- “How ya doin'? The name's Flynn Rider.”
- ―Flynn introducing himself to Rapunzel
Eugene Fitzherbert (better known as Flynn Rider) is the deuteragonist of Disney's 2010 animated feature film, Tangled. He is a former thief, the love interest of Rapunzel and the father of Ruby and Anxelin.
When first introduced, Flynn is presented as arrogant, backstabbing, and trouble-making. He unabashedly committed acts of thievery on the royal family of Corona, all to achieve a selfish lifelong goal of becoming as wealthy as humanly possible. Despite these antagonistic traits, Flynn viewed such acts as mere means to boost his ego which, at the start of the film, was comedically inflated, to the point where he would rely on his supposed charisma to sneak his way out of a potentially dangerous situation.
As mentioned above, Flynn is also rather comedic, whether it's intentional or not. He has a peculiar relationship with the palace horse, Maximus, who he constantly finds himself at odds with throughout the film, being that they were highly different on the moral spectrum at the start of the film. Even so, they managed to form a meaningful partnership, and eventual friendship; initially for the sake of Rapunzel, though they were shown to have become fond of one another over time. Despite viewing himself as charming, a recurring situation involving Flynn includes the thief being looked down upon by other characters (such as the Pub Thugs or the palace guards) who would often perform acts that would purposely result in Rider's humiliation, such as having the portraits of his "Wanted" poster be depicted with cartoonishly large or unattractive noses, much to his annoyance.
Despite all of this, Flynn's arrogance is revealed to be more of a defense mechanism, and a means to provide a false sense of optimism as, in reality, the thief is highly vulnerable and capable of showing and feeling legitimate emotion. This is seen after he meets and forms a relationship with Rapunzel. The princess' refusal to be fooled by Flynn's charisma, and genuine interest in his life and struggles, would be the first motivators to dropping the "Flynn Rider" persona and accepting who he alluded to being in the orphanage, which was caring, starry-eyed, and selfless. Over time, his friendship, and eventual love for Rapunzel would prove to Eugene that money and riches are soulless compared to forming a meaningful relationship with another person.
Once his facade is dropped, and Eugene truly opens up to both Rapunzel, and himself, he is portrayed as a loving, loyal, and protective companion. For Rapunzel, he was willing to give up his life of thievery to remain by her side, in hopes of starting a new life for both himself and the princess, believing they've both deserved second chances after facing experiences less than pleasant over the years. Unlike Rapunzel's adoptive mother, Gothel, Eugene viewed Rapunzel as a person, caring for her feelings, rather than her magical hair. In spite of being greedy at the start of the film, Rapunzel's magic was never a concern to him, nor did he once ponder on the thought of using her for her powers to obtain wealth. When those who attempt to do so came about, such as Gothel, Eugene takes action and becomes a fierce protector, willing to go against foes twice his size, if necessary. He also proved himself to be selfless in this instant, risking his life for Rapunzel's safety, despite being given the chance to leave a situation safely.
Flynn is of average height and builds with fair skin, short dark brown hair, a scruffy goatee, and light brown eyes. In response to two fan tweets on twitter and tumblr Flynn's directors have confirmed that he's closer to 24 than 26.
As far as attire goes, Flynn regularly dons a turquoise vest with a white long-sleeved shirt underneath, coupled with dark cream pants, brown bucket-top boots. He also wears a belt with a similar color scheme around his waist; connected to it is a miniature satchel.
Stealing the Crown
Flynn serves as the opening narrator for the story, where he initially jokes, "This is a story of how I died", before giving a brief recount of the circumstances surrounding Rapunzel's birth to the kingdom's King and Queen, and Rapunzel's subsequent kidnapping by Mother Gothel.
Years later, Flynn Rider is on a mission with his partners, the Stabbington Brothers, to infiltrate the palace and steal the crown of the lost princess. They successfully do so, but Flynn's wise-cracks alert the guards, resulting in a chase. In the forest, the thieves reach a dead-end, though Flynn successfully manages to escape, with the crown, leaving the Stabbingtons behind to be arrested. The guards continue to peruse Rider, but most of them are evaded, while the Captain of the guards, accompanied by his loyal horse Maximus, continue on, with Flynn eventually knocking out the captain and temporarily seizing control of Maximus' saddle. This is short-lived as Maximus is just as dedicated to arresting Flynn, and the two rivals engage in a scuffle that results in both them and the satchel holding the crown, falling over a cliff. Flynn escapes Maximus with the satchel in hand and fearfully searches for a place of refuge. With time, he stumbles upon a hidden valley, housing a mysterious tower, and quickly climbs into the household at its peak.
