- “...This is my kingdom. If I don't fight for it, who will?”
Simba is the protagonist of the 1994 Disney animated feature film, The Lion King. The son of Mufasa and Sarabi, Simba was next in line to rule the Pride Lands. However, after his evil uncle Scar murders Mufasa and blames Simba for the former's death, the young lion cub is sentenced to exile while Scar rules as king. It was then up to Simba to return to the Pride Lands and reclaim his throne and rightful place in the great circle of life.
As a cub, Simba was rather masculine, adventurous and impressionable. He highly admired his father, Mufasa, and wished to some day become a ruler as mighty as he, spending much of his time either learning the ways of a king or simply envisioning what life would be like with such power and esteem. This inflated his ego, making him arrogant and boastful towards characters such as Zazu and Scar, and additionally led to troublesome situations, as his viewpoint on Mufasa led him to believe being a king meant being fearless and looking for unnecessary danger, just to prove how mighty one could be. This would fall perfectly in line with the schemes of Scar, who plotted to kill Simba to increase his chances of becoming ruler of the Pride Lands. Nevertheless, Simba was able to learn from his mistakes in the end, as his negative actions were primarily driven out of admiration for his father.
As a young adult, Simba's personality takes a shift, becoming melodramatic and fearful - a direct result of Mufasa's death. Because he believed his father's demise was ultimately his fault, Simba felt unworthy of ruling the throne, hinting at signs of low self-esteem, in addition to becoming reluctant to ever face his past. It wasn't until he met and obtained guidance from the wise mandrill, Rafiki, that Simba would discover that the past is important, and should be looked to in order to learn from mistakes but never as a reason to prevent one's self from moving forward in life. In spite of this, Simba was also willing to partake in more easy-going experiences, as seen with his friendship with Timon and Pumbaa. As seen during "Hakuna Matata", and his time as a teenager seen in The Lion King 1½, Simba retained some of his childlike nature when simply in the presence of his friends, and away from the pressures of his past, being laid-back and fun-loving if given the chance.
Now as a full grown adult and King of the Pride Lands, with a loving family, including a daughter, Simba is no longer overly adventurous and outgoing, instead of becoming humble and rather soft-spoken, even in the face of his closest friends. As a direct result of Mufasa's tragic death, Simba also became fearful and overprotective, specifically with his daughter, Kiara, as he feared the dangers that lurked in the Pride Lands, be they outright such as the hyenas were, or hidden within the shadows, such as the true nature of Scar. He also looked back at his childhood with some sense of shame, as evidenced by his conversation with Nala early in The Lion King II: Simba's Pride, in which he claimed that Kiara's adventurous spirit made him fearful, as she mirrored his own adventurous attitude as a cub, referring to the dangers he endured during childhood.
Simba was also shown to be a wise and respected ruler, much like Mufasa before him. He had the prejudice against those who retained loyalty to the dethroned Scar, but was willing to accept them eventually, as he followed the philosophy verbally showcased in "We Are One". However, despite being King, Simba knows that he has to respect the traditions of other animals, which was why he didn't interfere with Makuu and Pua's mashindano.
Simba also likes to stick to tradition, which was why at first, he was disappointed with his son Kion for putting other animals in the Lion Guard instead of other lions like the previous Lion Guards. However, after witnessing the new Lion Guard defeat hyenas, Simba accepts his son's choice and expresses pride for him.
Despite his many commendable attributes, Simba can sometimes be arrogant, even towards those who know him, he is also sometimes gullible (a trait he still possesses from his childhood) to the point of believing his enemies, evidenced by the fact that when Zira claims that Kovu led him into an ambush, however, in truth, the latter had no knowledge of the ambush and was completely innocent.
Newborn Simba was very small with a large head. He had light spots on his head and body, as newborn lions usually have. As a cub, Simba has "brownish-gold" fur, with a lighter cream color accenting his belly, muzzle, and paws. He has large, bright eyes with orange irises (red as an adult) and yellow scleras; his upper lids are a deep tawny. Additionally, he has a light pink nose and four black whiskers on either side of his muzzle, and the insides of his ears are tawny and rimmed with black. Cub Simba boasts a small tuft of hair on top of his head and a short bushy tail. He has somewhat stocky proportions.
As an adolescent, Simba retains much of the appearance he had as a cub but is much lither. He has a mop of reddish-orange hair growing on the top of his head and partially down his neck; this is the early stage of his mane growing in. He also has some noticeable darker colorations on his body, such as a brownish point above his nose.
As a young adult, Simba is much larger and his body is muscular. His russet mane is now fully grown and covers the entirety of his neck and much of his back, and his ears are barely seen. His eyes are smaller in relation to his head and are more oval-shaped. In the sequel Simba's Pride, now a full grown adult, the colors of his pelt and mane are somewhat duller, and he has a more aged look and a heavier build.
In The Lion King, Simba was born to Mufasa and Sarabi, and, at his birth, was presented to the kingdom as their future king. Rafiki, a wise mandrill who was an old friend of Mufasa, headed the ceremony, performing a ritual before presenting Simba.
Simba grows up into a playful cub, with a rambunctious attitude. He grows excited about being king someday after Mufasa shows him the kingdom. Mufasa explains that Simba will one day rule over everything they can see, but warns Simba not to go to a shadowy area beyond the borders of the Pride Lands. Though Simba, initially believes that being king is about getting to do whatever he wishes, Mufasa teaches him about the responsibilities or royalty. Suddenly, Mufasa is alerted by Zazu of hyenas in the Pride Lands. Mufasa goes to deal with the situation and tells Zazu to take Simba home, much to the cub's disappointment.
After Simba returns home, he tells Scar, his uncle, about the trip. Taking advantage of the cub's naive nature, Scar tells Simba what the forbidden place is, in fact, the elephant's graveyard, where only the bravest lions travel. Simba wants to prove himself brave, and Scar makes this their "little secret." As of that moment, Simba's journey to kingship had begun.
Later that afternoon, Simba meets his best friend Nala and they travel to the graveyard. Unknown to them Scar had placed his hyena henchmen there to kill the cubs, in an attempt to remove Simba from the line of succession so that Scar could become king. Having been found by Zazu, Mufasa saves the two cubs, foiling Scar's plan. Mufasa takes Simba home, lecturing him on the danger he put himself and Nala in and he forgives and forgets. Afterward, Simba asks if they will always be together. Mufasa responds by telling Simba about the Great Kings of the Past, who look down from the stars. Mufasa tells Simba if he ever feels alone, the Great Kings will always be there to guide him, and so will he.
The next day, Scar tells Simba that his father has a surprise for him. Scar leaves him in a deep gorge, telling Simba that Scar will return with his father soon. In fact, the "surprise" was another plot of Scar's, with the goal of killing both Simba and Mufasa. Scar's hyenas drive a herd of wildebeest toward Simba. Though Mufasa was able to save Simba, Mufasa did not survive. Mufasa had attempted to climb a sheer cliff to safety after dropping Simba on a safe ledge. Near the top, Mufasa called to Scar for help. Instead, Scar threw him off after saying with an evil grin, "Long live the king". However, this was unknown to Simba, who only saw his father fall to his death. Simba is later manipulated by Scar into believing that Mufasa's death was his own fault. Scar tells Simba to leave the kingdom and secretly sends the hyenas to kill him. Simba is able to escape by leaping into a bed of thorns. Simba then runs far away from home.
After being stranded in a desert, he meets Timon, a meerkat, and Pumbaa, a warthog. The pair had saved him from death and offered to let Simba stay with them, as Simba was an outcast like they were. They teach Simba about their life in the jungle, and about their motto "Hakuna Matata", which means "no responsibilities, no worries." Simba takes this to heart and survives by eating bugs. But they also teach him a very important life lesson, how to put your past behind you which would become a key role later on in the young prince's life.
Years later, Simba has grown up into fairly carefree young adult lion but he is reminded of his father's death while he, Pumbaa and Timon are stargazing. One day, Simba is called upon to saving Pumbaa from a mysterious lioness, he discovers that the lioness is his old friend Nala. Though Nala is happy, as Simba being alive means that Simba can become king, Simba is hesitant, as he still feels guilt about Mufasa. After Simba and Nala spend time alone, they discover their friendship has blossomed into love. However, Nala tries to get Simba to return with her to the Pride Lands. She tells him about Scar's tyrannical rule, but Simba still refuses. Only encounters with both Rafiki and the ghost of Mufasa are able to convince him to return, as Mufasa reminds him that he must accept his role in the Circle of Life and Rafiki demonstrates how you can either run from the past or learn from it.
