Adult Nuka ID TLK2.png

Teen Nuka.png

Physical information




Hair color

Black, brown, and cream

Eye color


Distinguishing features

   Bearded chin
   Scraggly mane and whiskers
   Tufted elbows

Biographical information



   Pride Lands (formerly)


   Pride Landers (formerly)
   Simba's pride (formerly)

Relationship information

Zira (mother)
Kovu (brother)
Vitani (sister)
Kiara (sister-in-law)



I could be a leader if she'd just give me a chance!
―Nuka on his mother, Zira[src]

Nuka is a male lion. He is the son of Zira, and the elder brother of Vitani and Kovu. He is a member of the Outsiders.

When Nuka was young, Scar chose Kovu to be his heir despite Nuka being the eldest of Zira's cubs. This caused Nuka to resent Kovu and constantly vie for Zira's attention. Following Scar's death, Nuka and his family were exiled from the Pride Lands by Scar's nephew Simba due to their loyalty to Scar.

Nuka grew up in exile with his family. As an adult, he assisted Zira with her plot to assassinate Simba by trapping his daughter, Kiara, in a fire. Kovu used the fire to save Kiara and earn Simba's trust. Later, Nuka attempted to kill Simba himself, but got crushed by falling logs and died in Zira's paws.



If Kovu's so special, why does he need us? I never even had a chance!

Nuka was born to Zira during Scar's reign. Despite being the eldest, he was overlooked in favor of Kovu, Nuka's younger brother, who was hand-picked by Scar to be the heir to the throne of Pride Rock. Shortly after Kovu's birth, Scar was killed, and Nuka and his family were banished from the Pride Lands by its new king, Scar's nephew Simba, due to their lingering loyalty to Scar.

The Lion King II: Simba's Pride


I should've been the chosen one. I'm the oldest, I'm the strongest, I'm the smartest...

Nuka expresses his irritation with Kovu to Vitani

Nuka makes his first appearance as an adolescent, muttering angrily to himself about how Kovu is the chosen one despite not being Scar's biological son. Catching sight of his sister, Vitani, he asks her where their younger brother is and interrupts her battle with a dry root by cutting it in half with his claw.

As Nuka laughs, Vitani accusingly asks Nuka the same question, to which Nuka replies that it's every lion for himself in the Outlands and that Kovu needs to learn to be on his own. Vitani threatens to tell their mother, as Zira had instructed Nuka to watch over Kovu, but Nuka shrugs off her threat, since he should have been the chosen one, as he's the "oldest," the "strongest," and the "smartest." He goes on to say that he would make a good leader if Zira would just give him a chance. Vitani doubts her brother's words but then teasingly informs him of Zira's arrival.

Nuka is scolded by Zira for letting Kovu wander off

Seeing his mother, Nuka becomes nervous and informs Zira that he's caught her field mice for dinner. When he is ignored, he deflates but follows her anyway, only to be yelled at when she tells Nuka that he was supposed to be watching Kovu.

Seeing his brother in trouble, Kovu takes the blame, only to accidentally give his mother a plan to get revenge on Simba. When Zira compliments Kovu for thinking like Scar, Nuka reacts with disgust. Angry, Zira whips around and snarls at him, and the young lion laughs nervously, allowing Zira's glare to linger a bit longer before she gathers up Kovu and carries him into the termite mound. As his mother and brother leave, Nuka once more mutters angrily about Kovu being the chosen one.

Nuka reluctantly takes part in anticipating Kovu's future overthrow of Simba

Shortly after his mother and brother disappear into the termite mound, Nuka participates in "My Lullaby," enthusiastically singing about bringing harm to the royal family of the Pride Lands. When Zira goes on to praise Kovu, Nuka becomes lethargic and jealous again. At one point, he is forced to sing his brother a lullaby, but he instead forces a sarcastic song of his own. Vitani is angered by this and kicks Nuka away from Kovu. Later on, when Nuka and Vitani sing together, Nuka is seen holding a homemade flag, reluctantly waving it in honor of Kovu. This is the last time Nuka is seen as an adolescent.


Oh...oh... D-d-did you see that?! He let her go! If that were me-
―Nuka compares himself to Kovu[src]

Nuka helps set the Pride Lands alight as part of Zira's plan

Years later, Nuka has grown into an adult. Kiara, now a young adult herself, starts her first hunt, during which Nuka and Vitani pay a visit to the Elephant Graveyard. Nuka reacts with disgust to the hazy environment, but Vitani dismisses his behavior as fear.

