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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...
~ Nala to Simba

Queen Nala (simply known as Nala) is the deuteragonist of the 1994 film The Lion King and it's 2019 remake, a supporting character in it's 1998 sequel The Lion King II: Simba's Pride, a minor character in it's 2004 midquel The Lion King 1½ and is one of the supporting characters in the 2016 series 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.

Nala is voiced by Niketa Calame (Laura Williams singing) as a cub and Moira Kelly (Sally Dworsky, singing) as an adult in the films.

In The Lion Guard, Nala is voiced by Gabrielle Union.

In the upcoming 2019 remake, Nala will be voiced by Shahadi Wright Joseph as a cub and Beyonce Knowles as an adult.

History

Films and Television

The Lion King and The Lion King 1 1/2

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Young Adult Nala.

Nala is first seen as a cub briefly with her mother Sarafina sleeping inside Pride Rock when Simba goes to wake up his father 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 Simba's mother 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 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. They begin arguing over who came up with the idea and deserves credit, until Simba pounces on Nala, but she easily flips him and slams him down. She playfully says "pinned ya" to him and he pushes her off him. Nala turns with a satisfied smug look, and Simba, seeing she's distracted pounces her from behind, but accidentally sends them both tumbling down a hill. Nala laughs the whole way down while Samba struggles to stay on top of her, and right as they reach the bottom Nala once again flips and pins Samba in the same position they were in before, 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) 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.

Nala doesn't appear again until Timon and Pumbaa hunt for grubs. An now young adult Nala tries to eat Pumbaa but is stopped by Simba (also a young adult). In the midquel, Nala doesn't appear until she is a young adult and her cub form doesn't have speaking lines. Simba realises that the lioness is Nala (as she used her signature move of pinning him down, which she did to him as cubs) and Timon and Pumbaa feel jealous about Simba falling in love. They try to break them up, but they fail. Simba and Nala fall in love afterwards.

In the midquel, Timon spreads butterflies to bring love to them. Nala is now worried that Simba isn't returning to the Pride Lands. Arguing, Simba leaves the oasis, leaving Nala alone. In the midquel, Timon congratulates Pumbaa that they made the two lions break up. Nala accidentally wakes up Timon and Pumbaa, knowing that Simba ran away to fight Scar, according to Rafiki.

After Nala talks to the sidekicks in the midquel, Timon and Pumbaa don't get it. Nala gets frustrated and runs after Simba who is ready to fight Scar and his hyenas.

Nala is later seen during Simba confronting his uncle, rallying Pride Rock's lionesses, she then realizes it was Scar who really did killed Mufasa and he also blamed Simba for his death. During the battle, Nala fights off Scar's hyena thugs with the lionesses. After Scar's death and the hyenas have gone, Nala along with 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

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Mature Nala in The Lion King II: 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 near where Kiara is hunting, Nala goes with him and finds Kiara with another lion who is revealed to be Kovu. The next day, 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 Kovu's sister Vitani who taunts her over Kiara's disappearance (as she had left Pride Rock to look for Kovu) until Kiara and Kovu arrive to put the battle to an end, then later directs Simba to rescue Kiara who is trying to get Zira up the cliff. 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 Guard

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Nala with Simba, Kiara, Rafiki and Tiifu.

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.



Books

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.

Musical

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).

Family

Relationships

Simba

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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, Samba 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.

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.

Kiara

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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.

Kion

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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)

Trivia

  • 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 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 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 was cut as he made the film too complicated.

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