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, including being very abusive towards her minions as well, such as when she kills two Leopard Men simply because they failed to bring her a suitable mate. She even at some point kills a Leopard man by accident when she gets angry at Tarzan for turning her down, but still doesn't show any remorse for the accidental murder of said Leopard man whatsoever.
She is also very stubborn and also somewhat delusional, continuing to pursue Tarzan despite the fact he is clearly in love and is loyal 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 hooded 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.
In her spirit form, La is a bright red astral projection with no visible legs or feet. She still wears the crown of Opar on her head with the rest of her clothes and jewelry. Whenever she possesses a new body, red flame shaped smoke surrounds her victim.
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 or force them into submission, alter her clothing, teleport herself, create fire, generate smoke to put others to sleep, turn humans into animals, bring inanimate objects to life, make metal objects (like chains) appear, destroy floors, command her carnivorous octopus into attacking her enemies, restore the ruined city of Opar on her whim, and block off entryways to trap her foes. Although this remains unseen in the series, it is very much implied that the staff has the power to allow anyone who uses it to stay forever young. When Jane smashes the staff into pieces to reverse all of Queen La's spells, La's physical age catches up to her, turning her into nothing more than a pile of dust which is immediately blown away by the wind. Clearly, La used this power to preserve her youthful appearance and physical strength. But because her spirit survived the death of her body, this probably was the forbidden magic she used to immortalize her spirit.
La also demonstrated to be very agile and fast, as seen when she goes out with Tarzan to the Springs of Opar and also when battling her Leopard men to regain her staff.
La also demonstrates the ability to understand animals, as seen when she had a conversation with one of her leopard men and later with Tantor. She displays the same skill later on when she tells the Okapi to go away after she leaves its body and possesses Jane.
After her physical body crumbles into ash, La's spirit can move and possess the bodies of other creatures by making physical contact with her target, putting them under her total control, overriding their will as long she wants to remain in their body. Her spirit although immortal could cease to exist if the body she possesses dies. That would explain why she possesses Tarzan when he jumps off the building with her on his back and then the rat when her statue warrior attacks her while she was still in Tarzan's body. Usula was aware about this as he keeps trying to shoot arrows at her hosts' bodies to finish her off for good. However, this is illogical as spirits are already dead and cannot die again by any means. The only known way to get rid of a spirit is to either contain it somewhere or banish it.
Role in the series
- “I am La. QUEEN La!”
- ―Queen La, in her first appearance
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 woman by the name of La had sent them to capture her a mate to make him her king. 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 when 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 a burden to Tarzan. La then offers both her and Tarzan an outing in the jungle, knowing only Tarzan could make it and not Jane. Jane tells Tarzan to go ahead while she angrily 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 his wife, but is too late.
As La tries to act innocent, Tarzan discovers the Leopard Men pushed Jane over the side via their footprints 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 survived her fall. 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.
La is 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 cornered by a normal leopard and begs him to save her. 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 with Tantor distracting La, 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
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 cliff 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 isn't interested in Dumont and then forces him to dig up the first half of her staff (the leopard head handle) and Dumont, believing Jane is starting to lose her mind tries to leave to tell Tarzan . When La 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 (already tired of Dumont) uses her staff to turn 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. Knowing that La believed Tarzan to be dead, 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 two giant Statue Warriors to kill Tarzan and Usula. The warriors follow him, but Tarzan tricks one into destroying the other, and after a swim loses 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 instead 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 hands, 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." Thinking quickly, Jane kicks La in the chest and 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 telling her she is not going anywhere. It is not mentioned what happens to Queen La afterwards, quite possibly Usula decides to lock her away somewhere where she can no longer do harm to anyone else or kill her offscreen, and her staff is later used by Usula as a croquet mallet.
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