- For her live-action\CGI counterpart from 2019, see: Nala (2019).
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|“||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... (Simba: Hey, it's okay.) I've really missed you. (Simba: I've missed you too.)||„|
|~ Nala and Simba.|
Queen Nala (simply known as Nala) is the deuteragonist of The Lion King and its 2019 remake, a minor character in The Lion King II: Simba's Pride, a minor character in The Lion King 1½, and one of the supporting characters in The Lion Guard. She is the daughter of Sarafina and an unnamed lion, the best friend and later wife of Simba, the mother of Kiara and Kion, the mother-in-law of Kovu, the daughter-in-law of Mufasa and Sarabi and the current Queen of the Pride Lands.
In The Lion King: Six New Adventures books (which are non-canon to the films and TV shows), Nala and Simba are the parents of a son named Kopa.
She is voiced by Niketa Calame (Laura Williams singing) as a cub and Moira Kelly (Sally Dworsky (who later did the singing voice for Miriam in The Prince of Egypt) singing) as an adult in the films. In The Lion Guard, she is voiced by Gabrielle Union.
Nala was born at Pride Rock in The Pride Lands into the Pridelander pride to Sarafina and an unknown lion. At some point before or shortly after Nala's birth, her father died or left The Pride Lands, leaving Sarafina to raise Nala alone. In early drafts, she had a younger brother named Mheetu, who was scrapped.
At some point after Nala's birth, she was betrothed to Simba, the son of the Pride Lands' rulers King Mufasa and Queen Sarabi.
Films and Television
The Lion King
Nala is first seen as a cub briefly with her mother Sarafina sleeping inside Pride Rock when Simba goes to wake up Mufasa. She is then seen later that day getting a bath from her mother when Simba arrives and asks her to come with him to a cool place but when Sarabi asks where the cool place is, he says it is at the waterhole. Nala asks what is so good about the waterhole to which Simba says that he will show her when they get there. The two cubs are given permission by Sarabi to go, as long as the royal family's majordomo Zazu goes with them much to the cubs dismay. As the trio get nearer to the waterhole, Nala asks Simba where they are really going and Simba replies that it is an Elephant Graveyard, but knowing Zazu won't take them there, the two cubs create a way to distract Zazu in order to get away from him by singing "I Just Can't Wait To Be King"
After the song, Simba and Nala are able to escape Zazu. After Simba calls himself a "genius" they begin arguing over who came up with the idea and deserves credit, with Nala countering every argument Simba makes. Eventually, Simba pounces on Nala to make her admit he deserves credit, but she easily flips him and slams him down, pinning him. She playfully chuckles and teases him "pinned ya", and he pushes her off him in embarrassment. Nala turns away with a satisfied smug look, feeling proud of herself for her victory, and Simba, seeing she's distracted, pounces on her again from behind to get revenge, but accidentally sends them both tumbling down a hill. Nala laughs the whole way down, while Simba struggles to stay on top of her, and right as they reach the bottom Nala once again flips and pins Simba in the same position they were in before, smirking down at Simba and bragging "pinned ya again" in a smug tone. They both realize they have stumbled into the Elephant Graveyard, where they are pursued by the hyenas (Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed). As they climb up a pile of bones to escape the hyenas, Nala loses her footing and starts to slide down towards Shenzi. Nala calls out to Simba, who rushes down and scratches Shenzi in the face, giving himself and Nala time to escape. The two of them are eventually cornered but are saved just in time by Mufasa (who had been told of what was happening by Zazu). Later that night Nala is seen being taken home by Zazu while Mufasa and Simba stay behind to talk. She is last seen as a cub mourning along with her mother, Sarabi and the other lionesses after been told by Simba's uncle Scar that Mufasa and supposedly Simba died in a wildebeest stampede and watches in horror as Scar becomes king and allows the hyenas into the Pride Lands.
