- “A wise king once told me 'We are one'. I didn't understand him then. But now I do.”
Kiara is the protagonist of the 1998 film The Lion King II: Simba's Pride and a supporting character in its 2016 midquel TV series The Lion Guard. She is Simba and Nala's daughter and Kion's older sister.
As a cub, Kiara is curious and wild-hearted, constantly seeking new adventures and easily fraught at the sight of her safe nest back home in the Pride Lands. Her hunger for adventure often leads her to outright rebellion, as she continuously disobeys her parents, purposefully ignoring their better judgment in order to explore the Outlands and get answers to her unresolved questions. Kiara inherits her parents' curiosity and has gotten into trouble for wandering off.
Later in her cubhood, Kiara became more accepting of her destiny as future Queen and began to take her royal duties seriously. She also began to act snooty and serious around her younger brother Kion, resulting in the two siblings clashing, though they still care for each other.
She is also very headstrong, and she possesses a strong desire for independence and self-sufficiency. She also displayed frequent annoyance when addressed by her title preferring to be known for who she herself is rather than who her family is. Kiara doesn't take criticism well, making a habit of justifying her own behavior to her parents and in particular her father. She is also shown to be impatient, wanting her way and willing to lie and scheme in order to get it.
Kiara is still a cub at heart, able to laugh at everything and make even Kovu's rough training into a game. Her outlook is a positive one, and she is one of Kovu's most loyal encouragers, seeing past his rough exterior to the kind character within. She also showed a strong amount of charisma as she convinced both prides that they are better united than against each other.
Kiara is small and soft-featured, less robust and stocky than her father but just as lithe and sleek as her mother. Kiara's pelt is of a more peach tone, like that of her father's, but it is tempered by the creamy hues of her mother. As a result, she doesn't carry as rich a gold as her father's or grandfather's. Her muzzle, paws, and underbelly are cream in color, while her tail tuft is creamy brown. Her eyes are reddish-brown.
Kiara remains the same light shade from her cubhood, not darkening with age as her parents did, though this could be attributed to her not being a full-grown adult yet.
An infant Kiara appears at the beginning of The Lion King II: Simba's Pride, during her presentation to the animals. Timon and Pumbaa comment on how great it will be to relive old times with the cub, whom they believe to be a boy. They are understandably shocked when Rafiki reveals that Simba and Nala's new cub is a girl.
Kiara grows into a playful cub, and her next appearance takes place as she is going out to play. Before she can leave, Simba, who becomes seriously over-protective, begins going through an extensive list of warnings about the safety of the Pridelands. Annoyed, Kiara is able to repeat them from memory, suggesting that she has heard them many times before and grows irritated. Simba's final warning is to stay away from the Outlands, home of the villainous Outsiders, because, in his words, "You can't turn your back on them". Kiara doesn't understand why, but Simba simply tells her that she will understand one day and sends her off. She goes off but is followed by Timon and Pumbaa, whom the king has sent to babysit her. When the two get into a disagreement, Kiara is able to slip away. She wanders into the Outlands, where she meets Kovu, a cub who is one of the Outsiders as well as Scar's chosen heir. Remembering Simba's words about Outsiders, she takes them literally and continually positions herself so that her back is not to Kovu. The two cubs are forced to work together to escape some crocodiles and become friends as a result. She plays with him for a time, but the two are forcibly separated by Simba (accompanied by Nala, Timon, Pumbaa and two lionesses), and Kovu's mother Zira, a follower of Scar who was banished from the Pride Lands.
Kiara is taken home by Simba, where he gently scolds her for putting herself in danger, noting that as future queen, she needs to be careful. When Kiara expresses her reluctance at becoming queen, Simba explains how they are connected and sings "We Are One" to explain this. Once again, the concept goes over Kiara's head, and Simba simply tells her that she will understand some day.
Some time after, while at his tree, Rafiki notes to Mufasa's spirit that Kiara is growing into a great future queen, but he worries about Kovu, who is being trained by Zira to hate. Mufasa is able to communicate a plan to Rafiki, using a broken gourd as an example. If Kiara and Kovu are brought together, then the feud between the two prides can be solved. Rafiki doubts the plan at first but agrees to trust Mufasa after some convincing.
