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"You don't get an opinion, because you're not even supposed to be playing."
— Danny, sarcastically to Peter

Daniel "Danny" Van Zandt (born 1990) was a Canadian student who attended Degrassi Community School. He was a member of the Class of 2008. Danny is the younger brother of Liberty Van Zandt, best friend of J.T. Yorke (prior to his death) and ex-best friends with Derek Haig, although they would reconcile in Season 8. He is now best friends with Sav Bhandari, Jane Vaughn, and Peter Stone. He is also friends with Anya MacPherson, Mia Jones, Chantay Black and Spinner Mason. He was the former quarterback for the Degrassi Football Team. Danny was portrayed by Dalmar Abuzeid.

Character History

Season 4

Danny with his sister Liberty.

Danny was first introduced as Liberty's annoying, immature brother and eventually becomes one of J.T.'s best friends. Liberty, begins a relationship with J.T. Yorke, but Danny and J.T. are friends. Danny is mad at J.T. for dating his sister and he thinks J.T. isn't good enough for Liberty. Danny said, "She's the smartest person in the school and you don't even have an IQ! You don't deserve her." This leads to a physical fight between Danny and J.T. which the former loses when he is pushed to the ground, hitting his head. When Liberty sees that her brother was bleeding as a result of the fight, she gets furious with J.T. and refuses to speak to him. However, she is also clearly angry at Danny and she blames him for wrecking her relationship due to his "stupid boy-crush". Danny feels bad, so he arranges for J.T. to come to their house the following morning before school. While Liberty and J.T. are presumably talking, Danny had to distract his father to keep him from catching Liberty and J.T. together as she was forbidden to date at the time. Once his father was out of sight, Danny turns around to see that J.T. and Liberty reconciled by sharing a passionate kiss.

Season 5

Danny in season 5

Danny was the second one to find out that J.T. got Liberty pregnant, after Toby. He gets mad at J.T. and is determined to make J.T. pay for his mistakes. He does that by making J.T. do his homework (including taking care of a baby for family planning). Later, Danny realizes that he should be supportive and does so. The baby ends up being a boy. Danny never gets to see the baby in person, since Liberty had him during school hours, so it is hinted while they were at the hospital, Danny was in school. Sometime in between Liberty's pregnancy, Danny also becomes good friends with Derek.

When Derek goes over Danny's house to be tutored by Liberty, Danny orders a pizza. While Liberty and Derek are alone, he asks if she ever thought about keeping her baby. She takes the innocent question too personally, and orders Derek out of the house, leaving Derek confused what had happened between them. He later reveals that he asked the question because he was adopted himself. Later on, Derek suggests that J.T. and Liberty make a treasure box of personal items to send to her baby to see in the future. Liberty likes the idea and agrees. She then asks both Danny and Derek to put some things inside, so the baby would know he had lots of good people supporting him.

Season 6

During his junior year, Danny and Derek were verbally bullied by their history teacher Mr. Perino. When Danny recites his presentation on World War II, Mr. Perino said that the assignment was to write a summary in his own words. He then accuses him of plagiarizing. Derek angrily asks why Mr. Perino was being so mean and harsh, to which he responds for them to both redo the project together. Later on, Mr. Perino threatens Derek and tells him to treat him with respect. Derek does not inform Danny or anyone about this.

After Danny and Derek recite their presentation on the United Nations, he calls on another student to present his presentation. Mr. Perino accuses the student of incompetency and makes inappropriate remarks when the student admits he wasn't prepared right away. Once again, Derek asks why he has to be so mean, Mr. Perino ignores him and asks everyone if they have a presentation or if he could just keep handing out zeros. Derek then sees Mr. Simpson in the hallway. He then walks out and tells Mr. Simspon about what just happened and about the previous incidents. It is implied that Mr. Perino is confronted, but not fired, as he is seen in later episodes. Danny was proud of Derek for being brave and standing up to Mr. Perino.


