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Disney and The Lion King

The Film
Timon and Pumbaa
Shenzi Banzi and Ed
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The Lion King VI Human Encounter Ver. 1.4 (Story)
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Simba is the protagonist of Disney's popular 1994 animated feature film The Lion King. He is the son of Mufasa and Sarabi, and the mate of Nala. His name is Swahili for 'lion'.

Voices of Simba

Film Voice Actor
The Lion King (1994) Jonathan Taylor Thomas (cub)
Matthew Broderick (adult)
Jason Weaver (cub singing voice)
Joseph Williams (adult singing voice)
Evan Saucedo (The Morning Report sequence cub singing voice) (2003)
The Lion King II: Simba's Pride (1998) Matthew Broderick (adult)
Cam Clarke (adult singing voice)
The Lion King 1 (2004) Matt Weinberg (cub)
Matthew Broderick (teen and adult)

Simba in The Lion King

In the opening sequence of The Lion King, Simba is the new-born son of King Mufasa and Queen Sarabi. He is held up by the wise mandrill Rafiki atop Pride Rock for all the animals in the Pride Lands to see.

Simba grows up into a lively and rambunctious young cub who believes that being a king is all about doing what you want all day, and going wherever you please. Taking advantage of the cub's naive nature, Simba's evil uncle Scar tells him about the elephant graveyard. Although Scar tells Simba not to go there, Scar knows for sure that the young cub will go there out of curiosity. Simba does so and takes his best friend Nala along. When they reach the graveyard, they are chased by the three hyenas Shenzi, Banzai and Ed, who are actually Scar's minions. Mufasa comes to the rescue of the two cubs.

Mufasa is upset with Simba, but resolves to not scold his son, and instead teach him about the great kings of the past up in the stars, who guide and watch over the young prince.

Later, Scar tricks Simba into waiting in a gorge. There, Scar commands Shenzi, Banzai and Ed to start a wildebeest stampede into the gorge where Simba is. Mufasa saves Simba from the stampede, but cannot save himself from Scar. Scar grabs the king's paws and throws him into the stampede. Simba is tricked by Scar into thinking that he was responsible for his own father's death, and that he should run away. Emotionally shattered, Simba does so, but Scar sends his hyenas after Simba in an attempt to kill him. However, Simba escapes, and wanders off into the desert.

Simba finally collapses from heat exhaustion. Vultures gather around Simba, but they are scared off by Timon the meerkat and Pumbaa the warthog. Timon and Pumbaa rescue Simba and take him to their jungle home.

Simba grows into an adult lion whilst in the jungle. He lives the Hakuna Matata ("No worries, no problems!") lifestyle until his childhood friend Nala appears, now a fierce young lioness. Nala tries to convince Simba to return to the Pride Lands as he is the rightful King. Simba, still deeply guilt ridden by his father's death, refuses and runs off into the grasslands to end their fight, leaving Nala very angry.

While Simba is by himself, Rafiki appears and tells Simba to follow him, as he knows where the apparently alive Mufasa is. Simba follows Rafiki across the grasslands and through a patch of thorny vines. Once they reach a pool of water, Rafiki raises his hand and tells Simba to stop. Rafiki tells Simba to look at his reflection in a pool, but instead of Simba seeing his own face, he sees his father's. Mufasa's ghost then appears in the clouds and tells his son that he must go home and take his rightful place as king. Simba realises what he must do, and runs home.

Once back at the Pride Lands, Simba confronts his uncle Scar. Scar tells the rest of the pride that Simba was responsible for Mufasa's death, and tries to kill Simba. However, as Simba clings to the rock, Scar tells him the truth, and an enraged Simba leaps up and pins Scar to the ground. A fight ensues as a fiery inferno, caused by lightning striking a dead tree, rages in the background. Nala rallies the other lionesses, including her mother Sarafina and the erstwhile Queen, and the lionesses attack the hyenas. Simba wins as Scar is killed by the hyenas he betrayed. Simba then takes his rightful place atop Pride Rock and roars out across his kingdom.

Some time later, when the Pride Lands are restored to their former glory, the animals gather at Pride Rock once more as Rafiki lifts Simba and Nala's cub, Kiara, high into the air, thus continuing the circle of life.

