Narrative secrets ahead.
Nala is the deuteragonist of Disney's 1994 film the Lion King. She is a secondary character in its 1998 sequel Simba's Pride, and a minor character in its 2004 parallel The Lion King 1½.
Nala was voiced by Niketa Calame as a cub and Moira Kelly as an adult. Her singing voice was provided by Sally Dworsky.
As a cub, Nala is playful, spirited, and spunky. She and Simba are best friends. As cubs, the two were nearly inseparable. Unknown to them, they were betrothed at an early age, and both agreed that friends marrying each other were too weird once they discovered this fact. They got into many adventures, but when they were being chased by the hyenas, Shenzi was about to kill Nala when Simba saved her. Simba and Nala nearly died when the hyenas trapped them but were saved by Mufasa. Nala was heartbroken when Scar claimed that Simba died with Mufasa in the wildebeest stampede. As young adults, Nala was the lioness who brought Simba back to Pride Rock, to save them from Scar's tyranny. In the midst of all this, they finally realized their friendship had grown into a relationship, and eventually marriage as originally intended. As Queen of Pride Rock, Nala often acts as a voice of reason for Simba, trying to get him to see the light when his protective judgment gets the best of him.
In the sequel, Nala has become much more mild-mannered and motherly. She acts as the voice of reason to Simba, who is now being very protective of Kiara, and reminds him that their daughter Kiara would be fine. She also seems to be less judgmental than Simba. When Simba refused to trust Kovu simply because of his outsider status, Nala is able to see that Kovu is unwilling to follow his destiny as Scar's heir and thus is more trusting than Simba is.
Nala appears as a slender cream-colored lioness with teal eyes (though her eyes are a much bluer color in The Lion King II: Simba's Pride and green in The Lion King 1 1/2). As a cub, she had a pink nose, however, as an adult, her nose is brown. Both the inside of her ears and the small tuft of fur on her tail are tan.
Nala is first seen as a cub, fast asleep in her mother Sarafina's arms when Simba goes to wake up Mufasa. She is then seen later that day being bathed by her mother. Simba, who has been tricked by Scar into visiting the Elephant Graveyard, asks her to accompany him to a great place. Initially, told the trip was to the watering hole, she is allowed to go on the condition that Zazu accompanies them, after which Simba reveals the true destination. As they travel, it's revealed by Zazu that Nala and Simba are not only best friends but were betrothed at a young age by their parents. As a result, they're expected to marry in the future, a revelation that scares both of them. Nala was at first disgusted but later gets a crush on Simba. Simba and Nala come up with a plan to lose Zazu along the way by traveling through many different animal herds (the "I Just Can't Wait to Be King" sequence), which succeeds. The two celebrate their success but then argue over whose idea it was. Nala claims it was her idea when Simba calls himself a "genius" and says he pulled it off with her. Simba then pounces on Nala to make her admit he deserves the credit, but she easily flips him and slams him down, pinning him. Nala teases Simba, giggling and playfully saying "pinned ya" and he pushes her off him. Nala turns away with a smug satisfied smile, and Simba pounces her once again, sending them rolling down a hill. Nala laughs the whole way and once again flips and pins Simba, smirking down at Simba and smugly rubbing her win in his face, bragging "pinned ya again" in a slug tone. Before Simba can retort, the cubs are interrupted by a steam geyser going off and realize they wrestled right into the Elephant Graveyard. Simba and Nala journey to the Elephant Graveyard where they encounter Scar's hyena minions Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed. Nala attempts to escape alongside Simba, but the two are chased by the hyenas. During the chase, Nala loses her footing and is almost eaten by Shenzi, but Simba rescues her, scratching Shenzi across the face. After trapping the cubs, the three hyenas are attacked and scared off by Mufasa, who had come to rescue the cubs. Afterward, while Mufasa lectures Simba, Zazu is tasked with taking Nala home, not to see her friend again for a long time.
Later, after Scar informs the pride of Mufasa's and Simba's deaths, she is seen mourning with the other lionesses and later seen shocked at the hyenas' takeover of Pride Rock.
Years later, as a young adult, she attempts to hunt Pumbaa. However, she becomes entangled in a fight with a young adult lion, who is actually the grown-up Simba. She manages to pin the lion using a trademark move in which she flips the lion onto his back. But she doesn't recognize him as her friend Simba until he introduces himself; Simba recognizes her by her flip move, which she had often performed on him as a cub. She is ecstatic to learn Simba is alive, as it means he is the rightful king of the Pride Lands. After being alone with Simba, she falls in love with him, and the two spend time alone together. Simba shows her around the Jungle (the "Can You Feel The Love Tonight" sequence), where they drink by the lake together and Simba playfully pulls her in. Nala quickly comes out drenched and playfully pushes Simba back in. Simba and Nala eventually chase each other into the jungle and tumble down a hill while play wrestling, with Simba, finally pinning Nala. Nala rewards Simba's "win" with a lick on the cheek and a seductive stare, and the two nuzzle each other lovingly. But, Nala eventually grows angry when Simba refuses to return to Pride Rock to put an end to Scar's reign. At this point, she reveals that she left Pride Rock in an attempt to find help, as Scar had become a tyrant and the pride was suffering due to drought, and the lack of both food and water as well as from the hyenas overrunning the Pride Lands. The two argue and storm off in separate directions.
She is seen the next morning with Timon and Pumbaa looking for Simba, and they discover from Rafiki that Simba has returned to the Pride Lands. She, along with Timon and Pumbaa, follow Simba and offer to help him reclaim his kingdom. While Timon and Pumbaa distract the hyenas, Simba sends Nala to look for his mother and rally the rest of the pride. She does so and later appears with them, as Simba confronts Scar. Like the other lionesses, she is shocked when Scar forces Simba to admit his guilt in Mufasa's death. But she is one of the first lionesses to join in the battle after Scar reveals his identity as the true murderer of Mufasa. When the hyenas attack Simba she, Sarabi, Sarafina, and the rest of the pride attack them together with Timon, Pumbaa, and Rafiki. After the battle, she is seen looking on as Simba reclaims his throne, and becomes Simba's wife and had a cub with him.
In this film, Nala is both Simba's wife and Kiara's mother. She seems to have aged and has a more built frame. She is first seen at Kiara's presentation, looking on proudly. She later appears as Kiara is going out to play, reminding Kiara to mind her father, and reassuring Simba that she will be fine. She accompanies Simba as he goes to retrieve Kiara when she wanders off and confronts Zira when the exiled lioness is discovered in the Pride Lands.
Nala next appears as Kiara is planning her first hunt, and Nala subtly encourages Simba to allow Kiara to hunt on her own. She later argues on Kovu's behalf to allow him in the Pride Lands. Since Kovu saved Kiara's life, Simba owes him a debt and so must grant Kovu's request to join the pride. She later encourages Simba to give Kovu a chance, pointing out that Kovu may not want to follow the path expected of him. Later, the next day, when Simba is injured after being ambushed by the Outsiders, she nuzzles him, but then, like Kiara, she also seems to disapprove of Kovu's banishment, even though she isn't at all vocal about it.
During the battle between the Pridelanders and the Outsiders, she is seen leading the lionesses, and briefly fights Vitani. She later directs Simba as he attempts to rescue Kiara, warning him about the river dam breaking up. Finally, she is seen roaring with Simba after Kiara and Kovu are united in marriage.
The Lion King 1½
Nala plays a minor role in this midquel. Unlike the previous movies, she has green eyes in the film instead of blue. 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. After several failed attempts she rushes off to help Simba. Although Nala played a minor role in the film, she was still voiced by Moira Kelly.
House of Mouse
Nala makes cameo appearances usually as a cub in the series. She was always seen aside from the cub Simba. She also makes an appearance in the opening of Mickey's House of Villains, where she and Simba's dinner was stolen by Ed. She was seen as an adult in the episode "Timon and Pumbaa" and Mickey's Magical Christmas.
- Nala is technically a Queen, having married Simba after he became King, and was never actually a princess.
- Nala was shown to be a better fighter than Simba, always beating him when they fought. She beat him twice when they were cubs and once as adults, all with her signature "pinned ya" move. She only "lost" to Simba once, when he finally pinned her during "Can You Feel The Love Tonight?" on accident.
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