Derek and Danny were also somewhat responsible for the eventual death of J.T. After overhearing Toby quietly talking about a small party at Emma's house for Liberty's birthday, Derek and Danny spread the word to everyone at Degrassi, which soon lead to people outside of the school finding out, including Lakehurst. Derek was also seen at J.T.'s memorial service alongside Danny later in the season.


Season 7

Peter, believing that him and Darcy had sex and not knowing what to do or who to tell, tells Danny and Derek. Since they can never keep a secret, they end up telling the whole school. Danny gets into a fight with Lucas (a Lakehurst student) because Lucas insults J.T. by saying J.T. "asked for it" (the stabbing). After the fight, Derek and Danny get into an argument in Media Immersion, causing Darcy to tell them to be quiet. Mr. Simpson over hears and they all get detention.

Danny, Peter, and Sav practicing their band Stüdz.

Later in the year Peter, Danny, Derek, and Lakehurst's Rachel work together on a "How to" video. Both Danny and Derek like Rachel and after she rejects Derek she asks Danny out.

Derek comes over the next day saying that they need to "dump" Rachel because she rejected Derek. Derek then realizes after both Danny and Rachel have turtle neck sweaters on and then sees Danny's hickie and then claims that Danny "stole" Rachel from Derek ending their friendship. Derek tries to get even with Danny by putting panties into Danny's bag, making it look like he was going to steal them.

Later on, when Danny and Rachel leave the store, Danny's bag is checked by the racist sells clerk and she finds the panties. He and Rachel make a run for it which gets Rachel upset. Later once Derek finds out that the woman was racist, he feels bad, remakes the video and ends up apologizing to him in front of the class in the project.

Danny, Peter, Spinner, and Sav form a band called Stüdz, who first were a mystery band because Spinner did not want to be seen in public with them but eventually they were founded out about. They also performed during the 24-Hour Fast at school.

Season 8

In Uptown Girl (1) and Uptown Girl (2), now a senior, Danny is the quarterback for the Degrassi Football Team and begins to show interest in Mia after they do a fashion show together. They approach the beginnings of a relationship, but when new girl Leia informs Danny that Mia slept with football star Tom Blake to become the new T'Bombz girl, he breaks it off with her before it even starts.

Throughout the season Danny is seen being a friend to Peter, Sav, and Spinner. He is seen talking and giving advice or just practicing and playing in his band.

Danny in season 8.

In Bad Medicine, Danny hooks Derek and Leia up, after Derek tells him that he likes her. Danny asks Leia about giving Derek a chance, and she says yes, but only if he interrupts their date to save her. Danny agrees, but also realizes that he likes her but wouldn't feel right betraying Derek. He is also caught with the idea that Leia likes Derek after seeing them on their date, which coincidentally Derek and Leia were talking about Danny. Danny is then caught by Derek watching and staring at Leia while she ballet dances in the gym. For this reason, Derek gives Danny permission to go after Leia knowing that he secretly likes her, which also rekindles the two's friendship. Danny and Leia then discuss what happen, and share a kiss.

In Jane Says (1), Leia feels as if she doesn't fit in with Danny's friends. When trying to be pushy and get in with them, she gets invited to a sleepover at Peter's with Danny and all of his friends. She feels awkward when Mia is there, Leia tells him the story. Danny feels sorry for her. While, at the party/sleepover Leia feels weird and uncomfortable. While playing charades Leia feels as if she'll have to lie. Leia sees a book with an ad for a "Fall Out Boy Concert". Leia lies and says that she knows Fall Out Boy personally. Her dad a musical producer/director (not really), is their producer and they used to sing her lullabies. Everyone is impressed, Peter takes Danny in the back and tells him that Leia is kind of weird. He doesn't think she knows Fall Out Boy. Later on, Danny asks Leia about getting them tickets. She says, she could. They go to the concert and she tries to get tickets for them. The guy says stop acting and scramble.

