‘Once Upon a Time’ Disney and the Land of Untold Stories [Part One]

Once Upon a Time

Fans around the world are serious about their fandom when it comes to the television series “Once Upon a Time.” The show originally premiered on Oct. 23, 2011, on ABC Sundays at 8:00 p.m. ET/7:00 p.m. CT. The storyline unfolds in the fictional town Storybrooke, Maine, where residents from different Disney fairy tales have been transported to the real world. All but the Evil Queen are robbed of their memories by a powerful curse enacted by the Queen herself.

Episodes from “Once Upon a Time” feature the primary stories of the people in Storybrooke, with flashbacks from another time in the different lives of characters, before the curse was set forth. The beauty of the television show is the way it is written. Not everything, one might remember about their favorite fairy tale, is as it seems in this series. From the beginning, fans see how Kitsis and Edward have begun to intertwine the fairy tale characters into families no one would have ever thought to do.

‘Once Upon a Time’ Meets the Charming’s in Storybrook, Maine

Once Upon a TimeWhen “Once Upon a Time” first aired it showed plotlines from Disney movies like, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.” The first season began with the characters Snow White, Prince Charming, and the seven, or in this case eight dwarfs; the show added a dwarf named Stealthy. Of course, every show needs an antagonist and who better than the Evil Queen to step in and play this role? However, she is not the only evil antagonist lurking in “Once Upon a Time.”

Snow and Charming gave birth to a daughter named Emma Swan aka the Savior, who they placed inside a magic tree to protect her from the curse the Evil Queen enacted, in the hope, she would break it in 28 years. Fans learn that Emma gave birth to a boy named Henry Mills, who searches for her to break the Queen’s spell. Ironically, Henry is the adopted son of the Evil Queen aka Regina Mills.

Emma was not a believer of fairy tales and magic, which of course everyone knows to make things happen one has to believe. She eventually comes to believe in order. Emma’s new-found belief in all things magic, including fairy tales, is due to Regina and her incessant need to rid the town of the Savior. The Evil Queen bakes an apple turnover, poisoned with a sleeping spell, and gives it to Emma as a peace-offering.

Unfortunately, Emma has decided to leave Storybrooke because she feels defeated by the Evil Queen and her plots to remove her from the town. The Queen finally wins, or does she? After arriving back at her place, which she shares with Mary Margaret aka Snow White, she sets the turnover on the counter. Henry shows up and asks Emma what she is doing when he sees her packing. Then, Henry sees the desert and asks where it came from. He tells her not to eat the turnover. As she is about to try to prove him wrong about the apple turnover, Henry grabs it and takes a bite, to prove that it was poisoned and falls to the floor in a deep sleep.

This is where Emma starts putting together that magic may actually exist. She visits her son in the hospital, where she confronts Regina. The Queen admits that she used the last bit of magic she had to obtain the apple from the Enchanted Forest. As all fans of Disney movies know, the kiss of true love is the only thing powerful enough to break a sleeping spell and “Once Upon a Time” follows suit. Emma, after Henry was pronounced dead, bent over to kiss his forehead, which broke the curse he was under, as well as the curse on the entire town.

Other characters, like Red Riding Hood aka Ruby, from the Disney movie “Little Red Riding Hood,” are also showcased in the series “Once Upon a Time.” Her story starts in the first episode, alongside Granny, which is her grandmother; however, their relationship is quite different from the original story.

Under the cursed Storybrooke of “Once Upon a Time,” Ruby works at Granny’s Dinner and has a rebellious nature. The two argue often over Red’s inability to show up to work on time and her lack of responsibility. Unbeknownst to Ruby and fans, she is the wolf in sheep’s clothing. Unlike the original story, which the wolf eats the grandmother and takes her place to trick Little Red Riding Hood, this version has made Ruby the wolf. Under the curse, she is unaware that she is the wolf and does not change. However, flashbacks indicate to the audience her true identity.

Jiminy Cricket aka Archie, from the Disney movie “Pinocchio,” is known as a conscience. This lends to him being a therapist under the spell of the Evil Queen’s. Again, Jiminy’s storyline does not follow the original plot. In “Once Upon a Time,” the Cricket is shown as a young boy whose parents are thieves. Jiminy hates the way his parents live and wants to free himself of them.

