Narrative secrets ahead.
Newborn Simba was very small and chubby 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. He has a small tuft of hair on top of his head and a short bushy tail. He has somewhat stocky proportions.
As a teenager, Simba retains much of the appearance he had as a child, but is much more lithe. 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 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.
As a full-grown adult, the colors of Simba's pelt and mane are somewhat duller and he has a more aged look.
As a cub, Simba was playful and always ready for an adventure with his best friend Nala. He tried to see the best in everyone, even Scar. At times, he could be a show-off and boasted that he will be the greatest king ever, which often got himself and Nala into danger. In spite of this, he came to see the fault in his actions and always learned from his mistakes.
As a young adult, Simba still has his fun-loving demeanor but has become ashamed of those actions he thought were his fault when he was a cub. After reuniting with Nala, Simba realizes he needs to mature and take responsibility, he becomes even more courageous and is determined to protect his family and kingdom (especially after realizing Scar's true nature), regardless of the cost. Simba becomes strict and judgmental and takes his job of ruling the kingdom very seriously.
As a full-grown adult, Simba rules as a noble king of the Pride Lands. Unfortunately, his defensiveness makes him become occasionally over-protective to others, even his family. However, he eventually comes to see the light and is successful in saving his pride. Simba is marked by his strong sense of justice. Despite this, he is still gullible to his enemies, such as when Zira congratulated Kovu for leading Simba into the ambush she set up, he automatically believes her words and distrusts Kovu again when Kovu was really unaware of the ambush and had nothing to do with it.
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 headed the ceremony, performing a ritual before presenting Simba.
Simba grows up into a playful cub, with a rambunctious attitude. He gets excited about being king someday after Mufasa shows him the kingdom. He 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 of royalty. Suddenly, Mufasa is called to handle an emergency, and Simba is sent home, much to his disappointment.
After Simba returns home, he tells his uncle Scar about the trip, though he is not remotely interested. Taking advantage of the cub's innocent nature, Scar tells him what the forbidden place is, in fact, the elephant's graveyard, where only the bravest lions travel. Simba wants to prove himself brave and so, he and his best friend Nala travel to the graveyard. Unknown to them Scar had put 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, unknowingly 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 he 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. The hyenas drive a herd of wildebeest toward Simba. Though Mufasa was able to save Simba, Mufasa did not survive. Mufasa had tried 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 tricked by Scar into thinking that Mufasa's death was his own fault. He tells Simba to leave the kingdom and secretly sends Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed to kill him. Simba is able to escape by leaping into a bed of thorns. He 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.
Years later, Simba has grown into fairly carefree young adult lion but is reminded of his father's death while he, Timon, and Pumbaa 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 Rafiki and Mufasa's ghost 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 he 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 Scar after seeing him strike down Sarabi, which makes his love for Scar turn to pure hatred. At first, Scar is fearful as he thinks Simba is Mufasa but begins to realize that Simba has returned and glares angrily at the hyenas for failing to kill him a long time ago. When Simba challenges him to either step down or fight, Scar tells him to tell everyone who is responsible for Mufasa's death and Simba says that he is. Then Scar forces Simba over the edge of Pride Rock, mocking him by saying that his "daddy" isn't here to save him this time, and pierces Simba's paws with his claws (just like he did to Mufasa) before revealing to Simba that he himself killed Mufasa. Devastated and angry at Scar for being a liar, Simba jumps back up and pins Scar down, calling him a murderer and forcing him to tell the truth to the pride. After trying to weasel his way out of it, Simba threateningly presses his paw down on Scar's throat, so he finally admits that he killed Mufasa. Alongside the lionesses and his best friends, Simba leads a battle against Scar at the top of Pride Rock. Scared, Scar begs for mercy and tells Simba that the hyenas are the real enemy and that they killed Mufasa (not knowing that Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed had heard him and backed away in anger while growling at Scar). Simba refuses to believe this, but instead of killing Scar, Simba spares his life as he doesn't want to be a monster like him. Relieved, Scar thanks Simba, falsely promises to make it up to him and asks how he can prove himself to him. Simba repeats Scar's words and tells him to "run away and never return." Slowly, Scar begins to leave, only to suddenly throw burning ashes into Simba's face and tackle him, trying to kill him (as he thought Simba would pull a similar stunt like the one Scar himself had pulled). After a short, but intense, battle with Scar, Simba is knocked onto his back and before Scar delivers the final blow, Simba is able to use his last bit of strength and flip his nemesis over the ledge (using Nala's pinning tactics). Scar survives the fall but is then consumed by the hyenas, who are angered by Scar's attempt to blame them for Mufasa's death.
By the time the land 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 named Kiara. Though he is shown to be a loving father, he is also concerned and over-protective of Kiara due to his experiences as a cub.
One day, Simba lets his daughter out to play with Timon and Pumbaa to watch her. Unknown to him, 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 a young adult, 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, against Nala's advice. 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 convinces 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.
That night, Simba later has a nightmare of him trying to save his father Mufasa from death, but is prevented from doing so by Scar who morphs into Kovu and is thrown off the cliff, shouting, "NOOOOO!!!". 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 Kovu begins to question his loyalty to the Outsiders.
After a while, Simba takes Kovu out for a walk and tells him the real story about Scar. Zira and the other Outsiders ambush Kovu and Simba while they are walking, 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 log dam to safety, causing a few logs to fall on Kovu's brother Nuka, who tried to stop him from escaping and he dies from his injuries. Kovu is blamed for the death and Zira strikes Kovu with her paw and gives him a mark over his eye that resembles Scar's, he then flees to the Pride Lands in shame and Zira tells her pride to let Kovu go.
Simba, believing Kovu had dark motives when he saved Kiara, exiles him after refusing to accept his apologies and silencing his daughter when she pleads to her father to listen to Kovu. As Kovu flees he glared at him and angrily ignoring Rafiki who was watching very sadly and feeling that Simba has defied his father's goals. Kiara is distraught at this and pleads with her father to reconsider but he claims that Kovu used her just to get to him and he is following Scar's paw prints and Simba himself must follow his own father's unknowingly he already failed to follow his father's paw prints and the Circle of Life broken and forbids Kiara to leave Pride Rock unescorted. Kiara angrily defies her father saying to him, "You will never be Mufasa!" causing Simba to hurt immensely, and Kiara then runs away to find Kovu. 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 and Timon and Pumbaa and send Zazu to find Kiara. Before the battle begins in earnest Simba offers Zira a chance to surrender and leave peacefully 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. 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 implores Zira to let go of her hatred much as he has so peace may come between them though she is too overcome with hate to accept his understanding. Zira, enraged, tries to leap at Simba when the clamoring from the log dam distracts him only to be knocked aside by Kiara. The two lionesses tumble into the gorge, which is now full of raging water from the damaged log dam. Zira, despite Kiara's offers of aid, slips and falls to her death in the swollen river below.
After Simba and Kiara climb back up to safety, Simba 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, and the rest of the animals of the Pride Lands celebrate. In the sky, Mufasa congratulates his son, "Well done, my son. We are one."
The Lion King 1½
In the 2004 direct-to-video interquel The Lion King 1½, Simba appears as a supporting protagonist. 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 that 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, trying to break them up. Simba 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."
- "I Just Can't Wait to be King"
- "Can You Feel the Love Tonight?"
- "Hakuna Matata"
- "We Are One"
- "The Morning Report"
- "The Path of Honor"