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Kovu (Swahili for 'scar') is the secondary tritagonist of The Lion King II: Simba's Pride. He is Zira's son who made his first appearance as a cub, when he has a chance encounter with Kiara, Simba's daughter. Later in the movie, after Zira trains him as Scar's heir, he goes back to avenge Scar and take back Pride Rock. However, he falls in love with Kiara and the two stop a bitter feud between Simba's pride and the pride led by Zira.
Kovu supplies the greatest tension in the film by use of his internal struggle. Inside he must decide between letting down his family or his love. Although he attempts to appease both, he knows he must choose between one or the other. This arguably makes Kovu the deepest and most complex character in The Lion King 2.
When Kovu chooses to follow Kiara, Zira slashes him across his eye so that he resembles Scar.
Kovu has two siblings, Nuka and Vitani. He was originally scripted as the son of Scar, but realizing the incestuous undertones this would have had with his romance with Kiara, it was scrapped and clarified that he had no relation to Scar.
The character is voiced by multiple people in the English version of the movie:
- Ryan O'Donahue voiced the young Kovu.
- Jason Marsden voiced the adult Kovu.
- Gene Miller was the singing voice for adult Kovu.
- Jason Marsden also voiced Kovu in The Lion Guard both young and adult.