Chancellor Esteban is a major character who appears in the Disney Channel animated series, Elena of Avalor. He is Princess Elena and Princess Isabel's maternal older cousin and the former Chancellor of Avalor. He becomes the secondary antagonist of the third season, and the deuteragonist of the series finale.
Esteban was orphaned at a very young age when the boat his parents were on sank due to a storm at sea after he had begged them not to go. He was then raised by his grandparents as if he were their son. This would teach Esteban the value of family, and though he would grow to become quite selfish, his relatives would remain deathly important to him, as he would worry that every time they left the castle, it would be the last time he saw them.
At some point during his teenage years, however, Esteban began to crave power due to believing that the love of his family wasn't real, as he believed that he no longer mattered since nobody ever noticed or listened to him. As a result, Esteban needed to be heard and seen, and to obtain it, he and his best friend Victor Delgado, made a deal with a ruthless sorceress named Shuriki who offered them more power they could ever dream of. This deal included Esteban and Victor helping the sorceress take control of Avalor, on the condition that they will be granted a healthy amount of political control under her reign.
Esteban also had Shuriki promise to keep his family safe and unharmed during the purge, but this particular agreement fell on deaf ears as Shuriki's first action was the assassination of Esteban's aunt and uncle, Queen Lucia and King Raul. Esteban's grandparents and Isabel were placed in an enchanted painting by the Royal Sorcerer Alakazar, while Elena was apparently killed by Shuriki as well. As the only surviving member of his family, Esteban was riddled with guilt but was nevertheless hailed as the new Chancellor of Avalor under Shuriki's order, as promised.
With her selfishness and vanity keeping Shuriki from actually caring for the kingdom's welfare, Esteban put his intelligence to good use by ensuring that the kingdom remained financially prosperous and outwardly appealing over the following decades in spite of their tyrannical ruler.
While he disliked Shuriki's rule, later on, he refused to oppose her, believing that there was no chance of success against her. Once Elena reclaimed the throne, Esteban would maintain his role as chancellor, though he refused to confess to his treacherous actions, instead claiming that his partnership with Shuriki was completely unwilling. He did everything in his power to keep this a secret because he finally saw that his family did really love him couldn't bear losing them a second time.
As Chancellor of Avalor, Esteban is very knowledgeable of the Kingdom of Avalor and, as he himself boasts, knows "anyone who's anyone in Avalor". He is also a firm adherent to etiquette. He is shown to also be a coward who is both shameless to the point of refusing to own up to his actions and a bigot; because of this, he can be snooty and is not liked much.
Esteban believes Elena is too young to bear the responsibilities that come with ruling a kingdom and disapproves of her personal approach to leadership to the point where he constantly seeks to undermine her and become viewed amongst the citizens as "the true power behind the throne". He dislikes being reminded that she is the one in charge, which ties into his overall intolerance of being told what to do by others.
Unlike Elena, Esteban is happy to delegate responsibilities to others and simply give orders from the sidelines. Despite his differences with Elena, however, he does care about her enough to want to keep her safe and values his family quite enough. In fact, in "Island of Youth", he chooses to save Elena's life rather than retrieve his canteen to keep himself young.
Throughout the second season, Esteban has relaxed a bit about Elena's rule but won't hesitate to put her in her place, if she behaves in a reckless manner.
When at long last the truth Esteban had tried so hard to hide is made known to Elena and the rest of the family, Esteban is remorseful and though he explains his motives for helping Shuriki, he excuses them by how he felt like an outsider in his own family, as though he were invisible and that Shuriki had taken advantage of his anger, and youthful naiveté and a false promise that no one was supposed to get hurt. While his grandfather can find it in his heart to forgive him, Elena and Luisa cannot, nor can Naomi as they vote to have him punished for his crimes and sentenced to lifelong exile on a deserted island. Esteban is shocked that his family has basically disowned him and while he acknowledges his misdeeds he refuses to answer for them as he escapes the dungeons with the help of the Delgados, and leaves with Ash (after she'd turned Victor to stone and Carla refused to go with her) out of fear and having no other options.
Despite siding with Ash and being disowned by his family, Esteban displays he still has good inside him. He hesitated in helping the Delgado's when he saw the Royal Family portrait and despite helping Ash, he would not allow her to hurt Elena, showing he still cares and loves his family. Esteban even attempted to reason with Elena, revealing he never wanted their family to get hurt, but she refused to listen, believing his words to be nothing but lies.
