- “I was saved by a flying, wild man in loin cloth!”
- ―Jane to her father about Tarzan
Jane Porter is the deuteragonist of Disney's 1999 animated feature film, Tarzan. She is a charismatic, albeit eccentric ethnologist who travels to Africa to study gorillas alongside her father, Archimedes Q. Porter. During her expedition, Jane meets a "wild man" named Tarzan, with whom she would eventually fall in love.
Jane is a young woman living in Victoria-era Britain, alongside her father, the esteemed Professor Archimedes Q. Porter. What became of Jane's mother is unknown, though Archimedes briefly mentioned that their daughter takes after her, quite a bit.
At adulthood, Jane became an animal researcher in a field that allows her to work closely with her father. Together, they use their combined resources to garner a better understanding of animal habitats and behavior. Their most ambitious expedition is one taking place in Africa, where a long-awaited journey to study gorillas was to occur.
Despite her origins linking back to upper-class England, Jane is fairly eccentric and spontaneous — not unlike her father. However, she still has a sense of standards and tries to stay true to her roots as an Englishwoman while also adapting to life in the jungle. Overall, Jane is nevertheless intelligent and greatly gifted in her skills as a zoologist and artist; seen several times throughout the film, Jane can conjure an extremely accurate representation of an animal (or even a human, such as Tarzan) and portray it on her sketch board with relative ease and exquisite detail. Though she primarily works from a reference, her sketch of Tarzan was done solely on memory, further exemplifying her talent.
Aside from art, Jane has a passionate admiration for wildlife of all kinds. She generally appreciates and respects the animal kingdom, and takes it as her responsibility to be mindful of their living conditions during her explorations. This led to bitterness between herself and her arrogant guide, Clayton, who continuously doubted Jane's capabilities.
For all of her talents, Jane is far from perfect. She has a habit of getting herself into trouble, and sometimes due to her own arrogance, such as when she teased and taunted a baby baboon, not realizing his aggressive family was nearby and ready to protect their child. Within the jungle, she is also out of her element, meaning she initially had difficulty surviving its perils upon encountering them, forcing her to be saved by Tarzan repeatedly. Interestingly, however, she is somewhat quick to adapt. After her first encounter with Tarzan, Jane grew a natural understanding of the ape-man and the jungle itself. She slowly began to lower her defenses (visualized through her progressive change of attire), became more open-minded to the peculiar world in which she was exploring, and eventually felt her home was not in England but in the jungle itself and with Tarzan.
In Tarzan, Jane is a woman in her early 20s with fair skin, blue eyes, and long, brown hair. When she first appears in the movie, her outfit and personality wasn't adapted to the jungle, but as the film moves on, her outfit becomes more revealing as she grows more attached to the jungle to the point that at the end of the movie her appearance is now similar to Tarzan as she now lives in the jungle.
When Jane first appears, she wears a long yellow dress and large yellow bustle with a purple cravat, white gloves, white boots (with black on the soles, toes, and heels, like Mary Jane shoes), white petticoat, white frilly knee-length pantalettes and her hair was in a bun.
Later, when Jane is introducing Tarzan to her father, she wears a yellow shirt with a long green skirt with no shoes, and her hair is let loose.
Her next outfit is of a white tank top with a long, wrapped red skirt, and like her previous outfit her hair is loose and she is barefoot.
By the end of the movie, Jane wears a bikini-like loincloth consisting of only a brownish-red tank top that reveals her midriff and a matching short skirt.
In The Legend of Tarzan, Jane is almost always wearing her yellow shirt and green skirt as her main outfit, and barefoot, just like what she wore when she introduced Tarzan to her father in the original film, though in some episodes she wears a light green tank top with a green skirt.
Jane is a young woman who travels with her father and their guide, Clayton, to Africa, where they intend to study gorillas. While out walking, Jane steps into a gorilla's nest. She and her father soon find more nests which lead the two to believe that the animals live in family groups. As they continue their journey, Jane sees a baby baboon and begins to draw it in her sketchbook. However, the baboon steals the book from her, and she chases him in an attempt to retrieve it. As she chases the baboon, she is unaware that Tarzan is following her quietly.
The baboon finds his own picture and refuses to give it back. Jane finally manages to steal it back, making the baby baboon cry. Jane turns around and sees the baby's angry baboon family, and they begin to chase her. As Jane runs, she is grabbed by Tarzan and swung up in the air. One of the baboons holds onto her foot, but she manages to kick it off, losing her boot in the process. After falling through vines, Jane and Tarzan finally land in a tree where the baby and another baboon float down to them. Tarzan speaks to them in monkey talk and takes the picture from Jane and gives it to them, much to Jane's surprise.
