Tarzan is the main protagonist of Disney's 1999 animated feature of the same name, its 2002 sequel, and 2005 midquel. He is the fifth Disney Adventurer. He was voiced by Tony Goldwyn as an adult and by Alex D. Linz as a child. In the 2001 television series the Legend of Tarzan, he was voiced by Michael T. Weiss and Harrison Chad in the midquel. Goldwyn also provided the voice for the first Kingdom Hearts game.
Tarzan is an extremely brave, loyal and honorable character. He cares deeply about his family and friends and was willing to risk his life to save them. He has also been known to be willing to rescue his enemies; an example of this was when Clayton was about to fall to his death and Tarzan exclaimed "Clayton! Clayton, don't!" and reached out to save him, even though Clayton had fatally wounded Kerchak and attempted to kidnap his whole gorilla family.
In his youth, Tarzan was playful and fun loving, but also felt like an outcast due to the fact that he was human. Until Jane Porter, her father and Clayton arrived he had never seen another human before and was therefore unaware of what species he was. And as an adult, he had matured into a more serious character but still displayed a playful and friendly side when around his family and friends. Tarzan was also very curious 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 curious 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. He was able to swing through the trees, hold things with his feet and had a good sense of hearing and smell. He frequently moved like a gorilla, walking on his knuckles but would walk upright at times too. He was an incredible fighter being able to hold his own against some of the jungles deadliest predator. One of Tarzan's most notable accomplishments was when he managed to kill Sabor a ferocious and powerful leopard who had killed his parents many years earlier. Tarzan often fought with a spear but would also commonly use his bare hands to defeat his opponents. He is also incredibly strong being able to pin down Kerchak and lift at least two fully grown humans at the same time without any apparent effort.
Tarzan's brown hair is styled in long dreadlocks. He wears almost no clothes. The only piece of clothing he wears is a tattered, brown loincloth around his waist. He wears his father's clothes once when he decides to go to England. His eyes are a light blue-green in color and his muscular body is tanned from living in the jungle all his life.
In the movie, Tarzan starts off as a baby who escapes a burning ship with his biological parents and lives in a treehouse (built by his parents) with his parents but later on, his parents are killed by Sabor the Leopard (Two Worlds). Luckily, the baby is rescued by a female gorilla named Kala who had lost her baby gorilla 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 (You'll Be In My Heart). A few years later, Tarzan grows into a boy and likes to tag along with his best friend, Terk and some other gorillas. One day, while tagging along, Terk tells Tarzan to get an elephant hair off an elephant tail (as a crazy joke to make Tarzan leave while Terk is busy with some other gorillas) to which Tarzan, unfortunately, jumps into the water and swims up to an elephant and grabs its tail causing the elephants to run wild and rush through the gorillas' territory. When Kerchak sees this, he scowls at Tarzan, who survived the stampede, met and befriended a young elephant named Tantor, and actually got the elephant hair, telling him that he will never be one of them. Disappointed and hurt by this, Tarzan runs down to the edge of the water and puts mud all over himself and then Kala shows up at night. Tarzan is encouraged by Kala that he's "not that different" at all.
During his entire teenage years, he grew up with continuous struggles to fit in with the gorillas; performing various monkey-like action and other animal actions such as picking fruit, learning other animal languages, fighting a snake, eating termites, etc. (Son of Man).
One day, as he is playing with Terk and Tantor, he hears a noise in the bush. As he comes close, it turns out to be Sabor. Kerchak fights and is injured by the leopard. Tarzan steps in and kills the leopard with Kala, Kerchak (in a way), Tantor, Terk and the entire gorilla pack cheering for his victory.
Almost instantly later, they hear a loud noise in the forest. While the other gorillas (and Tantor) run away, Tarzan-driven by his curiosity-decides to figure out the noise, which turns out to be a gunshot from Clayton-who is the bodyguard of the gorilla explorers pack of Jane Porter and her father, Professor Archimedes Q. Porter. Fascinated by them, due to the fact he's never seen another human being before, Tarzan spends some time (possibly a while) to spy on them without being noticed.
Later, Jane is drawing a picture of a baby baboon, the baboon likes it and takes it from her. When she tricks him to give the picture back, his crying angers a huge pack of baboons. Luckily, Tarzan comes to the rescue. After a number of events, when they're safe on the tree, Tarzan settles the chase, which is the first time the viewers saw the movie from the human angle (as the scene showed he was able to communicate with the baboons) by returning the drawing to the baby baboon. As Jane tries to leave, it's raining and they are forced into the shade of the big tree. When on the tree, he shows an extremely curiosity by her, does various of weird action (listens to her heartbeat, tickles her, touches her hand...). Finally, he has the ability to talk human as he said his name "Tarzan" (although how is not clear, as this name was given by Kala, which means, despite his parents could teach him English before they were killed, he logically can't say his name in English). After it stops raining, he carries Jane back to her camp. When Terk, younger gorillas, and Tantor are trashing the camp while making music (Trashin' the Camp), Tarzan steps in and solves the problem. Unfortunately, Kerchak appears and tells everyone to come back. Later, Kerchak warns everyone and Tarzan about the danger of humans. However, Tarzan disobeys and keeps returning to the camp
In the next morning, he jumps between Jane and Clayton's argument. Clayton, Jane and her father realize he is the perfect person to help them which their research. They teach him about human behaviours, English, as well as thing he's never seen before (city, astronomy...). During this time, he's starting to fall in love with Jane (Strangers Like Me). Although he refuses to lead the explorers to the gorilla nest, concerned about their safety. His affection towards Jane and weird actions (riding a bicycle, leaving early in the morning...) leave Kala and Terk concerned and feel left out.
As the explorers, unfortunately, are starting to return to England, Tarzan displays hurt, to one point even tries to convince Jane to stay with him. However, Clayton uses this situation as an advantage to his plans and misleads Tarzan into thinking that Jane would stay if he showed them the gorillas. Tarzan agrees and leads the party to the gorilla pack's home, while Terk and Tantor lure Kerchak away to avoid having him attack the humans. Jane and her father are excited to mingle with the gorillas. However, Kerchak returns and tries to attack them. Tarzan stops him to let the explorers to run away.
Back at the nest, Tarzan confronts Kerchak about the attack. Kerchak says he was trying to protect their family and confronts Tarzan's action as well, telling him that he has betrayed his family. While Tarzan's sitting on a tree, Kala comes near him. He says that he is so confused. Kala leads him to the old treehouse, tells him that she should've told him about it long ago and that she isn't his biological mother. He realizes that he was a human all along and, after Kala said that she'll be happy whatever makes him happy, dresses in his father's suit and follows the explorers to England. Before leaving, he says to Kala: "No matter where I go, you'll always be my mother" .
When he's on the ship, he is surprised to find that Clayton's men had captured the crew and that they were doing the same with Archimedes and Jane. The thugs try to capture him, but thanks to his agility he manages to avoid them by jumping on the cages and climbing the ship's mast. However, they weren't exactly slow, as one of them manages to grab him from his ankle and leave him hanging from the mast. After shaking him off, and seeing the rest of the thugs closing in on him, he makes a huge leap from the top of the mast towards the funnel's end, managing to hold onto it. Here is where his strength and his monkey-like acrobatics turned out useless, as his shoes would slip as he tried to climb up, while his hands would slowly slip away due to tiredness. This resulted in him falling from a great height, right into a pile of boxes. As soon as he crawled out of the remnants, two of the thugs grab him and slam him against the superstructure's wall; he then asks Clayton for help but Clayton reveals to him that he'll attack the gorilla's nest. He has him locked up in the ship, desperately trying to get out, at one point even shows aggression toward Jane when she tries to calm him down and realizes that Kerchak was right about him betraying his family. Ultimately, he is rescued by Terk and Tantor after they heard Tarzan's cry.
After being rescued, he returns to wear his usual clothes, rescues the gorilla pack and defeats Clayton's men, with the help of some more animals he summoned to help him in the rescue; including Terk and Tantor and Jane and her father. After the rescue, Clayton shoots Tarzan in one of his arms. When Kerchak sees this, he tries to rescue him but is unfortunately, shot by Clayton. Tarzan aggressively attacks him. Realizing he doesn't have the advantage as Clayton, he moves to a big tree, which lures Clayton to follow him. On the tree, he manages to breake Clayton's gun. Clayton says he has the advantage now and he should attack him, which Tarzan replies: "I'm not a man like you!", but Clayton manages to get a knife and attacks him. Tarzan manages to jump to nearby vines and ties Clayton up with them. Clayton aggressively rips them with his teeth and knife, without realizing one of them is hanging into his neck while the vine he is hanging on is weakening, just waiting to be ripped. Tarzan realizes this and tries to warn him. But Clayton falls and hangs to death, leaving Tarzan and the entire gorilla pack looking on in horror.
Tarzan moves toward a near-death Kerchak, whom telling him that he'll now lead the pack. Kerchak also tells him that he was wrong about him and that Tarzan has been a member of the pack all along. Kerchak, having finally accepted Tarzan as his son, then dies in the scene of heavy rain and the sadness of Jane, her father, Tarzan and the gorillas. Tarzan later yells his famous sound, indicates his leading to the gorillas.
