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The Lion King

Nala

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Nala
Cub - Adult

Bluraynala

Name
Nala
Meaning
Gift[1]
Gender
Female
Species
Lion
Affiliations
Pridelanders
Titles
Queen of Pride Rock
Appearances
The Lion King
The Lion King II: Simba's Pride
The Lion King 1½
Close Relations
Unnamed (father)
Sarafina (mother)
Simba (mate)
Kopa (son)
Kiara (daughter)
"A rambunctious lioness cub ready to go wherever and whenever with her best friend, Simba. As Nala grows up, her spunky cuteness ripens into sleek, tawny beauty, her childlike bravado becomes true courage, and her friendship with Simba deepens into love."
—Nala's official synopsis[2]

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 mate of Simba, the mother of Kopa and Kiara, and the daughter of Sarafina.

Appearance

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

As a cub, Nala is small and lithe with soft features. Her fur is colored a light tawny, while her muzzle, paws, and underbelly are all paler in contrast. Unlike most cubs her age, her paws are colorless, and her eye rims are lighter than her main pelt. Her eyebrows are also much thinner than those of her fellow cub, Simba, and her inner ears and the tip of her tail are brown in color. Her eyes appear to be pale green, though they change to teal in certain light.

NalaPeersQuestioningly

A side-profile view of Nala

Come adulthood, Nala looks almost identical to her mother Sarafina. Her body has filled out to become sleeker and stronger, fitting the physique of a practiced hunter. She also proves herself to be exceptionally strong, able to hold her own against the much larger Simba, even managing to pin him on his back. Her coloring remains much the same, not changing until she appears as an older adult in the sequel.

As a queen, Nala's colors have paled slightly, and her eyes have become bright blue. She has also grown somewhat larger and more filled out. To her daughter, she passed down her paler undertones, though Kiara mostly resembles her father in appearance.

Personality

Simba: "You know, you're starting to sound like my father."
Nala: "Good. At least one of us does."
—Nala argues with Simba
Aided by the tempting adventure offers of her friend Simba, Nala is rambunctious as a cub and never known to turn down a chance at fun. Even the sound of a predator-infested elephant graveyard
NalaSynop

Nala's official synopsis

is enough to perk her senses, with her eager curiosity constantly leading her deeper and deeper into adventure; and trouble. Though brave and curious, young Nala can be understandably foolish, not understanding the troubles of flirting with danger. Her mischievous nature and carefree attitude are dangerous when mixed with her thirst for adventure.

As a cub, Nala is known to be sassy, being defensive of her own accomplishments and giving her best friend cheek when prompted. Though Simba sometimes tries to claim her ideas as his own, Nala will not stand for being overlooked and is clever and strong enough to do something about it. Despite this, Nala is an encouraging friend, kind to Simba even when he makes an error. No matter what he says or does, she maintains the friendship, grieving heavily when he supposedly dies.

Come adulthood, Nala has become much more mature, practically built on persistence and responsibility. Scar's poor reign has made her realize the importance of accountability, as she has seen firsthand what Simba's lack of interest in the Pride Lands has caused. She often tries to speak sense to Simba, standing as his voice of reason, firm and resolute in her beliefs with a cutting edge to her argument. Nala isn't one to be stamped down with words, as she can hold her own in a verbal battle, parrying each of Simba's defenses with offenses of her own. No amount of yelling and accusations can beat down Nala's stubborn nature.

Nala is also known to be a fearless and loyal friend, willing to stand up to the much larger Scar in order to help her friend assume the throne. She is also the first lioness to leap into battle, rendering her courageous and willing to fight both physically and verbally for justice. Her steadfast faithfulness in Simba and her ready
SexyNalaMilja

A screenshot of young Nala, reflecting her mischievous and spunky nature

assistance mark her a loyal friend who is willing to put aside her own fears in order to do what is right and help a friend.

Once Nala becomes a queen, she grows much more reserved and wise, no longer as spunky as she used to be. Unlike Simba, she is very relaxed in her dealings with Kiara, trusting her daughter to take care of herself. Her gentle words and sound advice serve as a softener to Simba's hard edge, helping him realize that Kovu may not be the killer he was raised to be. Nala herself can see past Kovu's rough exterior to the hero who is longing to claw out, and she is not one to judge him for his past. She does, however, support Simba in his decisions, always standing by his side no matter what the consequences.

Information

Backstory

Nalainfant

Infant Nala

Nala was presumably born sometime during Mufasa's reign. As an infant, she was betrothed to Simba, the prince of the Pride Lands.

The Lion King

Cubhood

"Simba, I'm kind of in the middle of a bath!"
—Nala to Simba

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

Nala Sarafina Simba

Sarafina bathing Nala

Later that day, Nala is being bathed by her mother, Sarafina. Simba greets her, whispering to her that he's just heard about a great place which they can 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. While her mother washes her lower back, Nala remarks that the place they're going to had better not be dumb. Simba reassures her that it's really cool, but Sarabi gets suspicious. Nala disapproves of this "place" being around the water hole, asking what's so special about it. Simba whispers through clenched teeth that "he'll show her when they get there," hinting that they aren't really going to the water hole. Nala realizes this immediately, asking her mother for permission to accompany Simba. She then joins him in charming Sarabi into letting them go, and equally disapproves of Zazu keeping an eye on them.

