Turanga Leela

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Primary character
Turanga Leela
Turanga Leela.jpg
Age44
Date of birth29 July, 2975
SpeciesHuman (Mutant)
Planet of originEarth
ProfessionSpace captain at Planet Express
RelativesSee family section.
First appearance"Space Pilot 3000" (1ACV01)
Episode
Voiced byKatey Sagal

Turanga Leela is one of the most important employees of Planet Express. She occupies the position of the ship's captain and pilot and therefore is the head of the regular delivery crew consisting of her, Philip J. Fry, and Bender Bending Rodríguez. She is known as the most competent of the three main characters.

Personality and abilities

During her youth, Leela was often teased because she only had one eye. She felt very lonely in her childhood after being abandoned by her parents at an orphanarium, and always dreamed of learning who her real parents were. She eventually learns that she is a mutant, rather than an alien, which she had always thought she was. Leela has been shown to care a great deal about her mutant parents, even stealing a diamond from a museum along with Bender and Fry, when the Zookeeper threatens to feed them to piranhas.

Despite her troubled past, Leela is friendly, smart and self-reliant, though she was sometimes impatient and quick to anger. She cares deeply for her friends and loved ones, plus issues she feels she must stand up for, like freedom, the environment and cute animals. However she does not hesitate to use force if she believes the situation demands it. She also has a liking for violence and was often sarcastic, but she nevertheless seems to have developed strong maternal instincts at times. She is engaged in a constant low-intensity feud with Amy Wong, the only other female at Planet Express, who more or less accuses her of not being ladylike enough to be a true woman, despite Leela having a strong sensitivity for cuteness and romantic issues.

Leela lives alone in a somewhat underfurnished apartment (Apartment 1i) somewhere in the city of New New York. She only shares her loneliness with her alien pet, Nibbler. However, in light of the final moments of one of their recent adventures, this may change, as she has 'finally' admitted her love for Fry.

As a mutant, Leela has a peculiar metabolism different from that of standard humans. Mutagens cannot harm her, and she seems resistant to many poisons, environmental hazards and illnesses. Her special condition may have helped her fight off the threat by the Baby Space Bee Queen's poison, and it proved instrumental for finding the cure against the common cold that had New New York in its clutches. Also, it might explain why Leela is so fond of sports and well muscled. As a recruit of the Earth forces, she surpassed every other recruit on the training ground, even well-trained males, and has shown extraordinary strength, dexterity and stamina on numerous occasions.

Leela is also highly skilled in martial arts which has been shown on numerous occassions.

Biography

Early Years

Leela as she was found in the Orphanarium

Turanga Leela was born as the only child of a married couple of mutants in the sewers of New New York. Her parents are Turanga Morris and Munda. As Leela is probably the least mutated mutant ever born (as described to her parents by a medical professional), and looked almost like a normal child, her parents decided that she should not share the fate of her people living in the sewers. They instead chose to give her a life as normal as possible - a "real" life - by giving her up to the Cookieville Minimum Security Orphanarium, though it was a tough decision and they suffered greatly by giving her away. Attached to the basket she was found in was a note in an alien language written by her mother Turanga Munda, who has a Ph.D. in exolinguistics. She meant for the note to convince the finder of her daughter that she was an alien and thus accept her into the orphanarium. The plan worked, and Leela was taken in by the head of the orphanarium, Warden Vogel.

Leela grew up in the orphanarium unaware of her true roots, believing that she was indeed an alien. She had a hard time there, as she was relentlessly picked on because of her unusual appearance, and was always a lonely outsider. As a child she wore a monocle and, later, braces. Nevertheless, or maybe because of this, she managed to develop a strong and caring personality. As an outlet for her deep frustration, she trained in Arcturan Kung Fu to the level of a black-belt by a master of this martial art, Fnog, despite being a victim of his obvious sexism.

Leela as a teenager

Hired at Planet Express

Further information: Season 1

After leaving the orphanarium, she began a career as Fate Assignment Officer at Applied Cryogenics, assigning defrostees to their permanent careers and providing them with the proper career chips. Then one day a defrostee named Philip J. Fry came along and inspired her to quit her job. Ultimately, she ended up being hired by Fry's many-times-great-nephew Hubert Farnsworth as the new captain for his interstellar delivery service, Planet Express. In that position, she acquired her beloved pet Nibbler, after saving him from the implosion of Vergon 6. She also rescued Fry from the Trisolians, attempted to destroy the giant ball of garbage, escaped from the Titanic and helped save the world from the Omicronians in the First Omicronian Invasion of Earth in the same year that she was hired.

