Lord Farquaad torturing Gingy in the first Shrek film
|Last appearance||Shrek 4-D (real last appearance), Shrek Forever After (flashback scene, shared with Shrek the Third)|
|Voiced by||John Lithgow|
Lord Farquaad in the Shrek films
Lord Farquaad is the comically short-in-stature, ruthless ruler of Duloc. Several times in the film it is commented that, in his capital city Duloc's towering height, Farquaad may be compensating for something. His birthday is April 15.
In his pursuit of perfection, Farquaad attempts to rid his Kingdom of Fairy Tale creatures, offering a bounty for their capture and then exiling imprisoned creatures to Shrek's swamp. However, because Farquaad is not of royal stock, he cannot become a king until he marries a princess. He decides that Princess Fiona will be the perfect wife and queen, but she first must be rescued from her tower which is guarded by a fire-breathing dragon.
Unwilling to perform the rescue himself, Farquaad holds a tournament to discover the knight who will rescue Princess Fiona. Shrek and Donkey arrive at Duloc during the tourney and become involved. They defeat the knights, so Farquaad decides to send Shrek on the quest. Farquaad agrees to move the Fairy Tale creatures out of Shrek's swamp if he rescues Fiona. Shrek delivers Fiona to Farquaad and Farquaad immediately proposes marriage, unaware that she becomes an ogress at sunset. Shrek disrupts the marriage ceremony, delaying a kiss between Farquaad and Fiona until after sunset. Fiona makes the transition from human to ogress form, upon which Farquaad rejects his new bride, banishing her back to the tower and claiming the title of King. He also sentences Shrek to death at that time. Before Farquaad finishes his claim of becoming the new King, the dragon who had guarded Fiona, and who developed a crush on Donkey while Fiona was being rescued from her castle, crashes through the window in response to a beckoning whistle from Shrek. She then devours Farquaad. Moments later the dragon burps and Farquaad's crown comes out. Farquaad was apparently not well-liked in Duloc; when he is eaten, the citizens laugh and cheer.
It is then implied that he is dead when he enters as a ghost in the Shrek 4-D ride at Universal Studios. He also appears as a ghost in the 30 min Shrek Special on Nick in which he attempts to murder Shrek and Donkey, and kidnap and kill Fiona so that she can be his ghost queen. Princess Fiona is rescued when Lord Farquaad is presumably destroyed by the Dragon again.
Lord Farquaad makes a cameo appearance in Shrek the Third during Gingy the Gingerbread Man's flashbacks, in which Farquaad yanks off Gingy's legs and mocks Gingy with them. This is a reference to the first Shrek film.
He was originally intended to appear in the alternate universe (in which he would still be alive due to Dragon still being evil and not eating him), but the decision was apparently dropped.
Lord Farquaad also makes a cameo during the ending credits of Shrek Forever After.
Despite being eaten by Dragon in the first film, Lord Farquaad plays a fairly major role in the made-for-TV Halloween special, Scared Shrekless. Shrek challenges his friends to spend Halloween night in Farquaad's haunted castle, Duloc. The three little pigs note that Duloc was where Farquaad lived and died. Later on, Shrek also mentions how Donkey played a role in the death of Farquaad.
In other media
Outside of the film series, Farquaad appears in the Universal Studios Theme Parks ride Shrek 4-D and its comic book adaptation by Dark Horse Comics. In the series, Farquaad returns as a ghost, with plans to make Fiona his Queen of the Underworld so that he will be King of the Underworld. However, he is once again defeated, only to reappear in the second issue; this time, he orders a man named Ferret and his hitman Thelonius to kill Shrek, who at the moment is investigating a foul-smelling gingerbread house. Farquaad's appearance here is comparatively minor. He does not appear in the third and final issue, save for a brief mention. Farquaad again appeared as an evil spirit in the Game Boy Advance game Shrek: Reekin' Havoc, in which he made evil copies of fairy tale characters such as Pinocchio, the Big Bad Wolf, Peter Pan, and a giant from the world of Jack and the Beanstalk. After these bosses are defeated, he kidnaps Shrek before the final face-off. He also makes a cameo in "Shrek Smash and Crash" as a ghost. He also appears in the iPhone game "Shrek Kart" as a playable character called "Ghost of Lord Farquaad".
In the original Broadway production of Shrek the Musical, the role was played by Tony Award nominee Christopher Sieber. Since Sieber is approximately 6'2", he played the role on his knees, to give the illusion that he is really 4'2". He did, however, walk and stand for the curtain call. He earned his second Tony nomination for this part.
Though the film and musical are similar in many ways, Farquaad in the musical is more flamboyant and fun-loving, less subtle, and even more conceited.
Instead of holding a tournament, a raffle drawing is held to pick the knight to rescue Fiona with an extravagant song and dance number starring Farquaad and the Duloc Dancers called "What's Up Duloc". In one Broadway parody moment in the show, he ascends a tower at the end and imitates the end of Defying Gravity from the musical Wicked.
In the second act he is seen playing a lampoon of Space Invaders on the Magic Mirror while taking a bubble bath. His past (which was never brought up in the movie) and the reason for his hatred for "that fairy tale trash" is elaborated on in his other song, "The Ballad of Farquaad". It turns out his father was one of Snow White's dwarfs, and his mother was the princess from "The Princess and the Pea", who left her crown behind so she could marry him. Unfortunately, she was so sensitive that she had to sleep on 25 mattresses and "one night she rolled over...and Mama was gone".
Farquaad claims that his father abandoned him in the woods as a child (similar to Shrek and Fiona's tales of being sent away by their own parents as children in the musical); however, when the fairy tale creatures crash his wedding to protest their banishment and bring along his father, it is revealed that he was kicked out because "you were 28 and living in my basement". After his humiliation, Fiona is transformed and the show continues in the same way as the movie with Farquaad proclaiming himself king and then the Dragon smashing through the window and kills him with her fire breath instead of devouring him.
Sieber played the role for the duration of the Broadway run. The show then embarked on a First National Tour, in which Todd Buonopane was cast as Farquaad. However, he was replaced by David F.M. Vaughn in previews, the night before the tour opened. Nigel Harman played the role in London's West End beginning in May 2011.
The inspiration debate
There is some speculation that Lord Farquaad's appearance may be inspired by Michael Eisner, the then-CEO of The Walt Disney Company, owing to producer Jeffrey Katzenberg's animosity toward his former employer. Others have noted a resemblance to Richard III of England. The name Farquaad is thought to be a way to get away with saying "fuckwad" in a children's film. Farquaad happens to be similar to the surname of film animator Mark Farquhar.
- "'Shrek the Musical' at Cadillac Palace Theatre: Singing 'Shrek' has more heart in Chicago". Chicago Tribune. 25 July 2010.
- Christopher Tookey (29 June 2001). "Shrek (Cert U)". Mail Online. Retrieved 5 February 2013.
- Bradshaw, Peter (29 June 2001). "Shrek". The Guardian (London).
- http://archive.is/20120907180451/http://www.pitch.com/2001-05-17/film/under-ogre Pitch.com
- Orlando Parfitt (12 November 2009). "Top 15 Fantasy Villains". IGN. Retrieved 2 February 2011.