The Lion King


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"Everywhere you look I'm standing in the spotlight!"
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"If you tell me, I'll still act surprised!"
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Cub - Adult


Queen (adult)
The Lion King
The Lion King II: Simba's Pride
The Lion King 1½
The Lion King: Six New Adventures
Close Relations
Sarafina (mother)
Unknown lion (father)
Simba (husband)
Kopa (son)
Kiara (daughter)
Mufasa (father-in-law)
Sarabi (mother-in-law)
"Pinned ya!"
Nala teases Simba

Nala is the deuteragonist of The Lion King, the secondary tritagonist of The Lion King II: Simba's Pride, and a minor character in The Lion King 1½. She is the wife of Simba, the daughter of Sarafina, the daughter-in-law of Mufasa and Sarabi, the mother of Kopa and Kiara, and the mother-in-law of Kovu.

Physical Attributes

"She's got those assets feminine! I have to make her mine!"
—Scar checking out Nala in The Madness of King Scar

Nala's official synopsis
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Nala is a tawny pelted lioness with teal eyes (changing to blue in the sequel). Her frame is fit, a must for that of a huntress, and sleek, as said by her official synopsis. Her official synopsis also shows her eyes as a clear and indisputable blue, likely because the picture was altered to Disney's liking therefore confirming her eyes were blue and not green. Nala was considered very attractive and even Scar, who was decades older than her, showed interest in her. Despite her beautiful appearance, Nala proved to be very strong and powerful in combat. Her signature technique was to roll until her opponent was beneath her and then pin them down.

She has light-colored eye shades as both a cub and adult. Her paws are colorless, and her tail tuft is a rich, mildly brown. Overall, she closely resembles Sarafina.


Simba: "Y'know, you're starting to sound like my father!"
Nala: "Good! At least one of us does!"
—Simba and Nala arguing

As a cub, Nala is a bit sassy, spunky, and just as curious, mischievous and ready to get in trouble as Simba is. She is firm about her ideas and beliefs, refusing to let Simba take full credit for her idea to get rid of Zazu.

This carries into her adulthood, where Nala has turned into a sharp-tongued and fearless adult lioness. She fights Simba into submission and isn't afraid to re-inforce to Simba that he is the rightful king no matter how much he denies it, or to tell Scar that they (the lionesses) don't believe he's the rightful king, despite being at a lower rank at the time.

She has been known to press Simba's buttons, blatantly replying, "At least one of us does," to when Simba tells her, "You're starting to sound like my father."

In The Lion King II: Simba's Pride, Nala is much more relaxed and laid-back, seeming to be much less over-protective over her daughter Kiara than Simba is. She was also much more accepting of Kovu and her expression showed that she disapproved of Simba's decision to banish Kovu. Notably she was the only character apart from Kiara who maintained her faith in Kovu until he proved himself to everyone else at the end of the movie.


The Lion King

Cub Nala

Infant Nala
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Nala is first seen asleep cradled in Sarafina's arms as Simba runs through the den, intent on waking his father for his morning lesson.

Nala in Sarafina's paws
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Later on that day, Nala is being bathed by her mother, Sarafina. Simba greets her, whispering to her he just heard about a great place they could explore. Nala points out through clenched teeth that she's in the middle of a bath, accepting her mother's cleansing licks while Simba is abducted by Sarabi and given a bath of his own. Nala remarks, while her mother washes her lower back, that the place they're going to better not be dumb. Simba reassures her that it's really cool, but Sarabi gets suspicious. Nala disproves of this "place" apparently being around the waterhole, asking what's so special about it. Simba whispers through his clenched teeth that "he'll show her when they get there", hinting they aren't really going to the waterhole. She realizes this immediately, asking her mother for permission to accompany Simba and then joining him in charming Sarabi into letting them go, and equally disapproves of Zazu keeping an eye on them.

Simba and Nala object to their eventual marriage
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As they tread towards the water hole, Nala asks Simba in whisper their true destination to which Simba responds is the Elephant Graveyard Nala responds with excitement, but Simba shushes her reminding her that Zazu is hovering just above them. Nala asks how they get rid of him, and the two cubs begin to whisper a plan to each other, something Zazu mistakes as them being romantic.

