Nala (The Lion King)

name= Nala

image caption= Nala (left) and Simba (right) ridicule Zazu (center) during the song scene "I Just Can't Wait to Be King"
first appearance= "The Lion King"
created by= Jonathan Roberts
voiced by= Niketa Calame (cub)
Moira Kelly (adult)
Vanessa Marshall (adult, "Kingdom Hearts II")
Heather Headley (adult in musical)
Kajuana Shuford (cub in musical)
aliases= Queen Nala

Nala is a fictional lioness character who first appeared in Disney's popular 1994 animated feature film "The Lion King". As a cub she was voiced by Niketa Calame and as an adult she was voiced by Moira Kelly. Laura Williams and Sally Dworsky provided her singing voice as a cub and adult respectively. Nala's main animators were Bob Bryan and Gilda Palinginis.

Nala is the daughter of Sarafina and an unknown male lion, the mate of Simba, and the mother of Kiara.


Nala's main animators were Bob Bryan and Gilda Palinginis and her supervising animators were Aaron Blaise (cub) and Anthony de Rosa (adult). [ [ The Lion King - The Credits ] ]

During early production Nala was given a younger brother named Mheetu. He is mentioned in the book "The Art of The Lion King" where he is referred to as "Mee-Too". He was designed by Thom Enriquez.

"The Lion King"

Nala is first seen in the film as a cub being bathed by her mother. Simba, having been tricked by Scar into wanting to visit the Elephant Graveyard, asks Nala if she wants to go with him to the "waterhole". Sarabi, Simba's mother, agrees as long as Zazu accompanies the two cubs. Simba and Nala come up with a plan to lose Zazu along the way (the "I Just Can't Wait to Be King" sequence), which succeeds. Simba and Nala journey to the Elephant Graveyard where they encounter Scar's hyena minions Shenzi, Banzai and Ed. After chasing the cubs, the three hyenas are attacked and scared off by Mufasa, who came to rescue the cubs.

Later on, Scar engineers a wildebeest stampede that kills Mufasa. Scar causes Simba to believe that he was the reason for Mufasa's death, and tells the cub to run away. Simba does so and Scar assumes the throne. He rules tyrannically and mistreats the lionesses. Angered by this, Nala runs away from the Pride Lands to seek help. She sees a warthog, Pumbaa, and attempts to hunt and eat him, but an adult lion arrives and fights with her. The lion is no match for Nala and she pins him to the ground. The lion is Simba, and he instantly recognizes Nala. They are overjoyed to see each other again, and also begin to realize that their friendship has blossomed into love. Simba, secretly burdened with an agonizing misapprehension that he killed his father, refuses either to take his responsibility and go back to the Pride Lands with Nala or explain his reasons, believing it would cause Nala to hate him, which leads to a quarrel.

Simba decides to reclaim his rightful throne after Rafiki's guidance and an encounter with his father's ghost. Nala, Timon, and Pumbaa join him as Simba confronts Scar. When the usurper forces Simba to reveal that he (to his knowledge) is responsible for his father's death, Nala is as stunned as the rest, but is quickly relieved when the young lion forces the villain to reveal the truth. An intense battle with the hyenas follows with Nala leading the lionesses' charge while Simba battles Scar. Simba is able to defeat the villain by throwing him from a cliff to a pack of angry hyenas below, as Scar had condemned them earlier. The Pride Lands are restored with Simba and Nala as the new king and queen, and they look on proudly as Rafiki presents their newborn cub to a gathering of animals at Pride Rock.

"The Lion King II: Simba's Pride"

In "Simba's Pride", Nala and Simba have visibly aged; their frames are heavier and larger. They are still young, she and Simba being a whole generation younger than the villain Zira. Her character is also different after becoming Queen – she is much calmer, mild-mannered, and motherly, in contrast to the fierce, brave young Nala of the first film.

Simba and Nala now have a headstrong and rebellious daughter, Kiara. Nala's parenting approach contrasts with Simba's constant need to know that his daughter is safe, in that she believes that Simba's concerns are groundless and somewhat paranoid.

Nala first appears in the film as she looks on proudly at Kiara who is being presented to the animals by Rafiki. Nala appears in the most of the first scene in which she tells Kiara to mind her father. She then has a discussion with Simba and lovingly pounces on him. However, Nala's advice is ignored and Simba sends Timon and Pumbaa after Kiara despite Nala's reassurances. She then appears when she and Simba come to rescue Kiara from the Outlands.

When Kiara is a young adult and about to embark on her first hunt, Nala comes down through the rows of lionesses to sit by Simba. She is followed by Kiara, who asks Simba to promise not to send Timon and Pumbaa to follow her. Nala gives Simba a playful warning look when he seems to hesitate, and makes sure that he promises. She also talks to Kiara, nuzzling her.

She next appears when Kiara is rescued by Kovu, and reminds Simba that he owes Kovu Kiara's life due to royal protocol.

As Kiara and Kovu spend time together in the grasslands the next night, she finds Simba on a hill desperately trying to seek advice from the great kings of the past. She consoles the worried king, seeing the good in Kovu that Simba can not see past Kovu's links to Scar.

Nala is present in the final battle where she fights Vitani who taunts her about Kiara's disappearance, and afterwards gives directions as Simba leaps into the gorge to rescue Kiara, who is stranded above the swollen river. Once peace has been restored to the Pride Lands, she journeys back to Pride Rock and stands atop the promontory with Simba, Kiara, and Kovu, roaring alongside them.

"The Lion King 1½"

Nala plays a minor role in this midquel. She is seen during the "Can You Feel The Love Tonight" sequence and in an extension of the scene in the original film where she explains to Timon and Pumbaa about Simba's whereabouts. Although Nala played a minor role in the film, she was still voiced by Moira Kelly.

"Kingdom Hearts II"

In the 2006 Disney/Square Enix video game "Kingdom Hearts II", adult Nala is the first lion that the game's main protagonists (Sora, Donald Duck and Goofy) encounter (young Nala is never seen). She is first seen running from two Living Bone Heartless, causing Sora to leap forward and defend her. After the battle she briefly explains the situation in the Pride Lands, asking Sora, Donald and Goofy to meet her at Pride Rock where Scar reigns as king. With approval from Pete (taking a lion form), Scar intended to have the main protagonists hunted and killed but Nala stops Scar in time and escapes with the party to the jungle. They later arrive at the oasis and encounter Simba, Timon and Pumbaa. The seven characters return to Pride Rock together to defeat Scar, Pete and the hyenas. During the second visit to the Pride Lands, Nala asks for Sora, Donald and Goofy's help in bringing back Simba's confidence in the face of Scar's "ghost", and also reveals herself to be pregnant.

Vanessa Marshall replaced Moira Kelly as Nala's voice in the game.

"The Lion King" musical

In the musical based on the 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.

Nala first appears in the musical as she is hunting with the other lionesses, replacing the scene from the film where she is being 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 do not appear 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 song scene "Shadowland" (audio|Tlkshadowlands.ogg|sample) where Nala's character sings the lead about her need to leave the Pride Lands and find help. The other lionesses sing supporting choir and Rafiki sings a blessing. 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, she was originally portrayed by Paulette Ivory.

The song "Shadowland" was based on the song "Lea Halalela (Holy Land)" from the "Rhythm of the Pride Lands" CD.


The talking baby Nala cub plush toy with a pink blankie in her left paw was released in 2002 and is voiced by Mary Gibbs.


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