Esteban was also unhappy and reluctant after gaining his new-found magical powers and did not want to hurt anyone. However, when Elena used her magic and transported him back to Avalor to confront her unresolved feelings, she officially disowned Esteban as family, causing him to officially turn to the side of evil and embrace his magic. However, despite his new-found villainous ways, Esteban continues to show he cares for Elena and others as he continues to prevent Ash from hurting Elena and was worried about Alacazar when he was injured in battle.
Though Esteban initially continues to be more reluctant than Ash towards the idea of defeating Elena and taking over Avalor, when Chatana's pet Pili describes Esteban as possibly being even worse than Ash, Esteban gives off a sinister smirk and agrees with Pili, implying that he has now fully embraced his new-found villainy. He is even willing to go after baby Jaquins when they catch him and his allies in Vallestrella.
It is shown that Esteban had trouble taking responsibility even as a child, blaming their chocolate mess solely on Elena. Despite this, he was far more caring and innocent than he is now, planting a tree to honor his grandmother and late mother, as well as happily entertaining baby Isabel.
When confronted by his grandmother about his actions, he reveals he does not see himself as a villain. In the end, he came to realize power isn't what he wanted if people were going to hate and fear him. After seeing Elena in danger of being petrified, he was willing to give his life for her. She finally forgives him, and he vows to spend the rest of his life making up for what he did; he also accepts Elena as Queen and Naomi as Chancellor.
Esteban, in comparison to the majority of the other characters, is the tallest and has a rather slender physique. He has short, slicked black hair that is slightly graying around his temples with wavy side bangs that fall just above his ear. When he was younger, he had his hair in a ponytail. His eyes appear to be a warm, hazelnut, or amber color. Although he appears to be in his early thirties, it is stated that he is in his fifties and was able to keep his youthful appearance thanks to exfoliation.
He is commonly portrayed in a wine-colored coat with yellow and black accents, a yellow and blue sash, yellow neckerchief, (possibly) blue dress shirt, white trousers, and black boots.
Forty-one years after Shuriki became queen, Esteban still serves as her chancellor but is noticeably uncomfortable with enforcing Shuriki's laws, which strip Avalor of its identity. The most notable of which being Shuriki's ban of music and singing.
Esteban is first seen informing Shuriki of the arrival of King Roland II and Queen Miranda, the rulers of Enchancia who visit Avalor to discuss trade arrangements between the two kingdoms. Shuriki poses as the rightful ruler of Avalor with Esteban's family having been wiped from Avalor's records and their fates being completely unknown to outsiders. Esteban even explains that he has sent to guard to force the townsfolk to cheer for Shuriki in front of their visitors in order to make her look beloved by the kingdom. During Roland and Miranda's visit, Shuriki nearly exposes herself as a ruthless sorceress, with her anger tempting her to use her wand to aggressively remedy whatever annoys her. Though Esteban is able to swiftly cover up the lie each time and keep Shuriki's temper under control, Elena miraculously arrives in the palace and reveals the truth behind Shuriki's schemes. Esteban is shocked to see his cousin alive, while Elena is confused by the sight of Esteban working alongside Shuriki, as well as how much he has aged since she last saw him. She confronts him on the matter, but Esteban insists that the partnership was by force. Shuriki suggests otherwise which angers Elena into attacking Shuriki again. After another failure, Elena is forced to flee with Mateo and Sofia while Esteban is charged with imprisoning Roland and the rest of his family.
Esteban orders the guard to treat the visiting royalty with respect despite being prisoners and expresses dread at having to clean up the mess caused by this incident. Armando strongly suggests that he and Esteban join forces with Elena, as she is the rightful heir to the throne, and Esteban's cousin. While Esteban refuses to face Shuriki because of her power, his guilt for assisting the sorceress consumes him at the mention of his familial ties to Elena, and he takes this frustration out on Armando before leaving in a huff.
Later on, Esteban confronts Shuriki on her broken promise to keep his family away from harm, including the now-fugitive Elena. Shuriki scoffs at this and threatens to kill Esteban should he show signs of disloyalty towards her again. Just then, a jaquin infiltrates the castle, causing Esteban and Shuriki to chase after her. This is merely a diversion to buy Elena some time to form a rebellion against Shuriki and releasing Esteban's grandparents and cousin from their enchanted painting. By the time this is figured out, the rebels have entered the castle gates, with Elena standing in the foreground. Shuriki prepares to strike her with her wand, but Esteban finally stands up to his superior by grabbing hold of her wand and throwing it to Elena. Elena destroys it, and this defeats Shuriki, who escapes. Esteban declares Elena to be the rightful ruler of Avalor, and the two cousins embrace. Elena voices her relief of Esteban's morality, confessing that she wasn't sure where his alignment fell. Esteban lies by reassuring Elena that his affiliation with Shuriki was by force and nothing more, and a new era for Avalor officially begins.
As Chancellor of Avalor, Esteban is a major character in the show that is the sequel to the special. He is a member of the Grand Council of Avalor, alongside Luisa, Naomi, and Francisco. He was chosen by Elena for his extensive knowledge of the Kingdom and his management of it in her absence. Unlike his cousins, he is very knowledgeable of how much Avalor has changed during the royal family's imprisonment.
Throughout the series, he is seen opposing his cousin's impulsive and emotion-based decisions. He comes up with schemes to prove himself more capable than Elena and sometimes fellow council member, Naomi Turner. Still, he values his family and the traditions of Avalor and is eager to show off his experience to Elena as well as other dignified officials.
In the episode, "King of the Carnaval" an old friend of his Victor Delgado threatened to expose his secret if he didn't steal the crown jewels. Later when Victor and his daughter tried to escape he called the man's bluff, who revealed the truth to Elena, who dismissed it as a lie just as he was about to elaborate and confess. Esteban did agree that he would never do anything to hurt Elena, however, he did confess his guilt and shame of what he did during Shuriki's reign. Elena told him he did what he had to do and to stop living in the past and work towards a better future. He helped regain the stolen jewels and became King of the Carnaval.
Esteban soon learns of Shuriki having returned in the episode "Shapeshifters", during a Grand Council meeting with his grandparents, Naomi, and Elena, with Elena now under heavy guard by Gabe and the Royal Guards. Despite Elena's arguments that she needs to confront Shuriki and deal with her for good to avenge her parents, Esteban calls a vote to have Elena kept in the palace under heavy guard to keep her safe. Naomi, Luisa, and Francisco all agree with him, as they don't want to lose her after losing King Raul and Queen Lucia, especially knowing Shuriki will be gunning for the throne again, and Esteban most likely does not want to lose any more family, especially after betraying Shuriki at the last moment to allow Elena to reclaim the throne, and keep his part in helping her take over the first time from being exposed.
He is mentioned in the following episode, "The Scepter of Night", being away on a diplomatic visit to another kingdom with Francisco and Luisa, but Gabe remains steadfast in following Esteban's decision to keep Elena in the palace for her own safety.
Esteban's dark secret was revealed in "The Magic Within" by the new truth-revealing power of Elena's Scepter of Light. He was sentenced to be exiled from Avalor as punishment but escaped before the sentence could be carried out and joined up with Ash Delgado (though out of fear of being turned to stone like Victor).
In "Captain Mateo", Esteban reluctantly leads Ash to Takaina and later encounters Elena. Esteban tries to speak with Elena, trying to reason for his past actions, but she refuses to listen. Elena's anger towards her cousin causes her magic to levitate everyone and when she finally calms down, Esteban falls into the Well of Crystal, causing him to gain magical powers. However, Esteban has no control over them and accidentally transports himself, Ash, and everyone out of the temple. When the temple is later sealed by Elena, Ash decides that Esteban must be trained to properly use his new magic and returns to her lair to seek help from Zopilote, her mentor in assistance in training him.
In "Dreamcatcher", Esteban is reluctant and unhappy with his new powers and wants nothing more than to return home to Avalor, frustrating Ash and Zopilote. During one of Esteban's training sessions, he is transported back to Avalor by Elena to confront him and her unresolved feelings regarding his actions. Esteban declares he'll do whatever it takes to make things right between them and promises to reveal the location of Ash and Zopilote, but stays silent when Elena finally expresses her full anger and sadness towards him. Esteban simply apologizes and wishes he could take back what he did. However, despite Esteban's apology and remorse, Elena declares him to no longer be family, shocking, and devastating Esteban. Afterwards, he is transported back to Ash and Zopilote. Following being officially disowned by Elena, Esteban decides to finally put the past behind him once and for all and officially turns to the side of evil. From then onwards, Esteban begins to embrace his magic at last and finally starts to take his training more seriously.
