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|“||You'll never hurt Kiara, or Simba, not while I'm here.||„|
|~ Kovu to Zira|
Kovu is the deuteragonist of the 1998 film The Lion King II: Simba's Pride and a guest character in its 2016 midquel series The Lion Guard. He is the youngest son of Zira, the adoptive son and alleged heir of Scar, Nuka and Vitani's younger brother, Simba and Nala's son-in-law, Kiara's best friend and later, her husband and Kion's brother-in-law.
He is voiced by Ryan O'Donohue as a cub and Jason Marsden (who also plays Max Goof, Danger Duck, Nermal, and Shere Khan) as an adolescent (Gene Miller, singing) in the movie. Marsden reprised the entire role in The Lion Guard (including replacing O'Donohue as his cub self).
As The Lion King II: Simba's Pride is loosely based on Romeo and Juliet, Kovu (due to being Kiara's love interest from a hostile family (The Outsiders) is based on Romeo.
Kovu has auburn fur and green eyes. As a cub, he had a dark brown tuft of hair on his head. As an adolescent, this tuft grows into a mane which stops at top of his chest. His most distinguishing feature is the scar over his left eye, which he got from Zira after she blamed him for Nuka's death. His appearance is quite similar to Scar, but his physiques are similar to Simba.
Kovu was born sometime near the end of Scar's reign over the Pride Lands to Zira and an unknown lion (both of whom had already had a son and daughter; Nuka and Vitani) shortly before the King's death. At some point in Kovu's life, following his birth, he was adopted by Scar and chosen to rule Pride Rock in the wake of Scar's demise. Soon after, Scar's nephew and the rightful King of the Pride Lands Simba, returned to Pride Rock and challenged, battled, and defeated his uncle, and became King. Zira, accusing Simba for his uncle's murder, attempted to dispute Simba's reign by mentioning Kovu's position as Scar's heir. When Simba denied Kovu as the heir and said that Scar was never the true King, Zira struck out and fought Simba, before being defeated. Soon after, Simba had no choice but to exile Zira, her family and any other lion loyal to Scar from the Pride Lands, threatening to kill them should they return. As a result, Zira plotted revenge by training Kovu to avenge his adoptive father and take back the throne. Kovu along with the other exiled lions moved to the Outlands and became known to the Pridelanders as Outsiders.
The Lion King II: Simba's Pride
Some years later, Simba's daughter Kiara distracted her babysitters Timon and Pumbaa and sneaks into the Outlands and bumped into Kovu. He snarls at Kiara and demands her to tell him who she is before he teases her for doing what her father says (never turn the back to an Outsider), saying Outsiders don't need anybody and he takes cares of himself. Kiara and Kovu end up wandering onto the crocodiles. The crocodiles tried to devour them, but they got away from the angry reptiles. After this, the two cubs play before Zira pops up and tries to face off with Simba, Nala, Pumbaa, Timon and some of the Pridelanders, but to no avail. Zira picks up Kovu and takes him to their home in the Outlands where his two siblings Nuka and Vitani are afterwards. Kovu is seen sleeping during Zira's song ("My Lullaby").
As the years go by, Zira sets up her plan for Kovu to avenge Scar's demise by having Simba slaughtered. After Nuka and Vitani set fire to the Pride Lands while Kiara is out hunting trapping her, Zira sends Kovu into the fire to rescue Kiara from being burned and along the way they fall into a lake but Kovu manages to stop Kiara from drowning and swims her to land. When Kiara wakes up, she gets angry that Kovu ruined her hunt. But when she recognizes Kovu, she’s happy to see him. Just then, Simba and Nala show up and find out from Rafiki that Kovu saved Kiara and Kovu asks to join the pride. Although Simba refuses as he’s an Outsider but Kovu says he left the Outsiders and is a rogue now and tells Simba to judge him for who he is or blame him for a crime he didn't commit. Simba going by the law of owing debts decides to let him join the pride but says he’ll reserve judgment until he sees who Kovu really is and makes him sleep outside Pride Rock. Kiara goes to see him and arranges for him to teach her to hunt while he’s being watched by Zira and Nuka. Later, he appears in Simba's nightmare in which Simba tries to rescue Mufasa from falling into the gorge but is stopped by Scar who transforms into Kovu and throws Simba into the gorge after Mufasa.
The next morning, Kovu makes ready to sneak up and attack Simba but fails when Kiara shows up to start her training. Along with Timon and Pumbaa and Kiara, they accidentally run into a herd of angry rhinos. After avoiding the rhinos, Kiara and Kovu are seen laying on the grass stargazing later on. They appear in the song "Upendi" afterwards. After the song, Simba following Nala's advice to give Kovu a chance, lets him sleep inside Pride Rock and starts to trust him unaware that Vitani is watching and reports to Zira Kovu didn’t slaughter Simba.
The next morning, Simba and Kovu go out for a walk and talk about Scar when they are ambushed by Zira and the Outsiders. Zira congratulates Kovu for getting Simba alone just as "they" would’ve planned. Hearing this, Simba loses his trust in Kovu, who says he had nothing to do with the plan. The Outsiders attack Simba and when Kovu tries to rescue him, he’s knocked away by Vitani and Simba unintentionally crucifies Nuka by knocking logs onto him crushing him while he’s escaping up a dam. After Zira says a prayer to Scar to watch over Nuka, she gets angry at Kovu and scratches him across the face leaving a scar over his left eye and blames him of betraying his pride and Scar and for "killing" his own brother. Having had enough, Kovu stands up to his mother and leaves to head back to the Pride Lands. But when he gets there, Simba blames him of being in on the ambush and has the other animals of the Pride Lands chase him away, much to Kiara's heartbrokeness who believes Kovu is innocent and against her father's orders leaves Pride Rock to follow Kovu.
Kiara finds Kovu at last, who tries to convince her to run away with him to start their own pride. However, Kiara tells Kovu they have to go back as their place is within their prides and if they don’t do something, the prides will be divided forever.
Kovu along with Kiara head back to the Pride Lands and see the battle between the Pridelanders and Outsiders going on and manage to stop the fight by jumping in front of Simba and Zira just as they were fixing to fight one-on-one. Zira tells Kovu to move, but he declines, saying that he will not let her hurt Kiara or Simba while Kiara reminds Simba about what he told her as a cub about them being one and says she didn't understand him then but she does now. Hearing this Vitani and the Outsiders go over to the Pridelanders except for Zira who tries to attack Simba, but Kiara knocks her aside causing the two lionesses to go over the side of a cliff. Luckily, Kiara lands on a platform and tries to assist Zira but she falls to her demise into a fast flowing river below much to Kovu's disappointment having lost both his brother and mother. After Kiara is helped back up the cliff by Simba, a relived Kovu embraces her. Simba owes Kovu an apology and allows him and the other Outsiders to rejoin the Pridelanders. Kovu is seen at the end of the film married to Kiara at long last, and presented as the Prince Consort and future king, and joins her and Simba and Nala to roar at the end of Pride Rock.
The Lion Guard
Kovu reappears in the 2016 Disney Junior series The Lion Guard, which takes place after he first meets Kiara.
He is once again voiced by Jason Marsden.
Kovu is first seen in the Season 1 episode "Lions of The Outlands" where he comes across Nuka being pinned down by Kion (who was in the Outlands to sort out a problem of lions not sharing a waterhole with his hyena friend Jasiri's clan) after Nuka attacked Jasiri. At first, Kion believes that Kovu is Nuka's friend, only for Kovu to correct him in saying that Nuka is his brother.
Kion then questions Kovu and Nuka on why they are in the Outlands and not the Pride Lands and learns that their family's not welcome there. After learning from Jasiri that Kion is Simba's son, Kovu believes that his family might be allowed back into the Pride Lands and he could see Kiara again. Kion is surprised to hear that Kovu knows his sister, to which Kovu says that it was a while ago, before telling Nuka that they have to take Kion and Jasiri to see Zira.
Kovu and Nuka take Kion and Jasiri to Zira, who is drinking from the waterhole with Vitani. After Kovu tells Zira that Kion is Simba's son and Jasiri says that he is also the leader of the Lion Guard, Zira takes Kion away to talk privately and leaves Jasiri with Kovu, Nuka, and Vitani.
Kovu is later mentioned when Rafiki tells Bunga, Fuli, Beshte and Ono about how the Outsiders were banished to the Outlands after Zira tried to claim Kovu as Scar's heir and attacked Simba when he told her that Scar wasn't the true king.
