Today marks the anniversary of the 1998 release of The Lion King 2: Simba's Pride! Coincidentally, it was a Tuesday in 1998 when it was released.
In honor of this event, here's the history of The Lion King 2: Simba's Pride:
According to Wikipedia, Disney considered a sequel before the movie was released, and eventually predicted a release in 1995, which then went to 1996, and then 1997.
In case you're confused, Kovu is not Scar's son in the final film.
He was changed to be Scar's heir after it was realized he and Kiara would be cousins.
Kiara was named Aisha, but was later renamed Shani when it turned out Aisha was the name of the yellow Power Ranger. Eventually they settled on Kiara for her name. She had a hair tuft like cub Simba did. (She was rumored to be voiced by either Sarah Jessica Parker, or Jennifer Aniston, but instead was voiced by Neve Campbell).
Speaking of different names, some characters got new names, but had minor appearance changes. Zira was rumored to have been named Bianca which means white. Her current name Zira is more fitting as it means Hate. In production her eyes were green and blue, and sometimes merchandising kept her eyes blue. Vitani's name was Shetani which meant Devil, but was changed, and now means War.
Some characters weren't so lucky and were cut from the film all together.
Lets start with some characters who we recognize from The Lion King: The Hyenas.
The hyenas were meant to be Zira's minions, and Cheech Marin signed on to reprise his role as Banzai! However it was realized that the hyenas were actually the ones who killed Scar, so they were replaced with a group of lionesses called The Outsiders (Contrary to popular belief, they were never referred to as Outlanders in the film, only some merchandise did.)
Kiara also had an older brother named Chaka, who was meant to be the cub shown at the end of the first film. However to simplify things, they just made that cub Kiara.
Many years later, Kiara now has a brother.
There was also going to be a hornbill named Binti who would have served as Zazu's girlfriend, and had many designs before being scrapped.
Some concepts and scenes were deleted as well.
One took place after "He Lives in You" and had Rafiki painting Kiara's picture on his tree next to Simba's. However Mufasa's wind alerts him of an upcoming danger, another cub named Kovu in The Outlands.
The next two scenes take place after this and was to introduce The Outlands.
Kovu is playing and catches a termite, then releases it. However, his mother Zira scolds him for showing weakness and reminds him how Scar accepted him like a son.
The scene directly after this has Vitani and Nuka racing back to the Outlands to alert Zira of Kiara's birth.
The next scene is an extended version of the most emotional death scene in a film I've ever seen: Nuka's death. It gives him a few more lines other than, "I'm sorry mother...I t-r-r-ied."
The last deleted scene is another extended death. It showed that instead of Zira slipping and falling to her death, she instead let go and committed suicide.
There was also a concept of The Outsiders living in a diamond cave, which Shani\Aisha would discover and meet Nunka. Not much is known about this place, besides concept art.
Images below from Lion King Wikia
Then October 27th 1998 it was released direct to VHS and a new Circle of Life began.