In “Spirit of a Wizard”, Esteban has fully mastered his teleportation powers. He and Ash learn from Zopilote that the entrance to Takaina is sealed shut by enchanted crystals, which Esteban quickly deduces is the work of Elena’s scepter, noting how powerful it’s become since Elena fell into the Well of Crystals. When Ash expresses disappointment about not being able to obtain the power Elena has, Esteban jokingly comments that now she needs her scepter for that, but Ash takes the remark seriously, and therefore the three come up with a plan to obtain it. Esteban uses his powers to locate Elena and is surprised to learn that Alacazar is with her, explaining that he was once Avalor’s royal master wizard who hasn’t been seen for over forty years. Later, the three allies ambush Elena, Mateo, Flo, and Alacazar using fake firestones to lure them. After a brief struggle, Esteban manages to get ahold of Elena’s scepter using his powers, though he refuses to allow Ash to hurt Elena and becomes concerned for Alacazar when Zopilote injures him with his powers. However, Ash later discovers that she cannot use the scepter since it only channels good magic and Elena manages to get it back thanks to Mateo. When Zopilote attempts to attack Mateo, he gets turned into a small yellow bird, much to Ash and Esteban’s shock. Elena tries to blast them, but Esteban uses his powers to teleport him and Ash away. Ash blames Esteban for what happened to Zopilote, stating that he should’ve let her get Elena when she had the chance, though Esteban argues that Elena is still his cousin. Ash reminds Esteban that Elena didn’t hesitate in trying to blast him and claims that the only way to truly be safe is to stop her before she stops them. She decides to create an evil alliance with other villains and proclaims that together they’ll defeat Princess Elena. Though reluctant at first, Esteban ultimately agrees.
In “The Last Laugh”, Esteban and Ash decide to recruit Chatana, an ancient evil winged sorceress with the power to conjure monsters, as a member of their evil alliance. Ash explains to Esteban that she will bribe Chatana into joining them with her golden diadem, the source of all her powers. Ash then attempts to free her from her imprisonment only to discover that the vault she’s inside of is boobytrapped. Esteban and Ash get transported miles away from it, so Ash tells him to use his powers to teleport them back. Esteban argues that he can’t take them all the way back there in one jump, to which Ash says that anything is better than walking. Esteban agrees and teleports them both. Eventually, they run into Chatana and introduce themselves to her, though Esteban becomes annoyed when Ash refers to him as her trainee. After Ash explains to Chatana why she freed her and promises to give her golden diadem back if she helps them, Chatana asks her pet Pili what he thinks, to which Pili says that Ash is definitely evil, but Esteban maybe even worse. Esteban agrees with a smirk, and Chatana joins their team.
In “Giant Steps”, Esteban teleports Ash, Chatana, Pili, and their new ally Tziloco to the gateway to Vallestrella, where Tziloco opens it up by producing a fake jaquin paw. They plan on recruiting Chatana’s most fearsome giant Kizin. On their way, Tziloco senses someone using magic to locate them, which Esteban realizes must be Elena and tells Ash to use her Cloaking Spell. Chatana also creates baby spider eagles as a diversion, though Esteban believes adult spider eagles would’ve been more efficient until Pili assures him that they’ll do. Once the team reaches the mountain in which Kizin is trapped under, Esteban teleports them in front of it and Ash frees him. When Esteban sees Kizin for the first time, he is baffled as to how such a babyish creature could be so dangerous, yet he still attempts to convince the giant to join their alliance by complimenting him. Though Kizin takes a liking to Esteban, he refuses to help because he is mad at Chatana for not freeing him sooner and almost steps on them until Esteban teleports them away. The allies leave Vallestrella, planning on recruiting villains from the other side of Avalor.
In "Dia de las Madres", Esteban only appears in flashbacks and mentions, but still manages to play an important role in the episode. While celebrating Mother's Day with their grandmother Luisa, Elena uses her Scepter to show visions of her favorite Mother's Day, which also shows child Esteban's life when he first moved into the Palace following his parents' death. Evidently, Esteban had an incredibly close relationship with his cousins, Elena and Isabel, having a chocolate fight with the former and entertaining the latter with funny faces. However, he becomes depressed upon seeing other children declare their love for their mothers. Later on, to cheer him up, Luisa shows Esteban trees depicting their family's history, such as his parents' marriage. Inspired, he willingly misses out on his family's painting portrait to plant a tree himself to honor his mother and grandmother.
