"...and the ones [Simba] leaves behind, love interest Nala, her mischievous kid brother Mheetu, and her wisecracking companion Bhati, a bat-eared fox."
According to his colored concepts, Mheetu has moderate vermillion 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 head tuft. In his newest concept art, Mheetu has dark golden fur and green eyes as well as a black nose.
- Official colors can be found here: moderate vermillion.
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?"
Mheetu was present in an earlier draft of the film when it 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 and 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."
"His best friend Nala (or Nadra) and her companions: her little brother Mheetu and a bat-eared fox."
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). The gang often played Kopje, "King of the Hill" in English, according to the Laserdisc.
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.
Mufasa and Simba save Mheetu
"Mheetu was Nala's "tag-along" little brother, who was always getting into trouble."
While Mheetu was still a cub, Scar, a rogue lion at the time, managed to lure Mheetu into a wildebeest stampede in the Gorge. His real intentions were not to have Mheetu killed, however, but adolescent Simba. Simba risked his life to save Nala's brother, but it was Mufasa who ultimately rescued 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. A Great Leap 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 certain cub concepts to be Mheetu, adding that he did a few cub Simba images that the public has never seen.