I will make you proud of me, dad. If it's the last thing I ever do.
~ Varian, after he is arrested.
Varian is a recurring character in Tangled: The Series. He serves as the supporting protagonist in the first half of the first season, but later serves as the main antagonist of the second half of the season when his father, Quirin, was trapped in the amber that he caused and was betrayed by Rapunzel and her friends. He is a young, brilliant, yet often clumsy alchemist and a friend of Rapunzel, who later becomes obsessed with getting revenge on both her and Corona after they are unable to help save his father, until he redeems himself in the third season.
In the second season, he briefly appears in the episode, "Happiness Is..." and was mentioned throughout the season and later returned to the third season, briefly as the secondary antagonist in the first episode "Rapunzel's Return" and later, the major protagonist in the rest of the third season.
He is voiced by Jeremy Jordan, who also played Winn Schott on Supergirl.
A young but brilliant-minded scientist, alchemist, and inventor, Varian started out with a youthful idealistic view that sought to be of help to others through his work as an alchemist. He had a strained relationship with his father, whose approval he longed for.
He is irritated by people calling his work magic when he insists it is science, and he has a progressive mind, wanting to help his village when it is under siege by mysterious spikes of unbreakable rock, despite his father's wishes to pretend the problem doesn't exist.
When one of his experiments in finding a solution goes horribly wrong that it entraps his father in unbreakable amber, Varian is overwhelmed with guilt and went to the only person he hoped could help, Princess Rapunzel. However, due to a crisis going on, Rapunzel reluctantly turned Varian away, causing him to lose all faith in her, the royal family, and the people of Corona, vowing to make them pay.
He became bitter, spiteful, and manipulative, setting up a large-scale problem and tricking Rapunzel into helping him acquire the dried remains of the Sundrop Flower and hatefully telling her off for breaking her promise to help him should he ever come to her and turning him away from a moment of real need.
Varian threw away his moral compass when he came to the conclusion that he needed Rapunzel, not the flower, to free his father. He sent an automaton to attack her, which caused her father, King Frederic, to confine Rapunzel to a tower, and then willfully mutated his pet raccoon to attack the castle guard, distracting everybody while Varian kidnapped Rapunzel's mother, Queen Arianna. He showed himself to be remorseless to Arianna, spurning her sympathies and attempts to convince him not to go down this path. However, he does admit to her that he is aware of the path he has taken, but feels he has gone too far to turn back. He has also proven incapable of taking responsibility for his actions because despite what happens to his father being his own fault, he instead blames Rapunzel and the entire kingdom.
Varian also proved to have excellent foresight, as he accurately predicted Rapunzel and Frederic would try to sneak up on him while their friends kept Varian's automatons occupied, and he went as far as to threaten Arianna by spilling the same amber mixture that imprisoned his father to do the same to the queen, in order to force Rapunzel to comply with his demands.
When he realized Rapunzel's unbreakable hair could not free his father, Varian suffered an emotional breakdown and threatened that if he could not have a happy ending, then neither would Rapunzel. He became murderous, virtually psychotic, and even after he was foiled and arrested, he seethed with a promise to his father he would make him proud.
Frederic promised Rapunzel he would make sure Varian gets the help he needs and that he would do everything he could to free the boy's father.
After about a year later though, Varian showed some remorse and shame for his past deeds and thought that he could never be forgiven, which was why he teamed up with the Andrew and 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 plan, Varian turned over a new leaf and helped the princess and her friends save Corona. His rekindled friendship with Rapunzel soon gave him back his dad and the forgiveness of Corona.
Magic?! I do not work with magic! I mean, technically it's not magic, it's alchemy. But yeah, don't sweat it.
~ Varian explaining his profession.
No! No no no no please, Princess! You- You promised you’d help me! Rapunzel! Agh! Princess! My dad needs help! Rapunzel! You promised! You promised!
~ Varian’s pleas as Rapunzel is forced to turn her back on him
I will make you proud. Get the answers and set you free. Don't you worry, whatever it might take, I'm finding a way. And I swear right now, that no matter what comes of me, anybody who stands or has stood in my path; they are going to pay! They... Will... Pay.
~ Varian’s dark reprise of “Let Me Make You Proud” and his start of darkness
Fascinating! I believe this is an automaton, a marvel of ancient technology, really.
~ Varian describing The Automaton.
What difference does it make!!? It's just sitting here, rotting anyway!! (A small bottle fall from Varian's bag.) (Rapunzel: That flacon. This had Xavier's mood potion in it.) (Varian takes the bottle away) (Rapunzel: Varian, that potion is dangerous! You shouldn't be fooling with it!) There was just one drop left. But it was enough for me to replicate and modify! I had to be sure the flower was here. (Rapunzel: So you made a truth serum and gave to everyone?) Heh. You’d be surprised what people will tell you for a cookie. (Rapunzel:(gasps) Pete? Stan? How could you?!) Oh, do you honestly expect me to be concerned about the welfare of Corona!? (Rapunzel: But you said you..) Rapunzel, I used you!! I've begged to you and this kingdom for help! Everyone turned their back on me!! It has to be this way!! (Rapunzel: I defied a direct order from my father - the King because I trusted you! We both broke the Law! (sighs) Give me the flower, Varian. We can find a way to fix all of this: the Rock, your dad, everything! I promise you! I promise!! Just... this is not the way. Please?) (Varian hesitates and gives a stern look) Sorry... Princess. But I know firsthand how well you keep promises.
~ Varian revealing his true colors to Rapunzel and Pascal.
Believe me, I know, I’ve sunk pretty low, but whatever I’ve done you deserve. I'm the bad guy, that's fine, It's no fault of mine, And some justice, at last, will be served.
~ Varian during "Ready As I'll Ever Be".
I can't make any promises Princess.
~ Varian, after Rapunzel begs Varian to let her mother go.
No! No!, I wasn't wrong! It's not my fault, none of it is! It's her fault!
~ Varian blaming Rapunzel for being unable to free his father.
It's not enough, until you endure the same amount of pain and agony I have!
Varian's design is reminiscent to that of Hiro Hamada from Big Hero 6, another Disney franchise. Both are 14-year-old inventors with reckless tendencies yet good intentions. Both experienced the loss of a family member, mutilating their hearts and bringing about a desire for vengeance against those they deem responsible, even going so far as to consciously attempt murder. (Varian seeking revenge against Rapunzel for the loss of his father and Hiro seeking revenge on Yokai for the indirect death of his brother). However, while Hiro overcame his desire for vengeance with the support of his friends and family, Varian allowed his hatred to consume him and, through his actions, cemented his place as one of Rapunzel’s worst enemies, until his redemption.
Coincidentally, the chemical balls Varian is seen using throughout the series are reminiscent of those used by Honey Lemon, another Big Hero 6 character.
He was originally confirmed to return in the second season of the series, since his voice actor's name (Jeremy Jordan) was included in the main voice cast of the season.
However, he only made an appearance as an hallucination caused by the idol in "Happiness Is..." Other times, he was just mentioned by the characters.
He is confirmed to return in the third and final season of the series, since Jeremy Jordan was included in the main cast. It is also confirmed that he'll be in a group musical number at some point.