Another Cyclops

Further information: Season 2

From going on the Internet, Leela believed to have found another cyclops, and would finally find out her true home planet. The cyclops turned out to be Alcazar, who took her to Cyclopia, where she supposedly was born. Leela decides that she must marry Al to continue their species. When Al tried to marry Leela, however, it turns out that Al was really a shape-shifting grasshopper, who was going to marry four other women of different alien races. She leaves the planet disappointed, but hopeful.

That same year, she almost lost Nibbler to El Chupanibre, but he was saved by Bender, after Leela learned to be selfish. She was briefly named Miss Universe at the Miss Universe Pageant 3001 by Zapp Brannigan by accident. She discovered Popplers but was almost killed by Lrrr when they found out they were the Omicronians' babies. She also served in the DOOP Army in The Battle of Spheron 1.

Helping the Nibblonians

Further information: Season 3

After having her pet Nibbler named Dumbest Pet in Show at a pet competition, Leela is shocked to learn that Nibbler is actually the ruler of an entire alien species. They tell her that their old enemy, the Brain Spawn, is making everyone on Earth stupid, and that Fry is the only one that can stop them, due to his lack of the Delta Brain Wave. She gets Fry to fight the Big Brain, and Fry wins. The brains leave Earth for no "raeson," and Nibbler blanks Leela's memory. Later, she gets a second eye crafted in, but removed it because of her new boyfriend's insensitivity. She also got married briefly to Fry, joined the New New York Mets and traveled back in time and caused the Roswell incident.

Leela's real homeplanet

Further information: Season 4

Leela was captured by the Sewer Mutants, along with Fry and Bender, who wanted to punish them for dumping toxic waste in the sewers. They were rescued by two mysterious strangers who got the Head Mutant to change their punishment into a banishment, instead of an execution. Leela, curious about the strangers, jumps back into the sewers and chases the two back to their house, threatening them with a gun. The two tell her that they were the ones who killed her parents, and Leela, in an uncontrolled rage, almost killed them, but was stopped by Fry. It is revealed that the two were actually Leela's parents, and Leela rejoices. Leela also impregnated Kif Kroker, became a superheroine called Clobberella, was stung by a Space Bee, and sold her hand in marriage to the Robot Devil in exchange for some mechanical ears.

Meets Lars Fillmore

Further information: Bender's Big Score

Planet Express is "back on the air," after the Box Company canceled them for two years. Hermes' head is chopped off in an accident at the party, and Leela meets Lars Fillmore at the Head Museum. Planet Express is stolen by the Alien Scammers, and the secret to time travel is found on Fry's ass, but Leela and Lars' relationship grow undisturbed. Fry watches them date with great envy and anger.

Leela and Lars both get laid off from their jobs, due to the scammers scamming people out of their possessions, but Lars still proposes to Leela. Leela agrees. At the wedding, Hermes' head is chopped off a second time, after Bender went back in time to pick him up a new body. The professor reveals to Lars that a Time paradox duplicate is always doomed to die. Lars calls off the wedding and left Leela to sadness.

Later, the entire population of Earth is forced to move to a different planet, due to President Nixon being scammed. Leela and the rest of the crew move to Neptune. There, Santa Claus meets up with the crew, but is unable to attack them, due to his depression from being scammed. They negotiate a plan to reclaim Earth. At first, Nixon is skeptic of their chances to succeed, but Santa gets his factory of elves to build powerful weapons for the army. The small army that they assembled fought against the scammer's fleet of Solid Gold Death Stars, but their first leader, Zapp Brannigan, was taken down. Leela takes his place, but soon realizes that she can't control so many ships at one time. Thus, Hermes' head comes to power, and uses his bureaucratical skills to control the other ships and take down the fleet.

During the 3008 New Years Eve Party that took place on Earth shortly afterwards, Fry sees how sad Leela is without Lars and realizes that if he really loved her, he would care more about her happiness, rather than his own. He tries to get them back together, but he is interrupted by Nudar, who survived the battle and wants to kill them. Lars sacrifices himself and saves Fry and Leela. Leela finds out that Lars is actually Fry's time duplicate, from the tattoo on his butt.