As they tread toward the water hole, Nala asks Simba in a whisper what their true destination is, to which Simba responds that it's an elephant graveyard Nala responds with excitement, but Simba shushes her, reminding her that Zazu is hovering just above them. Nala asks how they can get rid of him, and the two cubs begin to whisper a plan to each other, something Zazu mistakes as them being romantic.

Dothisbethere

"No one sayin' be there!"

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 recoil in disgust when they realize that they are to be married someday. Nala comments that them being married would be "weird" and points out that since Simba is the future king, Zazu must do what he says when Simba states to do away with the betrothal. Zazu says he doesn't, not yet anyway, telling Simba that 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 him underneath the underside of a rhino and bounding away. Nala happily remarks on how they lost Zazu, pointing out to Simba that the plan was her idea and pinning him when he decides to tackle her. He pushes her off, and he tackles her again, only to be pinned again.

Nalaingraveyard

Nala falling down a bone pile

A geyser interrupts the two, and the cubs realize that they've arrived at the Elephant Graveyard. Nala wanders into the hyenas' home, wondering if the elephant's brains are still inside its head. Simba begins to trot forward to find out. Zazu has caught up to them, though, and demands that 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, making it apparent that 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, 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 toward the menacing jaws of Shenzi, but before the hyena can do any harm to her, Simba slashes the hyena across the face while Nala gets away. The two cubs attempt to climb an elephant skeleton but can't get a good grip, weakening the slim strip of flesh that they are jumping on. They fall through and are cornered in the deceased animal's ribcage.

NalaFRT4

Nala mourning Simba's "death"

Nala hides behind Simba as he tries to scare the hyenas off with his kittenish 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 on Zazu and then Simba for disobeying him. As they trot away, Nala quietly tells Simba that she had thought he was very brave. The cubs walk through the clearing in silence, and Mufasa commands Zazu to take Nala home. She glances back at Simba, leaving the father and son alone.

Nala is last seen as a cub 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, looking on in shock and fear as the hyenas close in on Pride Rock.

Adulthood

"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

Many years later, Nala, now a fit young lioness, relentlessly chases 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.

Nala?

Simba recognizes Nala

When Simba says her name, she becomes surprised and gets off him, inquiring about his identity. It only takes her a second to realize that "Simba" is the name of the dead prince and that this is the same lion. The two greet each other excitedly, asking each other what they're doing in the jungle 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, and Nala is pleasured to meet them. She then turns her attention back to Simba, musing about what will happen when everyone finds out that he's been here all this time. She unknowingly recites Scar's words exactly when she asks Simba what Sarabi will think. When Simba tells her that no one has to know, she tells him that everyone thinks he's dead. Simba asks her for more, but the lioness insist that it doesn't matter since he's alive and the true king.

Timon scoffs at this, telling Nala that she has her "lions crossed." When Pumbaa begins worshiping Simba, the young lion tells him to stop. Timon corrects Pumbaa's word choice, laughingly saying that Simba isn't the king. He then curiously asks Simba 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 will mean to everyone; especially her. Simba reassures her that it's okay, and Nala nuzzles him, telling him that she's really missed him. The two continue to nuzzle each other, their affection leading into "Can You Feel the Love Tonight," where Simba and Nala begin to fall in love.

Foronce

Simba and Nala in "Can You Feel the Love Tonight"

Simba gives Nala a tour of the jungle, asking her if she thinks it's a great place. Nala says it's beautiful but begins to ask again why he hasn't returned home if he's been 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 that they've really needed him at home. When he denies this, Nala again reinforces that he's the king, and again Simba denies this, claiming that Scar is. Nala tells him about the chaos that's been brewing in the Pride Lands under Scar's rule, telling Simba that if he doesn't return, everyone will starve. Once more, Simba says that he can't go back, moving to flee from Nala's questioning. Simba points out that Nala has left as well, but she counters by telling him that she only left to find help. Having found Simba, Nala realizes that he is their only hope.

When again Simba denies and sarcastically apologizes to her, Nala tells him that he isn't the Simba she remembers and that she is disappointed in him. Simba again moves to get away from her, admitting that he is now different and grumbling at how her words reflected his father's. In turn, Nala grumbles that at least one of them sounds like Mufasa and is willing to take up their responsibility. The two then have a very brief but heated conflict. Nala tries again, softly this time, to get Simba to tell her what he has been through, responding angrily when Simba refuses to tell her anything.

NalainBattle

Nala in the final battle

After Simba decides to return, Nala is still in the jungle, looking for him. She finds Timon and Pumbaa in hopes that 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.

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 toward Pride Rock. They sneak past the hyenas, using Timon and Pumbaa to lure some of the others away, and Simba tells Nala to find Sarabi and rally the lionesses while he looks for Scar.

