Disney / The Lion King II: Simba's Pride


The Lion King II: Simba's Pride is the first sequel to Disney's The Lion King, released in 1998.

Following on from the previous film's epilogue, Simba has assumed kingship of the Pride Lands after Scar's defeat and gained a daughter with Nala, Kiara. As she grows older the princess becomes rebellious towards her father's rules, and falls in love with Kovu, a lion from a banished pride called the Outsiders. The other pride's members were ousted by Simba because they refused to submit to him and continued to follow Scar even in death. Scar's former mate Zira, Kovu's mother, sees her son as the reincarnation of Scar's legacy and plots revenge against Simba through her son's romance with Kiara.

As the previous film was largely a loose adaptation of William Shakespeare's Hamlet, this film is largely a retelling of Romeo and Juliet mixed with elements of Macbeth.

This film provides examples of:

  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: In this case, Zira's claws - they have been shown to claw through solid rock.
  • Accidental Kiss: Between Kiara and Kovu.
  • Accomplice by Inaction: Zira guilt-trips Kovu this way after Nuka dies in the fight with Simba.
    Kovu: I did nothing!
    Zira: Exactly! And in doing so, you betrayed your pride, betrayed Scar!
    Kovu: I want nothing more to do with him!
    Zira: You cannot escape it! Nuka is dead because of you! You've killed your own brother!
    Kovu: NO! *runs off*
  • Alas, Poor Scrappy: In-Universe example. Despite spending most of the movie as their Butt Monkey, Nuka's family and clan are genuinely devastated by his death.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: When Nuka goes after Simba on the dam, whilst proclaiming "I'll do it for YOU MOTHER! — I'll do it for you.. And I'll do it for me!", and he inadvertedly gets dislodged, falls and manages to tell Zira "I'm sorry mother... I... tried..." causing Zira to go from What Have I Done to Never My Fault under three seconds flat.
    • Even more so in the deleted extended version where Nuka bitterly points out that he was only able to get his mother's attention in death.
  • Alone Among the Couples: As Kiara searches unsuccessfully for Kovu, she notices some animal couples spending time together, namely two birds, gazelles, butterflies and two monkeys, shortly before the song "Love will Find a Way".
  • Amazon Brigade: Save for Kovu and Nuka, the Outlanders are comprised entirely of lionesses, and they know how to fight.
  • And This Is For...:
    Zira: This is for you, Scar!
  • Animal Stampede: As Kiara and Kovu chase away a bunch of birds to get some worms for Timon and Pumbaa, they fly towards a herd of rhinos who charge at the heroes. Fortunately nobody gets hurt.
  • Animation Bump: This installment has a visibly lower quality visuals than the original and even the second sequel, though still has a bigger budget than most video sequels prior.
  • Affirmative Action Girl: Fixes a lot of problems from the original film. The main character is Simba's daughter and the villain is female. Zira's daughter Vitani features prominently too, as does Nala. It drops Sarabi and Shenzi but it's quite a step up to have four featured female characters.
  • Arc Words: "We are one."
  • Armor-Piercing Response: After Kovu's exile, Simba insists to Kiara that just as Kovu was chosen to follow in Scar's pawprints, he's following in his own father's, to which Kiara tearfully responds, "You will never be Mufasa!"; Simba is visibly shocked to hear that.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: Kovu delivers an effective one to Simba when he asks to join his pride, one that hits close to home...
    Kovu: ...Or am I to be blamed for a crime I didn't commit?
  • Artistic License – Biology: During "Upendi", Rafiki gives Kiara a passionfruit (and tries to give one to Kovu), which she swallows happily. Real lions are obligate carnivores, though lions have been known to eat watermelon in captivity.
  • Attack! Attack... Retreat! Retreat!: Twice in two different scenarios
    • While on her hunt, Kiara the tries to catch a herd antelope but they get away. Then she sees fire in the distance, and the panicking herd stampeding back in her direction, prompting her to run too.
    • At the climax, Timon tells Pumbaa "When the going gets tough, the tough get going," and they charge into the battle between the Pridelanders and Outlanders. They then chicken out when confronted by an Outlander.
    Timon: Like I said, LET'S GET GOING!
  • Avenging the Villain: Scar's former mate Zira is trying to raise her son Kovu up to kill Simba for killing Scar and become the new king.
  • Ax-Crazy: Nuka, to a point where it becomes disturbing for a lion of his age. He also looks like a psychopath.
  • Award Bait Song: "Love Will Find A Way"
    • Tina Turner's rendition of "He Lives in You" heard at the first half of the end credits is no slouch either.
  • Bait and Switch: Simba pulls a rather deliberate one on his daughter and her new friend.
    Kovu: Kiara... I need to talk to you...
