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Tangled And Unbraided

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.

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5 comments to Tangled And Unbraided

  • I would to see what’s the deal with those fairies in that second clip. That looks like a completely different story!

  • I noticed that too – seemed like maybe it took place in a more “magical” world (aside from magical, hair of course!). I would love to see all that material.

  • Anne

    Its almost Enchanted in reverse with the city girl going back to the fairy tale world though Enchanted throws in the animated vs non-animated aspect. Interesting… but I am glad they ditched it.

  • Ally

    Thank you dear Michael for this article! It’s too interesting!!!

    Yes, the storyline of “Rapunzel Unbraided” was a sort of “Enchanted” in reverse in which Rapunzel and her Prince have transformed into a squirrel and a bassett hound, and Claire and Vincent become Rapunzel and her gallant Prince… there was also a giant…

    I remember also the very dark version of Keane and Wellins in which there was a lot of mystery about the girl trapped into a tower…

    Finally, I remember also an article about a personal project of Glen Keane developped before Rapunzel, in 2000 or 2002… at this time Keane worked on “Snow Queen” and he developped his personal project about “12 Dancing Princesses” before working on Rapunzel… dear Michael, do you know something about this idea?

  • No, that doesn’t ring a bell – I’ll have to look into that!

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