Naanda is a lioness who was set to appear in The Lion King when it was initially titled King of the Jungle. She is the sister of Sarabi, and the mother of Nala.
Naanda only appears in one concept, in which her back is to the audience. Her colors seem to mimic that of her sister's, as both lionesses have a rich pelt of tawny-golden fur. In addition, both huntresses are sleek and tightly-muscled.
Naanda is portrayed as a more level-headed character than Sarabi in the two versions of the King of the Beasts. In the January 1990 draft, she manages to calm Sarabi down when she tries attacking Scar in anger, and she does the same thing in the May 1990 draft when Sarabi comes close to attacking attacking Banagi.
Naanda is also a caring mother. She plays with Nala when Nala is a cub, and when Nala matures, Naanda grows deeply concerned for her daughter's safety when Nala decides to pretend to be in love with Scar. Also, 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 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 when she refuses to leave it despite the harassment from the hyenas.
King of the Jungle
January 1990 version
In The Lion King written by J.T. Allen, Naanda is the mother of Nala, sister to Sarabi, Diku, and Dwala, Mufasa's mate, and Simba's aunt and mother-in-law. Early in the screenplay, Nala and Simba watch their mothers and aunts hunt down a zebra. Next, when Simba and Nala are adolescents, Naanda is implied to be hunting with the lionesses. Later on, she and Diku report to Mufasa that an intruder attacked Sarabi. The intruder is discovered to be Scar, a rogue lion. After being convinced by Banagi, Scar and the hyenas march to Pride Rock, and overwhelm Mufasa who charges at them, while the lionesses look on helplessly. During Scar's reign, Sarabi tries to attack Bangai, but Naanda calms down her sister. Also, Scar looks on Nala lustfully desiring her as his mate, but Naanda tells her to not look at him. Soon, Nala suggests that she get close to him to make understand to get rid of the hyenas, in which Naanda scolds her daughter to not try it. Soon, the lionesses relocate to the bottom of Pride Rock where her daughter questions her mother so to why they can't they just run away. Naanda replies that this territory has belonged to them since their descendants.
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 her daughter, and becomes her son-in-law. Naanda becomes a grandmother when it is revealed that the new couple have cubs.
May 1990 version
In King of the Beasts written by Allen and Ron Bass, Naanda sits alongside her sisters, daughter, and Simba as Mufasa struggles to put down a fire. When all options fails, Mufasa gives a signal to Sarabi to run, and the lionesses and the animals of the kingdom flee. Next, when Simba and Nala are adolescents, Diku is implied to be hunting with the lionesses. Soon after, she 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 with Simba running away into exile. When Baasho returns part of Simba's tail to confirm Simba's "death", Sarabi angrily tries to attack the hyena, but Scar prevents it. Naanda calms down her sister, and leaves. At the bottom of Pride Rock, Nala complains why the lionesses continue to tolerate Scar and the hyenas, and asks why not run away. Naanda replies because there is nowhere to go, as all of the surrounding territories are occupied by rogues and other prides.
At a waterhole, the lionesses gather around Nala with Diku and Dwala congratulating her stance against Scar, while Sarabi doesn't. Naanda fully states that there is little to do, but stay together with tolerating Scar and the hyenas. Her daughter disagrees with this she could find an ally to defeat him, but Naanda wags her head in disagreement. When Banagi returns Nala back to Pride Rock, Nala tries to distract the hyenas by starting an argument with Sarabi. Naanda asks what's wrong with her, and her daughter replies to not out of the situation leaving Naanda perplexed and angry. After Simba returns and defeat Scar and the hyenas, the lionesses look on with tears in their eyes. Finally, Naanda stretches out across the kopje watching the herd graze along with her sisters and daughter now fully healthy again.
- Sarabi has another possible sister, Simba's Aunt, who appears in An Unusual Choir.
- Naanda's concepts were discovered four years prior to this article's creation, but her existence was first made public by another Lion King fan.
- Mufasa is heavily implied to be her mate, thus Nala's father as well. Their relationship would have made Simba and Nala half-siblings as well as cousins.
- In the final film, Naanda was replaced by Sarafina who served as Nala's mother, but was Sarabi's friend rather than her sister.
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