Most actors would consider themselves fortunate to be either a Marvel hero, a DC titan, or a Disney prince. Zachary Levi is in the privileged position of enjoying all three roles, and don’t think he takes it for granted. “These are the things we sit around dreaming about when we’re kids,” the actor tells Yahoo Entertainment. “I think about my career sometimes and go, ‘What did I do to deserve the incredible stuff I’ve gotten to do?'”
In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Levi fought alongside fellow Asgardian Thor as Fandral, until his untimely death in Thor: Ragnarok. Fortunately, he’ll soon rise again — this time in the DC Extended Universe — as Shazam, the costumed crimefighter who bursts into existence whenever young Billy Batson utters the titular magic word. Being a superhero sounds like an enviable position. But Levi says his own envy is reserved for his animated Disney doppelgänger, Flynn Rider aka Eugene Fitzherbert, sidekick and boyfriend to Tangled: The Series‘s long-haired heroine, Rapunzel (voiced by Mandy Moore).
In both the 2010 feature film, and the Disney Channel sequel series it inspired, Eugene gets to participate in gravity-defying stunts, as well as physics-defying fisticuffs, that no flesh-and-blood actor would have any chance of surviving. For example, in the Season 1 finale of Tangled: The Series — which airs Jan. 13 — the lovable rogue is launched via catapult to the top of Corona’s palace to free Rapunzel, who is currently on a lockdown ordered by her own overprotective father. (Eugene confronts him in our exclusive sneak peek above.) “I’ve been jealous of cartoons since I was a kid,” Levi admits. “They get to do all the fun stuff, because there’s not actual consequences! Who wouldn’t want to get shot from a catapult?”
Of course, the Tangled season finale isn’t all cartoon derring-do; it’s also the timely story of a young woman asserting her own voice, even if it conflicts with what her parents, not to mention her kingdom, expect from her. By the time the hour-long episode ends, a newly independent Rapunzel is poised to embark on new adventures in the show’s sophomore year — with Eugene still at her side, of course. “Chris Sonnenburg [Tangled‘s co-creator] has two daughters, and every single episode is laced with some great lesson-learning,” Levi says. “In the beginning of the season, Rapunzel was feeling so trapped, so it’s definitely a huge step for her to say, ‘This is my life, and I’ve got to make decisions for myself.'”
Another reason Eugene continues to hold a special place in the actor’s heart is because the character is his gateway to crooning songs penned by Disney maestro Alan Menken. The Oscar-winning composer contributed two new tunes to the finale, though neither, sadly, features a vocal part for Levi. “I’m just biding my time,” teases Levi, who previously sang “I’ve Got a Dream” and “I See the Light” in the feature film. “Now that Alan’s able to give us his time on the series, I feel like I’m going to be able to chime in here and there with some songs. He’s our generation’s Disney genius when it comes to music.”
The season finale of Tangled airs Saturday, Jan. 13, at 8 a.m. on Disney.
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