The next day, after he has been bandaged from the gunshot, Tarzan stands on the beach, looks sadly as Jane and her father leave him. One of her gloves fly towards him, which only made him more depressed. After Jane realizes that she loves him, she jumps off the boat and runs toward him, much to his surprise and the two finally share a kiss. Later, Jane's father joins his daughter, telling the captain to tell everyone back in England that he never found them; "After all, people get lost in the jungle everyday," he says.
Finally, Tarzan is seen swinging with his wife, Jane, to a tree with his big family (including Jane's father, Kala, and Terk with Tantor as a little help) as the King of The Jungle.
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 & Jane
Tarzan appears as a party member in the first Kingdom Hearts game.
Tarzan first encounters Sora in his former treehouse home, being attacked by the leopard Sabor. Tarzan managed to chase off Sabor and became friends with Sora, through a difficult conversation due to Tarzan's limited vocabulary. Sora asks for Tarzan's help to locate Riku and Kairi, although Tarzan doesn't really understand. He leads Sora through the jungle's depths to an encampment where Sora meets Tarzan's friend, Jane, who is surprised to see Sora, and later Donald and Goofy. Clayton, a hunter whom Jane brought to the jungle, attempts yet again to persuade Tarzan to show them the location of the gorillas. Tarzan, however, cannot do it as the leader of the gorillas, Kerchak, is distrustful of the humans. At this point, Clayton has his heart taken by the Heartless and he falls into darkness. Sabor attacks Sora and Tarzan again, but they kill him.
Jane and Terk are briefly kidnapped by Clayton, but are saved shortly after by the Keyblade bearer. Unfortunately, Clayton and his gang of Heartless have now captured all the gorillas so that Clayton can shoot them. Sora and Tarzan intervene and the gorillas escape. Clayton and a large Heartless named Stealth Sneak fight Sora, Tarzan, Donald and Goofy, but they are defeated (Clayton being crushed by the Heartless). Tarzan seems to be able to tell that Clayton is no longer human, and expresses his discovery immediately before the fight. Grateful for their rescue, the gorillas show Sora and the others the location of the world's Keyhole. Jane then figures out what Tarzan's continuous grunting means: Friends in the heart (the word heart is subtitled in punctuation symbols).
Tarzan appears in various Disney parks. Though an uncommon walkaround character these days (mainly due to the fact that he is shirtless), he does have the Tarzan's Treehouse attraction at Disneyland and Hong Kong Disneyland as well as appearing in various shows inspired by the film. At Tokyo DisneySea, Tarzan appears in the park's version of Fantasmic!, swinging on vines with Jane in projected footage during the jungle sequence.
- Tarzan is similar to Mowgli from The Jungle Book
- Both live in the jungle, wear loincloths, and are raised by animals.
- Tarzan is one of the most muscular Disney heroes alongside others in the likes of Hercules and Li Shang in terms of physique, since living in the African jungle had built up his growing body from childhood to manhood.
- Similar to Pocahontas, Tarzan doesn't speak and understand the human English speaking tongue, but eventually comes to uttering his first words when in close contact with their eventual love interest, who are both from England.
- Tarzan is the only Disney hero to wield a spear, and have a 'dreadlock' hair style type.
- At the end of "You will be in my heart" (shortly after Tarzan is adopted by Kala), a woman's voice can be heard softly whispering "Always...". This could be interpreted to be the spirit of Tarzan's mother, noting her undying love for her son.
- In the book by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Tarzan's real name is John Clayton III. In the film, Tarzan's real name is never addressed, but the villain is named John Clayton. Though Clayton is not Tarzan's father, the identical name implies a possible blood relationship between Clayton and Tarzan's father, who is also named John Clayton.
- Also in the book Tarzan and Jane have a son named Korak, also known as Jack Clayton or John 'Jack' Paul Clayton IV.
- Tarzan 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.
- 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.
- In The Legend of Tarzan episode, British Invasion, it is made clear that Tarzan knows his parents were killed by Sabor when explaining to Jane's friends that he never got to know them. He goes on to tells them that they were killed in the Treehouse (where himself, Jane, and her friends were having tea at the time) and even points out the location of where their bodies used to be.
- Tarzan bears resemblance to Beast's human form since both of them are animated by Glen Keane.
- Tarzan never called Kerchak Father since Kerchak didn't consider him his son.
- Tarzan is in his early 20's.
- 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.
- Tarzan's story is similar to Aladar's story: both have adopted families and lose their biological parents.