The Lion King II: Simba's Pride (partially found production material and deleted scenes of Disney animated sequel film; 1995-1998)

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The final film's title card.

Status: Partially Found

The Lion King II: Simba's Pride also stylized as The Lion King 2: Simba's Pride is a direct-to-video sequel to the 1994 film The Lion King made by Disney. Widely considered by many to be one of the best Disney direct-to-video sequels, it underwent many changes before its release in 1998.

Early Production

Discussion began about the possibility of a direct-to-video sequel to The Lion King before the first film even hit theaters. According to some concept art of Kiara, production of the sequel dates back to January 26th, 1995, roughly seven months after the original film’s release. Around that time, the sequel was originally titled Return to Pride Rock.[1]

Early drafts of the film in mid-to-late 1995 saw Simba having two cubs: Chaka and Shani, who would later go onto be Kiara. Eventually Chaka was cut from the film for unknown reasons, and in later drafts, Simba would only have Shani as his child.[2]

One 1995 script envisioned Nala singing a lullaby to Shani, whilst Simba hides his disappointment of not having a son. Later on, we would see an older Shani reject a fleet of suitors coming her way much to Simba’s frustration, although this concept would later be dropped from the film, as Kiara is not said to have any betrothals.

Many early treatments saw Kovu as the orphaned son of the villainous Scar falling in love with the daughter of Simba. According to production notes of the film dated back in October of 1995, the film’s antagonist would have been Brutus, a rogue elephant who plans to take over the Pride Lands. Working alongside the hyenas in the original film, they would use Scar’s son as a puppet ruler to fight Simba in order to take control. He would also have worked along side one of Shani’s male suitors, tentatively dubbed Lion X, who, seeing the attraction between Kovu and Shani, would kidnap Shani in the Elephant Graveyard to use as a bargaining chip against the Kovu.

Later drafts in 1996 saw Kovu being raised in exile by his aunt Bianca, an early iteration of Zira. Bianca would have teamed up with Shenzi, Banzai, Ed, and their clan to take revenge on Simba by targeting him and his daughter.[3] One iteration would have shown Kovu abandoning Bianca to make a commitment to Shani whilst another would show the hyena trio discovering Kovu and Shani’s romance and revealing Bianca’s ulterior motives.

Another iteration has Simba’s treatment of Kovu be considerably kinder than it was in the final film. In the latest known early draft, the climax of the film would’ve seen Bianca leading an army of hyenas into the Pride Lands, where they attack and overwhelm Simba.

One 1996 script shows Kovu and Aisha, then named another early name for Kiara, playing tag in a crystal cave with similar dialog to the final version, minus Kovu suggesting to run away and "start a pride" [4]

Several scenes and characters in the early drafts were cut. For instance, Binti, a love interest for Zazu who would have married him and reared eight chicks by the end of the film. There was also concept artwork of two mandrills, Claw and Fang, whose roles were unknown.[5]

There had also been a dream-sequence in which Simba communicated with his father, Mufasa to lament his daughter’s relationship with Kovu. Mufasa would warn Simba to let go of his shadows, lest he let his family and the Circle of Life crumble. James Earl Jones, the voice actor for Mufasa was shown recording lines for this deleted scene in the Proud of Simba’s Pride documentary. "You have let your family break apart, and in doing so, you have broken the Circle of Life."

A 1996 Variety article describes Cheech Marin, the voice actor for Banzai in the original film, reprising his role for Banzai in the sequel. It is unknown if Whoopi Goldberg and Jim Cummings would have returned as Shenzi and Ed respectively.[6] The hyenas would ultimately be cut from the film and replaced with Outsider lions.

Bianca would later be renamed Zira, presumably due to the name Bianca lacking Swahili origins, and would be changed to Kovu’s mother rather than his aunt.

Later on that year, Darrell Rooney and Jeannine Roussel signed up to direct and produce the sequel. At this point, the production had underwent a complete overhaul, shifting the story to that of an adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.

According to Darrell Rooney, Zira was designed to be Scar’s mate, so that their son Kovu would have a claim to rule the pride. In the pitch draft, Kovu was given two blood siblings, Nuka and Vitani, characters who were added into the final draft of the film. Kovu would have seduced Simba’s daughter Kiara so he could get to Simba, only to fall in love with her instead.

Micheal Eisner, the former CEO of Disney, objected to this, pointing out this would have lead to an incestuous relationship between Kiara and Kovu as first-cousins once removed. This idea was scrapped and thus in the final film, it is clarified that Kovu holds no biological relationship with Scar. Additionally, Scar and Zira’s relationship was purposefully obscured, making her just a follower, suggesting that none of Zira’s children are related to Scar.

Concept artwork shows that Kovu was originally intended to inherit many of Scar’s physical traits, such as a sleek black mane, a lanky figure, brownish orange-fur, and green eyes. These features were all dulled once Kovu was no longer to be the son of Scar.

Later Production

In the workprint, Rafiki is seen painting on his tree, commenting on the security of the pride's future. Mufasa then messes up the painting, and Rafiki discovers there's another cub. Rafiki accuses Mufasa of breaking the circle, but he then sees the new cub as trouble.

Unlike the final film, where Kovu is not seen training whatsoever, he is seen training by hunting termites, hunting one and letting it go, seeing it as a harmless creature. Zira then kills the termite, stating Kovu's reluctance to kill as a weakness.

Nuka and Vitani are later seen informing Zira about the Pride Land's new cub, and Zira blames Simba for Scar's death. Nuka requests that as the oldest, he should be king, but Zira snaps at him reminding him that Kovu is the Chosen One, and so will be king.

After Nuka complies with his mother's vision, Zira climbs up on a rock point, gazing out over the Pride Lands, her children following. She marvels at how green and inviting it is, and informs her children that they truly belong there. She makes a vow to Scar that she, and her pride, will reclaim his Kingdom.

The workprint arrangement for "My Lullaby" is unique, with a different instrumental and singer.

Originally Nuka's death scene was longer: when Nuka tells Zira that he has finally received her attention, Zira gives a true loving smile to Nuka, holding his head as he dies.

During Kovu's exile, there was an additional scene during Kovu's judgment. Kiara was also seen crying.

"Not One of Us" had a different instrumental than the final one.

"Love Will Find a Way" also have a different instrumental Kovu, and Kiara were supposed to race each other back.

Originally Zira's death was much darker than the final version, with Zira refusing Kiara's help and deliberately throwing herself into the river. Kovu mourning his mother's death was missing, and so was one of Kiara's lines. There was also a post-credit scene of Timon and Pumbaa eating termites in the Outlands.[7]

Additionally, in the workprint, Kiara is shown having ear rims.


Several photos and scans of scripts have surfaced online, and several scripts have appeared on auction sites in the past, however no script has yet been fully recovered.

However, on January 26th, 2024, a Reddit user on the Lion King subreddit, ShabaTLK revealed he owned a script from 1996, and plans to make several analysis videos in the future.

It is rumored that Nuka's death and Zira's death were finished and shown in theaters or final copies of the film, with multiple people claiming to have seen it or have owned a copy with the scene intact. What remains in the film itself is the scene with Nuka, saying "Didn't I?" and Zira smiling while falling.




Deleted dialogues from the film.

The Workprint.

A fan-made recreation of Zira's death.

A clip of the movie featuring the finalized version of Nuka's death.

A fan-made recreation of Nuka's death.

See Also


Animation (Disney)

Animation (Pixar)


Live Action

Short Films


External Links