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Tarzan is the titular main protagonist of Disney's 37th full-length animated feature film with the same name. He is the adoptive son of Kala and Kerchak and was adopted by them right after the death of his birth parents.
He is based on the legendary hero Tarzan who was raised by gorillas in the wilds of Africa and had to protect his family from the evil poacher Clayton while learning about his past.
He also appears, of course, in the movie's theatrical stage adaptation, this time with the characters singing.
He was voiced by Tony Goldwyn as an adult, and by Alex D. Linz as his younger self. In the TV series, he was voiced by Michael T. Weiss. His yells in the original movies are ironically preformed by Clayton's voice actor Brian Blessed.
Tarzan is an extremely lion-hearted, caring, loyal, honorable, mysterious, praiseworthy, adventurous, and courteous man who deeply cares about his family and friends and was willing to risk his life to save them. He has also been known to be ready to rescue his enemies; an example of this was when Clayton was about to fall to his demise, and Tarzan exclaimed "Clayton, Clayton, don't." and reached out to rescue him, even though Clayton fatally wounded Kerchak and attempted to slaughter him and kidnap his whole gorilla family. This also proves that, like most heroes, he is one to spare the antagonist mistakenly.
In his youth, Tarzan was playful, fun-loving, and active, but also felt like an outcast due to the fact that he was human. Until Jane Porter, her father, and Clayton arrived he would’ve never seen another human before and was, therefore, unmindful of what species he was. And as an adult, he matured into a more serious character but still he displayed a playful and friendly side when he was around his friends and family. Tarzan was also very inquisitive and when he heard a gunshot, he went to investigate while the rest of his family moved deeper into the jungle. It was because of his inquisitive nature that he met Jane, Professor Porter, and Clayton.
Having lived in the jungle his whole life, Tarzan developed exceptional abilities that would be impossible for other humans:
Peak Human Strength: Tarzan is incredibly strong, seen when he pins down Kerchak and lifts at least two fully grown humans at the same time without any apparent effort.
Peak Human Agility and Speed: Tarzan seems to be pretty agile and fast as he was able to swing through the trees and slide across branches.
Master Combatant: Tarzan was an incredible fighter as he is able to hold his own against some of the jungle's deadliest predators. He has been known to fight and win from leopards, hyenas, gorillas, baboons, hippos, rhinoceros, snakes, crocodiles, elephants, jackals, and even dinosaurs. One of Tarzan's most notable accomplishments was when he managed to hold his own against Sabor, a ferocious and powerful leopard who had killed his parents many years earlier and killed her. Tarzan often fought with a spear but would also commonly use his bare hands to defeat his opponents.
Intelligence: Another remarkable ability of Tarzan is his intellect. As a child, he created and used simple tools and weapons (a spear, a lasso, a sling) that other children his age can learn to make only when under the supervision of an adult.
Peak Human Senses and Hearing: Tarzan has a good sense of smell and hearing that excelled many human beings and allowed him to hear animal speech clearly.
Communication: Tarzan has learned to speak various animal languages including gorilla, hummingbird, rhino and can even speak eagle.
Tarzan is a slender man of muscular build with tanned skin, long brown hair worn in dreadlocks, and green eyes. He always wears a brown loincloth, strapped to his waist, but he wore his father's clothes when boarding the ship.
In the original movie, Tarzan starts off as a baby who escapes a burning ship with his parents and lives in a treehouse built by them as a happy family. Tragedy falls upon the new family, however, as his parents are killed by Sabor the Leopard later on.
Luckily, the baby is rescued by a female gorilla named Kala, who had lost her baby son to Sabor. After escaping Sabor, Kala brings the baby back to her gorilla family and tells her mate Kerchak, the leader, that she wants to adopt the baby since his parents were killed by Sabor and there are no more humans left in the Jungle, to which Kerchak agrees but says that the baby won't be his son. Kala names the baby, Tarzan, and sings him a lullaby about being in her heart forever.
Years later, Tarzan begins to befriend other animals, including a young female gorilla named Terk and the paranoid male elephant, Tantor. Tarzan finds himself treated differently because of his different physique, so he makes great efforts to improve himself. As an adult, when Sabor attacks the gorillas again, Tarzan manages to kill Sabor with his crafted crude spear, gaining Kerchak's reluctant respect.
The gorilla troop's peaceful life is interrupted by the arrival of a team of human explorers from England, consisting of Professor Archimedes Q. Porter, his daughter, Jane, and their hunter escort Clayton, who are looking to study gorillas. Jane accidentally becomes separated from the group and chased by a baboon troop, with Tarzan saving her out of curiosity. He realizes that she is human, just like he is. Jane leads Tarzan back to their camp, where Porter and Clayton both take great interest in him; the former in terms of scientific progress while the latter hopes to have Tarzan lead the group to the gorillas. Despite Kerchak's warnings to avoid the strangers, Tarzan continuously returns to the camp, where Porter, Clayton, and Jane teach him to speak English properly as well as what the human world is like, and he and Jane begin to fall in love. However, they have difficulty convincing Tarzan to lead them to the gorillas due to Tarzan's fear for their safety from Kerchak's threat.
