I have to confess, I love Tangled. Rapunzel and Eugene (better known as Flynn Rider) have one of my very favorite Disney relationships. So, I’m super excited to share a sneak peek into the fun new twist Disney has in-store for this great classic tale. Trust me, your whole family is going to get tangled up in the fun as the all-new Disney Channel Original Movie “Tangled Before Ever After” makes its debut on Friday, March 10th (8:00 p.m., ET), leading to the highly-anticipated premiere of “Tangled: The Series”.
Tangled: Before Ever After is an upcoming Disney Channel Original Movie that serves as a sequel to the 2010 Walt Disney Animation Studios film, Tangled, as well as the pilot for the upcoming Tangled animated series. The film centers Rapunzel’s adjustments to the life of a princess, and in during which, the mysterious return of her 70-feet of magical, golden hair.
Rapunzel is destined to one day assume the role of Princess of Corona, but she’s not ready for that yet. She realizes that there is so much more she needs to learn about both herself and the world before she can take on the responsibility associated with being princess. So she goes on a journey to ready herself for eventually ascending to the throne and is joined along the way by partner-in-life Eugene, no-nonsense and dutiful horse Maximus, and tough-as-nails friend and confidante Cassandra. “Tangled: The Series” is a follow-up to 2010’s “Tangled” with Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi reprising their roles from the film, Rapunzel and Eugene (Flynn Rider), respectively. The animated series features music by Oscar-winning composer Alan Menken and Oscar-nominated lyricist Glenn Slater, who both worked on the movie.
Now for the sneak peek! Watch the first five minutes of Tangled Before Ever After below.
During my recent trip to LA, I had the opportunity to screen “Tangled Before Ever After” and to meet with Executive Producer/Supervising Director Chris Sonnenburg and Supervising Producer Ben Balistreri to discuss bringing “Tangled: The Series” to The Disney Channel. Below is the highlights of our group interview, followed by my thoughts on the movie.
Q: What made you decide to continue with Rapunzel and her story?
Chris Sonnenburg: For me it really kind of came down to, I have two daughters at the time were 14 and 12 are now 15 and 17. And there just seem to be this idea, and it didn’t really like wait on me too much but just looking at the story, that there was this moment at the end of the movie where they meet, right, and they fall in love and then there’s the short, Tangled: Ever After, where they get married. And just looking at the two of those moments I was wondering like well, what happened? Did they get to know each other a little bit more? What happened in between that time? And then there’s this great line at the end of the movie where Eugene Fitzherbert, says after years and years of asking and asking I finally said yes. You know, there’s a kind of fun line that he says there which you might be kind of you know, joking about but I also think maybe there was some time in between there.
And it started to become like what do I have to say about this time in these people’s lives, and young people’s lives about getting to know yourself, getting to know the people in your lives, getting to understand your relationship with your parents? And if the kids that had seen the movie in 2010 were maybe 10 at the time or eight then they’re getting to be about 17 years old and they might want to know how this character, that I love so much as a kid coming to grips with this part of her life? And that was kind of for me the in of why to tell the story and how to tell the story.
Q: Those teen years are kind of tough. Where are you getting your inspiration from?
Chris Sonnenburg: You mean when I go home at night at 7 o’clock and I hear the drama that is coming from my two daughters? You know, in any kind of story hopefully, specially telling stories the way Disney always tells stories, there’s such a wonderful truth to the stories and there’s always magic and excitement and kind of like the fairytale aspect of our stories. But what really is the driving force between any Disney, hopefully, the best Disney stories is the truth of them, right.
Q: I love that Rapunzel is back to blonde. Why was that decision made?
Well, I mean, ultimately her name’s Rapunzel, right, long blonde hair. You know, if you’re going to tell a story about the Hulk you’re not going to tell like about a dog, right. He’s got to be big and green. And I think Rapunzel has to be long blonde hair for it to kind of just read as the character. But really for me the ultimately trick for the filmmakers in the original movie was to give the hair a reason for being blonde and for being long and in our case, being uncuttable.
So, the big question that we always ask in the story is always why. Why do these things exist? Why are we telling the story? And, you know, her hair represents her personality. It’s bigger than life. It’s bright. It’s long. It shines. It’s magical. It’s pretty much who Rapunzel is. And then the added layer of it, which is being unbreakable has its own reason for being that we’re going to get into as we go along in the story. But it always should, always go back to serving the purpose of why does it exist this way.
Q: I love the journal aspect. Is there any special meaning behind that quote at the beginning?
Chris Sonnenburg: Sure, it’s two things. Number one, again, I’m very much fed by my daughters. My older daughter, Arianna, Queen Arianna I mean, I named the Queen after her. And the reason we named her after my daughter is because right when we were breaking the story and figuring out what everything was going to be, she had gone on this trip to Mexico with a huge group of people to build houses for people, kids in Mexico. And again, she was 14 and had just turned 14, and she was going on this big trip. I didn’t know if she was ready for it. I didn’t know if I was ready for it. And there seem to be this kind of like questioning of, is she prepared for this. She’s not, she’s our little baby. Is she ready for this life of traveling beyond the borders and all this kind of huge life excitement. And she went and she had come back and they had given her these journals to kind of take notes and get to know people and stuff.