    Simba: Kiara! I don't want you talking with him... (smiles) I want to talk with him.
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: Justified, since the Outlanders are only skinny and sunken-eyed from not getting enough to eat. After being accepted into Simba's pride, they're shown with the same build as the Pridelands' lionesses.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: During her Villain Song, Zira remarks "The battle may be bloody, but that kind of works for me". In the end, however, the only characters who die in the war are Nuka (much to her dismay) and her.
  • Becoming the Mask: Kovu. His initial rescue of Kiara is meant solely to get the Pridelanders to trust and accept him so he can get close to Simba and kill him, but as the movie progresses he becomes less and less willing to do so thanks to falling for Kiara (and also, it should be noted, shown there is simply more to life than being a cold-blooded killer and avenging/following in the pawprints of a villainous father you never knew). Once he finds out the full story of Scar from Simba, Kovu fully becomes the mask, wanting nothing to do with Zira or her schemes.
  • Best Served Cold: Zira's attitude towards revenge.
  • Big Bad: Zira, who wants to kill Simba and the Pridelanders.
  • Big "NEVER!": In the original ending, this is uttered by Zira at the end of refusing to accept Kiara's offer to rescue her before she falls to her doom in the river below. This was cut for being too dark; the final cut only involves Zira struggling for Kiara's paw before screaming as she falls into the giant-log-filled river.
  • Big "NO!":
    • Twice by Simba during his nightmare, first when Mufasa falls to his death, and when he is falling to his own death by Kovu.
    • Kovu lets out one after Zira blames him for Nuka's death.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Like the original Lion King, there's quite a bit of Swahili: Kovu means "scar"; Zira is the verb radical of "hate"; Vitani is a Portmanteau of Vita ("war") and Shetani ("demon"); Nuka means "stink"; Upendi is the noun form of "love". Kiara is Latin for "bright" and when it was introduced in Africa, it came to mean someone of importance, fitting for Kiara being the heir to the throne, and also due to her important role in the plot.
  • Black and White Morality: This trope is played with. Whereas the original movie played the trope straight (Scar and the hyenas are evil; everyone else is good), the sequel sets itself up the same way (lions in the Pridelands are good; lions in the Outlands are bad) but then subverts the trope. The moral of the movie is that the characters' Black and White Morality they started out with is wrong and that they must learn to recognize the shades of gray.
  • Blowing a Raspberry: Young Kiara does this to the crocodiles as they try to reach her and Young Kovu after escaping them.
  • Broad Strokes: There are several details that necessitate that:
    • Zira clearly mentions that Kovu was the last to be born before their exile, and hand-chosen by Scar. However, Kiara was barely conceived around this time. It means there is an age difference of the time of a lioness gestation between them, that's to say roughly four months. The difference should be more flagrant when they first meet as cubs only aged of a few months.
    • Despite the fact that it was done to avoid unfortunate incestual implications, the idea of Kovu hand-chosen without being his blood by the self-centred Scar requires quite a stretch of imagination.
      • Considering the insane condition of Zira, nothing of what she says is really trustworthy.
    • It is not clear where Zira and the future Outlanders were during the Final Battle of the previous film. And neither is the exact fate of the hyenas who mysteriously disappeared.
    • Overlapping with Continuity Snarl, the ghost of Mufasa here communicates with Rafiki (through the wind that the latter understands thanks to his shamanic abilities). That confirms he was not just an hallucination in the first film, he is a real apparition from the afterlife (the "stars" in this universe). The big question is : since how long can he talk to living people? If he had tell the truth about his death to Rafiki or Simba right after it (or way sooner than the famous stormy night), Scar could not have ruined the kingdom for years and countless lives would have been spared. And in the current film, he would be a very precious witness to testify the villainy of his brother in front of Outlanders who are still faithful to his memory, and thus to prevent the war between the prides about the legitimacy of Simba (if this is the lone reason).
      • Maybe he bargained his apparition this one night, but he is on the run since the time. Concerning the Outlanders, Zira is probably so mad of revenge that even a ghost's testimony would not change her mind (and the others just followed her).
  • Call Back: During one of Kiara and Kovu's romantic moments, Kovu licks Kiara in a very similar manner to the way Nala did to Simba in the first movie. Before that, Nala pins down Simba in a way that recalls their childhood.
    • Also, earlier on, when Timon and Pumbaa offer some bugs to Kiara as a meal, her reaction is the exact same one as her father's:
    "Eww, gross!"
    • In the first film Simba says that when he's King betrothals will be the "first thing to go." Indeed, Kiara is not betrothed, despite being older than Simba and Nala were at the time of their betrothal.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Kiara tries to do this several times to her Overprotective Dad, but it never seems to take until Simba banishes Kovu, resulting in "You will never be Mufasa!" Also, Kovu kind of calls the old lady out:
    Zira: You betrayed your pride! Betrayed Scar!
    Kovu: I want nothing more to do with him!
  • Character Tic: Kiara tends to breathe loudly and rapidly whenever she's excited about something, both as a cub and as an adult. It's even somewhat plot relevant in that it's (according to Kovu) one of the major reasons that she can't sneak up on prey.
  • The Chosen One: Villainous example. Kovu was hand selected to kill Simba and take over the Pridelands to avenge Scar. Its proabalby a lie since Word of God confirmed that Kovu is an orphan and is not biologically related to Scar or Zira.
  • Co-Dragons: Nuka and Vitani, though Vitani is clearly more in charge.
  • Continuity Nod: Kovu accidentally channels Scar through his reflection, same way Simba channels Mufasa. Kovu doesn't take this well.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Timon and Pumbaa may be a little dumb... but when the situation calls for it, the two kick ass, joining Simba in the front of the fray and fighting.
  • Crowd Song: "Not One of Us" is a remarkably dark one.
  • Cult: The Outsiders are the Cult of Scar.
  • Dark Chick: Most of the Outsider lionesses are Dark Chicks, but Vitani is the most prominent. She is also the one who pulls off a Heel–Face Turn, motivating the others to as well.
  • Darker and Edgier: Even in comparison to the first movie, the sequel is arguably much more intense. The villain of this one is motivated primarily by spitefulness, whereas at least Scar had the semi-pragmatic motive of greed. Zira's Villain Song is almost entirely about how much she Loves the Sound of Screaming, and said song is considerably more vicious than Scar's Villain Song. In general, the very style of this movie is arguably much darker than the first movie, like during the fire scene, wherein we see Kiara surrounded by flames, coughing from the smoke, and collapsing from exhaustion, or during Zira's first attack, when Simba is being mercilessly mauled by several other lions, and then there is "He Is Not One Of Us" where the Pridelanders are all announcing their intense hatred for Kovu, who is not even guilty of what they are all accusing him of in the first place. The movie was even toned down by the alteration of some scenes, the best example being Zira's death at the end. Originally, it was suicide.
  • Defusing the Tyke Bomb: Kovu was raised and trained to kill Simba. After the plan to have him infiltrate Simba's pride begins, Kovu starts to fall in love with Kiara, ultimately driving him to reject his mission.
  • Demoted to Extra: It's very easy to forget Zazu is in this movie.
  • Didn't See That Coming: Zira clearly did not expect Kovu to turn on the Outsiders, and evidently did not have a Plan B in the event her plot didn't work.
  • Disney Acid Sequence: "Upendi" is Rafiki's How-To-Guide to making a Disney Acid Sequence!
  • Disney Villain Death: Zira at least gets washed away in a raging river, rather than presumably leaving a nasty splat mark somewhere in the canyon.
  • Double Meaning Title: Simba's Pride can refer to either the lions that follow him or the fact that he's initially too proud of his father's legacy as a good king to really understand what it took to build that legacy in the first place.
  • The Dragon: Vitani to Zira, especially after Nuka's death.
  • Embarrassing Rescue: Subverted with Kiara trying to save Zira and played straight with Kovu saving Kiara.
  • Empathic Environment: The thunderstorm during the Final Battle.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: Vitani is shown to be genuinely hurt when it seems Kovu has turned his back on the Outlanders for Simba.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Zira is genuinely devastated at the death of Nuka; as is Vitani, both of whom frequently mistreated him.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Zira's own followers defected to Simba after Zira threatened to kill her own daughter for refusing to participate in Zira's second attack.
  • Evil Is Petty: Mentioned in Zira's Villain Song.
    Now, the past I've tried forgetting
    And my foes I could forgive.
    Trouble is, I know it's petty,
    but I hate to let them live!
  • Face Palm: Rafiki has a real depressing one when he witnesses Kovu being driven into exile.
  • Fade Around the Eyes: The villainess Zira does an interesting variation of this just before she begins her song, "My Lullaby." She walks towards the screen as it fades to black around her eyes.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: The film had Nuka die by being trampled by logs because he wanted to show off to his mom, since he wanted her appreciation. Zira fell to her death after refusing help. In a deleted scene, she committed suicide. The fan-base is divided on whether it was best to change it.
  • Fan Edit: Can be downloaded here. Basically, it mixes unused, unfinished footage with finished footage and removes a few parts with Timon and Pumbaa.
  • Fartillery: Timon threatens Zira's Amazon Brigade by giving Puumba's tail a shotgun-pump and offering them a faceful of it. They run away screaming.
  • Final Love Duet: "Love Will Find A Way" between Kiara and Kovu.
  • Freudian Excuse:
    • Zira expresses a very brief one at the beginning of "My Lullaby".