Later, Bender finds out that there had been thousands of Bender time duplicates in the basement of Planet Express building all along. The large amount of paradoxes makes a large rip in time and space.

Last Tentacle-Free Person in the Universe

Further information: The Beast with a Billion Backs

When the rip in time and space starts producing tentacles that attach itself to people, Leela and the crew (except Fry), become one of the few isolated pockets of tentacle free people. The crew try to escape Earth, but are blocked by Dr. Wernstrom's Diamondillium cover. They take cover in the Planet Express Building, along with Wernstrom, but Zoidberg is taken. Fry tries to get them to come out and join Yivo, but they refuse. Later, the tentacles infiltrate the building and the Professor, Hermes, and Wernstrom are overcome by the tentacles. Leela escapes with Amy on a Party Board.

While hiding in an alley, it is revealed to them that Zapp Brannigan was also free. They all hide together in an abandoned soup cabin in a remote area. The next day, Leela finds out that Zapp had slept with Amy, but is more surprised at the fact that the tentacles have found them. Leela manages to escape with a piece of the tentacle, but Zapp and Amy do not.

Leela goes back to Planet Express and examines the piece with a telescope. She realizes that the tentacles are actually Gentacles and that Yivo was actually mating with everyone in the universe. She pretends to have a tentacle attached and goes into the Church of Yivo's Religion where she reveals to the world the truth. The religion is abandoned, but they eventually go on a date with Yivo to make up. The Earthican council decides to break up with Yivo due to shkler lack of commitment, but Yivo proposes to them before they could say anything. Everyone in the universe moves to Yivo's Universe, but Leela was forced to go, despite being against it.

On Yivo, Leela was skeptic about the heavenly paradise at first, but when she finally admits to being happy Bender and his Army of the Damned invade Yivo and takes them back to their universe.

Leegola

Further information: Bender's Game

Later in 3008, Leela is pressured by Sal into entering the Planet Express Ship into the Space Demolition Derby. She leads the crew to a victory, but finds herself in trouble when Zoidberg tattles to the professor about her reckless behavior. Leela is forced to wear a shock collar, designed to give her and electrical shock if she has any violent thoughts.

After several hopeless attempts to convince Zoidberg, the staff doctor, that she doesn't need the collar any more, Leela grew accustomed with the electrical shocks and even begins to enjoy them. She, along with Fry and the professor, launch an attack on the Mombil Dark Matter mine in Alaska. She aids the team greatly by using her violence and eventually discovers that the mine was actually a farm that harvested the fecal matter of Nibblonians. Leela also finds her pet Nibbler there.

Suddenly, in the middle of the battle, the floor cracks open and Leela is sent to Cornwood, the land created by Bender's imagination. She also becomes a centaur named Leegola. She joins Frydo, Titanius Anglesmith, and the Great Wizard Greyfarn into forming the Fellowship and embark on a quest to defeat Momon, queen of evil. However, halfway through the quest, Leegola realizes that in her rage she had murdered an innocent monster. She vows not to harm another living being again and joins the other, more peaceful Centaurs.

Leegola later finds out that her friends were endangered by Momon's Army. She returns back to normal and convinces the other centaurs to form their own army and fight against Momon. In doing so, Momon's Army is defeated and her friends are saved. She, along with most of the Fellowship, go to the Geysers of Gygax where Momon destroys Cornwood and sends them back to the real world. Dark matter then becomes useless as fuel and they temporarily use Nibblonians as transport.

