Vitani bears a strong resemblance to her mother, but she is differentiated by a tuft of hair on her head, freckles, blue eyes, dark eye rims, purple triangle nose, greyish-cream fur and a less prominent jaw. As an adolescent, her ears are striped with black. However, this feature was not present as a cub, and appeared intermittently after it was introduced. Vitani's front claws are, like the rest of the Outsiders, constantly unsheathed.
Vitani is something of a tomboy, likely from growing up in such an inhospitable environment. As a result, Vitani is portrayed as loyal to her mother's cause, tough, and prickly, who has a tendency towards making sardonic taunts or sly remarks. Vitani is aware of her own intelligence and loyalty (that is, in comparison to the rest of her family). Vitani is shown to openly support Zira's plan to make Kovu the next king, aware that Nuka is weak, simple-minded and cowardly. Vitani does seem to show genuine care for Kovu's safety, becoming irritated towards Nuka for leaving him on his own, and again when she excitedly says 'Kovu, what a guy!' in Zira's number. As an adolescent, she sees the error of her ways, and becomes the next Outsider, after Kovu, to rejoin Simba's pride.
Vitani is seen first as a young cub, arguing with her brother Nuka over Kovu. She points out that Nuka's failure to babysit Kovu will get him in trouble, and scoffs at his claim that he could be a better leader than Kovu. When Zira returns with the wandering Kovu, Vitani greets him and challenges him to a fight. She later approves of Zira's plot to kill Simba by taking advantage of Kovu's relationship to Kiara.
As an adolescent, Vitani and Nuka are tasked with setting a wildfire in the Pride Lands while Kiara is hunting. The two gather fire from the elephant graveyard and quickly set a large blaze. This interrupts Kiara's first hunt and forces the princess to flee, which allows Kovu to rescue Kiara and eventually enter Simba's pride. She is later seen spying on Kovu and becoming dismayed when she witnesses her brother sparing Simba's life when he could have taken him from behind. Vitani quickly informs her mother. Zira is angered, and plots an ambush of Simba, in which Vitani takes part. In the course of the fight Vitani notices Kovu's attempts to defend Simba so she kicks him into a boulder and knocks him out to end his interference. When Nuka is crushed by logs which fell from the dam, she rushes forward to see about her brother, and witnesses his death. Along with Zira, she is shown to mourn Nuka's death, but her feelings on Kovu's betrayal are not shown.
Vitani is shown to take part in a battle against the Pridelanders, planned by Zira as an attempt to take the throne by force. She momentarily taunts and then fights Nala but is defeated with Nala using the flip move she used on Simba in the first film, while Zira deals with Simba. Kiara and Kovu intervene, and Kiara argues that the two prides should stop fighting and come together, as there is no difference between them.
Vitani is the first to understand the truth of Kiara's words. She surprises both Zira and Kovu by being the first to rejoin Simba's pride, and makes an attempt to convince her mother that it's time to stop fighting. But Zira is angered and sees Vitani as a traitor. Zira threatens to kill her own daughter as well as Simba's pride, which shocks and disgusts the other Outsiders enough to join Simba as well. She later joins Pride Rock following the death of her mother and lives the remainder of her life with the rest of the lions.
Vitani and Kovu appear to be close, such as in the end when she turns to Simba's pride, she is seen standing right by Kovu.
Even though she's a major villain, she is the only outsider that cares about Kovu and trusts him.
We do not see either Vitani's reaction to Zira's death or see her with the other lions roaring at the end.
She is one of the few if only cubs who are actually obedient to their parents and does not appear to have a headstrong side, unlike Nuka (who neglects his mother's orders to watch over Kovu), Kovu (who promptly leaves the Outlands into a place he's not allowed), Kiara (who does the exact same thing), and Simba (who deliberately disobeys his father to check out the Elephant Graveyard). Vitani appears to be totally devoted to her mother's plot, until the very final moments of the film. The second cub to act obedient to their parents is Kion, as in The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar, Kion was reluctant to enter the Outlands, hinting that he was informed by Simba of the dangers there.
Vitani has a slightly shifting design throughout the film. As a cub, Vitani was shown without dark ear marks and pointier cheeks (Similar to Kovu). As an adolescent, her cheeks became rounded (Similarly to Kiara and Nala) and was sometimes drawn with dark ear marks, and sometimes without. One error right as Zira was leading the Outsiders to war had her drawn with pointed cheeks.
Her name was originally named "Shetani", but since the word means "Devil" in Swahili, her name was changed to "Vitani". "Vita" means "war" in Swahili, so it is suggested that her name is a portmanteau meaning "Demon of war". However, during the fight scene of the film, Nala appears to say "Shetani" rather than "Vitani", pointing out the potential that the name was changed after production had already begun. The actual name "Vitani" means "War, demon of war" in Swahili but the comparison was logical because the makers thought that "Shetani" sounded rude and was insulting to the character.
Vitani is the second of three lionesses in The Lion King franchise to have blue eyes. The first being Nala (though her eyes are teal/green in The Lion King and green in The Lion King 1½) and the third is Zuri.
Vitani bears a resemblance to Tama, a female lion cub who was a friend of Nala's in The Lion King comic Trouble in Paradise. Though unlike Vitani, Tama had brown eyes instead of blue.