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

Presentation

Simba, Nala, and their newborn cub

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 Pride Rock and roars across his reclaimed kingdom with the lionesses roaring back in reply. Some time later, after the Pride Lands are restored to their 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

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

NalaSppres

Nala at Kiara's presentation

Nala first appears in the film as Rafiki presents Kiara to the animals. She looks on proudly as the animals admire her. She later appears in 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 to let Kiara roam is ignored when Simba sends Timon and Pumbaa to look after their daughter. She later appears when she, Simba, Timon, Pumbaa, and some of the Pridelanders arrive to rescue Kiara from Zira after seeing her with Kovu near the Outlands. When Zira leaves after having a confrontation with Simba, Nala notices that Simba wants to stay behind so he can discipline Kiara, and she returns with the rest of the pride to Pride Rock.

Kiara Nala

Nala and Kiara approve of Kovu staying with them

Years later, Kiara has grown into a young adult. Nala talks to Kiara before her first hunt and nuzzles her affectionately. She next appears when Kiara is rescued by Kovu and reminds Simba that he owes Kovu their daughter'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 cannot see past due to Kovu being Scar's heir. Nala 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.

Nalaleads

Nala and her pride prepare for battle

Nala is present at the final battle when she confronts Vitani. Vitani taunts her about Kiara's disappearance, and the lionesses attack each other with Nala outmatching Vitani. After Kiara prevents Zira from killing Simba, the two fall down the gorge. Nala yells 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 the ledge, Nala is relieved to see her daughter safe and sound. After Simba reconciles with Kovu and the reformed Outsiders, Nala and the others journey back to Pride Rock, where she and Simba proudly witness Rafiki blessing the union of Kiara and Kovu. They then lead the procession, with the new couple Kiara and Kovu following them, to the promontory of Pride Rock, where they all let out a loud roar across the Pride Lands.

The Lion King 1½

It's futile Nala

Nala tries to explain Simba's return

Nala plays a minor role in this film. 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 later 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) toward the end of the sequence. Timon and Pumbaa later witness Simba leaving an argument he is having with Nala, and Timon assures Pumbaa that the romance between the two lions is now over. Finally, Nala is seen in an extension of the scene where she explains to Timon and Pumbaa about Simba's return.

Other Roles

The Stage Musical

Shadowland

Nala sings "Shadowland"

In the musical, Nala's role is considerably expanded, with the events leading up to Nala leaving the Pride Lands under Scar's tyranny depicted in detail. Nala first appears in the musical as she is hunting with the other lionesses, replacing the scene from the film during which she is bathed by her mother. 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.

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 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.

Kingdom Hearts II

KH Nala

Nala in Kingdom Hearts II

Nala is seen in Kingdom Hearts II. Young Nala is never seen in the video game, as only adult Nala has a role in the game. She is first seen in the Pride Lands with Sora, Donald Duck, and Goofy. Her main role is to find Simba and help him reclaim Pride Rock.

House of Mouse

Nala makes cameo appearances, usually as a cub. She is always seen alongside cub Simba. She also makes an appearance in the opening of Mickey's House of Villains, where her and Simba's dinner is stolen by Ed. She is seen as an adult in the episode "Timon and Pumbaa" and Mickey's Magical Christmas.

Bloopers & Outtakes

In The Lion King: Bloopers & Outtakes, during the end credits of the Diamond Edition, Nala and other characters are represented as live actors. In this sequence, Nala appears twice. The first time, she correctly pronounces her line, "Simba, what is he talking about?" The second time, she forgets her line, "Simba is the rightful king," which makes all the other lionesses around her begin to laugh.

Disney Parks

Legend of the Lion King
Nala&KLIFF

Nala in the Disney parks

Along with many other characters from the film, Nala makes an appearance as an animatronic puppet in a former Magic Kingdom show.

Fantasmic!

In the Disney's Hollywood Studios version of Fantasmic!, Nala can be seen with Simba and Zazu during the bubble montage.

Disneyland

In Disneyland, Nala is seen on The Lion King's float in Walt Disney's Parade of Dreams.

The Golden Mickeys

Nala and Simba are featured in The Golden Mickeys.

Walt Disney World

In Walt Disney World, Nala and other characters from the film are prominently featured at Disney's Art of Animation Resort.

Family

Members

Relationships

Trivia

General

  • 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 her father was unidentified, everyone merely shrugged and figured that "no one would notice."[4]
  • In The Lion Guard, an upcoming television series inspired by the film, Nala will have a son named Kion.[5]

In Development

  • Nala's original name was Nadra.[6]
Junglenala

Nala's King of the Jungle design

  • Originally, Nala had a younger brother named Mheetu, but his character was dropped due to time constraints.[7]
  • 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 musical instead.[8]

Voice Actors

Quotes

"I thought you were very 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

Gallery



Video

Simba's Return02:56

Simba's Return

Nala helps Simba reclaim the Pride Lands


References

  1. [1]
  2. NalaSynop
  3. [2]
  4. NotNalasFather
  5. [3]
  6. MheetuLD
  7. MoarMheetu
  8. [4]
  9. [5]
  10. [6]

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

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