Simba returns to the Pride Lands where he discovers that the land has been destroyed during Scar's reign. As a result the herds have moved on, leaving the pride with no food or water. Simba heads to Pride Rock, followed by Nala, Pumbaa, and Timon who had joined Simba. While Timon and Pumbaa distract the hyenas, Simba goes to find Scar, while Nala rallies the lionesses. Simba reveals himself to his uncle after seeing Scar strike down Sarabi. Scar is fearful at first, but is able to force Simba to admit guilt in Mufasa's death. Scar forces Simba over the edge of Pride Rock and pierces Simba's paws with his claws (just like he did to Mufasa) before revealing that he killed Mufasa, not Simba. Simba is enraged, now realizing Scar was completely a big liar and after having a flashback to the fateful day he watched his father die, he summons a surprising level of strength and breaks free of Scar's grip, jumps up, and pins Scar down, forcing him to tell the truth to the pride. Alongside the lionesses and his friends, Simba leads a battle against Scar. After a fight with Scar at the top of Pride Rock, Simba is able to flip his villainous uncle over the ledge. There, Scar is consumed by his hyena henchmen, who were angered after Scar attempted to place the blame on them for Mufasa's death.
By the time the kingdom is restored to its former glory, Simba has taken his rightful place as king. He married Nala, and the two have their own cub, who is presented to the kingdom in a similar manner to the beginning of the film.
In The Lion King II: Simba's Pride, Simba is now a mature adult and he and Nala have a daughter, Kiara. Though he's shown to be a loving father, he's also concerned and over-protective of Kiara, due to his life experiences as a cub. One day Simba lets his daughter out to play with Timon and Pumbaa to watch her. Unknown to Simba, Timon and Pumbaa begin to argue about bugs and Kiara slips away from them unnoticed.
Kiara ends up crossing over into the Outlands where she meets Kovu, an Outsider cub whose pride was exiled by Simba because of their loyalty to Scar. The two befriend each other until Simba leaps in to confront Zira, Kovu’s mother, who was watching the two cubs. After the confrontation, Simba talks with Kiara and explains to her that they "are one."
When Kiara is an adolescent, she heads out into the Pride Lands alone for her first hunt. Simba is worried for her safety and sends Timon and Pumbaa out to watch her again. While Kiara is hunting, Simba paces nervously at Pride Rock. He notices smoke from a wildfire and rallies the pride to go find Kiara. Kovu rescues her and asks to join the pride. Simba at first tries to send him away, citing his banishment alongside the other Outsiders. Nala and Rafiki convince him to accept Kovu into the pride, as Pride Lands law states that debts must be repaid, and they owe Kovu for rescuing Kiara. Simba agrees to these laws but says he will place judgment on Kovu and when the pride returns to Pride Rock, he makes Kovu sleep outside the cave out of distrust.
That night, Simba later has a nightmare of him trying to save his father Mufasa from the stampede but is prevented from doing so by Scar, who morphs into Kovu and is thrown off the cliff. Unknown to Simba, Zira has secretly trained Kovu to infiltrate Simba's pride and kill Simba. Simba gradually begins to trust Kovu, and Kiara and Kovu begin to fall in love. Soon this led to Kovu questioning his loyalty to the Outsiders.
After a while, Simba takes Kovu out for a walk and tells him the real story about Scar. However, Zira and the other Outsiders ambush Kovu and Simba while they are walking and talking, automatically reigniting Simba's distrust in Kovu, after Zira congratulates Kovu for leading him into the ambush, "just like they always planned". Kovu tries to convince Simba that he had nothing to do with the attack, and even tries to protect Simba, but is knocked down by his sister, Vitani. Simba is injured, but leaps up a river dam to safety, causing a few logs to fall on Kovu's brother Nuka, who tried to stop him from escaping, and dies from his injuries. Kovu is blamed for his death, and Zira strikes Kovu with her paw and gives him a scar over his eye that resembles Scar's. He then flees to the Pride Lands in shame, with Zira telling her pride to let Kovu go.