Kiara is next seen as an adolescent, preparing for her first hunt. She expresses her desire to hunt on alone, and with prodding from Nala, Simba reluctantly agrees. However, he breaks his promise almost immediately and sends Timon and Pumbaa to watch her. Kiara discovers them and is angered by her father's overprotectiveness. She runs away to hunt on her own, away from the Pride Lands, and ends up in the midst of a wildfire set by Zira's other children, Vitani and Nuka. Kiara tries to escape, but is overcome by smoke, and is saved by Kovu. She comes to but does not recognize him at first, only realizing his identity when he asks "What are you doing?", in a reference to their first meeting as cubs.
Simba and Nala arrive at their daughter's aid, as they had seen the smoke from the fire. Kovu asks to join the pride, but Simba refuses. Rafiki appears and reveals that Kovu had saved Kiara's life. This knowledge isn't enough to affect Simba's decision initially, but Simba allows Kovu to join on a trial basis after both Nala and Zazu remind him that by the Pride Lands' law states, they owe Kovu his debt for saving Kiara. Kovu is allowed to return to Pride Rock temporarily, pending a final judgment of character by Simba. Simba distrusts Kovu and forces him to sleep outside. At Pride Rock, Kovu points out that Kiara's hunting skills are rather lackluster, and that she could not survive on her own. In response, Kiara convinces Kovu to teach her to hunt.
The next day, Kiara inadvertently and unknowingly interrupts Kovu's intended ambush of Simba. She and Kovu spend the day together as Kiara learns to hunt, and later the two are seen stargazing together. With some subtle prodding from Rafiki, the two begin to fall in love. Kovu later attempts to tell Kiara about his place in Zira's plot (and his reluctance to assume his role) to take over the Pride Lands but is stopped by Simba, who wishes to speak with Kovu alone.
She later sees her father, obviously injured, coming from an ambush by the Outsiders. Kiara disbelieves that Kovu was involved when Simba accuses him. She sends Zazu for help and helps her father back to Pride Rock. Kiara is later seen at Kovu's banishment, and she actively protests her father's decision but is stopped by the other lionesses and silenced by Simba when she pleads for him to listen to Kovu. As Kovu flees, Rafiki who was watching the event sighs sadly feeling that Simba has completely defied his father's goals and was too intoxicated with hate to notice Kovu for who he really is. When Simba forbids her to leave Pride Rock unescorted, intending to keep her away from Kovu, Kiara is infuriated. Kiara argues with her father and horrifies him by going as far as to remind him that he could never be like Mufasa, before running into Pride Rock in tears.
Kiara manages to break out of Pride Rock and meets up with Kovu. Though Kovu considers running away to form their own pride, Kiara understands her father's words from when she was a cub upon seeing her and Kovu's reflections merge in the water. She convinces Kovu to return so that they may try to reunite their divided prides, and the two return to find that the Pridelanders and Outsiders are at war.
Kiara and Kovu break up a fight between Simba and Zira who then tell them to step aside. Kiara persuades her pride and the Outsiders that their prides are no different from each other and convinces the majority to drop the feud. However, Zira refuses to budge and attempts to attack Simba. Enraged Kiara leaps to defend him and the two lionesses fall off a cliff. Kiara is able to land on a safe ledge, and she attempts to save Zira, who is clinging to the side of the cliff. Zira refuses, and slips into the river below and is presumed dead.
Simba leads Kiara back up the ledge and allows the Outsiders to return to Pride Rock. At the end of the movie, Rafiki blesses Kovu and Kiara's union, and they are seen roaring across the plains with Simba and Nala.
