Biologically active natural products composed of fascinatingly complex structures are often regarded as not amenable to traditional systematic structure-function studies enlisted in medicinal chemistry for the optimization of their properties beyond what might be accomplished by semisynthetic modification. Herein, we summarize our recent studies on the Vinca alkaloids vinblastine and vincristine, often considered as prototypical members of such natural products, that not only inspired the development of powerful new synthetic methodology designed to expedite their total synthesis but have subsequently led to the discovery of several distinct classes of new, more potent, and previously inaccessible analogues. With use of the newly developed methodology and in addition to ongoing efforts to systematically define the importance of each embedded structural feature of vinblastine, two classes of analogues already have been discovered that enhance the potency of the natural products >10-fold. In one instance, remarkable progress has also been made on the refractory problem of reducing Pgp transport responsible for clinical resistance with a series of derivatives made accessible only using the newly developed synthetic methodology. Unlike the removal of vinblastine structural features or substituents, which typically has a detrimental impact, the additions of new structural features have been found that can enhance target tubulin binding affinity and functional activity while simultaneously disrupting Pgp binding, transport, and functional resistance. Already analogues are in hand that are deserving of full preclinical development, and it is a tribute to the advances in organic synthesis that they are readily accessible even on a natural product of a complexity once thought refractory to such an approach.