Turanga Leela (voiced by Katey Sagal
) is the one-eyed starship captain in the Futurama
universe. Leela was born on January 19, 2975
in the sewers beneath New New York City
to her mutant parents, Turanga Munda and Turanga Morris. When it was discovered that Leela was the least-mutated mutant ever (aside from only having one large eye instead of two normal sized ones, she was a perfectly normal human) her parents abandoned her at the doorstep of the Cookieville Minimum Security Orphanarium
as a baby because her family wanted her to have a better life than one in the sewers could promise. She was raised at the orphan
arium where she believed that she was an alien
. Leela often gazed up at the stars and wondered where her homeworld was in the sky. As she grew up she went through the usual stages of bad acne, wearing glasses (er, one glass), and braces. In high school she began studying martial arts under Master Fnog
, a sexist instructor who believed that only men possess the will of the warrior
and therefore always win.
When she turned 18 years of age Leela was assigned a job at a cryogenic facility, Applied Cryogenics. Her job: counselling defrostees and assigning them jobs. Leela held this job for several years until December 31, 2999 when a poor kid from the Stupid Ages was defrosted. When he resisted the job that Leela assigned to him (delivery boy), he fled and Leela gave chase. During her pursuit she came to realize that she hated her job and longed for something more satisfying. When she finally met up with the escaped defrostee, one Philip J. Fry, she decided to quit her job and find something more adventurous. As luck would have it Fry's great23 nephrew, Professor Hubert Farnsworth, had a job opening for a starship pilot. Leela took the job, with Fry as chief delivery boy and Bender the robot as ship's chef.
Leela's search for adventure has brought her to many dead ends. On a mission to Vergon 6 to save some endangered animals she met Captain Zapp Brannigan (whom she felt pity for and wound up sleeping with, a decision she came to regret for years to come). Another time a shape-shifter by the name of Alkazar led her to believe that he was the only other cyclops alien left, and although he was a jerk, Leela was so determined to help her species that she nearly married him. In 3002 Leela and her crew discovered a planet full of fried shrimpesque snacks, which the Planet Express staff eventually named popplers, that turned out to be the larval young of the aliens from Omicron Persei 8. Once she even underwent cosmetic surgery to give her two normal eyes, although eventually she chose to return to her one-eyed natural appearance.
Fry is Leela's greatest admirer and he has sought after her for years. While she does care for him, their relationship has never moved beyond platonic (despite some close calls over the years). In 3001 during a space cruise aboard the Titanic the two nearly kissed, while in 3003 when Fry was infested with worms and his brain and body had been supercharged she fell in love with the Fry that he had become: caring, articulate, and talented. When Fry purged the worms from his body, he returned to normal and Leela lost interest in him. Also in 3003 when on a mission to restore the passage of time Fry used the starship to actually move the stars themselves to spell out a message of love to Leela. Unfortunately the stars were destroyed before she could see the message. The episode "The Why of Fry" marks the first time that Leela kissed Fry on the lips of her own volition. In "The Sting" Leela was stung by a space wasp and spent two weeks in a coma due to the paralyzing toxin in the bee's stinger. During this coma she nearly went mad, but Fry helped keep her grounded throughout her hallucinations. The series finale of the show, "The Devil's Hands Are Idle Playthings", revolved around Fry writing an opera about Leela and his love for her. She was ironically stricken deaf just before the premiere, but regained her hearing just in time to hear how the piece ends.
The following episodes of the series are key episodes in the "Leela's family" story arc:
The following episodes of the series are key episodes in the Fry/Leela relationship story arc: