- “A wise king once told me "We are one". I didn't understand him then. But now I do.”
Kiara is one of the main protagonists of the 1998 Disney film The Lion King II: Simba's Pride (alongside Simba) and a supporting character in its 2016 midquel TV series. She is Simba and Nala's daughter, Kion's older sister, and the mate of Kovu.
As a cub, Kiara is curious and wild-hearted, constantly seeking new adventures and easily fraught at the sight of her safe nest back home in the Pride Lands. Her hunger for adventure often leads her to outright rebellion, as she ignored her father‘s better judgment in order to explore the Outlands and get answers to her unresolved questions. Kiara inherits her parents' curiosity and her curiosity in her surroundings has gotten her into real trouble.
Later in her childhood, Kiara became more accepting of her destiny as future queen and began to take her royal duties seriously. Sometimes her duties would lead Kiara to rub it on her younger brother Kion’s face, which leads into a fight, though they still care for each other.
Kiara is also very strong-willed, and she possesses a strong desire for independence and self-sufficiency. She can escape and sneak out at times to reach her goal. She also displayed frequent annoyance when addressed by her title preferring to be known for who she herself is rather than who her family is.
Kiara is still a child at heart, able to laugh at everything and make even Kovu's rough training into a game. Her outlook is a positive one, and she is one of Kovu's most loyal encouragers, seeing past his rough exterior to the kind character within. She also showed a strong amount of charisma as she convinced both prides that they are better united than against each other.
Like her father, Kiara sometimes doesn't get the advice and criticism she is given by her friends and family right away, also she had to find out the hard way. In addition, Kiara does get what her friends and family meant when she hears or sees it for herself, shown when Kovu shows her their reflection in the water and saying that they are one which helped her see the truth in her father, Simba, words when she was a cub. Also, Kiara uses the same advice she was given to help her family, shown with her father, or others, shown with the outsiders.
Kiara is small and soft-featured, less robust and stocky than her father but just as lithe and sleek as her mother. Kiara's pelt is of a more peach tone, like that of her father's, but it is tempered by the creamy hues of her mother. As a result, she doesn't carry as rich gold as her father's or grandfather's. Her muzzle, paws, and underbelly are cream in color, while her tail tuft is creamy brown. Her eyes are reddish-brown.
Kiara remains the same light shade from her cubhood, not darkening with age as her parents did, though this could be attributed to her not being a full-grown adult yet.
An infant Kiara appears at the beginning of The Lion King II: Simba's Pride, during her presentation to the animals. Timon and Pumbaa comment on how great it will be to relive old times with the cub, whom they believe to be a boy, only to be understandably shocked when Rafiki reveals that Simba and Nala's new cub is a girl.
Kiara grows into a playful cub, and her next appearance takes place as she is going out to play. Before she can leave, Simba, who becomes seriously over-protective, begins going through an extensive list of warnings about the safety of the Pride Lands. Annoyed, Kiara is able to repeat them from memory, suggesting that she has heard them many times before and grows irritated. Simba's final warning is to stay away from the Outlands, home of the Outsiders, because, in his words, "You can't turn your back on them." Kiara doesn't understand why, but Simba simply tells her that she will understand one day and sends her off. She goes off, but is followed by Timon and Pumbaa, whom the king has sent to her.
When the two get into a disagreement, Kiara is able to slip away. She enters into the Outlands, where she meets Kovu, a cub who is one of the Outsiders as well as Scar's chosen heir. Remembering Simba's words about Outsiders, she takes them literally and continually positions herself so her back is not to Kovu. The two cubs are forced to work together to escape some crocodiles and become friends as a result. She plays with him for a time, but the two are forcibly separated by Simba (along with Nala, Timon, Pumbaa, and two lionesses) and Kovu's mother Zira, who was banished from the Pride Lands for her loyalty to Scar.
Kiara is taken home by Simba, where he gently scolds her for putting herself in danger, noting that as future queen, she needs to be careful. When Kiara expresses her reluctance at becoming queen, Simba explains how they are connected and sings "We Are One" to explain this. Once again, the concept goes over Kiara's head and Simba simply tells her she will understand someday.
Sometime after, while at his tree, Rafiki notes to Mufasa's spirit that Kiara is growing into a great future queen, but he worries about Kovu, who is being trained by Zira to hate. Mufasa is able to communicate a plan to Rafiki, using a broken gourd as an example. If Kiara and Kovu are brought together, then the feud between the two prides can be solved. Rafiki doubts the plan at first but agrees to trust Mufasa after some convincing.
Kiara is next seen as an adolescent, preparing for her first hunt. She expresses her desire to hunt on alone, and with prodding from Nala, Simba reluctantly agrees. However, he breaks his promise almost immediately and sends Timon and Pumbaa to watch her. Kiara discovers them and is angered by her father's over-protectiveness. She runs away to hunt on her own, away from the Pride Lands and ends up in the midst of a wildfire set by Zira's other children, Vitani and Nuka. Kiara tries to escape, but is knocked out by smoke, and is saved by Kovu. She comes to but does not recognize him at first, only realizing his identity when he asks, "What are you doing?" in a reference to their first meeting as cubs.