And when she had come back the little journal was completely covered in drawings of the little girls that she met and how she learned how to put a hinge on a door and she learned how to do all this fun stuff and she dropped her phone in water and all of this. She kept all these drawings of her journey. And I was like that’s what Rapunzel would do. She would keep it very creative. She’s very much a storyteller and that’s how she would do it. So, we immediately said well, let’s give Rapunzel a journal that she can keep record of her life, because she’s going to want to paint on the road. So, we gave her this journal and then the added element of the inscription came very much from the movie, Glenn Keane who created the character of Rapunzel for the film, had come and I was talking to him about what we wanted to do with the show and he had done this quick drawing for me. I said give me a drawing that’s going to encourage me years as we go into the show. And he had done this picture, this beautiful drawing of Rapunzel and on it he wrote, ‘Plus est en vous,’ and I was like what is that?
And he says well, in the movie, we had this phrase that we were using just in the story rooms. At the end of the movie all of her magic is gone but she squeezes out one last drop of magic out of her. And he said the reason behind that is that we all have more in us, and that we can push through and he was telling me like when you feel like you’re at the end of your rope, if you can’t give any more, push through and there’s always more inside of you. And I thought that was such a beautiful sentiment and I thought that the mother would give it to Rapunzel as like listen, everybody has these expectations of you of a princess, of a daughter, of a girlfriend. But there’s more in you than everybody else expects of you and show the world what that is and, keep record of that in this journal. So, the phrase means there’s more in everybody. There’s more inside of Eugene. There’s more inside of Pascal. There’s more inside of Corona than everybody just sees on the surface. You know, we’re going to get into that, as we go into the season, there’s even like tunnels underneath Corona. So, the journal is very much a part of the large story for the show and for who Rapunzel is herself.
Q: We heard two new songs. Will we hear new songs in every episode moving forward? And if so will there be a DVD?
Chris Sonnenburg: Yeah, a soundtrack, sure. We come from old-school Disney. Part of that is you know, me being very much influenced by the works of Howard Ashman and Alan Menken. And Howard Ashman had given this wonderful lecture many years ago when they were making Little Mermaid that I got to just see on video and where he talks about music and its role in storytelling and how it should really be. If it’s the most successful it’s really telling the heart of the character or changing the heart of the character. So, we really wanted to keep the music special. We have a season premiere, a midseason and a season finale. And those are the places where we really have the big musical moments where huge things happen. And when I say big things happen, there are going to be times when that’s really kind of like spoiler, spoilery. So, we didn’t want to put a soundtrack out in the beginning because it was going to give away a lot of the huge moments of the season. So, I think people are certainly going to want it, trust me, the music is awesome and there’s more music to come and it is epic and big and special and people are definitely going to want it. But the collection really makes sense at the end of this season where you really see the whole thing kind of come together.
Ben Balisteri: My secret, personal dream is they release it on vinyl but they make a nice gold like limited-edition and it looks like her hair.
Q: What are you most proud of about continuing Rapunzel’s story?
Chris Sonnenburg: Oh, man, for me, just honoring the original. It’s always been a huge priority of mine to not only honor the work that was laid out by Nathan and Byron on their original film and Glen Keane who created the character, not only honor that but keep true to the characters. That was always my marching orders from Glen Keane who created the character. It was always, just be true to who she is. And I think we’ve done a really good job of that.
Ben Balisteri: That goes hand-in-hand with I think both of us are on the exact same mission statement that way. Not only do we have friends that have worked on these features we’ve also been in situations where we worked on features that have been translated and you want to just have such a passion for not only the filmmakers but how many hands there are in Tangled. I mean Tangled is an insane property. And the people, I go on Tumblr and, even on Facebook and see comments and stuff or on YouTube and see comments and you’re just like man, these people love these characters. And we have like a duty to make sure that we’re doing right by these characters for these people that live, and love these characters so much that it’s an awesome responsibility.
My thoughts on Disney’s “Tangled Before Ever After”:
When I first read about this movie and series coming to The Disney Channel my first thoughts were really, do we need another movie turned into a series? I was not very enthusiastic. To answer my own question, yes, yes we do, because what I have seen, it is fantastic. I like the old-school style animation. I like that they brought along Tangled characters we all know and love, including her horse Maximus. And how great is it that Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi are reprising their roles! What I like the most about what I’ve seen so far is the life lessons. Entertaining fairy-tale stories for the whole family, featuring solid real-life lessons is not easy to come by these days. Also, the story is good, really fun, yet gripping, and even though we all know where it ends, I can’t wait to see what happens next in their wonderful, twisty journey of Tangled.
The all-new Disney Channel Original Movie “Tangled Before Ever After” makes its debut on Friday, March 10th (8:00 p.m., ET), leading to the highly-anticipated premiere of “Tangled: The Series”.
FTC Disclaimer: I attended an expense paid trip by Disney to press events for of Moana. I was not asked or influenced to write a positive review. All opinions shared are always honest and my own. This post contains no affiliate links.