Unbeknownst to Flynn, the tower is the home of Rapunzel, oblivious of her royal status, fearful of the outside world, and equipped with an excessive amount of hair, as well as a frying pan for a weapon, which she uses to knock Flynn unconscious. When he awakens, thanks to Pascal sticking his long tongue into his ear, he finds himself tangled within the lost princess' hair and apparently held captive. Rapunzel makes an attempt to present herself as a fearsome figure, though when she reveals herself, Flynn is taken by her beauty, and makes an attempt to charm her, though this fails instantly. Dropping his act, Flynn explains his reasoning behind his presence within the tower, though he quickly panics upon realizing his satchel is missing. When he guesses that his satchel is in a nearby pot, Rapunzel responds by once again, knocking him out with the frying pan she used the first time. When he wakes up, he discovers to his annoyance, Pascal sticking his long tongue in his ear again in an attempt to wake him up. Rapunzel confesses to having hidden it and makes a deal with Flynn: should he escort her to the kingdom to see the "floating lights" that light the night sky on her birthday, and return her to the tower safely, she will return his satchel. Flynn refuses, being that he's a fugitive, but Rapunzel's firmness gets the better of him, eventually forcing him to agree with her terms.
Journeying with Rapunzel
The pair leaves the tower and enters the outside world, where Flynn remains stoic during Rapunzel's exuberant reaction to experiencing life outside of her tower for the first time. This excitement is coupled with obvious ambivalence, which Flynn tries to take advantage of in hopes of ending the deal and regaining his satchel without hassle. Rapunzel, however, stands her ground and demands to be taken to the lanterns, though her forceful act is interrupted by the rustling of bushes that throw her into a panic. The threat reveals to be a harmless rabbit, but the brief moment gives Flynn another idea. He takes Rapunzel to a local pub filled with a group of seemingly vicious and hostile thugs. This frightens Rapunzel, according to plan, and Flynn "offers" to return her home, claiming the rest of the world to be as frightful as the pub, and is no place for someone unable to handle said establishment. Unfortunately for Flynn, the thugs recognize the former from his "Wanted" posters and begin a fight over who gets to turn him in for the monetary reward. Rapunzel is able to tame the thugs, as she explains Flynn is a key factor in her experiencing a lifelong dream, to which they sympathize with, revealing to have dreams of their own. The confessions gradually form into a joyous party celebrating dreams, though this is cut short once the guards arrive, along with the apprehended Stabbington Brothers, much to Flynn's shock.
Flynn and Rapunzel are able to escape through a tunnel and share a brief conversation in which he refuses to give her any of his "backstory" but asks a little bit about hers. The conversation is cut short when they discover that the guards have pursued them into the passage. The pair flees but is cornered atop a cliff in a canyon made from a dammed river, hotly pursued by Flynn's two enemies: the guards and the Stabbington brothers. Flynn is able to fight off the guards by using Rapunzel's frying pan but is bested in a sword duel with Maximus the horse. Rapunzel uses her hair to help him escape the cliff and the horse, but when Maximus damages the dam in order to reach them, the two are trapped in a cave, which begins filling rapidly with water. Panicking, Flynn tries desperately to find an escape under the water, injuring his hand in the process. However, unable to see anything in the darkness, he admits defeat and the two huddle together in the rising water, believing that they are about to die. As Rapunzel weeps, he tries to cheer her up a little by revealing his real name, Eugene Fitzherbert, believing someone might as well know before he meets his end. Smiling, Rapunzel returns the favor by confessing she has "magic hair that glows when she sings", confusing Eugene, until she sings her incantation and lights the darkness of the cave with her hair, allowing Eugene to find a weak spot to dig their way out.
The Story of Eugene
When the two emerge onto the banks of a river in the forest, Eugene is clearly unsettled and even alarmed by Rapunzel's glowing hair. Later that night, when the two are sitting beside their campfire, Rapunzel uses her hair to heal Eugene's injured hand. Eugene is evidently frightened by the magic, to the point of near-hysteria, but he quickly calms himself down when Rapunzel begs him to not "freak out." He learns Rapunzel's history, and the nature of her magical gift, which is lost if the hair is cut. Eugene begins to understand her feelings and begins to show more compassion and affection towards her as a result. He, at last, reveals some of his "backstory" by confessing that he is an orphan, and as a poor child he was inspired by the main character of a book, who was a rich, free-spirited, "swashbuckling rogue" named Flynnigan Rider, which has prompted his life of crime in order to become rich and adventurous too. Slightly embarrassed, he asks Rapunzel not to tell anyone because it could ruin his reputation, and jokes that "a fake reputation is all a man has."