A few years later, a now young adult Nala travels far from the Pride Lands and tries to hunt a warthog named Pumbaa, who spots her and runs away. Nala chases after Pumbaa into the jungle and the latter gets stuck under a tree root and his meerkat friend Timon tries to protect him. Just as Nala closes in on them, a young male lion comes to their defense and attacks Nala. Nala pauses in brief shock at the sudden arrival of another lion, and is tackled and briefly pinned by the male lion before regaining focus and quickly breaking free from his grasp. The two engage in a fierce brief fight, with Nala clawing at the male lion’s mane and shoulders and both lions grappling and biting at each other, until Nala wins by flipping the lion and violently slamming him down, pinning him. Nala holds down her defeated enemy while growling at him angerly, but the lion’s anger was replaced with shock and wonder. The shocked lion then says Nala's name, much to her surprise, and she gets off him, allowing him to stand. When Nala questions the lion on who he is, he tells her that he is Simba. Nala is overjoyed to see that her friend is alive and learns that Timon and Pumbaa are Simba's friends. Nala then wonders what Sarabi and the rest of the pride would think about Simba being in the jungle all this time. Simba replies that nobody has to know to which Nala replies that everyone thinks he is dead as Scar had told the pride about the stampede. When Simba asks what else Scar told them, Nala insists that nothing else matters as Simba is alive and that means that he is the king. Simba replies that he is not the king and that maybe he was going be but that was a long time ago. Nala asks Timon and Pumbaa to give her and Simba time to themselves to which Simba agrees.
After Timon and Pumbaa leave, Simba notices Nala looking sad and asks what's wrong. Nala replies that it's like Simba is back from the dead and tells Simba that he doesn't know what this will mean to everyone what it does to her. When Simba reassures her, Nala says that she has really missed Simba before nuzzling him affectionately. Simba replies that he missed Nala too and nuzzles back.
The two young lions then travel through the jungle and begin to fall in love. While drinking by a lake together, Simba suddenly swings into the lake on a vine and pulls Nala in when she looks over. Nala quickly emerges gasping for air and swims out, soaking wet. Simba soon comes out next to her dripping wet too and she smirks at him, before jokingly shoving him back in as revenge and running off. Simba playfully chases after Nala into the jungle, where she lets him catch up to her and they begin to playfully wrestle like when they were cubs. While wrestling, Nala falls backwards with Simba on top of her and they roll down a hill together, holding on to each other as they tumble, resulting in Simba landing on Nala and finally pinning her. Simba chuckles to himself over finally “beating” Nala who gives him an affectionate lick on the cheek as a reward for finally pinning her. Simba is surprised by this and glances down at Nala, who just smiles up at him and gives him a seductive stare. Simba quickly returns the smile and the two lean forward and hug, embracing their love for each other as they nuzzle. Later, Nala urges Simba to return to Pride Rock, telling him about Scar letting the hyenas into the Pride Lands and there is no food or water. However, Simba refuses and storms off. The next morning, Nala comes across a sleeping Timon and Pumbaa and wakes them up and asks if they've seen Simba. Just then, Rafiki arrives and tells them that "the King has returned", causing Nala to realise that Simba decided to return to Pride Rock. When Timon and Pumbaa express confusion over what Rafiki meant, Nala gives them an explanation.
Nala along with Timon and Pumbaa follow Simba back to the Pride Lands and offer to help him. Whilst Timon and Pumbaa distract the hyenas, Simba tells Nala to find Sarabi and rally the lionesses whilst he looks for Scar.
Nala is later seen during Simba confronting his uncle, rallying Pride Rock's lionesses. She along with Sarabi are shocked when Simba claims that it was his fault that Mufasa died. Nala then calls out to Simba in horror as he is forced down Pride Rock by Scar. After Scar confesses that it was he, not Simba, that caused Mufasa's death, Nala, Sarabi and the other lionesses charge foward to save Simba from being attacked by the hyenas. During the battle, Nala fights off the hyenas with the lionesses whilst Simba takes on Scar. After Scar's death and the hyenas have gone, Nala approachs Simba and they affectiontly rub heads. Afterwards, Nala, Sarabi, Zazu, Timon and Pumbaa watch Simba ascend Pride Rock and roar in victory.
She finally appears during the final scene with Simba (now her husband), Timon and Pumbaa where her and Simba's newborn cub is shown to the other animals by Rafiki.
The Lion King 2: Simba's Pride
Nala is given a slightly minor role. Now a mature adult and is queen of Pride Rock. After their daughter Kiara goes off to play, Nala tells an overprotective Simba that she will be fine on her own but after Nala leaves, Simba sends Timon and Pumbaa to keep an eye on Kiara. Nala later appears with Timon, Pumbaa and two other lionesses where they along with Simba go off to find Kiara and find her with a cub named Kovu and his mother Zira who along with her pride The Outsiders where banished by Simba for being loyal to Scar. After Zira and Kovu leave, Nala, Timon, Pumbaa and the two lionesses go back to Pride Rock while Simba stays behind to have a word with Kiara.
Nala is next seen years later when Kiara (now an adolescent) is starting her first hunt and tells her she will do just fine. After Simba spots a fire (which had been set by Zira's daughter Vitani and other son Nuka) near where Kiara is hunting, Nala goes with him and finds Kiara with another lion who is revealed to be Kovu, who had saved her from the fire (secretly under Zira's orders in order to infiltrate the Pridelanders and kill Simba to avenge Scar's death). Nala and Zazu convince Simba to let Kovu join the Pridelanders due to laws saying that all depts must be paid. The following night, Nala finds Simba watching Kiara and Kovu stargazing and tells him to give Kovu a chance.
The next day, she along with Kiara, is seen on Pride Rock standing next to Simba who was injured in an ambush set on him by Zira and the Outsiders. Nala then sees Kovu arrive and watches Kiara go over to greet him, only to be stopped by Simba, who believes that Kovu was part of the ambush. She then watches Kiara try and fail to convince Simba to listen to Kovu, before watching in shock as Simba exiles him from The Pride Lands. But unlike Kiara, she remains silent and doesn't actively protest against the punishment (perhaps believing that there was nothing she could do) and watches as Kiara leaves her side to stop the exile, only to be stopped by two other lionesses. Nala is not present with the other lionesses when Kiara confronts Simba for his decision before running into Pride Rock, presumably going to another part of Pride Rock to leave the two be, believing it was not her place to involved.
Nala later appears during the battle between the Pridelanders and the Outsiders, which she easily defeats Vitani, who taunts her over Kiara's disappearance (as she had left Pride Rock to look for Kovu), before Kiara and Kovu soon arrive and put the battle to an end and convince the Outsiders (sans Zira) to join the Pridelanders. Nala then watches in horror as Kiara tackles Zira (who had tried to attack Simba), sending them off a nearby cliff. Nala watches Simba climb down the cliff to reach Kiara, who is trying to help Zira. Nala then notices a nearby damn burst and warns Simba, who is still trying to get to Kiara. After Simba helps Kiara back up the cliff, Nala is the first one to meet her and the mother and daughter hug. Nala is later seen watching roaring happily with Simba, Kiara, Kovu (now Kiara's husband) and the other lionesses when Mufasa's ghost points out, "We are one".
The Lion King ½
Nala is seen briefly as a cub during "I Just Can't Wait To Be King" on top of the animal tower before it is knocked down by Timon.
Nala is next seen as a young adult reuniting with Simba as Timon and Pumbaa watch on. Not wanting to lose Simba, Timon and Pumbaa try to split him and Nala up during the "Can You Feel The Love Tonight" scene. Later, Timon and Pumbaa see Simba storming off from Nala and believe that their plan worked, unaware that they had an argument.
Nala is later seen giving Timon and Pumbaa a futher explanation into where Simba went. She then tells them that Simba needs them now, before leaving.
The Lion Guard
Nala appears in the 2016 Disney Junior TV series The Lion Guard. It is set in the middle of The Lion King II: Simba's Pride and sees Nala and Simba having another cub together, a son named Kion.
She is voiced by Gabriella Union.
Nala is first seen in the series's 2015 pilot film The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar with Simba and Rafiki at Pride Rock overhearing Kion's Roar of the Elders (which he had used to save his friend Bunga from two hyenas named Cheezi and Chungu). Hearing this, Rafiki declares that it is time for Kion to become leader of The Lion Guard (which is led by the second-born child of The Lion King). Simba is reluctant as he believes that Kion isn't ready for that responsibility as he is still a cub, but Nala agrees with Rafiki and encourages Simba to listen to him, before leaving the two be.
She is later seen with Simba and Kiara's friend Tiifu witnessing and watching in horror as Kiara gets caught in a gazelle stampede caused by Janja and his clan. Luckily, Kion and his Lion Guard (Bunga, Beshte, Fuli and Ono) are able to get the herd away from Kiara and get her to safety.
After Janja and his clan are driven away, Nala and Simba are shown to be proud of their son.
Nala makes recurring appearances throughout the series carrying out her royal duties and supporting her children.
In the Season 3 opener "Battle of the Pride Lands", Nala along with Simba and Kiara, becomes trapped on Pride Rock after it is set on fire by Outlanders that are in league with the spirit of Scar. Fortunately, Anga and Hadithi are able to help the trio escape. After the defeat of Scar and his army, Nala, Simba and Kiara go to the Lair of the Lion Guard and see that Kion had gained a scar from Scar's snake ally Ushari whilst Ono has damaged sight after saving Bunga from falling into the Outlands volcano. Nala along with the other Pride Land animals wish Kion and the Lion Guard along with Anga (who replaced Ono as Keenest of Sight) and Makini good luck on their journey to the Tree of Life where Kion and Ono can be healed.
Nala returns in the Season 3 finale "Return to the Pride Lands" (which takes place after The Lion King II: Simba's Pride) where she watches Kion's Lion Guard (who had returned from the Tree of Life) and Vitani's Lion Guard (who were formed in the usual Guard's absence) compete to decide who should be the Lion Guard for the Pride Lands. Whrn it comes down to Kion and Vitani, Kion disbands his Lion Guard and makes Vitani his successor after seeing that she believes herself to be fierce among to lead the Lion Guard. Nala later goes to the Tree of Life and witnesses the wedding and coronation of Kion and Rani.
The Lion King: Six New Adventures
In 1994 six books called The Lion King: Six New Adventures (which are non-canon to the films and TV shows) where released and set after the events of the first film where it showed Nala along with Simba having a son named Kopa.
One book in the series was called Nala's Dare and featured Nala as a cub living in the Pride Lands during Scar's reign and had two friends, two cubs named Kula and Chumvi. In the book, Nala is saved from hyenas by a young rogue lion named Ni, who is offered a place in the Pridelander pride, but turns the offer down to start his own pride.
Simba's Big Secret
In this book (which takes place during Nala and Simba's childhood), Nala sees a mouse and tells him that she is scared of mice, but asks him not to tell anyone, to which Simba promises. However, later Simba accidentally tells this to Mufasa, who replies that he used be scared on mice too. Nala overhears this and is annoyed at Simba for breaking his promise, but forgives him though does not tell him anymore secrets.
Nala later tells Simba about a secret cave near the red cliffs, but refuses to let Simba come with her to it, but makes him promise not to tell anyone else about it. Later that day, Nala has not returned and Sarafina starts to get worried and asks Simba if he's seen Nala, but Simba, still wanting to keep his promise, says that he hasn't.
However after some encouraging from Sarabi, Simba tells Sarafina that Nala went to a cave near the red cliffs. The pride go to the cave discover a Nala trapped inside. Luckily, the pride are able to free her, and Nala reunites with Sarafina and promises not to go anywhere without telling someone again.
Nala is given a larger role unlike in the movie. As a major role is given to her, she is first seen as a young adult in the Act II scene "The Madness of King Scar", entering the royal den, where Scar, attracted by Nala's beauty, tries to get her to marry him and be mother of his children. Disgusted by this, Nala slaps Scar across the face and leaves the royal den (this scene was originally supposed to happen in the film, but was cut for being too dark). Following this, Nala decides to leave the Pride Lands to find help and is given a send off by the other lionesses and Rafiki (who in the musical, is portrayed as female).
- Father: Unnamed Lion
- Mother: Sarafina
- Husband: Simba
- Daughters: Kiara
- Sons: Kion (officially) and Kopa (unofficially)
- Father-In-Law: Mufasa
- Mother-In-Law: Sarabi
- Son-In-Law: Kovu
As cubs, Nala and Simba were best friends and would go on adventures together (including the visit to The Elephant Graveyard). Both cubs were not pleased to learn that they were betrothed to each other, claiming that they could not marry because they were friends. After escaping Zazu, she and Simba argue over whose idea it was and get into a play fight. Nala easily beat Simba after he pounced her by flipping and pinning him, and did so once again when he tried pouncing her a second time, teasing him "pinned ya." While the two were being chased by the hyenas, Nala was nearly kiled by Shenzi, but Simba saved her by scratching Shenzi. Nala, along with the rest of the pride, was devastated when Scar told them that Simba, along with Mufasa, had perished in a wildebeest stampede.
Years later, Nala gets into a fight with a young lion, whom she pins down. The lion recognises this move and says Nala's name and says that he is Simba, which makes Nala overjoyed that her friend was alive. Eventually, the two friends became lovers, something they thought wouldn't happen when they were young. After the two tumble down a hill together, Simba finally pins Nala, and she rewards him with a surprise lick on the cheek and they nuzzle each other lovingly. Nala joins Simba in battling Scar and the hyenas, after learning that Scar was responsible for Mufasa's death and had blamed Simba for it.