    I've been exiled, persecuted, left alone with no defense.
    When I think of what that brute did, I get a little tense.
    (Assume "that brute" refers to Simba).
    • Given Nuka's status as The Unfavorite and the place he lives in, it's quite obvious why he's so unstable.
  • Generation Xerox: The main theme of the movie is to defy this idea. Simba does everything he can to emulate Mufasa and refuses to see Kovu as anything other than Scar 2.0. After a mighty What the Hell, Hero? from Kiara he gets better though.
  • Get Out: Simba does this twice to Zira in the same scene.
    Simba: You and your young cub, get out.
    Zira: Haven't you met my son, Kovu? He was hand chosen by Scar to follow in his pawprints and become king.
    Timon: That's not a king! That's a fuzzy maraca!
    Zira: Kovu was the last born before you exiled us to the Outlands, where we have little food...less water...
    Simba: You know the penalty for returning to the Pridelands
    Zira: But the child does not. However, if you need your pound of flesh...here *pushes Kovu forward*
    Simba: Take him and get out. We're finished here.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: When Kovu wants Kiara to run away with him instead of going back to the Pride Lands, he suggests they start a pride "all our own". Not only is his tone when he says this very suggestive, he actually wiggles his hind end!
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Kovu ends up getting a scar identical to Scar's, but that happens after he's decided to become the mask. The song "Not One of Us" has the animals believing it's an evil scar.
  • Grey and Gray Morality: Simba and Kovu are this respectively if you look past the appearance of many of Simba's actions, their voices when interacting and the tone of the music. Although we know about the plot, one can't help but sympathize with Kovu, especially after his Heel–Face Turn. Simba has a solid reason, and although many of his actions are presented as antagonistic, that is because we are looking at it from Kiara's perspective, since we are supposed to side with her. However though, Simba is well within his rights to not trust Kovu straight out of the gate—you don't just let someone from the enemy's side just suddenly save a relative and say they have defected and take that without real proof. Simba also has personal reason to not take Kovu's word at face value: the last time he trusted someone blindly, he lost a relative and was left deeply psychologically scarred. It isn't until he banishes Kovu and starts a pointless war that he loses audience sympathy.
  • Heel–Face Mole: Kovu claims to be this after rescuing Kiara, in order to gain entrance into Simba's pride.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Kovu, and later on Vitani, who is the first lioness in Zira's pride to realise Kiara is right.
  • Heel Realization: After falling for Kiara and hearing Simba's side of Scar's death, Kovu finishes Becoming the Mask and gets a My God What Did I Almost Do moment, deciding not to go through with the assassination plot he had been sent to do. Around the same time this happens to Simba, when he realizes that what he's doing to Kovu isn't what Mufasa would have wanted.
  • Heroic Fire Rescue: Zira's plan to "prove" Kovu's loyalty and trustworthiness so as to get him into the pride and close to Simba is the classic subversion of this trope via Engineered Heroics.
  • Hollywood Healing: Two instances. The first one is that Kovu has just been kicked headfirst into a rock. Less than a minute later, he has recovered, with no injury, and no real sign later on of head problems. Simba despite being mauled, and brutally injured, recovers to full health in just what is implied to be 12 hours.
  • "The Hero Sucks" Song: "One Of Us" which has Kovu "booed" off of Pride Rock because Simba believes that he attempted to ambush him while the two had a friendly chat on a trek through the jungle.
  • The High Queen: Nala is now one. Kiara's speech at the end does suggest she's well on her way to it too.
  • Hypocrite:
    • Simba gives Kovu a speech about how fire (Scar) is a killer, but what's left behind (Kovu) could grow better if given the chance. He seems to forget about that last part when he exiles him as guilty of betrayal before being proven innocent. Even before this, his song "We Are One" is strange to listen to when in the previous scene we saw him reject Kovu simply for being Zira's son!
    • Zira blames Kovu for Nuka's death though it was an accident, yet she worships Scar who killed his brother on purpose
  • Idiot Ball: Simba's overprotectiveness of Kiara even into adulthood does nothing to help their already tense relationship.
  • I Have This Friend...: After Kovu's banishment, Timon and Pumbaa attempt to 'hypothetically' explain to Simba that Kiara ran off alone ... but Simba sees right through it.
    Timon: There's this guy...
    Pumbaa: But he's not a lion...
    Timon: No. No, he's not a lion. Yeesh, definitely not a lion... and uh... uh, his daughter, um, say... vanished?
  • Immediate Sequel: Though the scene is slightly different, this movie picks right where the second one left off, with the presentation of cub Kiara to the animal kingdom.
  • Inevitable Waterfall: In the "Upendi" song.
    • Also, the waterfall which presumably kills Zira at the end.