Simba and Nala arrive at their daughter's aid, as they had seen the smoke from the fire. Kovu asks to join the pride, but an angry Simba refuses. Rafiki appears and reveals that Kovu had saved Kiara's life. This knowledge is not enough to affect Simba's decision initially, but he allows Kovu to join on a trial basis after both Nala and Zazu remind him that by the Pride Lands' law states, they owe Kovu his debt for saving Kiara. Kovu is allowed to return to Pride Rock temporarily, pending a final judgment of character by Simba. Simba distrusts Kovu and forces him to sleep outside. At Pride Rock, Kovu points out that Kiara's hunting skills are rather lackluster and that she could not survive on her own. In response, Kiara convinces Kovu to teach her to hunt.
The next day, Kiara inadvertently and unknowingly interrupts Kovu's intended ambush of Simba. She and Kovu spend the day together as Kiara learns to hunt, and later the two are seen stargazing together. With some subtle prodding from Rafiki, the two begin to fall in love. Kovu later attempts to tell Kiara about his place in Zira's plot, and his reluctance to assume his role, to take over the Pride Lands but is stopped by Simba, who wishes to speak with Kovu alone.
She later sees her father, obviously injured, coming back from an ambush set up by the Outsiders as she sends Zazu for help. Kiara disbelieves that Kovu was involved when Simba accuses him of being in on it. Despite this, Kiara does help her father get back to Pride Rock with Timon and Pumbaa help, who were with her. Kiara wanted to see Kovu when he came back but is stopped by Simba, who confronts Kovu for coming back to the Pride Lands. Kiara pleads with her father to listen to Kovu, knowing that the ambush wasn't his fault, but he silences her. Kiara watched Kovu's banishment, much to her sadness, which she actively protests against her father's decision, only to be stopped by the other lionesses. As Kovu flees, Rafiki who was watching the event sighs sadly feeling that Simba has completely defied his father's goals and was too intoxicated with hate to notice Kovu for who he really is.
Afterward, Kiara approaches Simba and asks him to reconsider his decision, but he was too angry to change his mind and to make matters worse, Simba forbids Kiara to leave Pride Rock unescorted, intending to keep her away from Kovu, leading into an argument. Despite Simba telling her that Kovu was using her to get to him, Kiara tells her father that Kovu loves her for who she is. Simba, however, believed that Kovu loved her for being his daughter. Infuriated, Kiara tells her father that he doesn't know Kovu as she does. When Simba says that Kovu is following Scar's paw prints and that he must follow his father's, Kiara, who had enough of her father's words, insults him by declaring that he will never be Mufasa, which horrifies him, before running into Pride Rock in tears as the shocked lionesses look on.
Kiara manages to break out of Pride Rock and reunites with Kovu. Though Kovu considers running away to form their own pride, Kiara understands her father's words from when she was a cub when she sees her and Kovu's reflections merge in the water. She convinces Kovu to return so that they may try to reunite their divided prides. Kovu agrees and the two return to find that the Pridelanders and Outsiders are at war.
Kiara and Kovu break up a fight between Simba and Zira, who tell them to step aside. Kiara persuades her pride and the Outsiders that their prides are no different from each other, and convinces the majority to drop the feud. However, Zira refuses to budge and attempts to attack Simba. Kiara leaps to defend him, and the two lionesses fall off a cliff. Kiara is able to land on a safe ledge, and she attempts to save Zira, who is clinging to the side of the cliff. Zira refuses, and slips into the river below and drowns.
Simba leads Kiara back up the ledge and allows Kovu and the Outsiders to return to Pride Rock. Afterward, Rafiki blesses Kiara and Kovu's union, and they are seen roaring on top of Pride Rock with Simba and Nala.
Kiara appears in the Disney Junior TV film The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar and series The Lion Guard, which sees her having a younger brother named Kion (whom she appears to have a sibling rivalry with), who serves as the protagonist. The series serves as a midquel to Simba's Pride, taking place after Kiara's first encounter with Kovu and before her next encounter with him as an adolescent. She also seems older than her cub self in Simba's Pride as she reaches Simba's shoulder. Kiara is a bit more arrogant but yet kind compared to her gentle behavior in the sequel and Simba doesn't seem to be overly protective of her as he is in the sequel. It's also shown another difference where Kiara is alright with wanting to become the future Queen, while in Simba's Pride Kiara is not sure of her future.
Kiara first appears in The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar at Pride Rock being taught about being Queen by Simba, only to be disrupted by Kion who is playing Baobab Ball with Bunga. The two siblings have a short squabble before being separated by Simba who sends Kion and Bunga away to play their game away elsewhere.
She is later seen with her friends Tiifu and Zuri with the latter getting her claws stuck in a log (due to constantly sharpening them), though she is later helped out. After hearing from Bunga that Kion is setting up the Lion Guard and has made Bunga the first member, Kiara questions Kion on if Simba knows about this to which Kion replies that it was Simba who told him to pick members. She, Kion, Tiifu, Zuri, Timon, and Pumbaa then join in with Bunga singing "Zuka Zuma".
