|Date of birth||29 July, 2975|
|Planet of origin||Earth|
|Profession||Space captain at Planet Express|
|Relatives||See Family section|
|First appearance||"Space Pilot 3000" (1ACV01)|
|Voiced by||Katey 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 herself, Fry, and Bender. She is known as the most competent of the three main characters.
- 1 Personality and abilities
- 2 Biography
- 3 Family
- 4 Additional Info
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 priceless Quantum Gemerald 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 is 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 frequently accuses her of not being ladylike enough to be a true woman, despite Leela having a strong sensitivity for cuteness and romantic issues.
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 so 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 occasions.
She is also shown to be obsessive at times, and in Möbius Dick, this reached a critical level when she began displaying symptoms of multiple personality disorder as a result of the futile efforts of attempting kill a Four-dimensional space whale that devoured their latest delivery.
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 like a normal child except for her one eye, 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.
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.
- 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 the crew found out that Popplers were the Omicronians' young. 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 a high-ranking member of an ancient alien species. The Nibblonians 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 "raisin" 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 helped cause the Roswell incident.
Leela's real home planet
- Further information: Season 4
Leela was later 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 convinced the Supreme Mutant to change their punishment into a life-long banishment from the sewers, instead of 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
Shortly after Fry's opera, Planet Express delivery license is canceled. However; either due to the Box network's or the Professor's incompetence, it took two years for the staff to be informed. The true period of joblessness lasted for a few moments before Planet Express was "back on the air," During a party to celebrate the company's renewal, Hermes' head is chopped off in an Limbo accident, and Leela meets Lars Fillmore at the Head Museum. Ownership of Planet Express is stolen by the Scammer Aliens who discover the secret to time travel on Fry's ass, but Leela and Lars' relationship grows undisturbed. Fry watches them date with great envy and anger.
Despite both Leela and Lars getting laid off from their jobs, due to the Scammers tricking people out of their possessions, Lars proposes to Leela and Leela agrees. At the wedding, Hermes' head is chopped off a duplicate of his body that Bender went back in time to pick up for him. The professor inadvertenly reveals to Lars that a Time paradox duplicate is always doomed to die. Lars calls off the wedding and left Leela to depression.
Later, the entire population of Earth is forced to move to different planets, due to President Nixon being scammed out of Earth's remaining land and water. The crew moves to Neptune in response. There, Santa Claus is unable to attack them, being in a deep depression over being scammed out of his "Naughty List." They team up and plan to defeat the Scammers. At first, Nixon is skeptical 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's head uses his bureaucratic skills to control the other ships and take down the Scammers' fleet.
During the 3008 New Years Eve Party that took place on Earth shortly afterward, 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 Leela back together with Lars, but is interrupted by Nudar, who survived the battle and wants to kill them. Lars sacrifices himself and saves Fry and Leela. After seeing the machine language time code on his butt, Leela realizes that Lars is actually Fry's time paradox duplicate. The crew all attend Lars's funeral where his video will explains what happened after he traveled back in time and why he decided not to marry Leela.
Later, Nibbler has Bender go back in time one last time to put the Time Code on Fry's butt to start the entire cycle. After completing his mission, Bender convinces the duplicates of him to return to the present instead of "coming up where they were logically supposed to." The large paradox caused by hundreds of Bender's 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 shield. 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.
- Further information: Bender's Game
Later in 3008, Leela is goaded 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, among others.
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. There, she becomes a centaur named Leegola. She joins Frydo, Titanius Anglesmith, Gynecaladriel, and the Great Wizard Greyfarn in 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
Leela, along with the rest of Planet Express, took a trip to Leo Wong's Mars Vegas, where they meet Frida Waterfall and the Feministas. Leela feels concerned about Leo's disrespect for nature in building the city, and adopts the last Desert Muck Leech.
Later, Leela and Amy were allowed into Wongminster, Leo's miniature golf club. Leo plans on destroying twelve percent of the Milky Way to expand his club, and sends Planet Express to do a scan for life in the twelve percent. Although they find a life filled asteroid, orbiting a Violet Dwarf Star, Professor Farnsworth ignores it and approves the area for demolition anyways. Upset at the disregard of the men, Leela joins the Feministas.
Leela was part of a Feminista protest at Wongminster, where, due to an accident, they kill the Headless body of Agnew, and flee, becoming fugitives. While hiding, Leela encourages the rest to be more forceful in protecting the environment by sabotaging Wong's construction of the golf course. They gain more and more members, and eventually take over the Planet Express Ship, as well as Hermes, Zoidberg, and Farnsworth.
Later, Fry unwittingly lures the Feministas out of their Honeybun Hideout, and leads to an exciting space chase through the miniature golf course where the Feministas ultimately get arrested by Bender. They have a trial (Earth v. Feministas), where they are sentenced to Maxi-Padlock, a prison for women.
After spending a few days in prison, and unsuccessfully trying to break out with Leela's muck leech, they are broken out by Bender, Farnsworth, Hermes, Zoidberg, and Scruffy, although only Leela, Amy, and LaBarbara managed to escape. They go to the Violet Dwarf, where they manage to stop it from getting destroyed, just in time for it to hatch into The Last Encyclopod. it is revealed that the muck leech was The Last Dark One, and it is killed after it murders Hutch Waterfall. The Encyclopod preserves Hutch's DNA, and leaves. Zapp then chases the Planet Express crew in the Nimbus. Leela confesses her love of Fry and they kiss before flying into the Panama Wormhole to escape.