Simba in The Lion King II: Simba's Pride

Adult Simba from The Lion King II: Simba's Pride
Adult Simba from The Lion King II: Simba's Pride

Simba now has a daughter, Kiara, who is stubborn and doesn't always obey her father. Simba lets his daughter out to play, but asks Timon and Pumbaa to watch her. Timon and Pumbaa get into an argument about bugs and Kiara slips away. Kiara ends up meeting Kovu, an Outlander lion whose pride was exiled by Simba as they still followed Scar. The two play tag, until Simba leaps in to confront Zira, Scar's former mate, who was watching the two cubs play. Zira is still loyal to Scar, and Kovu is the lion chosen by Scar to ascend the throne.

Back at Pride Rock, Simba talks with Kiara. Kiara doesn't want to be queen as it's "no fun", and Simba tells Kiara that she no choice, and that she must do her duty. Kiara seemingly softens her stance.

When Kiara is grown she heads out into the Pride Lands for her first hunt. Simba is naturally worried, and sends Timon and Pumbaa out to watch her again, against Nala's advice. This time Kiara is outraged by what she sees as her father's interference, and runs off to do her own hunting by herself away from the Pride Lands. Zira then sends her daughter Vitani and her son Nuka to start a fire surrounding Kiara. Kiara tries to run from the rapidly spreading flames, but ends up collapsing. Kovu rescues Kiara and asks for entry to the pride. Simba allows Kovu to join the pride, but is suspicious. He later even has a nightmare of him trying to save his father Mufasa from death, but is killed by Kovu before he can. In fact, Zira has secretly trained Kovu to infiltrate Simba's pride and kill Simba.

Kovu had a lot of opportunities to kill Simba, but his hate is drowned out by his love for Kiara, enough to confess Zira's plot and his role in it. However, before he can explain, Zira ambushes Kovu and Simba while they are out walking. Simba is injured but leaps up a log dam to safety. Simba's climb dislodges some logs from the dam, which fall and crush Nuka. Zira blames Nuka's death on Kovu for not killing Simba when he had the chance. In anger, she slashes Kovu's face, giving him the same scar that Scar had. Kovu runs off back to the Pride Lands.

Simba realizes that Kovu had darker motives in mind when he asked to join the pride and exiles him. Kiara is distraught and escapes to go and find Kovu.

Meanwhile, Zira plans another attack and wages war on the Pridelanders. Kovu and Kiara find each other again and run back to try and diffuse the anger between their prides.

As they return, they see a fierce battle in progress between the Outlanders and the Pridelanders. Kiara and Kovu leap into the middle of the battle and convince the two sides to stop fighting. Simba agrees with them but Zira doesn't. Enraged, she leaps at Simba but is knocked away by Kiara. The two tumble into a gorge where the log dam from the previous fight has weakened and burst. Zira falls to her death into the swollen river.

The two prides, now united, return to Pride Rock, and Simba and Nala look on proudly as Kiara and Kovu are married.

Simba in The Lion King 1

Teenage Simba from The Lion King 1 1/2
Teenage Simba from The Lion King 1 1/2

In the 2004 midquel The Lion King 1, we get to know more 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's 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.

Simba in The Lion King (musical)

Beyond the Films

Simba's story has been widely expanded beyond the films to numerous children's books, most notably a set of books titled The Lion King: Six New Adventures, where he has a son called Kopa.

Timon drags out Simba to try and revive Pumbaa's wiped memory

Simba also makes occasional brief appearances in the Timon and Pumbaa TV animated series. This includes one episode in which Timon drags him out to try and revive Pumbaa's lost memory. Simba also appears in a music video of "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" starring Timon and Pumbaa, which was shown theatrically in front of the film Tom and Huck in 1995.

He also appeared in the Disney/Square Enix video game series Kingdom Hearts. In Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, he appears as a summon, along with Genie, Dumbo, Tinker Bell, Bambi, and Mushu. In Kingdom Hearts II, when the main protagonists (Sora, Donald and Goofy) explore the Pride Lands, Simba assists them in battling Scar, Shenzi, Banzai, Ed and numerous Heartless. He has a Co-Op move with Sora that causes huge rocks to appear and inflict a lot of damage to the enemy.

Cam Clarke voices Simba in the above two appearances, with archival footage of Jonathan Taylor Thomas used for Young Simba in a flashback sequence in Kingdom Hearts II.

"Simba" has since the film's release become a popular name for domesticated cats in America.