Tarzan & Jane's Kids Add An Interesting Element To 'The Legend Of Tarzan'
Tarzan is swinging into theaters once again. The classic character was a huge draw at the movies during Hollywood's golden age, but he hasn't had a big budget, wide release since the 1999 Disney animated classic, Tarzan. Now, Tarzan finally gets another potential blockbuster live action treatment with The Legend of Tarzan, which puts a new spin on the character. This time around, Tarzan and his wife Jane have been living in London for a decade when they're lured back to the African jungle. A lot of interesting new details are added that aren't present in Disney's version, including Tarzan and Jane having a child together. But how many kids have Tarzan and Jane had over the course of their long history together?
It depends upon who's writing the character. Tarzan was created by Edgar Rice Burroughs, who published his first novel about the character in 1912. The third book in Burroughs' original series, 1914's The Beasts of Tarzan, introduces Jack Clayton, the son of Jane and Tarzan. Jack takes on the name Korak, gorilla for "killer," and spends part of his youth living in the jungle separated from his parents, becoming a similar type of wild man to his father. Korak is easily the most common depiction of Tarzan and Jane's son, and is a pretty well-known character in his own right. Korak has shown up in tons of Tarzan-related media like movies, books, and comics, but some of the best-known Tarzan films actually replaced the character with a different son.
The popular series of 12 Tarzan movies that starred Johnny Weissmuller as the King of the Jungle and introduced many of the concepts fans now recognize in the character, like the iconic yell, did not include Korak. Instead, Tarzan and Jane adopt a son and call him "Boy" in the series. Boy features in eight of the Weissmuller films, beginning in 1939's Tarzan Finds a Son! and concluding with 1947's Tarzan and the Huntress.
Another adopted son of Tarzan and Jane, Bunduki, is introduced in a self-titled 1975 book by J.T. Edson that was authorized by the Burroughs estate. James "Bunduki" Gunn is adopted by a more elderly Tarzan and Jane at the age of two after his own parents are murdered. Not surprisingly, Bunduki grows up to be a king of the jungle-type character, but here's where things get weird: He ends up marrying Dawn Drummond-Clayton, who is the daughter of Korak and granddaughter of Tarzan. So basically, Bunduki marries his own niece. I get that you're a wild man, but c'mon, Bunduki.
So when considering the number of Tarzan's children, most fans would probably go with the most classic depiction of Korak, who was created by Burroughs and who has shown up in several forms of media. And though no name is given to the baby in The Legend of Tarzan, my money's on him growing up to be Korak should the movie get a sequel.
Images: Warner Bros. Pictures; Wikimedia Commons