I am a long-term fan of ABC’s Once Upon A Time, having watched it since its debut on British television and I’ve loved it ever since. The clever mixture of various classic stories and characters with magic and family drama brings me back for every new season. The series has had its up and down per each season, but the introductions of new characters and worlds always makes me excited for what the show creators Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz will do with them. As long as we don’t have another “Dark Swann” arc. Seriously, what a waste of an opportunity. Yeah, I’m a bit touchy about the first half of the fifth season.
For those who aren’t fans, Once Upon A Time is centered around Storybrooke, Maine, actually a haven for fictional characters, who are actually real but live in alternate worlds. Just go with it. In the first season, our heroine Emma Swann was brought to town by her estranged son Henry to lift a curse on the town cast by his adoptive mother Regina, actually the Evil Queen. Emma has a very complicated family tree Emma succeeded and the following seasons have introduced all sorts of iconic characters and worlds, from Peter Pan to Dr. Frankenstein, the cast of Frozen, and a trip to the Greek Underworld. Where else can you find Snow White, Captain Hook, and the Wicked Witch of the West hanging out? Well, Fables, I guess, but that’s a whole different story.
During the fifth season’s cheesy finale, Snow, Prince Charming, Hook, and the Wicked Witch Zelena wound up in the Land of Untold Stories, a mishmash of iconic stories who apparently lack their own worlds. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde are both introduced and move to Storybrooke, Hyde revealing he is now the new owner of Storybrooke after making a deal with Rumplestiltskin (the town’s owner). Hyde reveals he brought some “friends” with him to town, meaning any notable story ever is now up for grabs and going to appear in the sixth season. But which characters? Well, here are eight potential character we’d like to have their stories told.
I thought it would make sense to start this list with a fairy tale character. The show has mostly covered all the majorly known fairy tales, but Goldilocks has yet to make an appearance. Most people know this story – a little girl breaks into a house owned by three bears to freeload on their stuff but is welcomed in by said bears rather than being mauled to death. One of my favourite stories as a child, I think Goldilocks would be more grey-coloured as a character, being openly immoral than say Snow White (though she’s murdered several people and harmed a baby). A potential idea I came up with is that she was raised by the bears and became a famous beast tamer, perhaps learning magic from Cruella De Vil to manipulate animals.
Ever since the second season where Frankenstein appeared in a black-and-white unnamed world, fans have clamoured for this land to be explored. Like many, I guess this is Transylvania, and what other famous horror icon dwells there? Count Dracula. The definitive icon of horror, the Count deserves to make an appearance in Storybrooke. Dr. Whale commented once that Charming wasn’t “[his] prince”, so perhaps he worships Dracula, who could be considered a prince of darkness. The charismatic but dangerous vampire roaming the streets of Storybrooke, turning into a bat, and trying to sire the ladies would be both creepy and entertaining to watch.
6. The Nome King
One of my gripes about this show is that it has a tendency to underplay the stories it uses and the Land of Oz falls into that category, with Zelena being the only focus. The books have such a vast if not bizarre cast of characters, though I suppose there in lies the problem since most are non-human and the show has a limited budget. One character that could be achieved with a little makeup is Ruggedo the Nome King. Those who have watched Return to Oz, will likely know him as the manipulative mountain king who wants to destroy Oz for stealing his earthly jewels to build the Emerald City. Though in the books he is more of a childish king, he is quite a powerful sorcerer, able to turn people into furniture, and has control over the earth itself. Now imagine if someone like him rolled into town. He could even give Rumple a run for his money.
5. Santa Claus
Yes, I want Santa in the show. There is so much you could do with jolly old St. Nick, and he does have a fascinating mythos beyond bringing presents to children once a year. There have been numerous looks on Santa’s origins and powers, from L. Frank Baum to Rise of the Guardians. Personally, I’d have the character more along the lines of a more enigmatic, otherworldly figure at first, similar to how Merlin was portrayed, then explore his backstory and the numerous elements of his mythology. Another idea is to introduce the Krampus, a demonic goat man who gives coal to misbehaving children in Austrian culture. The Krampus could be Santa’s dark side or literally bound to him, introducing an element of darkness to the iconic figure of joy and happiness.
4. Captain Nemo
In the fifth season finale, Henry glimpses numerous untold stories when he and his girlfriend find a hidden library in New York. Amongst the pages is a familiar submarine taking on a giant squid. We may get to see 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea told in Storybrooke. Obviously, how much they could do with the budget would be limited, but if Doctor Who can pull off a whole episode in a submarine, I’m sure Once Upon A Time can too. Captain Nemo is a complex character – an Indian prince, a scientific genius, a pirate and adventurer, with a hatred for the British Empire, and has the submarine Nautilus, which is an architect’s dream. Having such a multilayered anti-hero would be great fun. No doubt that Hook would have met him at some point.
3. Baba Yaga
Here’s a bit of a left fielder. Baba Yaga is a figure in Slavic folklore, appearing as an old crone who lives in the woods and travels around in her house which walks about on chicken legs. However, she is also a feared witch, floats around on a giant mortar and pestle, and is known to kidnap and eat children. That does sound both strange and similar to the Blind Witch in Hansel & Gretel, but I think Baba Yaga is a lot more sinister and perplexing. She can be either good or bad, known to help others or guide lost souls, or be a terrifying monstrous witch. I would like to see her appear as a creepy, inhuman-type character, willing to help both sides, and maybe imply of her preferred delicacies.
2. Tin Man
I am kinda nuts about The Wizard of Oz, so I had to put another character on this list. The Tin Man was the most obvious choice. You all know who he is and what he wants, but perhaps not his actual backstory – he was a normal woodcutter who was in love with the maid of the Wicked Witch of the East. They wanted to get married, but the witch prevented it by enchanting Tin Man’s axe to chop his body apart, and it was slowly replaced with his iconic metal form, but cost him his heart. This could make Tin Man a very tragic character, possibly connected to Zelena during her reign of terror in Oz, and showing that the witch isn’t out of the woods yet on her path to redemption.
If one character should be in Once Upon A Time, it should be Aladdin. The show has already covered quite a lot of the 1992 film including the Genie and Jafar as characters in the spin-off Once Upon A Time in Wonderland, but no sign of the street rat himself. Aladdin is a very good-willed character but is haunted by his own lack of self-value, believing it is easier to lie than be himself. Whether or not he would have a past with any of the numerous genies introduced in the show would be necessary for his own story. The events shown in Wonderland may make a direct adaptation of Aladdin’s story difficult, but perhaps with the confirmed debuts of Sinbad and Scheherazade in the sixth season, maybe Aladdin can finally get justice.
Which characters do you want to see appear or return to Once Upon A Time? How far a field should the writers go in terms of obscurity? Leave a comment below or on our Twitter feed.