The cubs glance at each other, shifting in confusion when Zazu mentions them being "betrothed" and similar terms they don't understand. Nala asks for clarification, and both cubs recoiling in disgust when they realize they are to be married one day in the future. Nala comments them being married would be "weird", and points out since Simba is the future king, Zazu must do what he says when Simba states to do away with the betrothal.
"No one sayin' do this, no one sayin' be there!"
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Zazu says he doesn't, not yet anyway, telling Simba he's shaping up to be a pretty pathetic king. The two cubs proceed into "I Just Can't Wait to be King" in order to distract Zazu, trapping Zazu underneath the underside of a rhino and bounding away. Nala happily remarks how they lost Zazu, pointing out to Simba that the plan was her idea and pins him when he decides to tackle her. He pushes her off, and he tackles her again only to be pinned again. A geyser interrupts them both and the two realize they've arrived at and gawk at the Elephant Graveyard.
Nala teasing Simba that she pinned him in a game of Pinned Ya
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Nala wanders into the hyena's home wondering if the elephant's brains are still inside, and Simba begins to trot forward to find out. Zazu has caught up to them though, and demand they return to the Pride Lands, very aware that they are in danger. Before they can return, Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed exit the large skull the two cubs were intent on checking out and accuse the trio of trespassing.

Zazu begins to herd the two out of the place, but the hyenas corner them, make it apparent they desire the cubs as food, and while they're distracted, Nala and Simba make a run for it. Zazu is snatched from the air though, and the cubs go back to find him, challenging the hyenas and ending up running for their lives again. Nala and Simba scale up a mass of bones, but the young lioness slides down towards the menacing jaws of Shenzi, but before the hyena can do any harm to her, Simba slashes her across the face while Nala gets away. The two cubs attempt to climb an elephant skeleton, but can't get a good grip, weaken the slim strip of flesh they were jumping on and fall through it, and are cornered in the deceased animal's ribcage.

Nala hides behind Simba as he tries to scare the hyenas off with his "roar", but Mufasa comes to the rescue, drowning out Simba's "roar" with his own powerful one. He beats, pins, and scares off the hyenas, turning his fury to Zazu and then Simba for disobeying him. As they trot away, Nala quietly tells Simba she thought he was very brave.
Nala cowers from the Hyenas from behind Simba
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The cubs walk through the clearing in silence, and Mufasa commands Zazu to take Nala home. She glances back at Simba, leaving the two males alone.

Nala is last seen as a cub is when Scar breaks the news to the rest of the pride about Mufasa and Simba's deaths in the gorge. She nuzzles against her mother's leg and sheds a single tear, and looks on in shock and fear as the hyenas close in on Pride Rock.

Young Adult Nala

"It's like you're back from the dead! You don't know how much this'll mean to everyone... what it means to me..."
—Nala to Simba

Later on in the movie, Nala first appears as a young adult relentlessly chasing Pumbaa through the jungle when he strays too far from Timon in pursuit of a beetle. She expertly keeps up with the warthog as he tries to throw her off by turning and twisting. Just as she lunges to kill him and Timon, Simba charges toward her, surprising her. The two fight, with Nala clawing at Simba's head, shoulders, face and mane until he tackles her and she uses her signature move, pinning him hard to the ground.

Simba recognizing Nala
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When Simba says her name, she becomes surprised and gets off him up and inquires him about his identity. It only takes her a second to realize "Simba" was the name of the dead prince, and that this was the same lion. The two greet each other excitedly, asking each other what they're doing here until Timon, confused as to why they are no longer fighting, breaks it up and demands to know what's going on. Simba introduces Nala to his two friends as his best friend. Nala is pleasured to meet them, but turns her attention back to Simba. She tells him excitedly about when everyone finds out here's been here all this time, unknowingly reciting Scar's words exactly when he asks Simba was Sarabi would think of this. When Simba tells her no one has to know, she tells him everyone thinks he's dead especially after learning from Scar about the Stampede. Simba asks her for more, but the lioness insist it doesn't matter since he's alive and is the true king.

Timon scoffs at this, telling Nala she has her "lions crossed." When Pumbaa begins worshiping Simba, the golden lion tells him to stop. Timon corrects Pumbaa; It's grovel not "gravel", laughingly saying that Simba isn't the king, but then curiously asking him if he is. Simba abruptly replies no, and Nala objects. He reinforces his argument, moving to walk off. Privately annoyed with Timon and Pumbaa's presence, Nala politely asks the two to excuse them for a few minutes. Once they are gone, Nala points out sadly to Simba how much his return would mean to everyone...and her. Simba reassures her it's okay and Nala nuzzles him, telling him she's really missed him.

Simba and Nala nuzzling
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The two nuzzle each other, their affection leading into "Can You Feel the Love Tonight," where Simba and Nala reconcile emotionally as well as physically.

Simba gives Nala a tour of the jungle, asking her if she thinks the jungle is a great place and Nala says it's beautiful, but begins to ask again why he didn't return home if he was alive this whole time. She is unsatisfied with Simba's answer of wanting to "get out on his own" and "live his own life", seriously telling him they've really needed him at home. When he denies this, Nala again re-enforces he's the King and again Simba denies this, saying Scar is. Nala tells him about the chaos that's been brewing in the Pride Lands under Scar's rule, telling Simba if he doesn't return everyone will starve. Once more, Simba says he can't go back, moving to flee from Nala's questioning. Simba points out Nala left as well, but Nala counters, telling him she left to find help, that help being him and that he was their only hope.