  • Ironic Echo: Blink and you'll miss it, but Nuka's "Mother...I tried..." just before his death is echoed by Kiara's "Daddy...I tried," just after she fails to save Zira.
  • It Has Only Just Begun: Zira says this to Simba.
    Simba: Take him and get out. We're finished here.
    Zira: Oh no, Simba. We have barely begun. (evil chuckle)
  • The Load: In the final battle, Timon and Pumbaa quickly find themselves insanely out of their league. Their best contribution is to lure away some of the Outlanders by running out of the battlefield.
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: Subverted. Although most of his decisions are understandable and realistic given what happened to him and the situation he finds himself in, Simba's actions are certainly not portrayed as good at all, and he arguably makes the plot worse. He reaches the lowest end when he banishes Kovu for a crime we know he had not done at all. Thankfully, when Kiara calls him on this, he doesn't take the jump off the slippery slope, but he remains an Anti-Hero at the end of the film.
  • Kissing Cousins: The creators of the sequel averted this in the middle of production realizing Kiara would have been in love with her cousin once removed. Instead, Kovu was Scar's protege, despite looking just like him which just brings up the question of who Kovu's father actually is...
    • Word of God later fully ensured that they weren't cousins when the director revealed that Kovu was an orphan and not biologically related to Scar or Zira, but in addition to wondering who his father was, now there is the added question of who his mother is, and just how did Zira get her paws on him?
  • Lady Macbeth: To add to the Shakespeare analogies, Zira is the late Scar's Lady Macbeth.
    • Considering she's absent in the first film and Scar acts almost entirely on his own, the trope fits more with her as Kovu's Lady Macbeth, as she (attempts to) stir him into evil.
  • Lampshade Hanging: One courtier points out Simba is ignoring Due Process by exiling Kovu without first giving him a trial.
  • Leave Him to Me: Zira snarls near the end of the battle "Simba! You're mine!" and all Outlanders back away from him, to allow the two of them to prepare for their death duel.
  • Like a Son to Me: Implied to be Scar's relationship with Kovu before his death, as he chose him to be his heir instead of his own son, Nuka. It's probably a lie since Word of God confirmed Kovu isn't biologically related to Zira at all.
  • Love Makes You Evil: Zira's motivation is revenge for Scar's death. Well that's most of it, she's also got a chip on her shoulder from being exiled, but this is the main reason.
  • Love Redeems: Kovu switches sides—due to his own love of Kiara.
  • A Minor Kidroduction: Like in the first film, Kiara is shown as a cub in the beginning, but all that's shown are the events leading up to her meeting Kovu.
  • Misplaced Retribution: Zira blames Simba for Scar's death in the first movie and spends years plotting revenge on him, but in reality, it was Scar's own hyena minions who killed him, after Scar tried to place the blame for his actions on them to save his own hide.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • Timon and Pumbaa really do not belong in this movie, as their only purpose is to ruin genuinely dramatic moments with non sequitur jokes. Zazu takes a similar, but more minor role. On a more positive note, there's another dimension of Mood Whiplash, between Lighter and Softer moments and Darker and Edgier moments. Disney movies in general tend to have this, but this movie takes it even further than most, like when a cutesy song about all creatures being a big family is quickly followed by a Villain Song about revenge. That's a very deliberate tonal shift, intentionally juxtaposing the differences between the two families.
    • "My Lullaby" also has this...twice. It begins with Zira seeming to show Kovu motherly affection and wishing him a goodnight, then instantly cuts to singing about how she can't wait to hear the screams and cries of her dying enemies and their loved ones. Then cuts back to her singing about how she loves and cares for Kovu, then cuts to how she wants to raise him into a killer. Strangely it works.
    • Similarly done intentionally when Kovu's plotting or emotional conflict is cut short by Timon and Pumbaa or Rafiki trying to show him fun in a very whimsical manner.
  • Never Smile at a Crocodile: Kovu and Kiara are attacked by a bask of crocodiles, which almost eats them.
  • Nightmare Fetishist: Zira.
    Zira: The battle will be bloody, but that kind of works for me.
  • Nightmare Sequence: Simba's memory of the day at the gorge, wherein he ends up in the same position as his father, depending on Kovu as his savior, who morphs into Scar and lets him fall. When combining this with his talk in the midquel of having Bad Dreams, it's implied these are Recurring Dreams as well.
  • Not So Different: Zira tries to tell Kovu this when her plan to groom him into Scar's successor begins to fall apart.
    Zira: You cannot escape it! Nuka is dead because of you!
    Kovu: No...
    Kovu: NO!
  • Oh, Crap!: Even the Outlanders become still with concern when Zira enters the fight in the climax.
    • Kiara when she sees fire in the distance and her and the animals stampeding towards her in a panic.
