Here's what those big decisions and that twist means for Rapunzel on "Tangled: The Series"
Being a Queen (for a day) is all fun and games until the kingdom is hit by a sudden snowstorm, your parents go MIA, and you’re faced with making some difficult decisions that will affect you, and everyone you know. Doesn’t sound like much fun, right? That’s exactly what Rapunzel had to go through during the latest episode of Tangled: The Series, which found Raps in charge of Corona while her parents went away on vacation.
While everything starts off fine, everything quickly becomes not fine. Unbeknownst to Rapunzel (and Flynn and Cassandra), but the mysterious, magical rocks are spreading, and have almost consumed all his farming area of Old Corona. After Varian’s dad, Quirin, lies to King Fredrick about what’s really going on with the rocks, Varian tries to figure them out for himself, via science! It backfires. Quirin gets trapped in the rocks. Varian asks for Rapunzel’s help…and she says no. Under extreme pressure to evacuate the kingdom before the snow gets to be too much, Rapunzel tries to explain to Varian that she can’t help him, but the damage has already done. Varian returns home and swears to get back at those who hurt him — and he’s talking about Rapunzel.
That’s some heavy stuff. Are you suddenly really worried about Rapunzel…and Varian?? Same. HelloGiggles hopped on the phone with the executive producer of Tangled: The Series, Chris Sonnenburg, to talk about what happens next.
HelloGiggles: I’m very worried about a lot of different things, mostly Varian. Was it always your intention to turn him to the Dark Side halfway through the season?
Chris Sonnenburg: My answer is yes, that was always my intent. That was kind of his purpose in the show. I try to very rarely put anything in the show without giving it a lot of thought, and what often comes up in our story room, and breaking stories, is how do these things affect Rapunzel? Specifically who they are, specifically what they say, and specifically how they change as it relates to what Rapunzel’s going through and what she needs along her journey? So, whatever Varian is going through, and how he’ll come out the other side of that, is very much dependent on what Rapunzel needs and is doing in the series. I can’t really answer anything beyond that, but suffice to say that Varian’s role was always intended to be what it was. Now, what wasn’t intended is just the absolute charm Jeremy Jordan brought to the character.
Jeremy walked in [to record] and all of a sudden [Varian] popped off the page. I will tell you that Jeremy was very excited about the character when we spoke with him originally about it, and kind of the changes that happened in his life throughout the series as well. So, yes I intend everything, we plan a lot of this stuff out, but just so you know a lot of those things, 99.8% of those things are pivoted around what Rapunzel needs to move forward in her story.
HG: I’m going to assume Varian’s song was written specifically for Jeremy and his vocal range, because as I’m listening to it I’m like, “This is such a Jeremy Jordan song.”
CS: What’s interesting about working with Jeremy is that he wanted to be very involved in the production of his song. I remember as we were going through the different verses, as we were getting them from [original Tangled songwriter] Alan Menken and Glen Slater, and we got a demo from [them]. Alan Menken always delivers his demo versions with him singing…and you kind of have to listen to and understand that it’s not going to be Alan Menken, it’s going to be Mandy [Moore], or whoever. As Jeremy and I were listening to it he immediately had some ideas about how he wanted to sing it, and we talked through what the story points were going to be. He was very much involved in the character coming through in the performance.
HG: Towards the end, I guessed that he was maybe turning bad halfway through just because of his interactions with Rapunzel. I was getting nervous. But man, when he comes back at the end with his reprise.
CS: We’re all fans of Varian, and we’re all fans of Rapunzel, and we have great intentions for everybody. I can’t speak as to what those intentions are, but I think everybody’s gonna be satisfied with the way everything comes out. But, you know, such a part of what Disney storytelling is, are these large kind of moving character arcs. People that we love, and people that we care about. And this is not a story like the Aladdin television series where [bad guys] come and go within an episode. I think there’s a big misconception that this show is a preschool show. It’s certainly not a preschool show, it was never my intent for this to be kind of like the first type show. There are real stakes for these characters in this show, and I think people are really starting to understand that, and I think the real Tangled fans are really getting invested into these characters and where they’re going.
HG: But, as for these stakes, is Varian’s dad dead, or is he just frozen in that rock carbonite now?
CS: I don’t think anybody really knows. I think looking at Varian looking at the situation, I think he has a lot of high hopes that his father is still alive in this amber, and that he’s being kept alive somehow. I think his intentions are to certainly save his father. I don’t want to say too much more, but I definitely think that Varian has high hopes for his father.
HG: And his dad is still clutching that note, which unfortunately was frozen with him. Are we to assume that whatever is on that note holds some key to either the rocks, or defeating the rocks?
CS: I will say this, what is on the note is important. That’s all I’ll say about that.
HG: Because even I rewound the episode a little bit trying to see if I could make out anything on the note.
CS: Oh, I’ll tell you right now, we did not write on the note what is on the note. We kind of wanted to keep it a mystery, so we didn’t want to put any code in there of any kind. But I will say this, you will find out what is on the note.