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We move closer, leaving the vultures, as Sarabi, a sleek and tawny huntress of many years, crouches low in the high grass, body rippling with tension. A few yards off, a zebra raises its head, eyes wide, nose filling with an ominous scent. Sarabi remains frozen, only shifting her eyes to catch a glimpse of her sister, Naanda, who stands still-as-stone to her right.
In the early script, Nala and Simba are watching their mothers and aunts hunt down a zebra. Much later, when Simba and Nala are adolescents, Naanda is implied to be hunting with the lionesses. Later on, she and Diku report to Mufasa that an intruder has attacked Sarabi. The intruder is discovered to be Scar, a rogue lion. After being convinced by Banagi to take over Mufasa's pride, Scar and the hyenas march to Pride Rock and overwhelm Mufasa, who charges at them while the lionesses look on helplessly. During Scar's reign, Sarabi tries to attack Bangai, but Naanda calms down her sister. Not long into his reign, Scar looks on Nala lustfully, desiring her as his mate, but Naanda tells her daughter to not look at him. Soon, Nala suggests that she get close to him in order to make him understand that he needs to get rid of the hyenas. Horrified, Naanda scolds her daughter, trying to discourage her. Soon, the lionesses relocate to the bottom of Pride Rock, where Nala questions her mother as to why they can't just run away. Naanda replies that this territory has belonged to their ancestors for many ages.
When Simba returns and defeats Scar, the lionesses look down on Banagi and Baasho before Simba decides to banish them to the desert. Finally, Simba marries Naanda's daughter and becomes Naanda's son-in-law. Naanda becomes a grandmother when it is revealed that the new couple have a son.
In this script, Naanda sits alongside her sisters, daughter, and Simba as Mufasa struggles to take down a fire. When all options fail, Mufasa gives a signal to Sarabi to run, and the lionesses and the animals of the kingdom flee. Next, when Simba and Nala are adolescents, Naanda is implied to be hunting with the lionesses. Soon after, she and the lionesses gather to see Mufasa challenge Scar in a duel at the fire tree bridge. After Mufasa loses and dies, Scar and the hyenas ascend to power with Simba running away into exile. When Baasho returns part of Simba's tail to confirm Simba's "death," Sarabi angrily tries to attack the hyena, but Scar prevents it. Naanda calms down her sister and leaves. At the bottom of Pride Rock, Nala complains about why the lionesses continue to tolerate Scar and the hyenas, and asks why they don't run away. Naanda replies that there is nowhere to go, as all of the surrounding territories are occupied by rogues and other prides.
At a water hole, the lionesses gather around Nala with Diku and Dwala congratulating her stance against Scar. On the contrary, Sarabi does not. Naanda fully states that there is little to do but to stay together while tolerating Scar and the hyenas. Her daughter disagrees with this, urging them to find an ally to defeat him, but Naanda wags her head in disagreement. When Banagi returns Nala back to Pride Rock, Nala tries to distract the hyenas by starting an argument with Sarabi. Naanda asks what's wrong with her, and her daughter orders her to stay out of the fight, leaving Naanda perplexed and angry. After Simba returns and defeats Scar and the hyenas, the lionesses look on with tears in their eyes. Finally, Naanda stretches out across the kopje alongside her sisters and daughter, now fully healthy again.
Naanda only appears in one concept, in which her back is to the audience. Her colors seem to mimic that of her sister's, as both lionesses have a rich pelt of tawny-golden fur. In addition, both huntresses are sleek and tight-muscled.
Personality and traits
Naanda is portrayed as a more level-headed character than Sarabi in the two versions of the script. In the January 1990 draft, she manages to calm Sarabi down when the latter tries to attack Scar in blind anger, and does the same in the May 1990 draft when Sarabi comes close to attacking Banagi.
As a mother, Naanda is caring and maternal. She plays with Nala during her cubhood, and once Nala matures, Naanda grows deeply concerned for her daughter's safety, especially after Nala decides to pretend to be in love with Scar. After Scar kills Mufasa in the May 1990 draft, Naanda stops Nala from running to Simba's aid when he tries to attack the hyenas.
Like her sisters, Naanda seems to be passive and doesn't stand up for herself when Scar takes the pride, evident when she discourages her daughter's suggestion to find an ally to defeat Scar and the hyenas. She also seems very loyal to her homeland when she refuses to leave it despite the harassment from the hyenas.
- Mufasa is heavily implied to be Naanda's mate, thus Nala's father. Their relationship would have made Simba and Nala half-siblings as well as cousins.