Tarzan is fascinated by Jane, as he has never seen another human like himself before. Tarzan tells her his name, but it takes a bit for Jane to teach him her name. They then hear a gunshot in the distance, fired by Clayton, so Jane asks Tarzan to take her to her camp. Tarzan does so, repeating the gunshot, thinking that's what Clayton is.
When they arrive at the camp, Jane sees Tarzan's gorilla friends, but Kerchak and Kala show up and escort Tarzan away. Soon after, Professor Porter and Clayton, who had been looking for Jane, arrive. Jane tells them about seeing gorillas as well as Tarzan the Ape Man rescuing her from the baboons. The next day, Jane draws a picture of Tarzan on the blackboard, while telling her father they can learn things from Tarzan about gorillas and that they should find him. Her description of him makes it seem like she is fascinated by him, as well as what he could tell them about gorillas. However, Clayton does not believe Jane until Tarzan suddenly arrives. Clayton tries to show Tarzan what a gorilla is by drawing one on the blackboard, but Tarzan does not understand so Jane decides to teach him about human life (Strangers Like Me). Jane, along with her father, teaches Tarzan how to speak English, as well as about human culture. Meanwhile, Tarzan begins to fall in love with Jane and she with him.
Soon, a ship arrives to take Jane and her father back to London, and Jane asks Tarzan to come with her to London. In return, Tarzan asks her to stay in Africa with her, but she refuses and runs away crying. Taking advantage of the situation, Clayton tells Tarzan that if Tarzan shows them the gorillas, Jane will stay with him in Africa. While Tarzan's friends Terk and Tantor distract Kerchak, the Leader of the Gorillas, Tarzan shows Jane, Porter, and Clayton the Gorillas. Tarzan also teaches Jane how to speak gorilla. When Jane asks what she said, Tarzan replies "That Jane will stay with Tarzan." Before Jane can reply, Terk and Tantor arrive as does Kerchak, who tries to chase the humans away. Tarzan manages to hold him off while Jane, Porter, and Clayton run away to safety. The incident leads Tarzan to agree to go to London with Jane and her father.
The next day, Jane prepares to head back to London now accompanied by Tarzan, dressed in a suit that belonged to his deceased father. Before they get on Jane tells Tarzan that he will see the world. Kings and scientists and famous writers will want to meet him, but Tarzan is happy just to be with Jane, but when Jane and Tarzan climb aboard the ship, they are taken in by the ship's crew. Clayton reveals that he tricked Tarzan into telling him where the gorillas are in order to capture them, take them to London, and sell them for money.
While trapped in the cargo holder, Jane apologizes to Tarzan for what happened, but the group is soon rescued by Terk and Tantor. While Tarzan swings in the vines, Jane and her father ride on Tantor, return to the Gorillas' nests and save them from the crew. While Jane and Tarzan are trying to release Kala from her cage, Clayton shoots Tarzan in the arm. Kerchak steps in the way and takes the second bullet. Clayton goes after Tarzan next. Jane tries to stop Clayton, but he knocks her out. Tarzan fights off Clayton and defeats the evil hunter, who accidentally hangs himself due to a vine snapping his neck. Jane and her father watch sadly as Kerchak makes Tarzan the new ape leader before dying.
The next day Jane tells Tarzan goodbye and gets into the rowboat with her father. As they are being rowed out, Porter tells Jane that she should stay with the man that she deeply cares for and loves. Encouraged, Jane jumps out of the rowboat and returns to shore, followed by her father. Jane, in gorilla talk, says that she will stay in Africa with them. In the ending, Tarzan and Jane swing and surf through the trees, now ruling as the king and queen of the jungle.
In the series, The Legend of Tarzan, which takes place shortly after the first movie, Jane is married to Tarzan. The young couple, along with Jane's father, live in the treehouse that had been built by Tarzan's late human parents.
In the compilation film, Tarzan & Jane, Jane is shown trying to think of a proper gift for Tarzan, as it is their first anniversary. She considers a party but then remembers a disaster that happened earlier, when her friends visited the island. Her next idea is jewelry, but she then remembers that some diamond prospectors had once tried to take advantage of Tarzan. Her final idea is a night of dancing, but this leads to a memory of a young man named Bobby, one of her childhood friends. He had come to the island earlier but was revealed to be a German spy during World War I. Disappointed that none of her ideas work, Jane goes home, where she finds that Tarzan has planned a surprise for her.