In the second film The Lion King II: Simba's Pride, Nala, unlike Simba, isn't overprotective of their daughter Kiara and is more accepting towards Kovu, whom Simba distrusts due to him being Scar's heir. Nala expressed shock when Simba decided to banish Kovu for supposedly being involved in the Outsiders ambush and did not let him explain himself. She did express happiness when Simba later had a change of heart and allowed Kovu and the Outsiders to rejoin the pride.
In The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar, Nala accepts her and Simba's son Kion's destiny to be leader of The Lion Guard whereas Simba believed that their son wasn't ready for that responsibility as he was cub. After Kion and The Lion Guard save Kiara from a stampede and defeats Janja and his clan (who started the stampede), Nala and Simba express pride in their son.
Nala has a loving mother-daughter relationship with her daughter. Unlike Simba, Nala doesn't act overprotective of her and believes that their daughter would be fine on her own.
During Kiara's childhood, Nala would help her in tracking gazelles in preparation for her first hunt.
When Kiara becomes an adolescent and prepares for her first hunt, Nala assures her that she will do just fine. Nala is relived when she and Simba find Kiara safe from the fire in The Pride Lands and when Simba is reluctant to let Kiara's childhood friend and saviour Kovu into the pride, Nala points out to him that he owes Kovu, Kiara's life.
Nala along with Kiara is shocked when Simba banishes Kovu for supposedly being part of Zira's ambush. When Kiara and Kovu stop the battle, Nala watches in horror as Kiara and Zira falls down a cliffside. After Simba, is able to get Kiara back up the cliff, a relived Nala rushes over and hugs her daughter.
Nala then watches proudly as Kiara marries Kovu and roars along with her, Simba and Kovu.
Though Nala is not seen interacting with Kion as much as Simba, the two have a good mother-son relationship.
Unlike Simba, Nala accepted that Kion was ready to lead The Lion Guard and encouraged Simba to listen to Rafiki (who said that Kion was ready). After Kion and The Lion Guard save Kiara and defeat Janja and his clan, Nala expresses pride in her son.
In Never Roar Again, Kion came to his mother's aid when she was surrounded by Janja's clan and later saved her from Makuu's float.
Songs Performed By Nala
- "Just Can't Wait To Be King" (The Lion King)
- "Can You Feel The Love Tonight" (The Lion King)
- "Hakuna Matata" (The Lion Guard)
- Nala is voiced by Niketa Calame as a cub and The Cutting Edge star Moira Kelly as an adult.
- Nala is constantly thought to be the second film's tritagonist and secondary tritagonist.
- Nala is the third Disney heroine to have known the hero in childhood, separated, and reunited in adulthood, the first two being Faline and Maid Marian (Princess Aurora may or may not count, as she couldn't walk or talk in infancy, and she was hidden in a woodcutter's cottage). Yet, she's the second to actually be seen as a child with the hero, Faline being the first.
- Nala is also the third Disney heroine to have known the hero since childhood and being married to him, the first two being Faline and Maid Marian.
- Nala has beaten Simba three times, twice as cubs and once as adults. She did each of these with her famous "pinned ya" move.
- Nala is similar to Zoey as both are their film's deuteragonist and both are the best friend and love interest of the protagonist (Nala with Simba and Zoey with Rudolph). But unlike Nala and Simba, Zoey and Rudolph don't have children together. Another difference is that Nala was only friends with Simba in childhood but developed feelings for him when she was a young adult whilst Zoey had feelings for Rudolph since childhood.
- Young Nala rarely appears in the midquel, but she is not animated nor seen speaking.
- In the original script for The Lion King (then called King of The Jungle), Nala was the daughter of a lioness named Naanda who, along with two other lionesses named Diku and Dwala, was a sister to Sarabi. This would have made Nala and Simba's relationship incensious as they would have been cousins, Naanda became Sarafina and Diku and Dwala were dropped.
- In earlier scripts, Nala had a trouble-making younger brother named Mheetu.
- In an early draft, when asked by Simba why she was in the jungle, Nala would have told him that Scar banished her from the Pride Lands (due to refusing his advances). In another draft, Simba would have admitted to Nala that he blamed himself for Mufasa's death, Nala would have assured him that Mufasa's death was an accident and that he should not blame himself.
- In the early drafts of The Lion King II: Simba's Pride, Nala was meant to have two cubs: Kiara and a son named Chaka (who was meant to be the cub seen at the end of the first film). However, Chaka (along with his betrothed Timira) was cut as he made the film too complicated.
- According to early concept art, Nala was originally going to have brown eyes. She was also going to have spots on her legs as a cub.