The revelation of all this makes Elena and Luisa become more sympathetic towards Esteban despite their initial disownment of him, and near the end of the episode, Elena calls him "Cousin Esteban" with a smile on her face.
A mini sculpture of Esteban made by Elena appears in "Elena's Day Off", along with Ash and Tziloco.
In "To Queen or Not to Queen", Elena is shown a vision by Zuzo when she's asleep of Esteban having become King of Avalor with Dona Paloma as his wife and Queen, and rules with an iron fist, being shown when one group of competitors that Mateo and Gabe race against win by default due to bribing Esteban to ensure their victory. When Elena confronts him about it, Esteban has her taken to the dungeon. After Naomi, Gabe, and Mateo bust her out, she encourages the citizens to revolt and overthrow Esteban and Dona Paloma. After it succeeds, Elena awakens from the dream.
In "Coronation Day", Esteban joins Ash and her team as they lay siege to Nueva Vista and Coronado as part of a plan to unleash the Four Shades of Awesome to take over Avalor. When Elena arrives to protect Marisa and the Sirenas, Elena and Ash are sucked into the Spirit World, leaving Esteban to take command of the Four Shades to invade Avalor with them. However, while it appears that they are following his instructions, despite losing one of them thanks to Isabel and her defense of Avalor in Elena's absence as Crown Princess and heir to the throne, Esteban overpowers her defenses and enters the palace, only to soon discover the Four Shades had no intention of following his command when Cahu the Time Shade, the most powerful and dangerous of the Four Shades, turns Francisco and Luisa to stone, to Esteban's horror. With this, Esteban affirms his belief there is nothing he can do to make up for his mistakes and that it is too late for him.
When Elena returns and sends the remaining two Shades with Hetz back to the Spirit World, Cahu decides to turn her to stone as well. Despite Elena having disowned him and being filled with hatred against him for his part in Shuriki's original takeover that resulted in Raul and Lucia's deaths, Esteban can't bear to see his cousin meet the same fate as his grandparents, and takes the bullet for Elena. As he is petrified, he apologizes to Elena for everything he had done against her, hoping to find some redemption before his inevitable death. Heartbroken by his noble sacrifice and apology for his actions against her, Elena forgives him, resulting in her emotion magic being triggered, restoring Esteban to flesh and blood. Together, the two cousins destroy Cahu's hourglass, stripping her of her powers, before banishing her back to the Spirit World to join the other Shades once and for all, undoing all their damage to Avalor in the process. Quita Moz then arrives to reveal that Elena's test was forgiving Esteban. By forgiving him, she passed her test, and can now become Queen. With his status in the Royal Family restored, Esteban attends Elena's coronation as Queen, and when Elena names Naomi her new Chancellor, Esteban gives his blessing to Naomi, knowing that she earned it since he no longer needed it. Esteban joins in the celebratory dance afterwards, which is also attended by the Royal Family of Enchancia.
- His name is pronounced "Es-TAY-baun".
- As revealed in "Model Sister", Esteban spent some time in the Kingdom of Satu and is very knowledgeable of Satu's cuisine and culture.
- Esteban is technically Elena's Regent, as he helped keep Avalor intact during her absence, and serves as Elena's mentor in leadership before she takes the throne.
- According to "Island of Youth", Esteban was a picky eater when he was younger and would only eat his food if his grandparents pretended the spoon was a jaquin flying around.
- It is also revealed in "Island of Youth" that Esteban feels he was never able to pursue his own passions because he was always being told what to do and still is.
- He and Cristóbal are the only Royal Family members to have lived through Shuriki's reign.
- Esteban has a rivalry with Doña Paloma.
- The English version of "Esteban" is "Steven"
- Esteban has the same sash as his aunt Lucia.
- In "Coronation Day", it's also revealed that Esteban tried to warn his uncle Raul about Shuriki attacking Avalor out of revenge for Raul stopping her from attacking Avalor's allies, but Raul didn't listen which is why Esteban helped Shuriki.
- Esteban's role in the show is similar to Cassandra and Varian from Tangled: The Series. All three characters started off as major characters on the side of good. One day, a big incident causes them to temporarily become villains, though not completely because they kept some redeemable qualities. Also, while their actions were wrong, the protagonists were partly to blame for their cluelessness or unforgiveness. At the end of the arc, the villains turned back to good.