Simba, believing Kovu had dark motives when he saved Kiara, exiles the lion after refusing to accept his apologies and silences his daughter when she orders her father to listen to Kovu. As Kovu flees, he glances back at Simba, ignoring Rafiki, who merely watches in sadness. Kiara is distraught at this, and pleads with her father to reconsider, but he claims that Kovu used her just to get to him, that he is following Scar's paw prints, and that he himself must follow his own father's. Kiara angrily defies her father, exclaiming, "You will never be Mufasa!" which hurts Simba deeply and immensely. Kiara then runs away to find Kovu, and the two reunite in the desert later that night. As Simba enters the cave to find his defiant daughter gone, Zazu arrives and announces that the Outsiders have initiated a war. Simba heads out to fight with his lionesses, Timon, and Pumbaa while sending Zazu to find Kiara. Before the battle begins Simba, in earnest, offers Zira a final chance to surrender and leave in peace, which the lioness, determined to see her goals to fruition, rejects. At this point, Simba leads the charge against the Outsiders.
After a lengthy battle, Simba and Zira confront each other directly. Just as the two are about to clash, Kiara and Kovu leap into the middle of the confrontation, and Kiara tells Simba that both sides "are one". Simba understands his daughter's wisdom and they nuzzle, as his father shines a beacon of sunlight upon him. The Outsiders, after learning of their leader's true nature when she threatens to kill a defecting Vitani, abandon Zira entirely and join the Pridelanders. Simba tells Zira to let go of the past as much as he has, so that peace may come between them for a better life; however, she is too overcome with hatred to accept his understanding. Zira, enraged, tries to leap at Simba, when he is momentarily distracted as the dam breaks, only to be knocked aside by Kiara. The two lionesses tumble into the gorge, which rapidly began filling with water. Simba jumps down the cliff after them while Zira, despite Kiara's offers of aid, slips and falls to her death into the swirling torrents of the river below. Simba reaches Kiara and gives her his paw to help her back up the cliff.
After Simba and Kiara climb back up to safety, he finally reconciles with his daughter and accepts Kovu and the other Outsiders into his pride. The two united prides head back to Pride Rock, where Kiara and Kovu are married. In celebration, Kovu, Kiara, Simba, and Nala walk up to the promontory of Pride Rock and roar out across the kingdom, along with the rest of the pride, the rest of the animals of the Pridelands celebrating below. The disembodied voice of Mufasa congratulates him warmly, his deep voice rumbling through the air. "Well done, my son. We are one."
In the 2004 direct-to-video interquel The Lion King 1½, Simba appears as a supporting character. He briefly appears in the movie's opening with the unveiling ceremony where the animals are bowing, although unknown to Mufasa or Rafiki, the real reason they were bowing is because Timon forced Pumbaa to fart in order to clear the crowd, and they were trying as best as they could to block out the stench. More is revealed about Simba's life in the jungle with Timon and Pumbaa after his exile.
Simba proves to be a handful, as he scales tall and dangerous trees and swims over waterfalls, not caring about the danger he is in and Timon's frantic efforts to discipline him. As a teenager, he has beaten Timon in every kind of bug eating contest, along with a snail slurping contest that is shown. He also has a tendency to wake up at night, thirsty or "needing to go" and in one scene, he mentions that he had a "bad dream", either about his father's death or getting killed in the stampede trying to get to safety, leading to him sleeping beside Timon and Pumbaa.
Later on, Simba has become a teen and is challenged by Timon to a snail slurping contest which Simba walks away from victoriously. Soon enough, he reunites with Nala, and while they are having a date, Timon and Pumbaa lie in the background attempting to break them up. Simba then leaves the next day to reclaim the throne and get help from Timon and Pumbaa. Before he reclaims the throne, he thanks, Timon and Pumbaa stating "I couldn't have done it without you guys."
Simba makes occasional appearances in the Timon & Pumbaa animated TV series. This includes one episode in which Timon drags him out to try to revive Pumbaa's lost memory. In the episode "Congo on Like This", Timon and Pumbaa suspect that Simba may have reverted to his carnivorous nature. The episode "Shake Your Djibouti" features Simba again where Timon and Pumbaa are forced to train Simba to protect them from a laboratory monster. In another episode, he appears only as a cardboard cutout.
Another episode entitled "Rome Alone" sees Simba being captured by Romans, who force him into gladiatorial battle with another lion named Claudius when he refuses to eat Timon and Pumbaa, but he gets out of the battle when Claudius falls asleep before the fight after Timon and Pumbaa keep him up all night trying to bribe him to forfeit the fight. In the episode "Once Upon a Timon", Simba arrives during the episode's climax and persuades Rafiki to finish telling the story of how Timon became an outcast.
Simba also appears in a music video of "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" starring Timon and Pumbaa, which appeared at the end of one episode.
Simba made numerous appearances in the House of Mouse television series as a guest at the club. He is sometimes seen as a cub or as an adult.
In "The Stolen Cartoons", Rafiki was seen bathing in Simba's soup. In "Timon and Pumbaa", he complains about Timon and Pumbaa's popularity, saying "Those guys always get all the attention!". In "King Larry Swings In", a cub Simba was seen in a flashback and fell from the cliff of Pride Rock after Donald accidentally dropped him. He also appears in the finale advertisement with Nala being scolded by a babysitting Donald Duck in "Mickey vs. Shelby". He was also featured in re-used crowd shots of guests fleeing the club on several occasions.
He also makes brief appearances in Mickey's Magical Christmas: Snowed in at the House of Mouse and Mickey's House of Villains.
Simba appears in the 2016 TV series The Lion Guard which takes place in the middle of The Lion King II: Simba's Pride and centers around his and Nala's second-born child and only son, Kion.
First appearing in the pilot film, Simba is first seen reciting the speech Mufasa gave to him early on in the original film, to his daughter, Kiara. In the middle of the speech, however, Kion and his best friend, Bunga, barge in and cause distraction. This increases Simba's concern over Kion's immaturity, and he voices his hopes that his son will eventually "grow up". Later on, while at Pride Rock, Simba and Nala are told by Rafiki that Kion has been blessed with the "Roar of the Elders": a power given to the second-born of each Lion King, which indicates the new leader of a team of protectors known as the Lion Guard. Simba feels Kion is not yet ready for such responsibility, but he eventually agrees to inform Kion of his newfound responsibility, and asks his son to assemble the Pride Lands' finest to join the guard, assuming that Kion knew he meant lions. Instead, Kion assembles of a diverse group of animals, much to Simba's disappointment. In the end, however, Kion and his friends are able to prove their worth by rescuing Kiara from a stampede and fending off troublesome hyenas. Because of this, Simba finally agrees with Rafiki's testament, confidently declaring it is time for the Lion Guard to rise again.
In the series itself, Simba generally plays minor roles throughout the various storylines. In "Bunga and the King", however, he and Bunga find themselves trapped in a massive sinkhole. As they try to free themselves, their equal stubbornness causes them to clash. In spite of this, they soon find something in which they can relate after realizing they were both raised by Timon and Pumbaa, establishing themselves as "half-brothers" in response to this. The episode is also significant in establishing Timon and Pumbaa as not only Simba's best friends but surrogate parents, as well.
In "The Trail to Udugu", Simba serves as temporary leader of the Lion Guard whilst Kion goes on a journey with Nala and Kiara.
Cameos and other appearances
Simba, as a very young cub, makes a brief cameo in the episode Safety Smart: Goes Green of Timon and Pumbaa's Wild About Safety, in which Timon misunderstands a CFL light bulb as a "cute fluffy lion." Then, an angry Sarabi comes to get back her son.
Simba also appears in the animated blooper reel featured in the The Lion King: Diamond Edition special features. One outtake featured Simba continuously botching the pronunciation of "Hakuna Matata". Another featured Simba trying to wake Rafiki in the midst of their scene during the latter half of the film. The final outtake on the short showed Rafiki accidentally dropping an infant Simba off the ledge of Pride Rock.
Simba (as a cub) makes an appearance being pursued by Scar and the hyenas in the episode "Hyena Havoc" of Disney Crossy Road: The Animated Series.
