- “You didn't give up on me; I'm not giving up on you.”
- ―Varian to Rapunzel[src]
Varian is a young alchemist who appears as a recurring character, later a major character in Tangled: The Series. He later serves as the main antagonist for the second half of the first season until he redeems himself in the third season.
Varian is an intelligent scientist, inventor, and alchemist. Though he acknowledges the existence of magic, he prefers to solve problems through scientific means. However, his experiments were confused as magic, which makes others believe that he is some kind of wizard. He has good intentions and wanted to make his father proud of him for his creations. He has heard about the princess' hair along with his father and the villagers and also shows respect to the royal family, as he bows to Rapunzel and calls her "Your Highness" until he was told to just call her Rapunzel. Despite his intellect, he is pretty naive and sometimes overlooks his plans and inventions. While he has a gift of inventing and alchemy, his creations usually backfire and cause more chaos than good.
Besides inventing and alchemy, he enjoys reading about the adventures of Flynn Rider. He became Flynn's biggest fan for his bravery and combat skills, but the excitement of his hero had him confuse Eugene Fitzherbert as Flynn Rider when Eugene used the name in his life of crime. He quickly trusts Eugene with his secret hot water machines, and tries to assure him that it's under control when Eugene expresses his concerns about how unstable the machines really are. When the machines start to cause mayhem, he did try to turn them down but nearly got hurt in the process. After his home and village fell to the ground and the machines got destroyed, he shows regret for his actions and for letting his father down.
Varian is shown to be very kind, supportive, and understanding. He is also constantly willing to help others in need, attempting to find a solution to the black rocks before they reach the castle, and rushing to aid when he apparently sees Stan in danger of drowning in "The Lost Treasure of Herz Der Sonne".
The events of "Queen for a Day", however, have left Varian hurt after his father was encased in an amber he accidentally formed out of the black rocks. His heart is then filled with rage and an obsession for revenge after feeling betrayed by Rapunzel for turning her back on him during his time of need; as well an urge to save his father. Varian's dark turn left him a much more bitter and unreasonable person, focused on proving himself able to save his father, even at the expense of others. Varian began thinking only of himself despite Rapunzel's attempts to make amends with Varian by aiding him to get the Sundrop Flower, Varian betrays Rapunzel as soon as he gets what he wants from her. Even when Rapunzel tried to heal Varian's heart with her apology and promising to help him save his father, the barriers that Varian placed around him, so he wouldn't get hurt the same way again, prevented him from listening to reason.
Varian also proves himself to be capable of being ruthless in achieving his goals, manipulating and attacking people if necessary. After stealing the sun drop failed, Varian sets out to force Rapunzel into helping him free his father by means of assaulting the kingdom, only to fail.
Even after learning that not even Rapunzel's hair could help him free his father, an unstable Varian remains committed to making his father proud of him, no matter what it takes.
In his anger, Varian has shown his abusive side by transforming his pet raccoon, Ruddiger, into a monster against his will.
After about a year later though, Varian showed deep remorse and shame for his past deeds and believed that he could never be forgiven, which was why he teamed up with the Separatists of Saporia to erase everyone's memories so that he could have a fresh start and be friends with Rapunzel again. However, by Rapunzel's compassion and the Separatists' change of plans, Varian turned over a new leaf and helped the princess and her friends save Corona. His rekindled friendship with Rapunzel gave him back his father with a change of heart.
Via Cassandra's red rocks, it has been shown that Varian's greatest fear is his father being encased in amber again and the people of Corona declaring him a traitor and telling him he deserves to be unable to free Quirin for his past crimes. It is also revealed that Varian still harbors guilt over everything he has done and still believes that the citizens of Corona will hate him more than ever. He also considers himself ordinary in comparison to Rapunzel. With Rapunzel's help, however, Varian manages to tackle his fear and save the kingdom from the red rocks, being hailed as a hero by Rapunzel and the citizens of Corona.
Even after being abducted by Cassandra, Varian expresses sympathy for what she went through and attempts to get through to her, which is ironically what Queen Arianna attempted with him after he had captured her. He even relates to her, admitting that the path of hatred may feel good at first but will slowly lead to the person losing their mind and conscience, having evidently went through the same thing. Aside from this, Varian's bravery manifests again, with him refusing to tell Cassandra the third incantation despite not knowing what she will do to him if he does not comply. He is also revealed to have an extremely good memory, being capable of fully memorizing the Demanitus Scroll. Additionally, Varian is implied to be a bit mischievous, tricking Eugene into thinking that him touching a part of the hot air balloon he built will cause it to explode in "Race to the Spire".
As he matures, Varian takes on a more responsible approach in regards to his inventions, telling others not to touch them and scolding Lance for ignoring his warnings and causing the explosion of his "rooster" invention.
In "Once a Handmaiden...", he seems to have given up hope that Cassandra could relinquish her vengeful desires, even starting a project alongside Eugene that involves destroying her by encasing her in amber if she attacks again. However, at Rapunzel's urge, he agrees to show restraint, and attempts to reach out to her once more later on. Varian also seems to be somewhat skilled at shooting and horseback riding.
In "Plus Est En Vous", Varian does everything he can to banish Zhan Tiri back to Limbo, including rebuilding the machine used by Demanitus to do so, even taking somewhat of a leadership role when Rapunzel and Eugene are not around. Additionally, he expresses denial and anger over Eugene's concerns that his father, like Adira and Hector was mind controlled by Cassandra, but is nonetheless willing to take precautions just in case, putting the welfare of Corona first. After she gains possession of the Sundrop and Moonstone, Varian battles Zhan Tiri head-on along with the rest of Corona, yet again showing his bravery, and is made the Royal Engineer following Zhan Tiri's destruction, showing the royal family have trust and faith in him even though he conspired against them. He is also shown to have become closer with his father, as Quirin helps him with his machines, and when one of them explodes, the both of them simply laugh it off.
At fourteen years of age (in season 1), Varian is a slender teen with fair skin, shaggy black hair with brown highlights and one teal streak, freckles, two front buck teeth, and light blue eyes. He wears a blue-gray shirt with a teal patch sewn on to it, brown pants, dark maroon apron, black gloves, dark brown shoes, and brown-and-gold goggles.
When Rapunzel and Cassandra first met him, he was wearing a black and gray coat and a gray bauta, which makes his eyes appear to be glowing a yellow-green color and makes his voice sound intimidating.
During a blizzard in "Queen for a Day", he wore a brown coat with a two grayish-brown colored cloak with a white fur-lined hoodie, a black belt, and a red scarf.
In "Rapunzel's Return", he donned a bad boy outfit, consisting of a black coat with red outlines, a red bandanna with sharp teeth design, gray vest, brown belt and straps that could carry his chemical balls, red gloves with metal straps, tan pants, gray-and-black boots, and a fake goatee which he draw it on.
From "The Lost Treasure of Herz Der Sonne" and onwards in Season 3, he wears a more adventurous steampunk style outfit, consisting of a beige shirt, maroon vest, dark brown gloves with brown straps, brown pants, dark brown utility belt, tan apron, and dark maroon-and-khaki boots.
Powers and abilities
Varian possesses no magical abilities. However, he displays a wide range of skill and talents, far beyond what is normally expected from a village boy.
- Alchemy and Engineering: His knowledge on alchemy and engineering skills allow him to build and make his creations and ideas, like machines, gadgets, and chemical mixtures, come to life. Even when his inventions don't always work and sometimes lead to nearly killing people, he still tries to overcome and fix his mistakes and to become the alchemist that he can be. Varian was also able to use his alchemy to modify the mood potion into a truth serum, as well as replicating it, while his engineering allowed him to build an army of Reverse-engineered copies of the Automaton he encountered in the underground tunnel system.
Role in the series
In his debut appearance in "What the Hair?!", Cassandra enlists Varian's help in solving the mystery of Rapunzel's hair. At first, he was thought of as a wizard with magical abilities. But Rapunzel and Cassandra learned that Varian is actually an alchemist who doesn't believe in magic but is a man (or, technically a boy/teenager at the moment) of science. At the same time, he reveals that he's a huge fan of Flynnigan (Flynn) Rider, confusing Eugene with him, and willingly told Eugene that he has been working on a machine that will give his village hot running water. However, he fails to realize that his creations are unstable and causing a lot of earthquakes from beneath his village, resulting in all his work blowing up, at the same time disappointing his father, Quirin.