In spite of this, Rapunzel notes her fondness over Eugene's true name—openly preferring it over his roughish alias. Her words evidently flatter Eugene, who thanks, Rapunzel before leaving for firewood. During his absence, Mother Gothel reveals herself to Rapunzel and quickly learns the young girl is not only reluctant to return to the tower but is beginning to harbor feelings for Eugene. In an attempt to turn the princess against the thief, Gothel questions Eugene's loyalty by advising Rapunzel to use the crown (which she managed to find, and hands over to the princess) to test his true motives, claiming he'll abandon Rapunzel the moment the crown is returned. Gothel departs with these words, and once Eugene returns, he finds Rapunzel in an uncomfortable state. The princess claims all is well, and with that, the night continues, with the satchel holding the crown remaining hidden.
Finding a New Dream
The following morning, Eugene is nearly captured again by Maximus, but Rapunzel—with the help of Pascal—is able to befriend the horse and convinces the two forge a reluctant alliance for the next twenty-four hours, during which Maximus will not get Eugene arrested. Now accompanied by Maximus, the group arrive at Corona for the festival. Eugene accompanies Rapunzel as she delightedly explores the kingdom, enjoying various activities with her, such as reading at the library, eating, and even dancing (at Maximus's prompting). In during which, the two bond and form a closer connection, with a romance blossoming on the horizon. That night, Eugene takes Rapunzel out on the water in a rowboat to see the lights, wanting her to have the best view for her special day. While they wait for the lights, Rapunzel expresses her apprehension about finally living her dream, and Eugene reassures her and encourages her to find a new dream afterward. During the lantern festival, Rapunzel returns his satchel, but he pushes it aside, openly revealing that he has found something more important than his old dream, and the couple releases their own two lanterns. Eugene and Rapunzel finally realize their love for one another and nearly kiss.
The Stabbington Brothers
A moment before kissing Rapunzel, Eugene is distracted by the sight of the Stabbington Brothers on the shore, and appears to come to a conclusion about his satchel. He brings the boat to shore and assures Rapunzel that he will return momentarily. He attempts to make peace with the Stabbington Brothers by giving them the satchel and the crown inside and tries to leave, abandoning his life of thievery in hopes of starting a new life with Rapunzel. However, the brothers reveal that they know about Rapunzel and her hair, and express their desire to use her for wealth. He is knocked unconscious and tied to a boat, which is set to sail toward the kingdom. When Rapunzel sees his silhouette steering the boat away from her, she is tricked into believing Eugene abandoned her and returns with Mother Gothel to the tower out of despair. Later, Eugene's boat crashes into the guard tower near the jail, jolting him back to consciousness, but as he realizes that Rapunzel is in trouble and calls out for her, he is captured by the guards.
The next day, as he is taken to be hanged, he notices the Stabbington Brothers in their own cell. Breaking free from the guards momentarily, he confronts them, forcing them to reveal that Mother Gothel was the one who told them about Rapunzel and her hair. Realizing Gothel's villainy, Eugene tries to escape as the guards forcefully carry him off. Fortunately, the Pub Thugs and Maximus arrive and help Eugene escape the prison, and he and Maximus rush off to save Rapunzel.
Flynn to the Rescue/Death
After arriving at the tower, he becomes worried when Rapunzel does not answer his calls, but her hair soon comes down to let him climb up. However, when he climbs jubilantly through the tower window, he finds Rapunzel gagged and chained to the wall. He pauses for a second, evidently confused and shocked, and is then mortally stabbed by Mother Gothel. Mother Gothel attempts to flee with the captive Rapunzel, leaving him there to die. Rapunzel resists her and refuses to go willingly, but then promises to submit completely to Mother Gothel if she will only let her heal Eugene. Mother Gothel agrees and chains the wounded Eugene instead. Rapunzel rushes to his side, but Eugene pleads with her not go through with it, preferring to die rather than let Rapunzel forever submit to Mother Gothel. When his attempts to dissuade her fail, he uses a shard of a shattered mirror to cut Rapunzel's hair, which causes it to lose its power and turn brown. Mother Gothel rapidly ages and dies without the magic from Rapunzel's hair. Rapunzel tries desperately to save the dying Eugene by singing the healing incantation. Eugene stops her and, with his last breaths, tells Rapunzel that she was his new dream, to which she tells him, in reply, that he had been hers. Eugene smiles and dies, leaving a heartbroken Rapunzel to hopelessly finish the healing incantation. She begins to sob, letting a single tear fall onto his cheek.
