Long ago, La was once a member of the African Waziri tribe, but was banished from the tribe after using forbidden magic to immortalize her spirit. Since that time, the Waziri have battled La as she reigned over her personal kingdom of Opar, turning leopards into humanoid slaves under her control and capturing men from outside the kingdom to serve as her consort before killing them for refusing her advances.
Queen La reigns over Opar with tyranny and fear, controlling the Leopard Men by threatening them with the powers of her magic staff. This reputation has long made her feared throughout the jungle, even by the Waziri. Seeing Tarzan as a perfect physical specimen that would definitely serve as a match to herself, she is determined to win Tarzan's love, though his love for Jane serves to thwart those plans.
La is generally shown to be cruel, power-hungry, manipulative and tyrannical. She is very self-absorbed, lacking any sort of empathy for others, and is used to having people bow down to her and give her whatever she wants. She quickly becomes angry if she is denied what she desires. She is not above using murder or other cruel methods to achieve her goals and can be very irrational, such as when she kills two Leopard Men simply because they failed to bring her a suitable mate. She is also very stubborn and also somewhat delusional, continuing to pursue Tarzan despite the fact he is clearly in love with Jane. La's desire for a 'perfect' mate also displays a certain level of shallowness about her; she is more interested in Tarzan's physical appearance and strength than his personality, though she admires and is attracted to his fearlessness.
In original screen and print, Queen La wore very few clothes, mainly sporting a small leopard print bikini. Possibly taking inspiration from Opar's roots as an Atlantean colony in the books, much of La's design takes inspiration from Kida Nedakh and Atlantis: The Lost Empire but in a darker color to reflect her evil nature.
Her ensemble includes a jet black and maroon bikini top and matching sarong, with what appear to be canine teeth - possibly a leopard's - decorating the edges. She wears golden curved earrings with bracelets, anklets, and arm braces as well a golden necklace. Attaching her long menacing cape to her bikini top is a single red ruby in a gold frame. When climbing she removes the cape so she may have more freedom to climb and swing through vines.
She has cyan eyes with slit pupils like a cat. Her hair is platinum blonde and messy, possibly bleached from spending too much time in the sun or to show off her immortal age. Her pale hair may also be a nod towards the Atlantean people in Atlantis: The Lost Empire, who are depicted as having white hair, dark skin and light colored eyes, much like La. Although La is not British, she certainly speaks in that accent (it is never specified how she learned to speak English in the series).
At the end of Tarzan and the Lost City of Opar, La is seen wearing the crown of Opar, which is a golden head piece with a small golden leopard skull with ruby eyes. Her hair is also thickened when wearing this crown.
Most of the time La is seen carrying around a long, golden staff (similar to Jafar's snake staff) that helps harness all her dark, magical powers. It has a handle resembling the shape of a leopard's head and in its mouth is a large red gem.
With this staff, La can summon rain, project energy to vaporize her Leopard Men, alter her clothing, and and restore the ruined city of Opar on her whim. La's spirit can also move and possess the bodies of other creatures by making physical contact with her target.
Role in the series
- “I am La. QUEEN La!”
- ―Queen La, in her first appearance
In "Lost City of Opar", while out in the jungle, Professor Porter is captured by anthropomorphic Leopard Men. They bring him back to the lost city of Opar, a hidden ancient city high up in the mountains. There, it is revealed that a figure by the name of La had sent them to capture her a mate. Disappointed, she commands her people to sacrifice the Professor. Before he can be sliced in half by a sun-powered laser, Tarzan and Jane show up to free him. La watches Tarzan fighting her men off from a balcony above and is smitten by the wild man. As he and his family try to leave, Queen La blocks the exit and apologizes, claiming it was the Leopard Men alone who wanted to sacrifice the Professor. She then offers them a tour of Opar. During the tour, she tries various attempts to flirt with Tarzan, including telling him a false history about herself being raised by the Leopard Men since she was a child, only to have Jane get in the way. The queen then offers them to spend the night in Opar, while she plots of a way to kill Jane. The next day she talks to Jane, making her feel as though she is a burden to Tarzan. La then offers both her and Tarzan and outing in the jungle, knowing only Tarzan could make it and not Jane. Jane tells Tarzan to go ahead while she mopes back to Opar, unknowingly followed by the Leopard Men. Meanwhile, La leads Tarzan up to a waterfall and tries to have a romantic moment with him while the Leopard Men toss Jane over the side of a waterfall back at Opar. Tarzan rushes off to save her, but is too late.
As La tries to act innocent, Tarzan discovers the Leopard Men pushed Jane over the side and attacks. He is pinned down, and La tries to convince Tarzan to join her. He refuses and is then strapped to the sacrifice table himself. La offers him a choice of staying with her or death. A faithful Tarzan chooses death, and the sun laser begins to make its way to cut Tarzan in two. Suddenly, a fire bursts out blocking the sun laser with smoke, and La goes out to investigate. It's then revealed that Jane is alive. La follows her through Opar, determined to finish her off, when Tarzan arrives and distracts La long enough for Jane to grab La's staff and use it to get herself and her family out of Opar.
