  • In the Proud of Simba's Pride documentary, Kovu is described as a "teenage killer." This indicates that his older self is meant to be the equivalent of someone in their teens.[10]

In development

  • Kovu was originally scripted as Scar's son, but after realizing the incestuous undertones his romance with Kiara would have, it was scrapped and clarified in the film that he had no biological relation to Scar.[11]
  • Kovu's mane was originally going to be slicker and black, and his eyes were going to be bright green to match those of his intended father, Scar. These were later changed, along with his relation to Scar.[12]
  • There is a deleted scene where Kovu first catches a bug, then allows it to fly away. Zira then kills the bug herself and expresses outrage at her son's mercy.[13] Simba's Pride director Darrell Rooney clarified that this scene was deleted for pacing reasons and to keep focus on the main storyline.[14]
  • According to Variety, Kovu was originally going to be named Nunka. He was to be voiced by Andy Dick, who ended up voicing Kovu's older brother, Nuka.[15]


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 Revealed in Disney's The Lion King II: Simba's Pride (1998). Written by Flip Kobler and Cindy Marcus, and directed by Rob LaDuca and Darrell Rooney. Distributed by Buena Vista Home Entertainment, Inc.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Revealed in "Lions of the Outlands" from Disney Junior's The Lion Guard. No. 20, Season 1. Written by Kevin Hopps, John Loy, and Ford Riley, and directed by Howy Parkins. Originally aired November 11, 2016.
  3. Revealed in "Journey to the Pride Lands" from Disney Junior's The Lion Guard. No. 18, Season 3. Written by Kendall Michele Haney, John Loy, Kent Redeker, and Ford Riley, and directed by Howy Parkins and Ford Riley. Originally aired November 2, 2019.
  4. Revealed in "Return to the Pride Lands" from Disney Junior's The Lion Guard. No. 19, Season 3. Written by Kendall Michele Haney and Ford Riley, and directed by Tom De Rosier and Howy Parkins. Originally aired November 3, 2019.
  5. Ryan O'Donohue. IMDb. IMDb.com, Inc. Retrieved on September 15, 2020.
  6. Gene Miller. IMDb. IMDb.com, Inc. Retrieved on September 15, 2020.
  7. Jason Marsden. IMDb. IMDb.com, Inc. Retrieved on September 15, 2020.
  8. Online Swahili - English Dictionary. African Languages. Retrieved on September 15, 2020.
  9. Andrew Collins. IMDb. IMDb.com, Inc. Retrieved on September 15, 2020.
  10. YouTube favicon.png Proud of Simba's Pride (The Lion King II) on the Ciné-DOCS YouTube channel
  11. Wwww.png
  12. KiaraKovuConcept.png
  13. YouTube favicon.png The Lion King 2 - Deleted Scene's on the AndsterThePancer YouTube channel
  14. Rooney questions.png
  15. Fleming, Mike (December 4, 1996). ‘Blackout’ awakens at Miramax; Hammer hit. Variety. Retrieved on August 28, 2014.
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