- Turanga Morris, father
- Turanga Munda, mother
- Due to an accident, and because of the reproductive process of Amphibiosans, she has several dozen offspring from Kif Kroker, currently living in an immature "tadpole" form in the swamp of the Kroker clan birthing grounds on Amphibios 9. About half of these have only one eye each, like her.
- In Bender's Big Score she almost married Lars Fillmore.
- In The Beast with a Billion Backs, she married Yivo, along with the rest of the universe, against her will.
- In "Time Keeps on Slippin'", she was briefly married to Fry due to the time skips, but then they got divorced during another time skip because she believed he tricked her into marriage. At the end of Into the Wild Green Yonder, she shares a kiss with Fry, after having admitted that she has 'waited too long' to let him know that she loves him. It would appear from that interaction (however brief), that she may be about to embark on a serious relationship with Fry. Time, however, will tell. (see Fry-Leela relationship for more info)
- Her name can be interpreted in several ways: "Leela" sounds exactly like the term for "purple" in several languages, including German, Spanish, Portuguese, French (lilas), Danish (lilla), 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".
- Even though Turanga is her family name and not her first name, it is said first when pronouncing her full name which may mean her family is from East Asia, Hungary, Sri Lanka among other places in which surnames are said first in a personal name.
- 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").
- In another occular pun, Leela's apartment number is 1I.
- 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"), "Great Machete Battles" ("Kif Gets Knocked Up a Notch") and "World's Bravest Hamsters" ("Lethal Inspection"), 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.
- Used to brew her own beer at the orphanarium.
- Can do the Robot Dance like no one else.
- Owns her own harpoon.
- Tends to fill her day with humdrum activities.
- Is camera-shy.
- Usually prepares her dinners in advance for one month and then freezes them.
- Sometimes seen with a lime-green jacket in earlier episodes and Season 2.
- For obvious reasons, no one can give the evil eye quite like her.
- Adept in the use of weaponry like laser guns or machetes.
- Used to play the drums.
- Tends to play with her hair when upset or nervous.
- Frequently accused of poor hygiene (sweaty boot rash, etc), but may be at a disadvantage due to her mutant physiology and energetic lifestyle.
- As shown in the very first Anthology of Interest, Leela does not seem to wear socks under her boots. This may attribute to the 'poor' hygiene of her feet.
- Usually, Leela only wears jewellery on special occasions. The exception from this was the ring in "Space Pilot 3000" that Bender stole; it was never seen again. She also wears a bracelet made by her father at all times.
- Apart from Fry and Bender, she is the only character that appears in every episode of the show and in every comic.
- Has had five weddings; three were called off, and the other two were followed by divorce. Reverend Lionel Preacherbot performed the first three of these, Father Changstein El-Gamal performed the fourth. A sixth proposition was made, but the wedding never actually took place. It is unknown who performed her wedding to Cubert in "The Late Philip J. Fry" (6ACV07)
- Can wield a gun with her foot, and hides one in her boot for easy access.
- May very well be the second-most important person in the universe behind Fry (though she doesn't know it).
- 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
- 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.
- Slept with Fry in her what-if scenario in "Anthology of Interest I" and possibly in real life (see "The Duh-Vinci Code"). Unambiguously slept with Fry in "The Prisoner of Benda", while her mind was in the Professor's body and Fry's mind was in Zoidberg's body.
- Has a singing boil on her body named Susan (possibly a third mutation).
- Licks her fingers starting with her pointer and ending with her thumb.
- Her surname is revealed in the episode "The Problem with Popplers".
Leela: I guess you never outgrow being an eyeball... oddball.
Leela: I don't care how hilarious your apron is, we're not cooking him!
Leela: OK, if everyone's finished being stupid.
Fry: I had more, but you go ahead.
Leela: That's stupid.
Leela: Look, I don't know about your previous captains, but I intend to do as little dying as possible.
Leela: For a split second, my common sense was overwhelmed by pity.
Leela: OK, OK. We're not gonna force you until I finish this sentence. Get him!
Leela: 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.
Leela: Bender! You should be ashamed of yourself. Legal immigration is one of the cornerstones of our society.
Bender: Aren't you really a mutant pretending to be an alien in order to live on the surface world legally?
Leela: I'll be sitting here quietly if anybody needs me.
Bender: Listen, I don't like you and you don't like me, but... (Bender is cut off by Leela)
Leela: I like you!
Bender: Anyways, I need your help, Fry is in trouble! Wait, what do you like about me?
=== Catchphrases ===
Leela doesn't really have a catchphrase, except possibly her yell "Hi-yah!".
She often uses old musical references, turning the first word into a verb and applying it to the last word as a noun. Examples:
- "This wangs chung!" - A reference to both the band Wang Chung, and their hit song "Everybody Have Fun Tonight", which includes the line "Everybody Wang Chung tonight" (3ACV03).
- "This toads the wet sprocket!" - A reference to the band Toad the Wet Sprocket (3ACV21).
- "Setting Bachman Turners to overdrive!" - A reference to the band Bachman–Turner Overdrive (6ACV13).
Bender also uses this formula when referring to her attraction to creative and musically-talented men. Examples:
- "Musicians really Rodger your Hammerstein." - A reference to the famous composers Rodgers and Hammerstein (4ACV18).
Additionally, Leela says "Oh, Lord!" quite a lot, usually just before a previous action comes back to haunt her, and has used variations of the phrase "Good night, sweet prince" from Hamlet when parting with Fry on several occasions (ITWGY, 6ACV11).
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.
- "The Beast with a Billion Backs" — When the Professor asks if Leela is winking or blinking, Leela wears a pair of two-eyed glasses to show him.
=== Appearances ===
While Leela appears in all episodes, films and comics, these categories may be of interest: