Dembe is shown to be a hardworking dung beetle. Not much of his personality is known in the film itself other than living in the desert.
In the "Pride Lands Pedia" bonus feature released exclusively for digital platforms, Dembe narrates the story of Africa filled with a lot of animals and the importance of conserving the natural habitats of the animals by protecting them.
Dembe is first seen rolling a dung ball across a barren land with a tuft of mane which came from Simba to which while rolling the ball to get to the other side, the dung beetle finds himself flipped over just as the dung ball rolls downwards a steep ledge, causing it to break. Afterwards, Dembe plans on getting a new dung ball while the wind carries the mane which is later carried by one of the leafcutter ants just as Rafiki picks up the mane.
During the reprise of "Circle of Life", Dembe (who rides on a new dung ball) attends the birth of Simba and Nala's newborn cub alongside Timon, Pumbaa, and the other jungle animals neighboring the duo.
Despite his minor role in the film, he serves as the main character of the optional bonus feature, "Pride Lands Pedia", where he serves as the narrator of the feature which is exclusive to digital platforms and Disney+. Unlike in the film itself where he had no spoken dialogue throughout it, Dembe speaks in this digital platform-exclusive bonus feature. In it, he narrates of why it is important to learn about the Pride Lands' animals and why viewers must learn to protect them and their natural habitats through the powers of conservation before they disappear.
While not in the film itself, Dembe (generically referred to as a dung beetle) made additional appearances in the remake's novelization. It is to note that prior to "Pride Lands Pedia" being released, this is the first time that Dembe spoke.
In Chapter Thirteen during the part where Timon and Pumbaa take Simba to their home inside a jungle, Dembe rolls his ball of dung through a group of animals who are all disgusted upon seeing his object. The honey badger angrily tells him to stay out of the jungle to which he tells him that his dung ball is made of mud. Upon noticing Dembe bringing his object in front of them, Simba smiles in front of the dung beetle, causing the animals to back away in retreat. When Simba asks Timon and Pumbaa for a zebra, Dembe and the other animals freeze to which Timon tells him that he must eat like what he, Pumbaa and the other animals are eating which are grubs.
In Chapter Fifteen when Simba grows up into an adult lion, he remembered that Dembe, the honey badger, and the elephant shrew knew Simba as a cub, but Dembe and the other animals became used to Simba as he no longer made them nervous. Dembe is not mentioned again after that.
- While the novelization based on the film's plot claims that Simba and Nala's newborn cub is the future king of the Pride Lands, Dembe identifies the newborn cub as "Kiara" during the scene where Simba and Nala give birth to a new cub, which contradicts the novelization's claim. This makes the cub's actual gender in the 2019 remake unclear.
- Dembe's voice actor, Atticus Shaffer, also voiced Ono in The Lion Guard.
- Dembe was created exclusively for the 2019 remake and does not appear in the original version of the film.