The explorers' ship soon returns to retrieve them. Jane asks Tarzan to return with them to England, but Tarzan, in turn, asks Jane to stay with him when Jane says it is unlikely they will ever return. Clayton convinces Tarzan that Jane will stay with him forever as long as he leads them to the gorillas; Tarzan agrees and leads the trio to the nesting grounds while Terk and Tantor lure Kerchak away to avoid having him attack the humans. Porter and Jane are excited to mingle with the gorillas, but Kerchak returns and attacks the humans upon seeing them. When Tarzan restrains Kerchak while the humans escape, Kerchak coldly accuses Tarzan of disobeying him and betraying his family, causing Tarzan to flee in shame. Kala takes Tarzan to the treehouse where she found him, shows him his true past, and says that she wants him to be happy whatever he decides. Tarzan puts on his late father's suit, signifying his decision to go to England.
When Tarzan boards the ship with Jane and Porter the next day, they are ambushed by Clayton and his traitorous band of stowaway thugs. Clayton reveals his plans to capture and sell the gorillas for a fortune now that he knows where the nesting grounds are and imprisons Tarzan, Jane, and Porter to prevent them from interfering. Tarzan manages to escape with the help of Terk and Tantor, and he returns to the jungle. Clayton fatally shoots Kerchak and battles Tarzan across the treetops. Tarzan destroys Clayton’s rifle, causing him to attack Tarzan with his machete until Tarzan traps Clayton within a forest of vines. As Clayton struggles to cut himself free, one of the vines gets wrapped around his neck as he falls from the treetops, hanging himself to death. Kerchak, in his dying breath, finally accepts Tarzan as his own and names him as leader of the gorilla troop. The rest of the gorillas are freed after scaring away the rest of Clayton's men.
The next day, Porter and Jane prepare to leave on the ship while Tarzan stays behind with the gorillas. As the ship leaves shore, Porter encourages his daughter to stay with the man she loves, and Jane jumps overboard to return to shore; Porter shortly follows her. The Porters reunite with Tarzan and his family and embark on their new life together.
In the midquel film, Tarzan is still a child, and is still having trouble fitting in with his family. He is shunned by the other apes after he causes an accident that endangers the babies.
The Legend of Tarzan
Tarzan appears as the protagonist of the animated series. Since the end of the film, Tarzan assumed his role as leader of the Gorillas. He married Jane and they live happily in the jungle, residing in the old treehouse that Tarzan's parents had built before their deaths.
Tarzan appeared as a party member in the first Kingdom Hearts.
When Sora crash lands into Tarzan's former treehouse, he is attacked by Sabor, only to be rescued by Tarzan moments after. He chases the leopard off and leads Sora to the encampment of Jane and her bodyguard Clayton, after being asked to help find his friends, Riku and Kairi. Like in the film, Jane wishes to see the gorillas and study them, though Clayton would rather cage them, return them to England, and make a profit.
Nevertheless, Tarzan denies the humans access to the gorillas' camping grounds, due to Kerchak's orders and stubbornness. Even so, Clayton soon feeds into the darkness and loses his heart, allying himself with the threatening Heartless. However, due to the efforts of Sora and Tarzan, Clayton is defeated and the jungle is saved. In gratitude, Kerchak leads the heroes to the world's Keyhole, which is meant to be sealed by Sora and co. Once that's done, they bid their farewells, and the journey continues.
He is voiced by Tony Goldwyn in English, and his Japanese voice is done by Jūrōta Kosugi.
He is one of two Disney stars to meet his author. The other is Ariel of The Little Mermaid. In both cases they meet them in their television series, made after the film they first appear in, and in each case they are unaware of the significance of the meeting.
When Tony Goldwyn was unable to provide a satisfactory version of the Tarzan yell, Brian Blessed, the voice of Clayton, stepped in and provided the yells for the film instead. Michael T. Weiss provides both Tarzan's regular speaking voice and Tarzan yell in The Legend of Tarzan.
Despite being taught English by English people, Tarzan speaks English with an American accent. Reportedly, Tony Goldwyn was originally meant to use an American accent when speaking with the gorillas and a British accent when speaking with humans in order to differentiate gorilla language and English, but the idea was dropped when Goldwyn could not pull off a convincing English accent.
He was once shown naked briefly in the episode "Tarzan and the Lost Cub", when a playful leopard cub ripped his loincloth after he and Jane landed safely on a tree branch from tree-surfing. An embarrassed Tarzan then covers his naked body with two leaves. That scene is very brief, lasting about 8–9 seconds of the episode, and we don't see his privates in that scene.
While Tarzan called Kala "Mother", he never called Kerchak "Father", since Kerchak didn't consider him his son.
Despite not appearing in the show itself, Tarzan was featured in some online games for the television series House of Mouse. However, Tantor made brief appearances in the show.
When Tarzan is fighting Sabor, during the moment when Tarzan is lying on his back and Sabor is lying on top of him, Tarzan has his legs bent (he lifts his belly/waist to try to lift Sabor) but in the next shot, despite the fact that we don't see his legs, Tarzan appears to be lying firmly on his back.
Tarzan evidently shows fear, as during his fight with Sabor, when Tarzan is backing away in the tree branches, if one listens past Tarzan's grunts and the branches snapping, they can hear Tarzan let out a deep, slight whimper.
He's also demonstrated fear in the scene that takes place on the boat, first when he realizes Clayton's men had taken the boat's crew members hostage and then went chasing after him (though this is mostly due to not expecting them to do that), and then moments after when he's holding onto the funnel's top before falling from there (probably due to being aware that he was having difficulties trying to climb it and he'd fall from unexpected heights).
According to the books, Tarzan's birthday is November 22 and he was born in the year 1888.