Long ago, a drop of sunlight became a golden flower capable of healing any decay or injury. The flower, used by Mother Gothel to retain her youth, is discovered by soldiers of a nearby kingdom, who use the flower to heal their queen, who soon after gives birth to Princess Rapunzel. Gothel discovers that Rapunzel's hair has the flower's healing properties, but that cutting the hair causes it to lose its magic, so she kidnaps Rapunzel and raises her as her own daughter in an isolated tower. Once a year, the King and Queen release sky lanterns on her birthday, hoping for their daughter's return.
Nearing her eighteenth birthday, Rapunzel asks Gothel for permission to leave the tower and discover the source of the lanterns, but Gothel refuses. Elsewhere, a thief known as Flynn Rider has stolen Rapunzel's crown from the kingdom and inadvertently discovers the tower after ditching his cohorts, the Stabbington brothers. Rapunzel captures Flynn and discovers the crown, but is unaware of its significance. Rapunzel plans to show Flynn to Gothel to prove she can take care of herself, but when Gothel becomes enraged at Rapunzel asking again to leave the tower, she instead asks for a special paint, one that will take Gothel three days to obtain. Gothel agrees and departs, and Rapunzel convinces Flynn to escort her to see the lanterns in exchange for the crown.
During their excursion, Flynn takes Rapunzel to the Snuggly Duckling, a pub filled with the types of people Gothel warned Rapunzel about, but who instead are charmed by Rapunzel's innocence. When the royal soldiers appear, searching for Flynn, the pub regulars help the pair escape. The soldiers give chase, led by Maximus, one of the lead horses in the royal army, and locate them at a dam. The dam is inadvertently breached, and the resulting deluge traps Flynn and Rapunzel in a flooding cave. Fearing this is the end, Flynn reveals his real name is Eugene Fitzherbert. Rapunzel starts to reveal her hair glows when she sings, but realizes that is their key to escape as her hair provides enough light to find a way out of the cave. Eugene and Rapunzel take refuge in a forest, where Gothel, now in league with the Stabbingtons, gives the crown to Rapunzel and suggests challenging Eugene's interest in her with it.
The next morning, Maximus finds the pair and tries to capture Eugene, but Rapunzel arranges a truce in honor of her birthday. The group reaches the kingdom and enjoys the festivities, culminating in an evening cruise as the lanterns are released. There, Rapunzel gives Eugene the crown. When he sees the Stabbingtons on the shore, Eugene leaves Rapunzel and intends to let them have the crown. Instead, the brothers tie Eugene onto a boat and confront Rapunzel, claiming Eugene is escaping with the crown. Gothel then stages a rescue and returns with a heartbroken Rapunzel to the tower as Eugene is arrested by the royal guards.
Back at the tower, Rapunzel begins to realize that she is the kingdom's long-lost princess and confronts Gothel. As Eugene is being led to his execution, he is rescued by the Snuggly Duckling regulars and taken to Maximus, who carries him back to Gothel's tower. Eugene enters the tower, where Gothel mortally wounds him. Rapunzel agrees to lifelong captivity if she is allowed to heal Eugene. However, Eugene instead cuts off all of Rapunzel's hair, destroying its magic. Gothel's age rapidly catches up to her, and she falls from the tower and disintegrates into dust. As Eugene dies, one of Rapunzel's tears lands on his cheek and restores him to health. The two return to the kingdom, where Rapunzel is reunited with her parents.
- Rapunzel is married and has two children before she is trapped in the tower.
- After Rapunzel steals radishes from her garden to feed her family, Gothel creates the tower to imprison Rapunzel to test her and see how selfless she is.
- Rapunzel escapes by cutting her own hair and climbing down.
- The floating lanterns are released by Anastasia, Rapunzel's oldest daughter, to guide her back home.
- Anastasia nearly dies from falling through ice and Gothel preserves her, then plots to lock her in the tower to test her since Rapunzel failed the test by separating her husband and his second wife. Rapunzel instead tricks her and locks the witch in the tower.
- Gothel impersonates Rapunzel in order to deceive Hook into getting the magic flower for her. She then bears his child and leaves it in the tower, as only someone from her bloodline can take her place.
- Gothel disguised as Rapunzel brandishes a frying pan when Hook arrives, the same implement used by Rapunzel to knock Eugene out in Tangled when he enters the Tower.
- Rapunzel eventually becomes Cinderella's wicked stepmother.
- Many years later, Rapunzel uses a tear, shed by her step-granddaughter, to revive Anastasia.
|Original Character||Adaptated as||First Featured in|
|Rapunzel||Gothel (disguised as Rapunzel Tremaine)||"Eloise Gardener"|
|Rapunzel Tremaine||"One Little Tear"|
|Flynn Rider||Hook (Wish Realm)||"Eloise Gardener"|
|Marcus Tremaine (allusion)||"One Little Tear"|
|Mother Gothel||Gothel||"Eloise Gardener"|
|Original Location||Adaptated as||First Featured in|
|Golden Flower||Golden Flowers||"Eloise Gardener"|
|Rapunzel's frying pan||Rapunzel's frying pan||"Eloise Gardener"|
|Floating lanterns||Lanterns||"One Little Tear"|
|Magical tear||Tears||"One Little Tear"|
|Original Location||Adaptated as||First Featured in|
|Rapunzel's Tower||Gothel's Tower||"Wake Up Call"|
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