The tear, which is the original drop of sunshine which created the magic flower that healed her mother, shines as it dissolves into the skin and heals Eugene's chest wound, reviving him. He regains consciousness, and jokingly asks Rapunzel, "Did I ever tell you I have a thing for brunettes?" An overjoyed Rapunzel then embraces him jubilantly, and the two share their first kiss at last. Eugene accompanies Rapunzel during her return to the Kingdom, as she has discovered that she has been its lost princess, and witnesses her reunion with her parents. He appears to have been graciously accepted by the King and Queen for returning the princess to them. During his closing narration, Eugene implies that Rapunzel eventually ruled the Kingdom. As the kingdom celebrates the return of the lost princess, the two are shown together, both wearing nicer clothing and clearly still in love. After explaining that he has readopted his original name and stopped thieving, Eugene then claims that he accepted Rapunzel's proposal of marriage after years and years of asking, only to be corrected by her. He then amends by admitting that he asked her, to which she states in support that the two are living happily ever after, which presumes that they have wed.
Tangled Ever After
Eugene, along with Rapunzel, appears in this short sequel to the film, in which the two are preparing themselves for their Royal wedding. As the short opens, Flynn starts off the story by joking "This is the story of the day my life ended" as a nod to the original film's opening. Rapunzel corrects him, and he reaffirms that it is the happiest day of both their lives. He agrees with her that everything is perfect except for the fact that his nose is still incorrectly drawn.
Eugene is first shown standing at the altar of the wedding hall, awaiting his bride. He is awestruck at the sight of Rapunzel in her wedding attire as her father, the King, walks her down the center aisle. She joins Eugene at the altar as the bishop begins the ceremony, but Maximus sneezes and accidentally loses their wedding rings. Eugene and Rapunzel appear in a fantasy of Maximus and Pascal where everyone in attendance becomes upset at the loss of the rings. Eugene took notice of the two's distress but they quickly put on a happy face and pretended that nothing was wrong, so he returned his attention to the wedding ceremony.
Eugene and Rapunzel are shown later after Maximus and Pascal manage to get the rings back, but the couple (and everyone else) are shocked at the grotesque-looking Maximus and Pascal, both covered with tar, who offer the rings. Nevertheless, Eugene nervously takes the rings and gives one to his bride. The two then exchange their rings as the bishop pronounces the couple husband and wife. Eugene and Rapunzel kiss, and everyone in attendance rejoices. The short closes with Eugene proclaiming, "So, who wants a piece of cake?" as the cart carrying the wedding cake, accidentally bumped by an exhausted Maximus, rolls out the door.
- Eugene, at 26 years old during his debut film, is the oldest Disney Prince so far.
- Zachary Levi, the voice of Flynn Rider, auditioned for the role and got it with a British accent. Later, this idea was dropped and Levi read for the role with his own American accent instead.
- Flynn Rider stopped appearing as a regular meet-and-greet character at Walt Disney World in Florida on July 2, 2011, though he continues to appear at the Halloween and Christmas parties, and on Valentine's Day as well.
- He's the second Disney hero after Phoebus from The Hunchback of Notre Dame to have facial hair, but he's the very first among the Disney Princes to have facial hair.
- Dan Fogler was the original choice to voice Flynn Rider. Clay Aiken was also considered for the role at one time.
- Every time a wanted poster of Flynn is shown in the movie, his nose is drawn differently.
- Eugene's the first Disney Prince to be an orphan. Although Aladdin was originally thought to be an orphan, in his third film, it's revealed that his dad is still alive.
- The name "Flynn" is also used for some other Disney characters, such as Kevin and Sam Flynn from Tron and Tron: Legacy respectively, and the Flynn family from the Disney Channel's Phineas and Ferb.
- Eugene Fitzherbert the exact opposite of Mother Gothel. Unlike Gothel, he truly cares for Rapunzel and loves her whereas Gothel only loves Rapunzel for her hair, due to it being able to heal anything or anyone and it was keeping her young. Eugene's love for Rapunzel was declared when he sacrificed himself and freed her from Gothel's cruel and wicked ways.
- One of Flynn Rider's original designs (seen in concept art), was used to help form Kristoff's appearance in Frozen.
- Even though his real name is Eugene Fitzherbert, credits for other films and books keep his nickname Flynn Rider.
- During renovations of the Walt Disney Animation Studios building, beginning in 2014, Flynn was one of the character silhouettes featured on the wall mural.