Nuka gets impatient on waiting on Zira and tries to attack Jasiri, but is stopped by Kovu. Eventually, Zira returns and tells Jasiri that Kion decided to let the Lions keep the waterhole. After Jasiri leaves, Zira takes Kovu, Nuka, and Vitani to Kion, who is surrounded by the other Outsiders. Kovu is confused about what is going on as he believed that Kion was going get them back into the Pride Lands and be their friend. Zira tells Kovu that if Kion uses the Roar of the Elders on his fellow lions, he will lose it and if he doesn't use it, he will still lose, thus the Outsiders win.
Just then, Jasiri and the rest of the Lion Guard arrive to help Kion and fight off the Outsiders. When Kion confronts Zira, Kovu distances himself from the other Outsiders. After learning from Bunga that Scar didn't lose the Roar due to using it against his fellow lions but for evil, Kion uses the Roar to blast Zira and the Outsiders away to termite mounts. Kovu is the only one not to be blasted away, but when seeing Kion approaching him, Kovu runs after his family and pride.
Kovu reappears at the end of Season 3, taking place presumably a few weeks after the events of Simba's Pride as an adolescent where he and Kiara stop Kion and the Lion Guard (who had left the Pride Lands months ago to search for the Tree of Life to heal Kion and Ono following the Guard's battle with Scar's spirit) from fighting Vitani when she mistaken them for intruders. Kovu and Kiara explain to Kion that whilst he and the Lion Guard where away, the Outsiders joined the pride and Vitani had formed her own Lion Guard in the usual Guard's absence. Kovu later goes to the Tree of Life where be witnesses Kion (who had retired as leader of the Lion Guard and was succeeded by Vitani) marry Rani and become King of the Tree of Life, thus uniting the two prides like Kovu and Kiara had done in their marriage.
A Little Help From a Friend
In this comic (which is a midquel to the film), Kovu runs into a cub whom he eventually discovers is Kiara. She invites Kovu to go to the canyon to watch Simba deal with Outsiders, but he declines. Kiara begins to leave but decides to stay and play with Kovu.
As the cubs are playing, Kiara hears Pumbaa cry out for help. The two friends immediately race to the source of the voice and find that Timon is hanging unconscious from a vine in a tree. Quickly, the two formulate a plan. While Kovu climbs up the tree and frees Timon, Kiara clambers onto Pumbaa's back and catches the meerkat as he falls. After laying Timon gently in Pumbaa's tusks, Kiara bids her friend farewell, as they both agree that he would not be welcome in the Pride Lands.
- In the original script for The Lion King II: Simba's Pride, Kovu was originally called Nunka and was going to be the son of Zira and Scar so that he would have a claim to rule the Pride. He was intended to be voiced by Andy Dick and be somewhat of a clone of Scar in appearance, having the same sleek body figure, bright green eyes, brownish orangey fur, (with Nunka's slightly duller in coloration) and a dark black mane. He would've seduced Aisha (Kiara) in order to assassinate Simba. However, this would have made him Simba's first cousin and therefore Kiara's first cousin once removed, thus leading to an incestous relationship. So he soon was renamed "Kovu", and instead became Scar's adoptive son, Dick went on to voice Kovu's brother Nuka, and Kovu's fur was dulled, he was redesigned into a more musciular lion, his mane went from black to brown, and his eyes went from lime green to emerald green, making Kovu's eye color the only trace of his original design.
- Director Darrell Rooney soon described Kovu as an orphan, in which Zira would be his adoptive mother.
- According to a newspaper article describing the Outsiders' return to the franchise through The Lion Guard, Kovu is incorrectly described as a descendant of Scar.
- Kovu is one of three members of the Pride Lands' royal family to have a scar over his left eye, with the other two being Scar and Kion. Chronologically, he is the third lion of the royal family to receive a scar, as Scar had received his prior to the events of the original film, whilst Kion had gotten his years after Kovu's first encounter with Kiara, but before he is sent to infiltrate the Pride Lands. However whilst Kovu got his scar after being scratched by Zira, Scar and Kion got their scars after being bitten by venomous cobras.
- Kovu at the Pure Good wiki
- Kovu at the Disney wiki
- Kovu at the Lion King wiki
- Kovu at the Lion Guard wiki
- Kovu at the Love Interest wiki
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