January 1990 version
Nala and Simba are watching the lionesses, including Naanda, hunt down a zebra. Much later, when Simba and Nala are adolescents, Naanda is implied to be hunting with the lionesses. Later on, she and Diku report to their king, Mufasa, that an intruder has attacked Sarabi. The intruder is discovered to be Scar, a rogue lion. After being convinced by the hyena Banagi to take over Mufasa's pride, Scar and the hyenas march to Pride Rock, where they overwhelm and kill Mufasa while the lionesses look on helplessly.
During Scar's reign, Sarabi tries to attack Bangai, but Naanda calms her down. Later, Scar attempts to take Nala as his mate, but Naanda advises Nala to not accept his offer. However, Nala suggests that she get close to Scar in order to make him understand that he needs to get rid of the hyenas. Horrified, Naanda scolds her daughter and tries to discourage her. Soon, the lionesses relocate to the bottom of Pride Rock, where Nala questions her mother as to why they cannot run away. Naanda replies that this territory has belonged to their ancestors for many ages.
When Simba returns and defeats Scar, the lionesses look down on Banagi and Baasho before Simba decides to banish them to the desert. Finally, Simba marries Nala and thus becomes Naanda's son-in-law. Naanda becomes a grandmother when it is revealed that the new couple have a son.
May 1990 version
Naanda watches alongside the rest of her pride as Mufasa struggles to take down a fire. When all options fail, Mufasa gives a signal to Sarabi to run, and the animals of the kingdom flee. Later, when Simba and Nala are adolescents, Naanda is implied to be hunting with the lionesses. Soon after, Naanda and the lionesses gather to see Mufasa challenge Scar in a duel at the fire tree bridge. After Mufasa loses and dies, Scar and the hyenas ascend to power, while Simba flees the kingdom. When Baasho returns to the pride with part of Simba's tail to confirm his "death," Sarabi angrily tries to attack him, but Scar prevents it. Naanda calms down her sister and leaves. At the bottom of Pride Rock, Nala complains about why the lionesses continue to tolerate Scar and the hyenas, and asks why they do not run away. Naanda replies that there is nowhere to go, as all of the surrounding territories are occupied by rogues and other prides.
At a water hole, the lionesses gather around Nala, with Diku and Dwala congratulating on her stance against Scar. On the contrary, Sarabi does not. Naanda states that there is little to do but to stay together while tolerating Scar and the hyenas. Nala disagrees with this, urging them to find an ally to defeat him, but Naanda still disagrees. When Banagi escorts Nala back to Pride Rock, Nala tries to distract the hyenas by starting an argument with Sarabi. Naanda asks what is wrong with her, and Nala orders her to stay out of the fight, leaving Naanda perplexed and angry. After Simba returns and defeats Scar and the hyenas, the lionesses look on emotionally. Finally, Naanda stretches out across the kopje alongside her sisters and daughter, now fully healthy again.
Naanda is a lithe, sleek, and powerful lioness. Her colors seem to mimic that of her sister's, as both lionesses have a rich pelt of tawny-golden fur.
Personality and traits
Naanda is portrayed as a more level-headed character than Sarabi in the two versions of the script. In the January 1990 draft, she manages to calm Sarabi down when the latter tries to attack Scar in blind anger, and does the same in the May 1990 draft when Sarabi comes close to attacking Banagi.
As a mother, Naanda is caring and maternal. She plays with Nala during her cubhood, and once Nala matures, Naanda grows deeply concerned for her daughter's safety, especially after Nala decides to pretend to be in love with Scar. After Scar kills Mufasa in the May 1990 draft, Naanda stops Nala from running to Simba's aid when he tries to attack the hyenas.
Like her sisters, Naanda seems to be passive and doesn't stand up for herself when Scar takes over the pride, evident when she discourages her daughter's suggestion to find an ally to defeat Scar and the hyenas. She also seems very loyal to her homeland, as she refuses to leave it despite the harassment from the hyenas.
- Mufasa is heavily implied to be Naanda's mate and thus Nala's father. Since Naanda is Sarabi's younger sister, Simba and Nala are half-siblings as well as first cousins.
- In the final draft, Naanda is replaced with a character named Sarafina.