He appears again in "Great Expotations", where he comes to the Exposition of Sciences event with his latest invention. He had just considered Cassandra as his friend as he calls her "Cassie" and is willing to help her with her duties as Lady-in-waiting in exchange for having her help him with his invention as his assistant. He also apparently has a crush on her from the way he asks Rapunzel and Eugene if Cassandra is going to be at the event when he presents his new invention. He uses alchemy to help Cassandra clean up the castle and set up the event. Unfortunately, he left a wet floor that Pete and Stan slip-on, forcing the Captain of the Guards to substitute Cassandra as a guard and personal escort to the fair's judge, Dr. St. Croix, Varian was in turn forced to substitute Cassandra with Shorty instead and presented his new invention which made a new element, which he named Cassandrium, in honor of Cassandra, but the thug nearly caused St. Croix's nose to be stabbed. Furthermore, St. Croix only cared if Varian had a reliable assistant to give his invention flair and had him passed over for the first place in favor of Fernanda Pizazzo. This depressed Varian, who was subsequently comforted by Cassandra. Unfortunately, St. Croix tampered with his invention, causing it to go haywire, which, combined with Pizazzo's invention, created a powerful vortex. Cassandra chose to protect Varian over St. Croix, which pleased the former. With the aid of Rapunzel's Mega Dry powered in reverse, Varian was able to reach the device and shut it off. As St. Croix was carried away on a stretcher, Cassandra awarded Varian with the first prize ribbon. In gratitude, he gave her a necklace made with the Cassandrium and later showed Rapunzel and Cassandra the black, spiky rocks, which had grown near Old Corona and show a reaction when Rapunzel stands near them. Rapunzel asks Varian to help them figure the mystery of the rocks and keep it a secret, to which he agrees.
Varian plays a major role in "Queen for a Day". When black rocks start growing and destroying everything, Varian wants to find a way to stop them from destroying anything else, but Quirin tells him to stay away from them. Varian then went with his father to see the King and tell him of the situation. Upset when his father instead lies to the king about the rocks, Varian tells Rapunzel the truth. He then decides to take matters into his own hands and works on finding a way to remove the rocks with alchemy. When Quirin finds out what Varian was doing, Varian admonishes him for trying to run away from their problems. But then, Quirin pushes Varian away from being trapped in a growing crystal, made by one of Varian's attempts on using a chemical on the rocks. Varian runs to Rapunzel to get her help but, with her people in the crisis of the upcoming snowstorm, she was unable to help him and lets him be dragged out by Pete and Stan. Varian returns home and finds his father frozen in solid amber holding a note. In tears, he vows to find a way to save him and, feeling betrayed by Rapunzel's inability to help him, make everyone who turned their backs on him pay.
He returns in "The Alchemist Returns", where he seemingly forgives Rapunzel for breaking her promise to him for choosing to save Corona and convinces her to help him steal the Sundrop Flower. Rapunzel agrees to help him only because he said: "it was for Corona". He later confesses that he used Rapunzel to get to the flower, and that he modified Xavier's mood potion into a truth serum and gave it to the royal guards to know the flower's whereabouts. Varian reveals he lied and doesn't care that Corona were in danger by the snowstorm or the black rocks, and says this was part of his revenge on everyone who turned their backs on him. Rapunzel pleaded with him to let her help him and promises to free his father. For a moment, Varian regretted his actions and considers trusting the princess before he heard the door being opened, which made him change his mind and proclaimed he no longer trusted Rapunzel, believing she cannot keep promises. He then escapes in a purple cloud of fog. Rapunzel is heartbroken, now that she realizes she was used by Varian whom she trusted deeply. Later, in his alchemist lab, Varian tries to free his father from the rocks with the flower, but it does not work, much to his anger and frustration. Remembering back from his conversations about the black rocks and the flower, he then realizes the heart-throbbing truth: the flower was not the sun drop anymore, Rapunzel was.
Varian once again plays a major role in "Secret of the Sun Drop", launching an assault on the castle with a hidden automaton amongst Rapunzel's birthday gifts. Rapunzel, Cassandra and Eugene quickly find out how to deactivate the automaton, but the surprise assault leaves King Frederic fearing for Rapunzel's safety, ordering her to be locked up under maximum security. The same night, Varian once again launches another assault on the kingdom, this time facing a giant and aggressive Ruddiger under the influence of a serum. The guards successfully protect Rapunzel (who had broken out of the castle) from harm, and Rapunzel in hand assists the guards to eventually capture Ruddiger, who returns to his normal size after being captured in Rapunzel's hair. Unfortunately, the attack turned out to be a distraction, letting Varian easily infiltrate the castle and kidnap Queen Arianna, but not before leaving half of the guards (including the captain) wounded after the attack and the kingdom terrified over the black rocks growing all over the kingdom. After the kingdom realizes what had happened, a full-scale counterattack on Old Corona, now surrounded in black rocks, is organized.
