One of the kookiest things to pop up online lately is this pre-visualization reel for Rapunzel Unbraided, one of the earlier incarnations of the film now known as Tangled. The film had a long and tortured development, subject to the whims of management earlier in the decade. Originally a traditionally animated fairy tale, it became a CGI project as director Glen Keane tried to save it from going down with the hand-drawn ship when Eisner & company shifted all development to computer animation. Seeing the success of Shrek, management decided they wanted a more “modern” take on things and so Rapunzel became Rapunzel Unbraided, a wacky, “hip and edgy” fractured fairy tale.
That’s the version of the film that this clip is from. According to the caption on YouTube, this dates to 2005 and is credited to Tony Hudson.
Thankfully, this approach to the story was abandoned and the film once more became a traditional tale when Disney bought Pixar in 2006.
We’ve had teases of other early versions of this film online; this animation test shows a different look for the heroine and features her earlier sidekick – a squirrel:
As you can see, it’s a different take on the material. In fact, some of the early publicity artwork published for the film depicted scenes from this version. How late were these major changes made? And how odd is it that most of the film we know was made in the last year, when it was in development for almost a decade? Animation can be weird sometimes. Here’s hoping that we get a quality Blu-ray with lots of information on what these alternate-universe features were like.