Everyone is mad at Leia for lying at something like that, including Danny. Peter tells Danny that he was right. Danny feels sorry that he didn't believe him. Towards the end of the show, Leia and Danny are seen eating at The Dot, Danny tells her he doesn't understand why she had lied to all of them. She, tells him about the friend situation. Danny tells her that people would truly like her for who she is, and that she doesn't have to change or lie for people. Plus, that he likes her a lot. Leia apologizes, and everything is fine again.

Season 9

In Just Can't Get Enough, Danny is worried about Peter's drug problem.

In You Be Illin', Danny addresses to Peter that he is kicked out of the band. Peter is upset so he tries to do things for them, but it doesn't work. Danny ends up telling him that they'll always be friends, but now is not the time. He could be their roadie and eat with them after the concerts and practices. Peter is happy and him and Danny are cool again.

Danny ignoring Leia

In Waiting for a Girl Like You, Leia confides in Chantay about her rocky relationship with Danny, Chantay suggests she break up with him to make him want to win her back. She has ulterior motives in this, however, as she has been harboring a big crush on him for a while. When Danny doesn't ask her back and instead turns his interests to Chantay, she feels conflicted as

Danny and Chantay watch Leia

she wants to be his girlfriend but doesn't want to betray Leia as a friend. She tells Danny the whole truth behind the break-up and that he should get back with Leia, but it turns out he wasn't happy and wanted to get out of it anyway. Danny and Chantay decide that after an acceptable waiting period, the two of them will start dating.

In Holiday Road, him and Chantay go on their first real date. But, when he wants to have the bill paid fairly, Chantay thinks it's weird and she posts on the Anti-Grapevine that he is basically cheap. Danny is upset and wants to break up with Chantay. She doesn't understand why, he tells her about the Anti-Grapevine post and she tells him that she just posted that to get feedback. She doesn't really think that she was wrong, and she tells him that he is going to have to get used to her gossiping ways.

Danny understands this and he apologizes for getting so rude. He was just really upset that people were laughing at him and making fun of him for liking things his way. Later, he takes her on a proper date and this time he doesn't make her pay as much, they pay properly.

In Start Me Up, Danny is happy that Peter is back in the band. They rename it Janie and The Studs featuring Peter Stone.

Danny and Chantay dancing together at prom.

In Why Can't This Be Love? (1), Danny tries to give advice to Sav about making the right choices and decisions. He goes shopping for tuxs at Degrassi with Peter, and Sav. He goes to prom with Chantay and they dance like mad fools.

In Innocent When You Dream, Danny participates in the making of the House Arrest music video to help Sav forget about his break up with Anya.

In Keep On Loving You, Danny doesn't like watching his girlfriend Chantay kiss Peter in the play. He feels that if he lets them kiss in the play they might develop feelings for one another. Danny approaches Peter and tells him that he shouldn't get to into the kiss because Chantay is his and he doesn't like other guys falling all over her. Peter explains to Danny that he doesn't enjoy the kiss because he knows they're not dating, they're just acting. But, Peter also explained that he didn't like it when another guy at a photo shoot was falling all over Mia. So, they get a plan. Since, Danny was coming down with a cough/cold Peter and Danny switch water bottles, so Peter will get sick and not have to kiss Chantay.

But, when Chantay comes over and asks to have a drink cause she is exhausted she drinks Danny's sick bottle that Peter was holding. Chantay explains to Danny that she knows he's sick so she doesn't want to drink his water bottle (when she really did). The next day which is the day of the play Chantay gets sick and can't act. Jane fills in for her, Chantay is mad because her family is there to see her, and she is more mad when she finds out what Danny and Peter did. Later on, Danny and Peter have an encore presentation of the play at "Above The Dot" with Chantay in it, so her family could see.

In Degrassi Takes Manhattan, Danny graduates from Degrassi, and jokes to Johnny about being an honor roll student. He discusses about the band's future with Sav, Jane, Spinner, and Peter. At the end of the movie, he is seen with Liberty and Sav at Spinner and Emma's wedding. It is revealed that he was accepted into Cornell University.


