Rumpelstiltskin (Rumpel for short) is the secondary antagonist of the DreamWorks animated Shrek franchise, serving as a unseen antagonist in Shrek, a minor antagonist in Shrek the Third, the main antagonist of Shrek Forever After and a cameo antagonist in Donkey's Caroling Christmas-tacular and Thriller Night.
He is a very evil short man who makes magical transactions with people, claiming to solve all their problems, but when the people sign the deal they find that they have signed their life over to Rumpel. However, Donkey claims that there is an escape clause in the contracts; in the case of Shrek's contract, sharing true love's kiss would break the contract. Rumpel appeared later in in shorts like Thriller Night and Donkey's Shrekakular Christmas Holiday. He's voiced by Walt Dohrn.
Shrek Forever After
In the beginning set during the events of the first film, he lives in what appears to be a trailer park, where the King and Queen of Far Far Away visit him in the hopes that he can help free Fiona from her curse. Before they can sign the contract, it is revealed that Fiona has been rescued by Shrek and thus Rumpel's help is no longer needed. Furious, he wishes that Shrek never existed. Later, it is seen that he still lives a scavenger-like lifestyle, when he is caught eating out of the bins of a restaurant. Overhearing Fiona and Shrek's argument (which resulted in Shrek wishing he was a 'real' ogre again), he sets up a trap to lure Shrek into a conversation and ultimately signing a deal where he can be a 'real' ogre for one day in exchange for any day from his past. Rumpel chooses the day Shrek was born, attempting to erase him from the timeline. In the alternate future, Rumpelstiltskin is now king of Far Far Away (as the former King and Queen signed the original contract to make their "problems disappear", leading they themselves to vanish). He is shown to be a selfish king, as he owns a large and lavish castle, while the rest of the land is barren and dull. He spends much of his reign trying to capture the ogres, for which he hires the Pied Piper's assistance. Determined to capture Shrek, he offers the 'Deal of a Lifetime' as a reward for anyone who can bring him to the castle. Turning himself in, Shrek uses the reward to free the other ogres, much to Rumpel's relief (he earlier threatened that Shrek could not use the deal to get his old life back). Rumpel attempts to provoke a fight between Fiona, Shrek, and Dragon, whom he had been keeping locked in his castle. Rumpel's alternative universe ultimately ends when he is apprehended by an ogre, and Fiona and Shrek share True Love's Kiss; breaking his contract and causing Rumpel to fall into the abyss. His death in the alternate universe seemed to have no effect on the original one, as at the end credits he is locked in a cage.
Donkey's Christmas Shrektacular
In the short, he appears briefly in his cage.
Donkey - "Hey Shrek, Check it out! I found a real Christmas elf in the goal cage"
Rumpelstiltskin - "I'm not an elf, I'm Rumpelstiltskin. Now get me out of this cage!"
Donkey - " Oh, So you can run away yet? I don't think so!"
Shrek's Yule Log
In the short, he appears briefly with a bucket of water which he is about chuck on the fireplace, but Shrek stops him.
- A running gag in the fourth movie is the inability for other characters to remember/pronounce his name.
- Paul McCartney, David Morrissey and Tom Cruise were rumored to voice Rumpelstiltskin.
- Rumpelstiltskin is the only Shrek villain known not to die, although whether Prince Charming survives or not is unknown.
- He is the second villain of the Shrek franchise, whom is small, after Farquaad.
- In the Shrek Forever After Soundtrack, he runs a radio show which takes place after the events in the film.
- King Harold said he was recommended by King Midas. It's a reference to the short film "The Golden Touch", in which an elf named Goldie made a pact with greedy King Midas. Rumpel has some slight resemblance to Goldie.
Similarities to other characters
- Rumpelstiltskin is similar to Pitch from Rise Of The Guardians, as both
- Consider that the bad actions have been committed by the protagonist (this, is a way, being true) and that nothing is their fault.
- Have killed a protagonist (King Harold and Queen Lillian in Rumpelstiltskin's case; Sandy in Pitch's case) who was resurrected at the end.
- Rumpelstiltskin is also similar to Capitaine Chantel DuBois from Madagascar 3 as both:
- Show hatred, and great pleasure in capturing, a certain group of living beings whom the protagonist is part of (Ogres in Rumpelstiltskin's case and animals in DuBois' case)
- Have survived great falls (Rumpelstiltskin fell off Fifi but was caught by Fiona, DuBois' skills permit her to do so)
- Could have been killed by a supporting protagonist but weren't (Rumpelstiltskin could have eaten by the ogres, but Shrek's disappearance distracted them; Mort could have loaded a poison dart in DuBois' tranquilizer but chose not to)
- Have found themselves in an unwanted predicament (Rumpelstiltskin was locked in a cage by Shrek; DuBois was shipped to Madagascar (strangely enough exactly what happened to the zoo animals in the first film of the Madagascar franchise) )
- Are the main antagonist of the last film in their franchise before a spin-off film.