Simba, Nala, Timon, and Pumbaa hiding from the hyenas

When again, Simba denies, Nala tells him he's not the Simba she remembers and that she's disappointed in him. Simba again, moves to get away from her, grumbling at how her words reflected Mufasa's. Nala in turn grumbles as least one of them is willing to take up their responsibility and the have a very brief but heated conflict. Nala tries again, softly this time, to get Simba to tell her what he's been through, responding angrily when Simba refuses to tell her anything.

After Simba decides to return, Nala is still in the jungle looking for him. She finds Timon and Pumbaa in hopes they know where Simba has gone off to. Rafiki tells them from atop a tree that "the king has returned." Upon hearing this, Nala is unable to believe that Simba has gone back, and after explaining the situation to Timon and Pumbaa, she runs off to assist him.

Nala in the battle of Pride Rock

Just as Simba gets an eyeful of his home which has been utterly destroyed by Scar, Nala appears by his side, Timon and Pumbaa in tow and the four head towards Pride Rock. They sneak past the hyenas, using Timon and Pumbaa to lure some of the others away, and Simba tells Nala goes to find Sarabi to rally the lioness while he looks for Scar.

Sarabi is with Scar however, so she herself leads the lionesses to Pride rock just as Scar assaults Sarabi and Simba confronts Scar. Scar brings up Mufasa's death with Simba, and confused, Nala asks what Scar is talking about. Upon hearing the "truth" the lionesses as shocked, Sarabi refuses to believe it. Nala shrieks in horror when Scar backs Simba over the edge of Pride Rock and is the first one to lunge forward when Scar admits that he, not Simba, was the one who killed Mufasa.

Simba, Nala, and their cub
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After Simba emerges victoriously from his fight with Scar, he embraces Sarabi and Nala before taking his rightful place as King. The lionesses watch with relief and joy as Simba ascends up Pride Rock and roars across his reclaimed kingdom with the lionesses roaring back in reply. Sometime later, after the Pride Lands are restored to its former glory, Nala becomes Simba's queen. The two, along with Timon and Pumbaa, stand on the promontory of Pride Rock as they proudly watch the assembly of the animals below Pride Rock. Then Rafiki arrives, cradling their newborn cub, and Simba and Nala happily watch as Rafiki presents the next in line to the throne to the animals of the Pride Lands.

The Lion King II: Simba's Pride

Adult Nala

Nala at Kiara's presentation with Simba

Seasons later, Nala has visibly aged and her frame is heavier and larger. Her personality is different since becoming queen. Nala has become calm, mild-mannered, and motherly in the sequel. King Simba and Queen Nala now have a daughter named Kiara. Nala's parenting approach contrasts with Simba's need to know that his daughter is safe.

Nala first appears in the film as Rafiki presents Kiara to the animals. She looks on proudly as the animals admire her. She appears in most of the first scene when she tells Kiara to mind her father. She then has a discussion with Simba after Kiara runs off to play by herself. However, Nala's advice is ignored when he sends Timon and Pumbaa to look after Kiara. She then appears when she, Simba, Timon, Pumbaa, and some of the Pridelanders arrive to rescue Kiara from Zira after seeing her with Kovu in the Outlands. When Zira leaves after having a confrontation with Simba, Nala notices Simba wants to stay behind so he can discipline Kiara, and she returns with the rest of the pride back to Pride Rock.

Kiara Nala
Nala and Kiara approving of Kovu staying with them
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Soon after, Kiara has grown into a young adult. Nala talks to Kiara before her first hunt and nuzzles her after that. She next appears when Kiara is rescued by Kovu and reminds Simba that he owes Kovu "Kiara's life" due to royal protocol She is present that night when Simba has a nightmare about trying to rescue his father during the stampede. However, She is fast asleep and remains silent after the nightmare.

As Kiara and Kovu spend time together in the grasslands that night, Nala finds Simba on a hill, desperately trying to seek advice from the great kings of the past. She consults him, seeing the good in Kovu that Simba can not see past due to Kovu's choosing to be Scar's heir, and urges him to get to know Kovu more. When Simba banishes Kovu from the Pride Lands Nala's expression shows that she disapproves of his decision.