The New leader of the Feministas

Further information: Into the Wild Green Yonder

Family

Additional Info

Leela's Contact Lens

Trivia

  • Her name can be interpreted in several ways: "Leela" sounds exactly like the term for "purple" in several languages, including German, Spanish, French (lilas), Danish, Swedish (lila) and Hungarian (lila). A further possibility is that the name is a parody of the heroine from The Fifth Element, Leeloo - the perfect woman. Additionally, in Bungie's 1994 PC game Marathon, there is an AI character named Leela. Lastly, she might have been inspired by a character from the British Sci-Fi series Doctor Who bearing the same name (Leela). "Turanga" may be derived from the symphony "Turangalila" by Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992). The term derives from Sanskrit and means, alternately, "Song of Love" and "Hymn to Joy". Alternately, Turanga may derive from Taronga Zoo, the name of which is an Indigenous Australian word for "beautiful view".
  • The designers kept trying to make Leela's nose smaller, because it was larger than they thought appropriate for a female character, but Matt Groening insisted it stay the larger size.
  • Unlike Fry, who is frequently chopped to pieces in the series, Leela tends to lose the use of her senses instead, namely sight and hearing.
  • As Fate Assignment Officer, her code number was 1BDI (or "one beady eye").
  • Books read by Leela include "True Stories of Courageous Animals" ("Parasites Lost"), "A Child's Garden of Space Legends" ("Teenage Mutant Leela's Hurdles"), "Dances of the ancient Bronx" ("Jurassic Bark") and "Great Machete Battles" ("Kif Gets Knocked Up a Notch"), plus the magazine Nosy Inquirer, headline: Bigfoot turns 80! ("The Farnsworth Parabox")
  • Tends to snore.
  • Always uses lipstick, mostly pink, and is rarely seen without it.
Leela applying lipstick
Leela's elbow talons close-up
  • Leela, like her parents, has a second mutation. She grows skin covered spikes, called "elbow talons", from her elbows. However, she usually trims these.
  • Became a centaur in Bender's Game
    Film
    .
  • Actually continued to legally work at Applied Cryogenics until 2ACV11
  • Has been seen in a lime-green tank top (instead of her usual white one) once, in "My Three Suns".
  • At the end of Into the Wild Green Yonder, Leela reveals that she is in love with Fry and they finally kiss properly.
  • Apparently wears a large contact lens.
  • Wears size 12 shoes.
  • Has never slept with another member of Planet Express (except for Fry in her what-if scenario in "Anthology of Interest I" and possibly Fry in real life [see "The Duh-Vinci Code"]).
  • Has a singing boil on her body named Susan (possibly a third mutation).

Quotes

    "I guess you never outgrow being an eyeball... oddball."

    "Fry, you're wasting your life in front of that TV. You've got to get out and see the real world."

    "I don't care how hilarious your apron is, we're not cooking him!"

    "OK, if everyone's finished bein' stupid."

    "That's stupid."

    "Look, I don't know about your previous captains, but I intend to do as little dying as possible."

    "For a split second, my common sense was overwhelmed by pity."

    "OK, OK. We're not gonna force you until I finish this sentence. Get him!"

    "We are not ignorant villagers, we're sophisticated New New Yorkers. Whup his butt!"

    Leela: I'm sorry you saw that, Fry. I usually try to keep my sadness pent up inside where it can fester quietly as a mental illness.
    Fry: Yeah, I do that with my stupidness.

Catchphrase?

While not entirely a phrase, her most prominent shout close to a catchphrase is "Hi-yah!".

It seems as if a half-hearted attempt was made to give Leela a sort of catchphrase, where she uses old musical references, turning the first word into a verb and applying it to the last word as a noun. The only two examples are:

  • "This toads the wet sprocket." ("Future Stock") A reference to the band, Toad the Wet Sprocket.
  • "This wangs chung!" ("A Tale of Two Santas") A reference to both the band Wang Chung, and their hit song "Everybody Have Fun Tonight" which includes the line "Everybody Wang Chung tonight".

Bender later uses this formula when referring to Leela's attraction to creative and musically-talented men, saying, "Musicians really Roger your Hammerstein." This is a reference to the famous composers Rogers and Hammerstein.

She also says "Oh, Lord!" quite a lot, usually just before a previous action comes back to haunt her.

Two-Eyed Leela

Leela has been seen with two eyes several times, though each time it appeared different:

  • "When Aliens Attack" — To portray the role of Jenny MacNeil, a plastic eye is taped to the side of her face (which Zoidberg later eats). This is clearly the least-convincing appearance of a two-eyed Leela.
  • "Amazon Women in the Mood" — When the Amazonians are approaching, a puddle ripples, causing Leela's reflection to distort, showing her briefly with two eyes. Her eyes appear to be rounder than the others.
  • "The Cyber House Rules" — A second eye is grafted onto Leela's face. She later realizes she's better off being different, and has it removed. Her eyes are more narrow.

Appearances

While Leela appears in all episodes, films and comics, these categories may be of interest: