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Villain Overview

Oh, great King Nod, have no fear. Zigzag, your Grand Vizier, is here.
~ Zigzag presenting himself to King Nod.

Zigzag, also known as Zigzag the Grand Vizier, is the central antagonist of the 1993 animated fantasy film The Thief and the Cobbler. He is King Nod's former Grand Vizier, and later King Mighty One-Eye's henchman, who usually speaks in rhymes in a manipulating fashion before allying himself with the notorious One-Eyes. He also has a pet vulture named Phido, whom he abuses and rarely feeds.

He was voiced by the late Vincent Price (in his final role), who also played Egghead in the 1966 Batman TV series, Dr. Phibes in the horror film series of the same name, Irontail in Here Comes Peter Cottontail, Prince Prospero in Masque of the Red Death, Henry Jarrod in House of Wax, and Professor Ratigan in Disney's The Great Mouse Detective.

Biography

Have no fear, have no fear, Zigzag the Grand Vizier is here!
~ The lyrics to Zigzag's entrance song

At the beginning of the film, Zigzag accidentally stepped on one of Tack's nails and had him taken to the palace, intending to have his head cut off. He was planning to marry Princess Yum-Yum, who he lusted after, while also allowing him to become king and take over the kingdom. When Tack (who was fixing Princess Yum-Yum's shoe) chases after the Thief (who stole it), he runs into Zigzag, who takes the opportunity to lock him in a cell. Later in the film (in the original workprint), he takes Phido into Tack's cell to have him eaten, but he had to leave due to being summoned by King Nod.

After the Thief stole the three golden balls that protected the Golden City and lost them, Zigzag sent his sycophants to retrieve them. He asked King Nod for Princess Yum-Yum's hand in marriage should he return the Golden Balls, but King Nod laughs him off and refuses, much to Zigzag's fury. Out of spite, Zigzag defects to the One-Eyes by heading to their camp, where he allied himself with King Mighty One-Eye by charming his alligators via promising them tasty food and giving him the Golden Balls. In return for Zigzag's help, King One-Eye was to leave the Princess alive and in Zigzag's hands.

With the Golden Balls under his grasp, Mighty One-Eye had his men formulate an attack by utilizing a giant war machine for the balls; he even forced Zigzag to ride in the front during the battle. However, Tack sets off a chain reaction that destroyed the war machine and killed many One-Eyes, much to both Mighty One-Eye and Zigzag's fury. Zigzag then attempted to kidnap Princess Yum-Yum, but Tack defeats him in combat by tying his robe to his hands while several Brigands (who were befriended by Tack and Yum-Yum) manage to defeat several One-Eye soldiers in combat.

Zigzag is eaten alive

Following the deaths of Mighty One-Eye and his men, Zigzag fell into a dark pit after stepping on another tack, meeting the hungry alligators (joined in by Phido), all angry about Zigzag not keeping his word to feed them. They start devouring Zigzag alive. Realizing now that he has finally lost, Zigzag then accepts his fate just as Phido finally eats his head off.

My friends, my friends! Are you still here? I haven't fed you yet, I fear. You too, Phido?...man's best friend? For ZigZag then...It is...The End.
~ Zigzag's last words.

Script Differences

In the original cut, King Nod angrily refused Zigzag's request to marry Yum Yum and banished the sorcerer from the Kingdom. In the later cut, King Nod bursts into laughter and explains that never in a million years, would a practioneer of Black Magic be allowed to marry the Princess, intended to marry a man pure of heart.

Appearance

Zigzag is a skinny humanoid with light blue skin, baggy green eyes, a black beard, six fingers, and a thumb per hand with several colored rings on his fingers. He wears a large-sleeved black robe with gold trimming, and long shoes that extend as he walks.

Personality

Oh, greatest king of all the Earth, this lowborn cobbler of no worth attacked me in the square today...shall we take his head away?
~ Zigzag plans to decapitate the Cobbler for a simple accident.

Zigzag asking for Yum Yum's hand in marriage.

Zigzag is a cruel, scheming, manipulative, deceitful, and pompous sorcerer who attempts to marry Princess Yum-Yum, both out of a lust for her and to become king of the Golden City: the former is more present in earlier versions of the movie whilst the latter is more apparent in later revisions. He became a very blasphemous, perfidious, calculating, hypocritical and materialistic when he teamed up with King Mighty One-Eye to take over the Golden City by force.

Although he describes himself as a sorcerer, his magic is fairly delicate and weak, and he occasionally slips up on his tricks. He relies more on smooth-talking and manipulation to get what he wants, dazzling people with an impressive performance to convince them that he is more powerful than they think.

Quotes

We'll see who wins at the end of the day, we'll see who ends up grieving! I'll go to the One-Eyes right away, I'm taking the balls and LEAVING!!
~ Zigzag angrily defecting to the One-Eyes after being denied of his request to marry Yum-Yum.
The camp of the One-Eyes... how very nice! Perhaps they'll be willing to pay my price! I'll have those barbarians kissing my feet! (to Phido who squawks begging for food) And maybe, we'll find you something to eat... eh, Phido? (The One-Eye's soldiers appear, putting their spears at his throat) Gentlemen, gentlemen, what a delight to meet you all here on such a fine night.
Oh, Mighty One-Eye… I, I, I am Zigzag the Great of the Golden Land!
~ Zigzag introducing himself to King Mighty One-Eye.
One little mistake will suffice! Don't treat me lightly twice!
~ Zigzag to One-Eye's army.
The greatest wizard has to know exactly when it's time to… AAAHHHHHH!!!!!
~ Zigzag before accidentally stepping on a nail, which causes him to fall into the crocodiles' lair.
Oh, my bottom, oh, my top! You greedies, don't you ever STOP?! (Phido arrives at the scene) You too, Phido? Man's best friend. For Zigzag, then, it is… the end.
~ Zizgag's final words after accepting his fate of being devoured by Phido and the alligators.

Trivia

  • He was the last character to be voiced by Vincent Price. The film was released in the United States posthumously on August 25, 1995 (two years after his death from Parkinson's disease on October 25, 1993 at the age of 82), which would make this his final role.
  • In all three versions of the film, Zigzag's role, voice, and death are the same.
  • Zigzag had possibly inspired the villain Jafar from Disney's Aladdin. Both of them are evil magical advisers to the king, want to take his place as king, marry his beautiful daughter, and kill the hero.
    • Coincidentally, Zigzag's voice actor Vincent Price also voiced Ratigan from Disney's The Great Mouse Detective, which was previously directed by Ron Clements and John Musker (the directors of Aladdin).
  • His death is similar to Scar from Disney's The Lion King, as both were eaten by their henchmen (who they address as "friends") in return of their promise of food.
  • During the development of The Majestic Fool, a scrapped animated movie from the 1960s that would eventually become The Thief and the Cobbler, Zigzag was originally known as "Anwar", who served as the Grand Vizier to the King of Persia, as well as the main antagonist.
  • Though not the main villain of the film, Zigzag does have a much bigger role than King Mighty One-Eye does and has far more screentime, making him the film's central villain. His voice actor, Vincent Price, also has the top billing in the poster and end credits of the Miramax version of the film.
  • According to the Richard Williams documentary "The Thief Who Never Gave Up", Williams said that he based Zigzag on two people he despised. Their names were not revealed by Williams but it is rumored they were Omar Ali Shah and Idries Shah, who were the producers of the film during the Nasrudin era of production.
  • In said documentary, Williams kept redesigning Zigzag to have larger shoulders, giving him a "vulture-like appearance".

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