Nala and her Pridelanders preparing for battle
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Nala is present in the final battle when she confronts Vitani. Vitani teases her about Kiara's disappearance and the lionesses attack each other, with Nala outmatching Vitani, though Vitani was younger and trained to kill. After Kiara knocks Zira, who does a last ditch attempt to avenge Scar, out of Simba's way and the two fall down the gorge, Nala gives directions to Simba as he leaps into the gorge to rescue Kiara, who is stranded above the swollen river. As Simba rescues Kiara and helps her back up to the ledge, Nala is relieved to see her daughter safe and sound. After King Simba reconciles with Kovu and the reformed Outsiders, Nala and the others journey back to Pride Rock, where she and Simba proudly witness Rafiki bless the union of Kiara and Kovu. They lead the procession, with the new couple Kiara and Kovu following them, to the promontory of Pride Rock, from where they all let out a loud roar across the Pride Lands.

The Lion King 1½

Nala in The Lion King 1½
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Nala plays a minor role in The Lion King 1½. She appears for a brief second as a cub when Timon and Pumbaa get disturbed by Simba, Nala and the animals singing I Just Can't Wait to be King. She is first seen when Simba reunites with her in the jungle, while Timon comments that Simba's love for her will tarnish their friendship with him. This leads to Timon and Pumbaa trying to ruin Simba and Nala's romantic evening in the "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" sequence. Nala is later seen walking up with Simba on a hill (to which they rolled down from) towards the end of the sequence. Also, Timon and Pumbaa see Simba leaving an argument he is having with Nala, and assure the romance the two lions had for each other is over. Finally, she is seen in an extension of the scene where she explains to Timon and Pumbaa about Simba's life.

Other Roles

Kingdom Hearts II

KH Nala
Nala in Kingdom Hearts II
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Nala is seen in Kingdom Hearts II. The young Nala was never seen in the video game, and only Nala as an adult had a role in the game. She is only seen in the Pride Lands with Sora, Donald Duck, and Goofy. Vanessa Marshall replaced by Moira Kelly as Nala's voice in the game. Her main role was to find Simba and return to help reclaim Pride rock.

The Lion King musical

Heather Headley as Nala
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In the musical based on the same film, Nala's role is considerably expanded, with the events leading up to Nala leaving the Pride Lands under Scar's tyranny depicted in detail.

Kajuana shuford as young nala
Kajuana Shuford as Young Nala

Nala first appears in the musical as she is hunting with the other lionesses, replacing the scene from the film in where she was bathed by her mother, Sarafina. Later during the song, "I Just Can't Wait to be King", she sings quite a few extra lines that aren't heard in the film version of The Lion King.

In the scene "The Madness of King Scar," the lonely, mentally ill Scar decides to take Nala as his mate, despite the fact that she is angrily opposed to the idea. This leads to the musical number, "Shadowland", where Nala sings as the lead about her need to leave the Pride Lands and find help. The other lionesses sing as the supporting choir and Rafiki the baboon sings a blessing over Nala. At the end of the song, Nala bids her pride a sad farewell and leaves.

Tony-Award winning actress Heather Headley portrayed her in the original Broadway cast. In the London West End production of The Lion King, she was originally portrayed by Paulette Ivory.


All Voice Actors


  • Nala's original name was Nadra.[2]
Nala's King of the Jungle design
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  • Nala is ten years old when she finds Simba in the jungle.[3]
The Lion King movie mistake picture 1
Eyes change colour
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  • Originally, Nala had a younger brother named Mheetu, but his character was dropped because of time constraints.
  • Tom Bancroft, a supervising animator, says from the film's perspective that they are not implying that she is either Mufasa's or Scar's daughter. When it came up that Nala's father was unidentified, everyone merely shrugged and figured "no one would notice."[4]
  • In an earlier draft, Nala was supposed to be banished from Pride Rock after she rejected Scar's proposal to be his queen. However this is incorporated into the Broadway play The Lion King instead.
  • In King of the Jungle, Nala's mother was lionesses Naanda. She was Sarabi's sister, so Nala was Simba's cousin. In this case, Nala and Simba's relationship could be interpreted as an incest.
  • Nala's eyes appear to change from blue to green quite often during the movie, but it's actually due to lighting.


"I thought you were werry brave."
—Nala to Simba after their meeting with the hyenas

"He's holding back, he's hiding. But what? I can't decide. Why won't he be the king I know he is? The king I see inside?"
—Nala in Can you feel the love tonight

Simba: "Well, what about you? YOU left."
Nala: "I left to find help! And I found YOU. Don't you understand? You're our only hope."
—Nala and Simba about responsibility


See Here


The Lion King - Simba & Nala's Argument (English)(01:37)
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  1. [1]
  2. MheetuLD
  3. [2]
  4. NotNalasFather

The Queen of the Pride Lands
For more information about the Lion King monarchy, click here.
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