Throughout the series, Jane has adjusted quite well to her new life in the jungle with Tarzan but sometimes begins to miss her old life and England. As a result, she would try to get Tarzan to act more "civilized", which sometimes poses a problem to Tarzan's morals. Her appearance and human actions often cause some members of Tarzan's Gorilla Troop to both have doubts about her and question Tarzan's "leadership". She is usually the Damsel in Distress of the series, often kidnapped or held hostage by antagonists so Tarzan can rescue her.
In the series, she also encounters Queen La, the ruler and high priestess of Opar, a lost city located deep in the jungles of Africa whom she sees as a rival for Tarzan's affections, though fortunately for her Tarzan still remains loyal to her no matter what at all times, much to La's chagrin.
Jane appears in Deep Jungle world in Kingdom Hearts. She is on an expedition into the jungle in search of gorillas with hunter Clayton. Like in the film, she befriends Tarzan and his gorilla family and protects them from Clayton and the Heartless.
Jane meets Sora when Tarzan arrives at the camp with him and is astonished to see he speaks English, making it clear he's not related to Tarzan and asks if he's here to study the gorillas with her before Clayton arrives with Donald and Goofy. However, Donald and Sora are still on somewhat hostile terms due to their earlier quarreling on the Gummi Ship regarding if King Mickey, Riku, or Kairi might be in Deep Jungle. After Clayton grumbles that they are not much help hunting gorillas and leaves the tent, Jane shouts after him that this is research, not hunting, before turning back to Sora and his companions and offering them use of her campsite to make themselves at home. When Sora speaks to her later about when he first met Tarzan back at the treehouse and how his was speaking "gorilla" back there, Jane offers use of her slide projector to see if that helps at all. When none of the slides are able to help Tarzan answer Sora's question about Riku and Kairi, Clayton returns to tell Sora how they've been in the jungle for some time now, and if his friends are here, they are probably with the gorillas, but Tarzan refuses to take them to see them. Tarzan finally agrees to take Sora, Donald, and Goofy with him to go see Kerchak, despite Jane's concern, to see if the gorilla leader can help them.
Jane later learns that Sora, Tarzan, Donald, and Goofy caught Clayton as he was about to shoot Terk at the treehouse before Donald startled him and alerted Terk, allowing her to dodge Clayton's shot before she departs with Kerchak, having arrived just after Donald saved Terk's life. Jane is furious with Clayton and warns him that he is not to go near the gorillas again, leaving him to storm out of the tent afterwards once he sees everyone is not buying his excuses about the attempt on Terk's life. Jane is later captured by the Heartless and held captive at the treehouse while Clayton goes to shoot the gorillas. She is freed and later accompanies Sora, Tarzan, Donald, and Goofy to the Cavern of Hearts, deep within the waterfalls, where Sora seals the world's Keyhole. Jane figures out Tarzan's continuous ape sounds mean "Heart".
What becomes of her and Tarzan after the departure of Sora is unknown, but it could be said that their lives became like that of The Legend of Tarzan, even though Porter and Tantor are absent. Ever since Kingdom Hearts, no one from Tarzan's world is ever mentioned or seen again due to licensing and copyright disputes between the Disney corporation and Burroughs legacy.
Jane made regular meet-and-greet appearances in the Disney theme parks around the time of the film's initial release, dressed in her full, yellow exploration garb. She has generally been retired in recent years, however.
In Shanghai, Jane plays a role in Tarzan: Call of the Jungle, which is a retelling of the original film. She encounters Tarzan while studying the jungle's wildlife at her campsite, and engages in a ballet of vine-swinging before quickly falling in love. She also takes part in the "Trashin' the Camp" sequence, while "Strangers Like Me" has her showing human culture to both Tarzan and the apes.
- Jane is ticklish, as when Tarzan plays with her toes when they first meet, she is shown to be laughing.
- The brown skirt and top she wore at the end of the first movie are seen only once afterward. It was at the end of The Legend of Tarzan episode "Tarzan and the Lost Cub" where she was using it as a swimsuit.
- In the original novel, she and her father are American, not British.
- Ironically, Tarzan is the only human in the film with an American accent.
- Jane is the first and only human heroine from the Disney Renaissance who doesn't sing.
- In November 1999, Jane Porter was announced as the newest princess for the Disney Princess franchise by the official magazine from the United Kingdom. In February 2000, she made an another appearance in the magazine, then was never talked about in the franchise. Although Jane had been announced when the franchise was intensified, she was no longer with the other princesses.
- http://dpscans.chastten.nl/Images/DisneyPrincessMagazine/United%20Kingdom%20&%20Ireland/181999-Cover.jpg The United Kingdom Disney Princess Magazine #18
- http://dpscans.chastten.nl/Images/DisneyPrincessMagazine/United%20Kingdom%20&%20Ireland/222000-Cover.jpg The United Kingdom Disney Princess Magazine #22