- "...and the ones [Simba] leaves behind, love interest Nala, her mischievous kid brother Mheetu, and her wisecracking companion Bhati, a bat-eared fox."
- —Mouse Under Glass
Mheetu is the deleted younger brother of Nala.
According to his colored concepts, Mheetu has pale reddish-orange fur as well as a black nose. As for his uncolored concept art, he is shown to have a nose like Scar's and a small hair tuft. In his newest concept art, Mheetu has dark golden fur and what appears to be green eyes as well as a black nose.
From his concepts and previous places in the story, Mheetu is shown to be gullible and innocent as well as playful. The Laserdisc claims that Mheetu is constantly getting into trouble.
- "Initially, Nala had a little brother that I included so she could protect him from Scar. There was a lot in the Pride Lands while Simba is away with Timon and Pumbaa, but it was too depressing. How do you animate a concentration camp?"
- —Linda Woolverton on Mheetu
Mheetu was present in an earlier draft of The Lion King when the film was called King of the Jungle. He was created by Linda Woolverton specifically so Nala, his older sister, could protect him from the deadly clutches of Scar or his hyenas.
This idea was dropped because Woolverton felt that after Mufasa's death, the film had gotten too dark. Also, she didn't know how to go about animating a concentration camp, thus this idea was dropped, and they decided to focus on Simba and his new friends instead of Nala and her brother.
- "At one time, Simba had a whole menagerie of friends, including another lion cub (Mee-Too) and a bat-eared fox."
- —The Art of The Lion King
- "His best friend Nala (or Nadra) and her companions: her little brother Mheetu and a bat-eared fox."
- —The Lion King Laserdisc
Before Scar murdered Mufasa and took over the Pride Lands, Mheetu was a part of Nala's (then Nadra's) gang alongside a bat-eared fox named Bhati, while Simba's gang consisted of Timon and Pumbaa (then named Harold). All of these characters were originally scripted to grow up around the prince as childhood friends. Why this idea was scrapped is unclear. However, it's likely that some characters, like Timon and Pumbaa, were needed, as they were better fit to be introduced later, while other characters, like Mheetu, really had no purpose and were thus removed entirely. Also, with so many characters around, it would be difficult to focus on the main character, Simba.
The gang often played Kopje, "King of the Hill" in English, according to the Laserdisc.
Mufasa and Simba save Mheetu
- "Mheetu was Nala's "tag-along" little brother, who was always getting into trouble"
- —The Lion King Laserdisc
While Mheetu was still a cub, Scar, a rogue lion at the time, managed to lure Mheetu into the gorge and into a wildebeest stampede. His real intentions were not to have Mheetu killed, however, but adolescent Simba. Simba risked himself to save Nala's brother, but it's Mufasa who ultimately rescues the two from their doom.
- Mheetu is listed as Nala's little brother in one book, Mouse Under Glass and as Simba's in another, A Great Leap. In the film, Simba clearly remarks that he's Scar's only nephew, and there are more sources outnumbering the book that point to Nala, not to mention the creator of Mheetu, Linda Woolverton, who says that the cub was Nala's brother. This book is full of mistakes, as even Bhati is spelled as "Bahti."
- The Art of The Lion King contradicts the Laserdisc release of The Lion King, saying Mheetu was a part of Simba's gang, not Nala's.
- Thom Enriquez, Mheetu's designer, has confirmed cub concepts to be Mheetu, adding that he did a few cub Simba images that the public has never seen.