As Opar burns down and Tarzan rides off with Jane and the family, La summons rain with her staff and swears revenge against Tarzan and Jane.
In "The Leopard Men Rebellion", La would be overthrown by her Leopard Men, including Kaj, and her staff was taken from her. The Leopard Men then break into Tarzan and Jane's treehouse, kidnapping Jane. While Tarzan pursues them, he runs into a powerless La who is corned by a normal leopard. He saves her and the two reach a mutual truce in order to free Jane. They succeed and La takes back possession of her staff from the entranced Jane. When Tarzan leaves with Jane she begins to punish all the Leopard Men who rebelled against her, most of all Kaj. Later, Tarzan discovers that Jane was taken so the Leopard Men could make her their new queen and free them from La's oppression. Sneaking into Opar, Jane and Tarzan manage to take the staff away from La, so that Jane can perform the ritual to restore the Leopard Men to their original leopard forms. Jane breaks the staff and La is turned into dust, with Opar falling into ruins with it. But before she dies, La places a curse on Jane.
As Jane, Tarzan, the Leopard Men and the rest of their friends leave, it is revealed that the staff has fixed itself and La's sinister laugh can be heard echoing into the ruins of Opar.
- “Now kneel before your Queen! Queen La! QUEEN OF OPAR!”
- ―Jane, possessed by La's spirit
In "Return of La", while setting up a croquet tournament for her father, Jane discovers a fallen okapi and tries to nurture it to health. Unknowingly, the animal contains the wandering spirit of Queen La. Seeing Jane, La takes control of her body and tries to revive the city of Opar with it. Yet Jane's body is too weak and frail to climb the bluff in order to reach Opar. Realizing she needs help, La first tries to convince Tarzan to take her on a romantic outing. When this fails, she seduces Dumont into helping her. Unknown to La, Tarzan is worried for Jane and follows her. La takes care of this by slipping on a rock, dislodging boulders which fall on Tarzan as he climbs after Jane. Believing she no longer has to worry about Tarzan, La and Dumont reach Opar. Dumont, unimpressed by the ruins of the once great city, tries to set up a picnic for him and Jane to enjoy together. La is not interested in Dumont and then forces Dumont to dig up the first half of her staff (the leopard head handle). When she finds the other half (the stem), Jane's hair is unbundled and her clothes change into La's sarong and bikini top as well as all her jewelry. Her voice also changes from Jane's normal high pitched voice to La's low, soothing voice. Dumont tries to flee, now terrified of Jane in her new appearance, but La (tired of Dumont already) uses her staff to conjure him into a gibbon. She then uses her staff to resurrect the Lost City of Opar to all its proud glory.
Little does La know that Tarzan survived the boulders, with the assistance of local Waziri mystic elder named Usula, who explains to Tarzan that La possessed Jane. The two climb up the mountain only to discover Opar is back to its glorious state. The two sneak into the palace and watch as La speaks to Dumont and then kills a rat without mercy, confirming to Tarzan that it is truly La. When he turns to ask Usula what they should do, he is horrified to see Usula is about to strike Jane's body with an arrow in an attempt to kill La. Tarzan messes up his shot, believing he can free Jane from La. This fails, however, and La summons for her Statue Warriors to kill Tarzan and Usula. The warriors follow him, but Tarzan tricks one into destroying the other, and after a swim looses the other one. Usula then tries to explain to Tarzan that Jane is gone as long as La refuses to move from her body of her own free will and why she must be killed, but Tarzan offers himself to be sacrificed in order to save his one true love. He finds La and she threatens to turn him into a gibbon or jackal. Before she can try anything, however, Tarzan kicks her staff out of her hand, then jumps off a balcony with La over her shoulders to either force her to leave Jane or kill them both. Wishing to avoid her demise, she exits Jane and possesses Tarzan. Using his body, he stops their descent towards the ground and plans to kill Jane in Tarzan's body, calling it a "tragic twist." Jane escapes, only to be cornered in the throne room. Just as it seems she is doomed, the Statue Warrior arrives and attempts to assassinate Tarzan, not knowing he is now possessed by La. Wanting to live, she transfers her spirit into a rat as Jane defeats the statue and saves Tarzan's life. Realizing her plan has failed, La tries to flee, but Usula snatches her up in a brown sack and promises to keep her locked away where she can no longer do harm to anyone else.
Queen La is also featured as the first boss in the video game, Tarzan: Return to the Jungle.
- The Legend of Tarzan Episode 1x04, Lost City of Opar
- The Legend of Tarzan Episode 1x16, Leopard Men Rebellion
- The Legend of Tarzan Episode 1x27, Return of La