  • Opposites Attract: The princess and the exiled peasant. Technically, Kovu is a prince, but of the exiled Outlanders and to the late Scar so still counts.
  • Parental Bonus:
    Kovu: (to Kiara) Let's get out of here. We'll run away together! (wiggles his backside with a seductive voice) And start a pride all our own.
  • Parental Hypocrisy: Simba is very over-protective of Kiara. At one point, Nala points out to Simba that Kiara's just like they were when they were cubs, and Simba explains that this is what worries him.
  • Pet the Dog: Zira's genuine sadness and horror after the death of her son Nuka. Until she goes into full Never My Fault mode...
  • Physical Scars, Psychological Scars: Kovu gets a scar across his eye from his abusive mother Zira, while she blames him for Nuka's death.
    • There's also Zira's ear, which is partially torn, but it remains unknown as to how she got it.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Most apparent in "We Are One." During it, Kiara tells Simba straight up that she's afraid her destiny as queen will come at the cost of her own identity. Simba ignores this, delivers about six irrelevant life lessons in lyrical form, and ends by telling her that she'll "understand someday", addressing none of her concerns. It would have helped to smooth out a few problems later on. Somewhere floating in there is an intended message about how she doesn't need to worry about either losing herself or not being a good queen because she isn't alone and can appeal to her loved ones (and even the Great Kings) for help, but this is not at all obvious from the lyrics, and Kiara never picks up on it. Indeed, she ends up forging her own destiny by going against the wishes of her loved ones and instead relying on her own moral compass.
    • Kovu is also guilty of this: he could see or at least hear the Outsiders coming, yet he doesn't try to tell Simba to run or get in front of Simba to shield him. He just sits around, gets knocked out, and doesn't try to help Simba up the cliff; his attempt to climb it himself later might have been intended to get himself to a position where he could offer Simba a paw up, but by then it's too little, too late. As a result, he gets a scar across his eye, and is banished by Simba for his failure to act.
  • Posthumous Character: Mufasa and Scar were both killed off in the first film, and stayed that way. Still, the characters remain influenced by their feud. Simba wants to follow Mufasa's steps, and does not trust the heirs of Scar. Zira, in turn, wants to follow Scar's steps, and Kovu wants to avoid the similarities with the dreaded Scar.
  • The Power of Hate: Zira holds an immense grudge against Simba for killing Scar, who was her mate. She is raising her son Kovu into hating all Pridelanders. Later in the film she stoops as low as threatening to kill her daughter, Vitani which sickeningly causes her former followers to turn against her and join Simba's pride. Unfortunately she stubbornly refuses to let go of her hatred which causes her to fall into the river, even refusing to let Kiara, Simba's daughter, save her.
  • The Power of Love: "Love Will Find A Way".
  • Reality Ensues: Simba arguably suffers this after assuming his throne. Despite destiny and all the trials he went through to become a far better king than Scar ever could be, it's clear that he still hasn't learned every lesson he needs to in order to become a truly great king.
  • Rebellious Princess: Kiara, though what do you expect when said princess is also a lion.
  • Recycled IN SPACE!: Romeo and Juliet AS A TALKING ANIMAL CARTOON! With A happy ending!
  • Red Right Hand:
    • Subverted with the protagonist Kovu (who has more or less the same color scheme as Scar and even acquires a scar over his eye about halfway through the movie).
    • Played straight with the other outsiders, most notably Zira (who has a vertical stripe on her head and an Ear Notch). Before the end battle, the outsider lionesses all walk through mud, just so we (and maybe they themselves) can tell them apart from their Prideland counterparts in the heat of the battle. By the time they realize there's really not all that much of a difference between the two groups, and reunite, they're all clean again, though their distinguishing drawing style remains.
  • Reformed, but Rejected: Kovu eventually decides to join the Pridelanders for real, but after Simba thinks he led him into an ambush, he orders his exile.
  • Rejection Ritual: The "He is not One of Us" sequence. Everyone present (minus the Royal Family) sing their hatred at Kovu, who also has to run a gauntlet.
  • Remember the New Guy: So, where exactly was Scar's pride during The Lion King, and why did he never spare a single thought for them? It isn't covered by Scar just being a Jerkass; he makes it pretty clear that he'd rather be living with anyone other than his brother and company. According to Zira, Kovu was "hand-chosen by [Scar] to follow in his pawprints and become King." When, exactly? And if so, shouldn't they have been with him in the Pridelands? And just how did Zira react to Scar choosing Nala as his mate, as shown in the musical?
  • Rescue Romance: How Kovu tries to impress Kiara and gain her trust. Thanks to her independent streak and being sick of her father's smothering and overprotectiveness, it doesn't go the way Kovu planned, at least at first.
  • Retcon: A tie-in book cast Simba's and Nala's cub as a male named Kopa.