Simba appears as a character in the book series The Lion King: Six New Adventures. In the books, Simba and Nala are shown to have a son named Kopa.
Simba is set to appear in the upcoming live-action remake, voiced by Donald Glover.
In Kingdom Hearts II, he took on a much larger role since he was an ally and party member. This was largely due to the fact that his homeworld, the Pride Lands, was visited by Sora, Donald and Goofy. His role was similar to that of the film: Nala, along with the trio, encouraged Simba to return to Pride Rock and overthrow the tyrant king, Scar. Simba agreed to this after his father's spirit, Mufasa, rebuilt his confidence. He returned to his kingdom to find out that Scar had turned into a Heartless so after a battle, Scar was defeated and the hyenas were expelled, allowing Simba to take his rightful place as king. However, Simba's confidence in his leadership capabilities dabbled when Scar's ghost returned to haunt and torment Simba. Sora eased his worries and helped him defeat Scar's ghost so that there was nothing holding Simba back anymore.
As a cub, Simba is one of the many Disney animated characters having been sent to the Wasteland by Mizrabel. He is later found by Mickey Mouse and brought to the Fortress. Afterward, Simba asks Mickey to find his friends Timon, Pumbaa, and Zazu.
Young Simba also made an appearance in the Nintendo DS game Disney Friends as one of the characters the player has to care for as a babysitter.
Disney Universe also featured Simba as an add-on costumed character. The train that the player(s) ride on in the final level of Upper Pride Lands also resembles Simba as a cub.
Following the success of The Lion King, Julie Taymor created the musical The Lion King.
In this production, we have an insight into events that weren't explored in the original film, as Simba, young and old, is in nearly all the musical numbers. But in the Broadway production, we see a slightly extended role, which includes scenes like Timon being trapped above a lake full of crocodiles, which was Simba's fault; as the situation reminded him of the day his father was killed by his uncle Scar, and sings an additional song called "Endless Night".
Jason Raize plays Simba while Scott Irby-Ranniar plays young Simba in the original Broadway cast of The Lion King. However, after Raize committed suicide in 2004, a new actor had to take his place as Simba in future showings.
Like most characters from The Lion King, Simba does not appear for meet-and-greets. Instead, he appears in certain shows.
In Disney California Adventure, Simba makes appearances in various renditions of World of Color. In the standard version, he is seen reliving the wildebeest stampede from the film, and can also be seen during the finale.
In Magic Kingdom's Mickey's PhilharMagic, where he sings "I Just Can't Wait to Be King". In the former Magic Kingdom attraction The Legend of the Lion King, the story of the film was retold using animatronic puppets and scenes from the film, and of course, Simba appears in it.
Simba also has his own spell card known as "Simba's Roar" in the attraction Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom.
Simba makes a notable appearance during an early segment themed after The Lion King in Ignite the Dream. The segment goes through Simba's birth during "Circle of Life", his childhood through "I Just Can't Wait to be King", up until his eventual young adulthood during "Hakuna Matata".
Simba also appears on the resort property's rendition of The Lion King musical stage play.
- 'Simba' in Swahili means "lion", so he's named after his own species.
- In some concepts, Simba is shown with blue eyes.
- When the animators were drawing adult Simba, they wanted a little twist for his appearance and personality to be like his voice actor Matthew Broderick.
- In one episode of Home Improvement, Randy (played by Jonathan Taylor Thomas) says that he always expected his dad to be called a king by everyone while playing with a lion cub doll who resembles Simba. Thomas was the voice of young Simba in The Lion King.
- While Simba regularly appears as both a cub and an adult, his more iconic age is as a cub. The original film also goes more into depth with his cub personality.
- Simba is the first animated Disney character to have a villain as a biological relative, followed by Hercules.
- Simba's adult mane was supposedly inspired by Jon Bon Jovi's hair.
- Simba has trouble speaking in other animal languages, especially elephant.
- According to Timon in The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar, Simba repeatedly got his claws stuck in logs as a cub.
- In "Lions of the Outlands", it is shown that Simba had confronted Zira prior to banishing her and was the victor. This was likely right after taking his rightful place as king and before the Pride Lands were restored.
- If you look closely at Simba as a cub, he was sometimes seen with whiskers, and sometimes without whiskers.