Later, Kiara tells Simba about Kion picking Bunga to join The Lion Guard and proves it when Zazu finds Kion and Bunga with Fuli, Beshte, and Ono (whom Kion had also picked to join the Lion Guard). Simba thanks Kiara, before sending her and Tiifu to track gazelles while he has a word with Kion.
When tracking the gazelles, Kiara notices Mzingo circling above and Janja and his clan in the heart of the herd. Suspicious, Kiara sends Tiifu to get Simba while she stays behind to keep watch on the herd. However, Janja and his clan cause a stampede in the herd and Kiara becomes trapped in it.
Luckily, Kion and the Lion Guard come to her rescue by driving the hyenas away, before Bunga and Fuli ride through the herd to Kiara. Bunga then lands on a rock next to Kiara and lets out a fart that causes the herd to move away. After this, Kiara is delivered safely to Simba and Nala who along with Tiifu and Rafiki were watching the battle.
In the episode Can't Wait to be Queen, Kiara is made Queen Regent of the Pride Lands as Simba, Nala, and Zazu have to attend an elephant's funeral. Tiifu and Zuri serve as Kiara's "advisors" during this time. Kiara also uses Ono as her majordomo without asking Kion's permission first which irritates him. Kion then clashes with Kiara over her decisions, which is overheard by Mzingo, who reports this to Janja. Mzingo goes to Pride Rock and tells Kiara that Janja wants a peace treaty and she should go to Broken Rock, which is neutral land between the Pride Lands and the Outlands.
After another clash with Kion, Kiara goes to Broken Rock to talk with Janja but is ambushed by him and his clan. Janja plans to hold Kiara hostage until Simba hands the Pride Lands over to him. Luckily Kion (who had been convinced by Mufasa to help Kiara) arrives and is shortly joined by the rest of the Lion Guard, causing the hyenas to flee. The two siblings reconcile and return to Pride Rock, just before their parents and Zazu return from the funeral.
In Return to the Pride Lands, which takes place after The Lion King II, adult Kiara shows up in the Outlands when the fight between Kion and Vitani after the Guard returned from the Tree of Life after hearing about Zira's return. Kiara tells to Kion to stop fighting but when his brother sees Kovu behind her, he is about to use the roar until Kiara steps in and explains that Kovu and Vitani are theirs and that Zira is dead. Once everyone returns to Pride Rock, Kiara, Simba, Nala, Kovu and Rafiki tells the Guard the events that have occurred so far that have led to the redemption of the Outsiders and the death of Zira.
After the night falls, Kiara, her family and Kovu meet the spirit of Mufasa who is happy to see them together before dissipating. As Kiara goes to bed with the others, she notices Kion staring at the stars with some sadness and joins him. Kion explains that seeing her with Kovu reminded him of Rani, a friend he had met at the Tree of Life. Kiara immediately realizes that Kion's relationship with Rani is much more than just friendly, and slightly teases him over the fact that he has fallen in love. Kiara also shows teasing surprise upon learning that Rani is the Queen of the Tree of Life, though Kion does not tell her Rani proposed to him. Kiara deduces that Kion misses her, and Kiara, sympathetic to Kion desiring to return to her, tells him that he could return to the Tree of Life to be with her, before informing him that she is certain their parents would understand.
Kiara's sisterly advice was finally realized when Kion gave his title of Lion Guard leader to Vitani and then returned to the Tree of Life to see Rani again. At the wedding/coronation of King Kion, Kiara was among the many guests of the Pride Lands who attended, along with Jasiri's clan. Kiara enthusiastically congratulates her brother when he became the King of the Tree of Life.
- Kiara in Swahili means "princess", while in Italian it means "bright", and in Irish it means "dark".
- Interestingly, all of Simba and Nala's children's names begin with "K" (Kopa, Kiara, Kion); though Kopa is their unofficial son, while Kiara and Kion are their official children. This trait is shared by their son-in-law too, Kovu.
- Kiara is the second child of an original film's protagonist to be the main character of the sequel (in this case, taking over for Simba and Nala after the first The Lion King film). The first was Nicky Ferris from The Parent Trap II (taking over from Sharon McKendrick). The trend has since followed in many Disney sequels.
- Kiara is one of the few Disney sequel characters to make further appearances.
- In the first Lion King film, according to the bonus features and some series of books, Kiara was previously going to be a male character but was changed.
- In The Lion King 1½ DVD, if the viewer plays the Who Wants to Be King of the Jungle game, one of the questions about the ending of The Lion King II: Simba's Pride implies that Kiara and Kovu possibly have a cub together.
- Kiara is the first female cub in her family set to inherit the throne of the Pride Lands, as her father was an only child (making him the only heir), and all of her predecessors to the throne had been male heirs.
- It is currently unknown what the age gap between Kiara and Kion is. Though in Lions of the Outlands, Kion was unaware of Kiara's encounter with Kovu, hinting that he was either not born yet or still an infant. In Return to the Pride Lands, Kiara is a young adult while Kion is still a teenager.
- It can be debatable about whether Simba or Kiara was the protagonist; some say Kiara because the film shows her coming of age, while others say Simba because the film could be about him learning a lesson in fatherhood.