A princess with magical seventy foot long hair headlines a cast of engaging and intriguing characters in Tangled: The Series/Rapunzel’s Tangled Adventure.
This article contains spoilers so if you haven’t seen Tangled: The Series/Rapunzel’s Tangled Adventure, please do not continue reading.
Following the adventures of Princess Rapunzel from Disney’s 2010 movie Tangled, the television series expands on her story. Finally freed from her tower and reunited with her parents King Frederic and Queen Arianna, Rapunzel adjusts to life at the castle and her role as Princess of Corona.
Tangled: The Series (The title was later changed to Rapunzel’s Tangled Adventure after the first season) introduces several new people to the Corona universe aiding in the development of Rapunzel and Eugene as characters and pushing their stories and destinies further.
Happily Ever After…Not As Easy As It Sounds
After being kept in isolation by Mother Gothel in a tower for the first eighteen years of her life, Rapunzel reclaims her birthright as princess. She didn’t want to disappoint her father but felt trapped in a royal world full of duty and expectation. Eugene on the other hand is ready to begin his life with Rapunzel and rid himself of his criminal past as infamous thief Flynn Rider. He reasons by proposing to Rapunzel (Or Blondie as he affectionately calls her) and making her “Princess Eugene Fitzherbert” it gives him the opportunity to be the man he always wanted to be. He is content living a peaceful life at the castle forever with the woman he loves. Although our golden haired princess loves Eugene dearly, she isn’t sure she’s ready to settle down. “Now that I’ve gotten the dream that I chose, why does my world feel so small? If this is it and it is I suppose…is this happily ever after after all?” Rapunzel wonders. So, she turns down Eugene’s proposal. Good thing as Rapunzel later discovers she has a larger destiny which takes her away from castle walls and puts her and those she loves in an epic battle of good vs. evil to save her kingdom.
Cassandra, Varian and Lance
Many new characters absent from the film were introduced in the television series. But the three having the greatest impact in Eugene and Rapunzel’s lives were Cassandra, Varian and Lance.
Cassandra is Rapunzel’s lady in waiting. She is a skilled warrior and wants to be a member of the Royal Guard for which her dad is captain. She sees Eugene as worthless and full of himself while he views her as a no personality control freak.
Cassandra is also Rapunzel’s best friend and the closest thing she has to a sister. Cassandra cares deeply for Rapunzel and always has her back. But underneath, Cassandra resents being seen as second best to the Princess of Corona. These insecurities and a secret from her past( and a surprising connection to Rapunzel) causes Cassandra to be manipulated and sets her on an evil course of destruction, which pits her against Rapunzel at the end of Season Two and throughout Season Three.
Varian is a 14 year old alchemist obsessed with science. He harbors a crush on Cassandra and wants to make his father proud. We meet Varian in Episode One titled “What The Hair?!” when Cassandra and Rapunzel travel to his village in Old Corona seeking his guidance to solve the mystery of Raps’ hair. When the strange black rocks responsible for the regrowth of Rapunzel’s hair popped up in Old Corona, he works on solving the puzzle. Unfortunately, the formula compound Varian makes creates an amber that begins encasing Quirin inside. Varian rushes to Corona during a snowstorm to get Rapunzel’s help to save his father. But with her parents out of town and Rapunzel acting as temporary queen, she has a tough choice: The safety of the subjects in her kingdom or helping Varian. Rapunzel turns down her friend despite an earlier promise to him. Returning home and finding his father now completely trapped in the amber tomb, Varian feels betrayed and vows revenge. His villainy against his former friend turns him into the series antagonist towards the end of Season One. Besides for a brief appearance in Rapunzel’s hallucination in “Happiness Is…” and Adira saying he is the son of Quirin, Varian is absent throughout Season Two. He reappears in the Season Three premiere “Rapunzel’s Return” and is redeemed to join “Team Awesome” (Rapunzel, Eugene et al) to defeat the ancient warlock Zhan Tiri.
Lance Strongbow is Eugene’s oldest friend. Born Arnwaldo Schnitz, he and Eugene grew up in orphanages and started stealing at an early age. Lance is the closest Eugene has to family (until he discovers his father King Edmund is alive) and the two were criminal partners. But Lance represents that part of Eugene’s past Fitzherbert wants to forget. Flynn Rider is gone…he’s Eugene and wants to stay on the straight and narrow. The interaction between Lance and Eugene gives the series some of it’s funniest moments.
Tangled: The Series/Rapunzel’s Tangled Adventure contains many elements (no Varian pun intended) that make it an animation masterpiece. Strong character development. Humor, drama, action and adventure. Let’s not forget the music. The soundtrack features songs by award winning composers Alan Menken and Kevin Kliesch. The music conveys the motivation of the characters. Their hopes. Their dreams. Their triumphs. Their defeats.
Mandy Moore, Zachary Levi, Eden Espinosa and Jeremy Jordan provide the voices for Rapunzel, Eugene, Cassandra and Varian and perform some of the best songs in the production.
Those thinking Tangled: The Series/Rapunzel’s Tangled Adventure is just another Disney cartoon are in for a big surprise. Sure children will enjoy it. But anyone who likes good storytelling and impressive visuals and music will marvel at the feat that is Tangled: The Series/Rapunzel’s Tangled Adventure.
When I sat down to write this article, I thought about how I would approach the piece. There was no way I could do coverage of Tangled: The Series/Rapunzel’s Tangled Adventure justice. There’s way too much to discuss. Each of these characters grew and discovered something about themselves during the three seasons. So I decided this would be a introduction containing the basics. I intend to write subsequent pieces where I’ll talk characterization and other aspects that make this project special.
Tangled: The Series/Rapunzel’s Tangled Adventure has been recognized by receiving several 2020 Daytime Emmy Nominations.
Photos and Trailer Courtesy of Disney Channel
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