Kala was the adopted gorilla mother of Tarzan, whom as a baby she rescued him from Sabor in Disney's 1999 film Tarzan, its midquel, sequel, and television series. She was voiced by Glenn Close, the actress who played Cruella De Vil in the 1996's 101 Dalmatians (she reprised the role in the midquel "Tarzan II", being one of only two actors to reprise their roles in it) and currently Susanne Blakeslee (in the TV series).
Kala was calm, gentle, kind and loving. She loved Tarzan like a son although she said that she knew Tarzan wouldn't replace her biological son who was killed by Sabor. Although she was usually a gentle person, Kala was capable of aggression when necessary and was also very brave, fighting against the deadly leopard Sabor in order to protect the baby Tarzan. Kala often disagreed with her mate Kerchak but despite this they did love each other and Kala was sad when Kerchak died.
Kala is an adult, female gorilla with brown fur and eyes. Her skin, visible on her toes, the soles of her feet, fingers, the palms of her hands, face, and belly, is light tan in coloration.
In the movie, Kala is a member of a troop of gorillas, and is the mate of Kerchak, the leader. At the beginning of the film, she has a son with Kerchak, but their baby is killed by Sabor. The day after, Kala hears a crying baby. She follows the noise to a treehouse, and there she discovers a human baby. Sabor suddenly appears and attempts to kill the baby, but she is stopped by Kala. Kala correctly assumes that Sabor killed the baby's parents, and takes the baby back to her home. Kerchak allows her to keep the baby after confirming that there were no other humans around, but notes that the baby will never replace the one they lost. Kala chooses to name the baby Tarzan.
Tarzan grows into a young boy, but is aware that there are differences between him and the other gorillas. One day, while playing with Kala's niece, Terk, Tarzan unintentionally causes a stampede of elephants. The stampede runs through the gorilla nests, putting a young gorilla in danger. Kerchak is angered, and berates Kala for defending him. Kerchak tells Tarzan that he will never be one of the gorillas, which hurts Tarzan. However, Kala consoles Tarzan by telling him that he is the same as them because their hearts are the same. Inspired, Tarzan vows to the best ape ever.
Tarzan improves himself, and as an adult, kills Sabor, which makes Kala and the other gorillas very happy. Later on, Kala rushes off to find that Tarzan is with another group of humans who have come to the island. Kala, along with Kerchak, escorts Tarzan back to camp. Kala asks Tarzan to listen to Kerchak's warning to stay away from the humans, but Tarzan asks Kala why she never told him that there were people who looked like him.
Later on, Tarzan brings the humans: Jane Porter and Jane's father, who had come to study the gorillas, to meet the gorillas. Kala is afraid of them at first, but accepts them after seeing them play with the other gorillas. However, Kerchak arrives and attempts to attack the humans, but Tarzan hold him off. Kerchak then berates Tarzan for betraying the gorillas. In response, Kala decides to show Tarzan the treehouse she found him in as a baby. Kala shows Tarzan the picture of his biological parents, and tells him that she wants him to be happy wherever he decides to go.
Tarzan chooses to go to London with Jane, whom he has come to love, and he sadly says goodbye to Kala, reassuring her that she will always be his mother. After he leaves, Kala, along with the other gorillas, is captured by Clayton, who had secretly intended to capture the gorillas to sell. However, Tarzan soon arrives, and with assistance from Jane, Mr Porter, Tantor, and others, rescues Kala and the gorillas and defeats Clayton. Unfortunately, Kerchak is shot by Clayton during the fight, and is fatally wounded. As he dies, Kerchak apologizes and accepts Tarzan as his successor. Tarzan chooses to stay in the jungle, alongside his gorilla family. Jane and her father also stay and are accepted by Kala and the other gorillas. The final scene shows Kala receiving flowers from Jane.
Kala appears in the midquel Tarzan II. The film goes in depth into Tarzan's childhood. One night, at bedtime, before and after explaining to Tarzan about how different certain families can be, she ticklishly plays with his toes. An accident leads Kala to assume that Tarzan had died, and this news devastates her. Later on, she learns that Tarzan has survived but has run away, as he had overheard some gorillas talking about how glad they were that he was gone. Kala goes on a journey to find him. She finds Tarzan at the home of Mama Gunda, another female ape. Kala is able to convince Tarzan to come home, but she is attacked by Gunda's son Kago. Thankfully, Tarzan is able to rescue her, which helps Tarzan to realize that he is part of the family, Kala then returns home with Tarzan.
Tarzan & Jane
Kala has no prominent storyline or even lines of dialogue in Tarzan & Jane, but appears at the end of the film during the celebration of Tarzan and Jane's first anniversary.
The Legend of Tarzan
In the series, The Legend of Tarzan, Kala serves as an advisor to Tarzan. A sympathetic ear when Tarzan needs someone wise to talk to, Kala acts as the voice of the apes, always reminding Tarzan of his unique obligations to the family. Despite Kerchak's death, she is highly respected for her wisdom. She is also Jane's closest confidant. The two share a warm, strong bond, and Jane regards her mother-in-law as her only kindred spirit in the jungle. From Kala's point of view, Jane is the human daughter she never had.
Kala has a minor role in the game, staying by Kerchak's side while Tarzan asks them to trust Jane, Sora, Donald, and Goofy. Kala is captured by Clayton and the Heartless, but saved by Sora and Tarzan.
- For more pictures and screenshots of Kala, click here.
Tarzan | The Legend of Tarzan | Tarzan & Jane | House of Mouse | Tarzan II
Park Attractions: Tarzan's Treehouse
Characters: Tarzan | Terk | Tantor | Kala | Kerchak | Flynt and Mungo | Sabor | Lord and Lady Greystroke | Manu | Jane Porter | Archimedes Q. Porter | Clayton | Tublat | Lady Watham | Queen La | Kats | Dr. Doyle | Eleanor | Greenly | Hazel | Ian | Lieutenant Colonel Staquait | Renard Dumont | Samuel T. Philander | Theodore Roosevelt | Usula | Edgar Rice Burroughs | Mama Gunda | Kago and Uto | Zugor