Rapunzel and King Frederic decide to sneak into Varian's home separate from the kingdom army to rescue the Queen. Unfortunately, he had anticiped their arrival, and traps Rapunzel and the King, while launching an army of automatons on the kingdom's forces. Varian reveals his plot of kidnapping the Queen as simple bait to lure Rapunzel to him. Varian threatens to encase Queen Arianna in the same amber his father was trapped in if Rapunzel didn't use her hair to free his father.
Much to his heartbreak, Rapunzel's hair doesn't work against the amber, and the kingdom's forces defeat the automatons, the plan failed. Varian is devastated that he no longer knows how to save his father anymore, so he lashes out his anger on Rapunzel by controlling a giant robot, bent on still having revenge on Rapunzel. He grabs Cassandra in the robot's metal hands and spitefully taunts her on his former crush on her. When Queen Arianna orders him to stop, he grabs her too and starts to crush them both to death. In a moment of revelation, Rapunzel realizes how her sun drop energy can control the black rocks. Varian violently charges toward Rapunzel in anger, only to get his robot destroyed by Rapunzel through the black rocks, much to his fury. Defeated, an unstable Varian is arrested by the castle guard. Varian, as he and Ruddiger (who went to comfort Varian) are sent to prison, he swears that he will still make his father proud. However, under Rapunzel's urge, the king assures Varian will get the help he needs.
He made a cameo appearance in "Happiness Is..." as a hallucination created by the Idol of Vershaftsbezeigungengien, threatening to use Frederic for experiments. He was also mentioned by Adira as "the son of Quirin" in "Rapunzel and the Great Tree".
At some point after Rapunzel and her friends left Corona to follow the Black Rocks, Varian allied himself with Andrew and the Separatists of Saporia, who used the Saporian Wand of Oblivium on King Frederic and Queen Arianna to erase their memories and make them believe that he was their trusted advisor. He revealed to them his plan to use the same wand to create a synthetic gas that will erase everyone's memories in Corona, dubbing it Quirineon in honor of his father. It is later revealed that Varian was pretending he still wanted vengeance and that the real reason he created the gas was to make everyone forget about his mistakes and win back their trust. But when he learned that the Separatists were planning to destroy Corona with his Quirineon, Varian teamed up with Rapunzel to stop them. After saving Corona, he and Rapunzel managed to free Quirin with a Reverse Incantation. When he asked about the note, his father told him that it only said that he is proud of him and he always has been. Varian and Quirin later joined Rapunzel and the others in a celebration.
Since then, he did everything he could to make up for his past deeds, which includes rebuilding the throne room from "The Lost Treasure of Herz Der Sonne" and trying to help King Frederic and Queen Arianna restore their memories "The King and Queen of Hearts". He was also tasked to translate the text of Demanitus' newly reassembled scroll, burning both ends of the candle doing so.
However, in "Be Very Afraid", it is revealed that he hadn't gotten over the guilt of his past deeds yet and was afraid of repeating his mistakes. When Corona was plagued by fear-induced red rocks, he and Rapunzel went underground to encase the source in amber. However, Varian was still afraid he'll make a mistake that'll cost him the trust of Corona. But Rapunzel assures him that he could face his fears and save Corona. With Rapunzel's encouragement and empathy, he managed to tackle through his fear, used his compound to encase the rocks in amber, and gained the admiration of the kingdom.
In "Cassandra's Revenge", he celebrates Eugene's birthday. It is however cut short when Cassandra crashes it demanding the scroll for the sun and moon drop incantation. Varian had almost finished translating the whole scroll and got the incantations memorized. When Cassandra learned this, she kidnapped him and used the truth serum to get him to tell her the incantation that gives her full control of the Black Rocks. Varian tries to tell her to not make the same mistakes as he did while singing "Nothing Left to Lose", but she refused to listen and caged him as her prisoner. While he was in the cage, he had a dream(really more of a nightmare) where the Enchanted Girl told him to "use the sun to see the sun", as part of her plan to be released from her prison. When he woke up, he tried find the answers from the scroll but he gave up, until his goggles reflected from the sunlight the scroll, which revealed it has hidden words. He wrote down the translation in time before the scroll was destroyed for good. Then he gave the new incantation to Rapunzel, who used it to defeat Cassandra.
In light of the threat Cassandra poses to Corona, Varian takes matters into his own hands to protect the kingdom from her. In "Race to the Spire", he provides Rapunzel and Eugene (who have received a warning from Calliope) with a hot air balloon that will enable them access to the Spire before Cassandra herself does. In "Flynnposter", Varian builds another invention that will warn Corona if threats like Cassandra show up. Unfortunately, the machine gets tampered with by Lance, Kiera, and Catalina, to Varian's frustration. In "Once a Handmaiden...", he and Eugene start "Project Obsidian", which involves imprisoning Cassandra in the same amber his father was trapped in if she harms them, though Rapunzel is insistent on only using it as a last resort, still believing Cassandra is not gone. Later, Varian attempts to fight Cassandra when she brutally attacks Corona with her black rocks, and evacuates to the village once she has taken over the kingdom.
In "Plus Est En Vous" Varian comes up with the plan to rebuild Demanitus' portal in order to banish Zhan Tiri back to the Lost Realm. After the portal is assembled, he and the other citizens of Corona accidentally get sucked in through the portal to the Lost Realm and remain stuck until they are rescued by Quirin. Seconds later, the portal is crushed by debris from Zhan Tiri transforming into a demon. Varian joins the rest of Corona in the battle against Zhan Tiri; Varian rides on Ruddiger in its large, monstrous beast form as his steed horse. Unfortunately, Zhan Tiri encases him and the others in yellow rocks and then chants the Decay Incantation to drain life out of everyone. Following Cassandra's redemption and Zhan Tiri's defeat, Rapunzel chants the Healing Incantation to revive everyone, including Varian. With peace restored to Corona, Varian becomes the Royal Engineer and finally succeeds in providing hot running water to the kingdom.
Varian plays a big role in the comic issue, "Baking Instinct", where he helps Eugene bake a cake for Rapunzel.
- According to the first book in the Tales of Rapunzel series, Secrets Unlocked, Varian is canonically fourteen years old at the time of "What the Hair?!".
- Ben Balistreri specifically designed Varian so that people could cosplay as him. He added goggles to him so that he can have an iconic costume piece.
- The name Varian is French for "variable", which means something not consistent or liable to change, which could be a reference to him starting as a good guy, who later became bad until he redeemed himself, as well as a nod to his role as a scientist.
- He is skilled at drawing.
- He has been shown to faint at the sight of blood. This could mean that he has Hemophobia.
- Varian's hair (specifically his bangs) is drawn in a way that hardly covers his face, regardless of head and camera angles. This was inspired by a similar technique that is used when animating Mickey Mouse's ears.
- Varian's use of chemical balls is reminiscent of Honey Lemon from Big Hero 6.
- Varian is shown to be able to play piano and tambourine.
- Varian is shown to be skilled marksman and horseback rider.
- Varian is Corona's first Royal Engineer, and is the youngest to hold that position.
- He has a crush on Cassandra, as shown in "Great Expotations". In addition, both characters are similar.
- In "Cassandra's Revenge", both Cassandra and Varian fall off Cassandra's Stronghold. However, Varian fell into the arms of Lance, whereas Cassandra had to save herself using her powers. This reflects how Varian turning back to the side of good has caused him to be surrounded by friends once more, but Cassandra's path of hatred and darkness has left her with no one but herself.
- In "Plus Est En Vous", when Varian and Quirin were fixing a hot water tank, Varian's teal hair streak was gone. But when he and his dad joined the other characters to sing the final part of "Happily Ever After (Reprise)", his hair streak is back. It could be an error made by the animation crew.
- In "Plus Est En Vous", Varian was seen drinking alcohol in The Snuggly Duckling even though he was only 16 years old by then. However, since the series is set in the 1810's, its possible that kids could drink at a young age.
- His mother has never been mentioned so it is unknown what happened to her since Varian is only raised by his father.