Denying her, Nuka laments not having the chance to be the chosen one, wondering why Kovu needs their help if he is so special. In the middle of his rant, a geyser erupts, frightening him, and he races toward Vitani, who rolls her eyes at his immature behavior.

Nuka leads his mother's attack against Simba

The two sticks they bring are ignited by the geysers, and turned into torches. Vitani picks hers up, and Nuka does the same, getting his face singed by the geyser along with the stick. He and his sister then intrude the Pride Lands, spot Kiara, and proceed to set the plains alight. Nuka ends up making a ring of fire around himself and jumps high to escape it, laughing at his own foolishness. Seeing nothing funny about their situation, Vitani drags him away.

After the plan is a success, with Simba accepting Kovu into the Pride Lands, Nuka and his mother observe Kovu's process from a distance. Nuka is displeased at Kovu for not attacking Kiara and complains about this to Zira, who hushes him and assures him that everything is going according to plan. Not long after this, Nuka joins his mother's ambush, being the first to confront Simba, only to get whacked away.

Having been crushed by logs, Nuka dies in his mother's paws

When the Outsiders swarm the king, he tackles Simba alongside his pride and chases the king through the gorge. Simba tries to escape up an unstable dam, and when Kovu refuses to kill Simba, Nuka sees his chance to do better than his brother. Yelling for his mother's attention, he goes after Simba alone and succeeds in grabbing the king's ankle. No sooner has Nuka thought himself victorious when a weak log gives way under his paw, and he slips.

Simba clambers safely onto a nearby cliff at the top of the dam, causing more logs to go down the pile and onto Nuka, crushing him. In a panic, Kovu descends, throwing the clutter out of the way in an attempt to save his brother, but he is pushed aside by Zira, who digs madly for her son. She is too late, and after Nuka gains the affection that he's always desired from his mother, he dies in her paw. Angered, Zira scratches Kovu across the face, giving him a facial wound identical to Scar's, and accuses him of having caused Nuka's death. Kovu flees in horror, and Zira declares war on Simba's pride as an act of revenge.

The Lion Guard

"Lions of the Outlands"

It should be three against one! What kind of lion are you? Siding with a hyena!
―Nuka criticizes Kion for helping Jasiri[src]

Nuka attempts to drive Jasiri away from the watering hole

When Nuka and his family drive a clan of hyenas from their watering hole, one of the hyenas, Jasiri, goes to her friend Kion for help. Together, Kion and Jasiri enter the Outlands, where Jasiri is attacked by Nuka, who reprimands her for returning to the watering hole. Kion fends off Nuka to protect Jasiri, which draws the attention of Nuka's younger brother, Kovu. Seeing his brother, Nuka declares that the fight has turned in his favor, but Jasiri steps up to Kion's side and retorts that they're even.

Nuka agrees to take Kion and Jasiri to his mother, Zira

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. Kovu points out that Kion must first speak with their mother, Zira, and Kion and Jasiri agree to visit the watering hole.

Once there, Nuka announces Kion as Simba's son, and Zira introduces herself and her daughter, Vitani. Eventually, Kion and Zira move off to talk about the Roar of the Elders, and Nuka is left to wait with Kovu, Vitani, and Jasiri. While waiting, Nuka gets impatient and tries to attack Jasiri, but is fended off by Kovu. Nuka tries to shove past Kovu, but is called off by a newly arrived Zira and pretends that he had simply been "playing nice" with Jasiri.

Nuka questions their new surroundings

Zira leads her cubs to where she has surrounded Kion with her lionesses. Nuka wonders if they should fear the Roar of the Elders, but Zira explains that Kion cannot attack other lions without losing the Roar forever. Just then, the Lion Guard attacks and corners Nuka and his pride against a wall. Zira attempts one last time to convince Kion that he will lose his power if he uses it against lions, but he roars anyway and sends the Outsiders flying. The pride lands in a termite mound, and Nuka asks where they are. Zira replies angrily that they are in their new home.

"Cave of Secrets"

Nuka is seen in a painting during the "Wisdom on the Walls" musical sequence.

Physical appearance

Nuka shares the same darker coloration as the other Outsiders. He has brown fur and a black mane, and keeps his front claws unsheathed, a trait shared by all the Outsiders. Despite being older than Kovu, his mane does not grow in as thickly, but darker and more scraggly. He has black elbow tufts and a goatee.

