Nala is the deuteragonist of the Disney animated feature film, The Lion King. She is the Queen of the Pridelands and is the mother of Kiara and Kion. She is also the main love interest and childhood best friend of Simba.
The Lion King
Nala is first seen asleep in her mother Sarafina's arms inside Pride Rock with the rest of the pride when Simba comes to wake his father Mufasa. She is next seen later that day being bathed by Sarafina when Simba arrives, greeting her and wanting her to come with him to a great place. When asked by his mother Sarabi what the place is, Simba says it is around the water hole to which Nala asks what so good about the water hole and Simba says he will show her when they get there. Nala asks Sarafina if she can go with Simba to which Sarafina asks Sarabi what she thinks. Sarabi allows the two cubs to go as long as Zazu goes with them, much to Simba and Nala's dismay.
As Zazu takes them to the water hole, Simba tells Nala they are actually going to an Elephant Graveyard and plan to get away from Zazu which they succeed. Shortly after getting away, the two cubs begin arguing over whose idea it was and get into a play fight. Simba pounces Nala, only for her to flip him and pin him. Simba pushes her off and she turns with a satisfied smile, only for Simba to pounce her again and send them rolling down a hill with Nala once again landing on top of Simba in the same position. They soon realize that they have stumbled right into the Elephant Graveyard during their scuffle. The two cubs begin to explore, but Zazu arrives and tries to get the two to leave as the place is dangerous. But just then, three hyenas named Shenzi, Banzai and Ed appear and try to kill the cubs, but luckily, Mufasa arrives and fights and chases the hyenas away. After returning to the Pride Lands, Mufasa asks Zazu to Nala home whilst he has a word with Simba. The following night, Nala along with the rest of the pride are told by Scar that he died along with Mufasa died in a stampede. After this, Scar becomes king and allows the hyenas to come into the Pride Lands.
Years later, Nala (now a young adult) leaves to find help as Scar due to allowing the hyenas into the Pride Lands, has made food and water stop. She sees a warthog named Pumbaa and tries to hunt him and gives chase into the jungle. Just when Nala is about to attack Pumbaa and his meerkat friend Timon, a young lion comes to Pumbaa's defense and fights her. Nala is able to pin down the lion, who says her name, which makes Nala get off him and asks who he is. The lion says he is Simba, which surprises Nala (as she had believed him to have died in the stampede) and is introduced to Timon and Pumbaa who are Simba's friends and thinks that as Simba is alive, he is the king. The two go into the jungle and soon fall in love, but get into an argument as Simba does not wish to return to the Pride Lands (due to thinking that he caused Mufasa's death).
The next day, Nala comes to Timon and Pumbaa asking if they have seen Simba just before Rafiki arrives and tells them that the king has returned, making Nala realize that Simba has gone to reclaim the throne from Scar. Nala along with Timon and Pumbaa follow Simba back to the Pride Lands and vow to help him defeat Scar. Whilst Timon and Pumbaa distract the hyenas, Simba asks Nala to rally the lionesses while he looks for Scar. After gathering the lionesses, Nala along with Sarabi are shocked when Simba claims that he caused Mufasa's death; but afterwards, Scar admits that he, not Simba, killed Mufasa, causing a battle between the lionesses and hyenas whilst Simba battles Scar and throws him over the edge (similar to Nala).
After Scar's death, Simba becomes king and Nala becomes queen. Months later, the two watch as Rafiki presents their cub to the animals of the Pride Lands.
The Lion King II: Simba's Pride
Months later, Simba and Nala (now fully-grown adults) have a daughter named Kiara whom Simba becomes very protective of. When Kiara grows into a young cub and goes off to explore the Pride Lands after being warned to stay away from the Outlands (home of the Outsiders, a pride of lions banished by Simba for being loyal to Scar). Nala assures Simba that she will be fine and goes inside, but Simba goes against her advice and sends Timon and Pumbaa to keep an eye on Kiara.
Later that day, Nala along with Timon, Pumbaa, and some of the pride's lionesses, join Simba when he goes to find Kiara after she wondered off and finds her at the border between the Pride Lands and the Outlands with a cub named Kovu and watches Simba face off with Kovu's mother Zira (who is the leader of the Outsiders and Scar's wife). After telling Zira to take Kovu and leave, Simba picks up Kiara and leaves with Nala, Timon, Pumbaa and the lionesses. After returning to the Pride Lands, Nala goes with the others back to Pride Rock after noticing that Simba wishes to stay behind to have a word with Kiara.
A few years later, Nala along with Simba, see Kiara (now a young adult) off on her first hunt. But like before, Simba sends Timon and Pumbaa to watch her (despite promising Kiara to let her hunt alone). Later, Nala along with Simba go and look for Kiara after Simba saw a fire near where Kiara was hunting (which was started by Zira's other children Nuka and Vitani). They find her alive and well with another lion whom Kiara reveals to be Kovu who asks to join the Pridelander pride, claiming that he left the Outsiders and is now a rogue (when in fact, he is following Zira's plan to earn Simba's trust so Kovu can kill him and take over as king to avenge Scar's death). Simba is at first reluctant, but Nala reminds him that he owes Kovu Kiara's life and Zazu confirms this, saying depts must be paid. Simba allows Kovu into the pride, but has him sleep outside Pride Rock.
The following night, Nala finds Simba watching Kiara and Kovu stargazing and says to him that he wants so much to walk the path expected of him and perhaps Kovu does not and encourages Simba to give Kovu a chance before the two leave together to leave their daughter and her friend be.
The next day, Nala is seen at Pride Rock with Kiara and an injured Simba after he was ambushed by Zira and the Outsiders. She and Kiara then witness Simba confront Kovu, after thinking he was part of the ambush and then banishes him from the Pride Lands. While Nala looks on shocked at Simba's decision, Kiara runs forward and tries to put a stop to the exile, but is stopped by some of the lionesses (who unlike Nala and Kiara, have taken Simba's side and believe Kovu to be evil). Nala is not present with the other lionesses when Kiara confronts Simba before going into Pride Rock in tears, after telling Simba he will never be Mufasa, before leaving to find Kovu (perhaps going to another part of Pride Rock to leave them be, believing it was not her place to interfere).
Later that night, Nala joins Simba, Timon, Pumbaa, and the rest of the pride when they battle Zira and the Outsiders, where Nala battles and easily defeats Vitani. Just then, Kiara and Kovu arrive and put a stop to the battle and Kiara convinces Vitani and the other Outsiders to rejoin the Pridelanders. However, Zira (still wishing to avenge Scar) says she will never let go of the past when Simba tries to reason with her. She tries to attack Simba, but is knocked off the cliff they are on by Kiara and they fall down the cliff. Nala watches on as Simba climbs down the cliff to reach Kiara and warns him of the fast flowing river below them. After Simba manages to get Kiara (who tried and failed to save Zira) back up the cliff, a relieved Nala hugs her daughter.
Upon returning to Pride Rock, the reunited pride watch, Simba, Nala, and the now-married Kiara and Kovu roar in triumph.
The Lion Guard
Nala appears in The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar and its follow up television series The Lion Guard, both of which serve as midquels to The Lion King II: Simba's Pride (taking place after Simba and Nala retrieve Kiara from the Pride Lands-Outlands border and before sending her out on her first hunt). The series sees Simba and Nala having another child together: A son named Kion who as second born, becomes leader of the Lion Guard who protect the Circle of Life.
The Lion King Musical
In the musical, Nala's role remains the same as it was in the film, though in one scene during the song "The Madness of King Scar," Scar tries to seduce a young adult Nala and make her his queen, but she rejects him and leaves to find help.
- Nala is the third Disney love interest to have known the main character in childhood, separated, and reunited in young adulthood, the first two being Faline and Maid Marian, and yet, the second to actually be seen with him in childhood (once again, the first being Faline).
- In the Broadway musical of The Lion King, Scar tries to make Nala his queen, which makes Nala decide to leave Pride Rock to find help.
- She is very loosely based off of Ophelia from Hamlet.
- She is similar to Kitty from Kimba the White Lion.
- In the first film, Moira Kelly did her voice, with Sally Dworsky singing her part while as a cub, Niketa Calame and Laura Williams did her speaking and singing voices in the first film.
- In the remake, she is voiced by Beyoncé (who plays Foxxy Cleopatra in Austin Powers in Goldmember) as an adult and by Shahadi Wright Joseph (who had previously played this role in the musical) as a cub.
- Nala is very affectionate to Simba, because she's his total friend.
- Unlike the other lionesses, Nala doesn't have pink nose. In Lion King-trilogy it's red, brown and black.
- Nala has currently blue eyes (formerly green.)
- Nala has a bit darker coloring than Simba in The Lion King-trilogy.