Kiara appears in the Disney Junior TV film The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar and series The Lion Guard, which sees her having a younger brother named Kion (whom she appears to have a sibling rivalry with), who serves as the protagonist. The series serves as a midquel to Simba's Pride, taking place after Kiara's first encounter with Kovu and before her next encounter with him as an adolescent. She also seems older than her cub self in Simba's Pride as in a sneak peak, she reaches Simba's shoulder. In a sneak peek of the episode, Kiara seems to be snobbish and arrogant compared to her rather kind behavior in the sequel and Simba doesn't seem to be overly protective of her as he is in the sequel. It's also shown another difference where Kiara seems to be alright with wanting to become the future Queen, while in Simba's Pride Kiara is not sure of her future.
Kiara first appears in The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar at Pride Rock being taught about being Queen by Simba, only to be disrupted by Kion who is playing Baobab Ball with Bunga. The two siblings have a short squabble before being separated by Simba who sends Kion and Bunga away to play their game away elsewhere.
She is later seen with her friends Tiifu and Zuri with the latter getting her claws stuck in a log (due to constantly sharpening them), though she is later helped out. After hearing from Bunga that Kion is setting up the Lion Guard and has made Bunga the first member, Kiara questions Kion on if Simba knows about this to which Kion replies that it was Simba who told him to pick members. She, Kion, Tiifu, Zuri, Timon and Pumbaa then join in with Bunga singing "Zuka Zuma".
Later, Kiara tells Simba about Kion picking Bunga to join The Lion Guard and proves it when Zazu finds Kion and Bunga with Fuli, Beshte, and Ono (whom Kion had also picked to join the Lion Guard). Simba thanks, Kiara, before sending her and Tiifu to track gazelles while he has a word with Kion.
When tracking the gazelles, Kiara notices Mzingo circling above and Janja and his clan in the heart of the herd. Suspicious, Kiara sends Tiifu to get Simba while she stays behind to keep watch on the herd. However, Janja and his clan cause a stampede in the herd and Kiara becomes trapped in it.
Luckily, Kion and the Lion Guard come to her rescue by driving the hyenas away, before Bunga and Fuli ride through the herd to Kiara. Bunga then lands on a rock next to Kiara and lets out a fart that causes the herd to move away. After this, Kiara is delivered safely to Simba and Nala who along with Tiifu and Rafiki were watching the battle.
In the episode "Can't Wait to be Queen", Kiara is made Queen Regent of the Pride Lands as Simba, Nala, and Zazu have to attend an elephant's funeral. Tiifu and Zuri serve as Kiara's "advisors" during this time. Kion clashes with Kiara over her decisions, which is overheard by Mzingo, who reports this to Janja. Mzingo goes to Pride Rock and tells Kiara that Janja wants a peace treaty and she should go to Broken Rock, which is neutral land between the Pride Lands and the Outlands.
After another clash with Kion, Kiara goes to Broken Rock to talk with Janja but is ambushed by him and his clan. Janja plans to hold Kiara hostage until Simba hands the Pride Lands over to him. Luckily Kion (who had been convinced by Mufasa to help Kiara) arrives and is shortly joined by the rest of the Lion Guard, causing the hyenas to flee. The two siblings reconcile and return to Pride Rock, just before their parents and Zazu return from the funeral.
- Kiara in Italian and Irish means "bright".
- Kiara is the second child of an original film's protagonist to be the main character of the sequel (in this case, taking over for Simba and Nala after the first Lion King film). The first was Nicky Ferris from The Parent Trap II (taking over from Sharon McKendrick). The trend has since followed in many Disney sequels.
- Kiara is one of the few Disney sequel characters to make further appearances.
- In the first Lion King film, according to the bonus features and some series of books, Kiara was previously going to be a male character but was changed.
- In The Lion King 1½ DVD, if the viewer plays the Who Wants to Be King of the Jungle game, one of the questions about the ending of The Lion King II: Simba's Pride implies that Kiara and Kovu possibly have a cub together.
- Kiara is the first female cub in her family set to inherit the throne of the Pride Lands, as her father was an only child (making him the only heir), and all of her predecessors to the throne had been male heirs.
- It is currently unknown what the age gap between Kiara and Kion is. Though in "Lions of the Outlands", Kion was unaware of Kiara's encounter with Kovu, hinting that he was either not born yet or really young at the time.