After seven months of twisty plotting, sly Lost references, and much-improved CGI sets, the first chapter of Once Upon a Time ends tonight. Before the finale, EW interviewed both the charming Josh Dallas and the show’s executive producers – and according to their teases, we’re in for a giant game-changer that will forever alter lives in both Storybrooke and Fairy Land.
But even though I’m itching to know whether Emma will finally start believing in the curse and how the dearly departed Sheriff Skinnyjeans will factor into tonight’s episode, I’d like to table those questions and look even further ahead. Specifically, let’s talk about which fairy tale characters and creatures might appear in Once’s second year.
Okay, point of clarification: The stories that inspire Once Upon a Time aren’t all technically fairy tales. The Genie who would become Once’s Magic Mirror comes from the French translation of One Thousand and One Nights. Pinocchio, Jiminy Cricket, and the Mad Hatter were born in famous children’s novels. King Midas is a creature of Greek mythology. Basically, any fantastical tale that’s a) in the public domain or b) the muse for a Disney movie is fair game on this show – meaning that anyone from Jack (of beanstalk fame) to the Aristocats could show up in season 2.
So where might Once Upon a Time look for some sophomore-season inspiration?
We already know about at least one character in the pipeline: Ariel from The Little Mermaid. Exec producers Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz told EW in November that they had a “really exciting idea” for how to weave the rebellious sea maiden into their narrative, but that they weren’t sure whether they’d introduce her in season 1 or 2. I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled for her and her dingle-hopper come fall – especially if, as rumored, she’s played by Privileged alum JoAnna Garcia.
Kitsis and Horowitz also revealed that due to rights issues, Peter Pan and Captain Hook probably won’t appear on Once anytime soon. (The story of who owns J. M. Barrie’s characters is kind of ridiculously complicated.) But another children’s classic seems ripe for Once – The Wizard of Oz, which also happens to be the source material for an upcoming Disney movie. Eagle-eyed viewers may have noticed that when the Mad Hatter took Regina to the universe’s crossroads, one of the doors in that in-between room looked as if it might lead to Oz. I can’t be the only one who wants to see Regina go head to head with the Wicked Witch of the West, right?
And speaking of evil – even though this wouldn’t technically be new ground, I hope that Sleeping Beauty gets the full Once treatment next year. We saw far too little of Kristin Bauer’s Maleficent this season, and I’m sure the show’s writers could find a way to twist the tale so that its heroine isn’t so passive. (Maybe Aurora sleep-fights!)
Which tales do you think will get integrated into Once’s second season? Perhaps more importantly, which Disney movies and classic sagas do you think should appear on the show? (On my wish list: Robin Hood, Mulan, the story of The Nutcracker – hello, Christmas episode! – and the 12 Dancing Princesses. For whatever reason, that’s always been my favorite Grimm fairy tale.)