Personality and traits

This is my moment of glory!
―Nuka as he restrains Simba[src]

As an adolescent, Nuka is shown to be an unappreciated bully whose only concern is to be loved and recognized by his mother. He is constantly picking on his siblings. Rejection seems to take a heavy toll on the young lion, making him resentful of his brother for being the chosen one and downgrading of his mother behind her back. Perhaps because his accomplishments go unrecognized, Nuka feels the need to be powerful, taking great pleasure in bullying his younger siblings and boasting about his own capabilities to their faces. However, if he finds himself being cornered, he won't show any shame in asking his brother for help.

Nuka attacks Simba, reflecting his tenacious and vicious nature

Because of his arrogance, Nuka is irresponsible and detached from his siblings, leaving Kovu to brave the Outlands alone despite the cub being Nuka's responsibility. Nuka is also shown to be neurotic and easily angered, losing his temper over a simple bout of termite itching. His judgment can understandably be called into question when he grows into a young adult, as he initially accuses Kovu of being a traitor without waiting for his mother's explanation. His inner motive, to gain his mother's appreciation and love, often fogs his common sense.

In his final moments, Nuka proves himself to be strong, agile and fast but still unintelligent, impulsive and willing to throw himself into peril for his own selfish gains. Under no instruction from his mother, he pursues Simba alone and attempts to take down the older lion by himself in order to prove to his mother that he can do what Kovu could not. His lack of care for the loose logs he was climbing over results in his ill-planned attempt at gaining Zira's favor ending in his own demise. Nuka begs his mother to realize just how hard he'd tried to please her just before he dies. What he never realized was that his mother did genuinely love him but never showed it, a realization Zira comes to all too late.


Appearance and personality

In early concepts for Nuka, he shared many similarities to Scar. He had the same reddish-brown fur, albeit a bit duskier than Scar's, and he even had uncolored paws in certain concepts. Based on his facial expressions, Nuka wasn't originally the comic relief villain he is in the final film.

The earlier "groomed" Nuka concept

His expressions in most of the concepts are deceptive, sneaky, and scheming. His fur, mane, and whiskers are smooth and elegant, unlike the scruffy, unkempt final version. In another one of his concepts, his groomed look has become more disheveled, but he is still in better shape than the final Nuka. He retains the devious look, though it seems more dopey than the first. In this picture, his mane doesn't extend down the length of his neck, staying only at his head. This could mean that he was the same age as teenage Simba in the original film. His last two concepts are more reminiscent of the final Nuka. His deviousness has been completely taken away and replaced by stupidity. However, both concepts have Nuka with uncolored paws.



  • Nuka is voiced by Andy Dick.[1]
  • Nuka's name means "smell (bad), stink" in Swahili.[2]
  • Since Simba's Pride is adapted from Romeo & Juliet, Nuka is most likely based on Tybalt in that he is Kovu's rival in the same way that Tybalt is Romeo's, and their deaths heighten the tensions in their respective stories.
  • Flip Kobler, the co-writer of The Lion King II: Simba's Pride, has stated that Nuka is Scar's biological son.[3] In another statement, he elaborated that Nuka, Vitani, and Kovu were originally Scar's children in the shooting script, but when the incest controversy concerning Kiara and Kovu arose, Kovu's relationship was changed, and he could not speak for Disney concerning Nuka and Vitani's relationship with Scar.[4] Director Darrell Rooney has stated that Zira's relationship with Scar was obscured to make her "just a follower," which would suggest Nuka is unrelated to Scar.[5]
  • Nuka is not mentioned or referenced in "Return to the Pride Lands", nor is he included in the cave paintings that detail what transpired between the Outsiders and the Pride Landers.[6]

In development

  • Nuka was originally designed to be heavier in build, but when Andy Dick was cast, his design was changed to fit Dick's voice characterization.[3]
  • The scene where Nuka dies was originally longer. As Nuka lies crushed beneath the logs, Zira cradles his head gently with a paw. Pleased with her affection, Nuka manages to say, "Well, I finally got your attention, didn't I?" Zira smiles at him as he croaks another, "Didn't I...?" before he finally dies.[7]


  1. Andy Dick. IMDb., Inc. Retrieved on September 23, 2020.
  2. Online Swahili - English Dictionary. African Languages. Retrieved on September 23, 2020.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Flip Kobler.png
  4. Koplerfacebook.png
  5. Wwww.png
  6. 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.
  7. YouTube favicon.png Nuka Dies (The Version Never Seen) on the pepelepew2006 YouTube channel

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.