    • Some Fanon theories try to correct this by having Kopa have died somehow, some of which cast this as the reason Zira was exiled...
  • Rocky Roll Call: This exchange:
    Simba: Zira...
    Zira: Simba...
    (both growl and roar when Nala, Timon, Pumbaa, and three other lionesses hop on the scene)
    Zira: Nala...
    Nala: Zira...
    Timon: (gesturing to himself then Pumbaa) Timon...Pumbaa... Great, now that we all know each other... GET OFF OF OUR PRIDELANDS!
  • Save the Villain: After attempting to attack Simba, Zira is tackled by Kiara and the two are sent tumbling off the cliff. In a very familiar TLK fashion, Zira is left clinging for her life and risks falling into the raging river below to her death. Kiara attempts to save her ("Zira... give me your paw!"), but she meets her watery fate regardless.
  • Scenery Porn: Wouldn't be a Lion King film without it.
  • Shamed by a Mob: When Kovu is mistakenly believed to have been part of the plot to attempt to kill Simba, and a huge crowd is singing about their hatred for him.
  • Shipper on Deck: Mufasa of all people! Rafiki is doing his usual fruit painting prophecies on the tree, when a gust of wind breaks a fruit in half, leading him to conclude Mufasa is suggesting that Kovu and Kiara are meant for each other. Rafiki isn't amused by this notion, but Mufasa doesn't care.
    Rafiki: What? Kovu...Kiara...together? This is the plan? (yells) Are you crazy? This will never work! Oh, Mufasa, you been up there too long. Your head is in the clouds! (Wind blows hard at Rafiki) Okay, okay, okay! Okay!
    • According to Word of God, this was actually going to be more explicit in the original script, before they realized/decided that having Mufasa appear as an actual talking character would be unrealistic and Narmy, and would ruin the great lion's gravitas, so they went with a timely wind instead.
  • Shout-Out: Word of God says this film is Romeo and Juliet + The Manchurian Candidate.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: Zira threatens Kovu at the climax of the movie, which he responds with "You'll never hurt Kiara or Simba. Not while I'm here."
  • Sins of Our Fathers: The main theme of the film. The whole conflict between the Pride and the Outlanders goes back to the original feud of Mufasa and Scar (both dead by the time of this movie), with both of them fighting on behalf of their old deceased leader.The conflict ends when both sides (except Zira) accept to let the past go and be a single pride once more. Kovu even mentions this directly at one point.
  • Spirit Advisor: Mufasa, advising Rafiki that Kovu and Kiara should be together. But he didn't appear to either of them, who had never met him anyway. In the end, he told Simba that he was proud of the way things ended.
  • Standing Between the Enemies: Kovu and Kiara at the climax of the story.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Obviously, as this was based on Romeo and Juliet. (Continuing in the tradition of Lion King based on Shakespeare.)
  • Stars Are Souls: A Call Back to the first movie.
    Kiara: "My father and I used to do this all the time. He says all the great kings of the past are up there."
  • Steven Ulysses Perhero: The villain is named Zira, which is Swahili for "to hate". She must've had some nice parents.
  • Sturgeon's Law: Inverted. Out of all the Disney direct-to-video sequels, this one is easily one of the most well-received by fans of the original, and is frequently cited as one of the very few good Disney sequels made. The majority of LK fanfic writers accept it as canon and make extensive use of its original characters, especially when it comes to Kiara and Kovu. Not unreasonable at all to put this within the worthwhile 10% of the Disney sequels.
  • Suicide is Painless: What Zira's death might have been before the directors decided to cut part of her death from the final version. The cut scene features Kiara reaching out to save Zira...only to have Zira look back at Kiara with the most frightening smile of the movie and whisper "No... nev-er." just before intentionally letting go of the ledge. The directors evidently thought this was just a bit too dark for a movie whose plot is driven mostly by Zira's obsession with revenge.
  • Sanity Slippage: Simba might be going through this, considering the trauma from the first film leaving its mark on him, something underscored even more by his Bad Dreams, implied to be recurring ones, which say a lot about the state of his psyche. All of his previous decisions, although antagonistic, are completely understandable. However, at the trial and during the final battle, he is far more angry, and far more violent, not to mention his inability to listen to something that is pretty reasonable, and he is nowhere near the calm, if fierce, character we saw during both films. There is a rather large amount of Nightmare Fuel in the idea of Simba losing his sanity and therefore becoming that which he hates the most. Thankfully, Kiara is able to save him from losing anymore sanity and brings him back from the brink.
    • It gets even scarier when you wonder: what if Kiara hadn't talked him down? Would he have killed her? Would he have killed every single Outsider then and there? Would his dealing with future problems be more violent? The implications are really disturbing.
  • Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids!: Zira's opinion on morality. She sees morality as a weakness and suspected that Kovu was moral even before he left on the mission.
  • Tempting Fate: Zira is revealed to have suspected that Kovu was weak due to morals in the past, but still chose him to do the mission. Sure, its not like those morals will cause him to realize just how crazy you are and say that "Im not doing this. This isint right."
  • Take My Hand: "Give me your paw!"
  • Taking the Bullet: Kiara intercepting Zira's attack on Simba.
  • They Really Do Love Each Other:
    • Timon and Pumbaa may be frustrated with each other and with Simba on occasions, but they'll drag Simba back to Pride Rock when he's injured and both valiantly join the fight against the outsiders. They actually kick butt... again.
    • Zira, surprisingly, gets one: she may not show it all the time, but she does love Nuka. She's actually utterly heartbroken and furiously angry at Kovu when Nuka is flattened.
  • "They Still Belong to Us" Lecture: Zira pulls a very successful one right after Kovu's Heel Realization.
  • This Is Unforgivable!: The song "One of Us" includes "...But do not forget what we cannot forgive" as some of the lyrics to it.
  • Those Two Guys: Timon and Pumbaa take to this role again like in the first movie.
  • Tree Cover: Timon and Pumbaa manage to completely conceal themselves behind a tree that's one-third Pumbaa's width.
  • Triumphant Reprise: "We Are One" is reprised instrumentally twice; first during the introduction of adult Kiara, and again appropriately during the final scene, as Kovu and the outsiders are accepted into the Pridelands.
  • The Unchosen One: Nuka is a perfect example of this, being more eligible for the role of his father's (and mother's) protege and getting shafted in favor of Kovu.
  • Unknown Rival: Kovu never seemed to bother much about his older brother's resentment towards him; for most of their brief interaction he is shown to pity his mistreatment, while his death fully cements Kovu's Heel–Face Turn.
  • Villain Song: "My Lullaby" (written by Joss Whedon) is probably the most twisted and messed-up song in Disney's catalogue since Frollo's number from The Hunchback of Notre Dame. It is almost exclusively about Zira outlining her very gruesome, blood-soaked dreams of revenge against Simba against a pounding orchestra.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy:
    • Nuka. Rare variation in that it's his mother's approval, not his father's, that he longs for. The effort of getting Zira's attention is what ends up killing him. There is even a deleted scene where he uses his dying breath to point that fact out to her directly.
    • Simba too, albeit with less subtlety than the first time around. Forgetting the moving testimonial he'd received from his father's ghost, and unable to get over his past, Simba refuses to trust Kovu or see him as anything but a reincarnation of Scar, all in the mistaken belief that this is what his father would do (and therefore, would make Mufasa proud of him). Luckily Nala, as usual, is the voice of reason while Kiara, with typical bluntness, makes it quite clear to her father that he is not and never will be Mufasa. And just to hammer the point home that Simba does not have to emulate his father's reign (or his perception of it) in order to receive his love and pride, Mufasa's ghost actually says the words, "Well done, my son" after the prides are united and peace is declared.
  • Wham Line: "You will NEVER be Mufasa!"
    • And, if it had been included in the finished product:
  • Another, but more subtle and heartwarming one:
"You're even weaker than I thought"
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Sarabi's voice actress died before the sequel was made, so they just left Sarabi to a cameo as a background lioness with no lines.
    • The hyenas don't appear either, though Nuka lampshades that they fled after killing Scar.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Towards the end, Simba sharply scolds Kiara for "blindly" trusting Kovu, which nearly got him killed. Kiara responds with her own What the Hell, Hero? in five simple words: "You will never be Mufasa!"
  • What Would X Do?: Actually Simba's biggest failing. He's so focused on trying to be as good as Mufasa that he ends up making knee-jerk reactions when something unexpected happens and cocks everything up. Kiara calls him out on it big time.
  • Women Are Wiser:
    • Played straight with the now queen Nala, something that exasperated most fans of her previous portrayal, and even her teenage daughter Kiara in regards to Simba. On the other hand, Simba not being particularly wise by any standard is a big part of the plot.
    • Zigzagged with Zira's pride. Both Kovu and Nuka are far less swift and formidable than the female outlanders, though ultimately far less vicious and deluded, with Kovu ultimately becoming a White Sheep. Vitani and the rest of her pack do ultimately Heel–Face Turn, though it takes until the end of the film.
  • You Are Not Alone: The song "We Are One" is all about this idea. It's arguably one of the most meaningful and heartwarming songs in the whole film series, and the advice certainly aids Kiara later in the film.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: "Helpless to defy his fate!" This lyric in "Not One of Us" suggests that the singers believe Kovu couldn't not be a follower of Zira even if he wanted to.

Alternative Title(s): The Lion King II, The Lion King 2