Zira was a thin, fully grown lioness with dusty brown fur and a notch on her right ear. Her angular eyes were red, and her nose was black. The fur on either side of her face was long, forming two triangular points. Her muzzle was also longer than the average lion's, with the fur at the end of her chin scruffy. Her front claws were always extended.
It's your choice, Kion. With me. Or against me. But if you're against me... You'll never leave the Outlands.
Zira was sneaky and devious, feigning hospitality on numerous occasions in an attempt to get someone to side with her. She was set in her beliefs and cannot be swayed. Zira also loathed hyenas. Additionally, she believed that lions should rule with an iron fist, as opposed to being benevolent to all living creatures. She did not have much respect for the Circle of Life. She could be violent and even ruthless enough to kill a cub, if it didn't do her bidding. She was also very manipulative, as shown as she successfully tricked Jasiri into believing that Kion has joined her pride, and displayed a vaguely reasonable demeanor to Kion before she revealed her truly vicious and wicked self in vengeful response to Kion's statement that Scar was never the rightful King.
Zira lived in the Pride Lands during the reign of Scar, who selected her son, Kovu, to be the next Ruler of Pride Rock. Scar was later defeated by his nephew Simba, who took over as the rightful King. However, Zira, accusing Simba for his uncle's later death, disputed this and fought Simba, as she was very close to Scar. She lost and Simba banished her, her family, and her followers to the Outlands.
Zira and her family take over the watering hole, belonging to a hyena clan led by Jasiri, and refuse to share it. Simba's son, Kion enters the Outlands, accompanied by Jasiri and is brought to Zira by Nuka and Kovu. Zira introduces herself to Kion, then him to her daughter, Vitani, and asks what brings him to the Outlands. Jasiri pipes up, informing her of their friendship. Zira is surprised that she is friends with royalty and Jasiri explains that not only that, he is also the Leader of the Lion Guard. Surprised, Zira points out that the Guard isn't there, but Kion states that he is there and confidently asks why she and her family are in the Outlands and why they have taken over Jasiri's watering hole.
Zira slinks away and ignores his questions, instead, asking why he just doesn't use the Roar of the Elders to get her the water, which confuses Jasiri, Kion, Nuka, Kovu, and Vitani. Zira then explains that as the Leader of the Lion Guard, Kion possesses the Roar of the Elders and Kion is surprised that she knows about it.
Zira then shows Kion a cloud in the distance and tells him to roar at it. Still confused at what it could do, Kion does so and the Roar briefly transforms the cloud into a raincloud, dampening the land and releasing a short burst of rain.
Gobsmacked, Kion asks how she knew about the Roar's powers, but Zira does not feel comfortable discussing it around a hyena.
She asks to speak with Kion alone, lion to lion. Hesitantly, Kion agrees. Taking Kion aside, Zira reinstates her pleasure at meeting Kion and tells him that lions are the best rulers.
At next Zira tries to convince him to join her, singing Lions Over All, together with Kion. Afterward, she leads Kion to her family's home, a cave, where Kion demands to know more about the Roar, now that he and Zira are alone. But Zira first wishes to know who's side he is on lions or hyenas. Kion asserts that he is on the side of the Circle of Life and anyone who respects it.
Suddenly several lionesses, the so-called Outsiders, Zira's own Pride, surround Kion, revealing that it was a trap all along, set by Zira. She then left him the choice: being with them or against them and says that, if it's his choice to be against them, then he will never leave the Outlands. Zira is prepared to kill Kion, the son of Simba, to get revenge on him for killing a lion, that was very close to her, Scar.
When he threatens to use the Roar of the Elders against her and her lionesses, she tells him how she once knew someone else with the Roar and how he lost it, when he used it against his fellow lions. Kion knows that she's talking about Scar and Zira reveals that Scar and she were close. He was the one, who told her all about the Roar. She also says that if it wasn't for Simba, Scar would still be King. Kion offends her by declaring that Scar was never the true King and Zira becomes enraged, ordering her lionesses to attack. She wards them off almost immediately after, giving Kion one more chance to join her. She then leaves to get her cubs, leaving Kion surrounded by her lionesses.
Zira tricks Jasiri into thinking that Kion has sided with the Outsiders and orders her to leave, and she does so grudgingly. Zira then returns to Kion with Kovu, Nuka, and Vitani.
Upon arriving Kovu questions Zira why Kion and them can't be friends. She responds that this isn't her choice, but Kion's. In turn, Nuka questions Zira about if it is possible that Kion uses his Roar against them, fearing it. She responds the same thing that she has said before to Kion. She also reveals that without his Roar Kion is harmless and Simba's Pride Lands are an open target. Zira then turns to Kion, giving him his last chance.
However, Kion is rescued by the Lion Guard and Jasiri. Seeing that Kion is the only lion in the Guard, Zira claims that he is "pathetic" and orders to her lionesses to get ready to fight the outnumbered Guard.
When Bunga urges Kion to use the Roar of the Elders against them, Kion is reminded of what Zira had told him: Scar lost the Roar, because he used it against lions, which Zira and the Outsiders are.
But Bunga reminds Kion the real reason Scar lost the Roar: he lost it because he used it for evil. Zira refuses to believe it and tries to urge Kion to listen to her since she knows the Roar's powers better. Kion then asserts his stance, telling her that she and her family are not welcome in the Pride Lands or the Outlands. Zira is horrified and attempts one last time to remind him fearfully that they're lions, but Kion ignores her and uses the Roar of the Elders against them, sweeping Zira, her children, and the rest of the Outsiders away. (except Kovu, who soon runs after his family) They land near a termite mound. When Nuka wonders aloud where they are, Zira angrily responds Our new home.
After Kion departs Pride Rock to find the Tree of Life to heal his wounds which he received during the final battle against the ghost of Scar, Zira devises a new plan to take over the Pride Lands. She trains Kovu, raising him to believe Simba was the enemy, sending him over to the Pride to infiltrate them so he could later overthrow Simba and become King. However, during this, Kovu befriended Simba and fell in love with his daughter, Kiara (whom he had previously met as a cub). As a result of that, along with Nuka's eventual death later on in the events, Zira lead an attack on the Pride Lands herself. However, before any damage is done, Kovu and Kiara stop the fight and convince the lions that they are one Pride. Vitani and the other Outsiders saw it was true and joined Simba's pride, but Zira refused, rejecting Kiara's offer of peace, unable to let go of her hate, resulting in her death.
When the Lion Guard comes back from the Tree of Life, they learn through Kovu that Zira has completed her journey through the Circle of Life.
After being taken back to Pride Rock, they discover that Zira raised Kovu to believe that Simba was their enemy with the intention of using him to start an attack. The plan backfired when Kovu got to know Simba and Kiara. When Zira and her lionesses initiated a battle against Simba's Pride, Kiara and Kovu put a halt to the battle with the words "we are one". When everyone, including her daughter, Vitani, joined Simba's pride, Zira was unwilling to let go of her hate, and it destroyed her.
In the original press release for Lions of the Outlands, Suzanne Pleshette, who was the original voice of Zira in The Lion King II, was listed as reprising her role as Zira, despite having passed away in 2008. This was changed a few days later, with no mention of who voices Zira until it was revealed, that she was now voiced by Nika Futterman.
Unlike her The Lion King 2: Simba's Pride self, she is missing her dark stripe marking on her forehead, likely a slight overlooked detail.