Season 10

In I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself (1), Danny along with Blue can be seen behind Sav in photo during the presentation he is giving to his father.


Season 4

Season 5

Season 6

Season 7

Season 8

Season 9


  • His best friend in the show, Sav, is his actor's best friend in real life.
  • He appeared in 20 episodes in Season 8, more than any other character in that season.
  • He was very involved in the Degrassi/Lakehurst war.
  • He was the first younger sibling of a regular to appear as a regular later on in the series.
  • He and his sister, Liberty, were both secretary of the student council at some point.
  • He was babysat by Manny as a kid.
  • He was Degrassi's first Quarterback.
  • He was still Chantay's boyfriend when his time on the show came to end, though it remains uncertain if they are to be considered "endgame" or not.
  • He and Derek went after the same girl twice, with Danny ultimately winning the girl's affection both times.
  • He was the third character to be the mascot for the Power Squad, the others being Derek, Tori, Zig and J.T.
  • He was the fourth of six characters to blackmail another person. He blackmailed J.T. Yorke to help him pass a parenting class. The first person was Arthur Kobalewscuy, who blackmailed his sister into letting his friend copy her school papers. The second person was Joey Jeremiah who blackmailed Dwayne Myers for $314. The third person was Peter Stone who attempted to blackmail Manny Santos for a new video camera. The fifth person was Derek Haig who blackmailed Darcy Edwards for $20.00 to not show anyone her racy pictures that he obtained from hacking her MyRoom page account. The sixth person was Jimmy Brooks, who blackmailed his father Jermaine Brooks for stem cell surgery.
  • He is one of many present and former Degrassi students who don't go by their full name. The others being:
  • Prior to Ghost in the Machine (1), it was never mentioned that Liberty had a brother.
  • He is known to hold grudges.



Main article: Danny-Rachel Relationship
  • Rachel
    • Start Up: Got My Mind Set On You (715)
    • Broke Up: Got My Mind Set On You (715)
      • Reason: Rachel thought Danny stole the clothes, but stayed friends with him after Derek confessed to the class that he slipped the clothes in Danny's bag and apologized to Danny.
Main article: Danny-Mia Relationship
Main article: Danny-Leia Relationship
  • Leia Chang
    Tumblr l5d736fHp21qc1k3q.jpg
    • Start Up: Bad Medicine (810)
    • Break Up: Waiting for a Girl Like You (909)
      • Reason: Leia thought that Danny didn't like her anymore and broke up with him, taking Chantay's advice that Danny would come back and their relationship would spice up.
Main article: Danny-Chantay Relationship
  • Chantay Black
    • Start Up: Waiting for a Girl Like You (909)
    • It is unknown if he and Chantay are still together, as they are no longer in the series, and their relationship was never mentioned after Danny departed the series.


Friendships Relationships Conflicts Attractions Love Triangles Siblings
Danny-Sav Friendship Danny-Rachel Relationship J.T.-Danny Conflict Danny-Manny Attraction Danny-Derek-Rachel Love Triangle Liberty-Danny (Siblings)
Danny-Jane Friendship Danny-Mia Relationship Danny-Derek Conflict Danny-Derek-Leia Love Triangle
Danny-Derek Friendship Danny-Leia Relationship Danny-Leia-Chantay Love Triangle
Peter-Danny Friendship Danny-Chantay Relationship
Danny-Anya Friendship
J.T.-Danny Friendship
Danny-Spinner Friendship
Danny-Mia Friendship
v - e - d

Degrassi: The Next Generation Main Characters

AlexAlliAnyaAshleyBlueBruceCaitlinChantayClareConnorCraigDamianDannyDarcyDaveDeclanDerekEllieEmmaFionaHatzilakosHazelHolly J.J.T.JaneJayJennaJimmyJoeyJohnnyK.C.KellyLeiaLibertyMannyMarcoMiaPaigePeterRaditchRileySavSeanSnakeSpikeSpinnerTerriToby