After another one of his parent’s schemes leaves a young couple’s boy, Gepetto, homeless. The Cricket calls on the Blue Fairy to help bring his parents back. Unfortunately, the fairy is unable to grant this wish. Instead, to atone for his parent’s doing, the fairy turns him into a cricket and vows to make it up to Gepetto by becoming his lifelong companion.

Fans also have a glimpse of the Mad Hatter aka Jefferson in the first season of “Once Upon a Time.” The Hatter is challenged by Rumpelstiltskin to retrieve a crystal ball and a pair of slippers. He returns to the Dark One’s castle to give him the ball, however, he could not acquire the slippers.

Regina is also in the castle, in search of a way to bring her true love, Daniel, back to life after her mother Cora crushed it. When she is told by Rumpelstiltskin he cannot help her, the Mad Hatter steps in and tells her he knows of someone named Victor aka Dr. Frankenstein, who may be able to restore his life. The doctor pretends to try to bring Daniel back to life because he has made a deal with the Dark One to obtain a magical heart, so he can bring his brother back to life.

‘Once Upon a Time’ Introduces Other Disney Characters

Once Upon a TimeThe second season of “Once Upon a Time” aired on Sept. 30, 2012, and with it came magic into the fictional town Storybrooke. New characters emerged in the series like Rumpelstiltskin aka Mr. Gold, from “Sleeping Beauty.” He is a villain with a heart he can not tame for fear of losing his power.

The season starts with Neal aka Balefire walking in the streets of New York. Upon arriving home, he receives a postcard from Pinocchio aka August, stating that the curse in Storybrooke has been broken. Later, fans discover that Balefire is Rumpelstiltskin’s estranged son and Henry’s father.

“Once Upon a Time” takes fans back to Storybrooke, where everyone has remembered who they are, and that the Evil Queen needed to pay for her crimes, with her life, if they had it their way. Emma and her parents stop the townspeople from hurting the Queen and place her in jail. Even though Rumpelstiltskin has brought back magic, Regina is having problems with hers and is unable to cast a spell to escape the jail cell.

However, Rumpelstiltskin learns that the Evil Queen locked away his true love, Belle, from “Beauty and the Beast,” 28 years ago and now has a vendetta against Regina. He marks her hand with a necklace and then releases a wraith from the same pendant Regina was marked with. Of course, the heroes come to her rescue. Unfortunately, in trying to do so, Emma is dragged through a portal by the wraith. Snow follows her daughter by jumping in the portal after her.

“Once Upon a Time” introduces Robin Hood, from the Disney movie “Robin Hood,” in this season. The skilled archer, who robs the rich to give to the poor and has a band of Merry Men, pretty much stays true to its original storyline. However, there is only a brief glimpse of the good thief in this season. He tries stealing a magical wand from Rumpelstiltskin to heal his ailing pregnant wife, Maid Marian. Caught in the act, the Dark One tortures him until he is set free by Belle with the wand to heal Marian.

Captain Hook, from “Peter Pan,” makes his debut in this season of “Once Upon a Time.” He may be a villain by trade, but in later seasons, viewers come to realize there is more to this pirate than meets the eye. Can he be reformed? Fans are privy to a glimpse of “Alice and Wonderland,” when the Queen of Hearts aka Cora, Regina’s mother, makes her appearance. Cora’s heart is so dark that she can only see vengeance against the world she feels has harmed her.

“Once Upon a Time” takes the audience through the story of Mulan, the warrior princess from the movie “Mulan.” She is quested by Prince Philip, after he discovers he will be the next victim of the wraith, to protect his true love, Princess Aurora from “Sleeping Beauty.” Snow and Emma enter the Enchanted forest and meet Mulan and Aurora. To escape the forest and get back to Storybrooke they must find the tree that sent Emma to the real world. However, when they find it, Cora, who has been disguised as Lancelot, their plans are throttled.

Fortunately, the group finds another way out of the forest by way of a magic compass. Unfortunately, what they need is up a beanstalk where giants live. “Jack and the Beanstalk” is a movie filled with giants and a young boy looking to sell his cow to help his mother. However, this takes a turn in “Once Upon a Time;” Jack is introduced as an angry young woman named Jacqueline aka Jack. She tries to steal from the giants with the help of Prince Charming’s twin brother James. In their attempt, they wipe out all but one of the giants, Tiny.

Now, the only giant alive does not trust the humans he so coveted before. When Emma and Hook climb the stalk to steal the compass, Tiny the giant, tries to stop them at all costs. However, he realizes that Emma could have killed him, but did not, so he grants her the compass and tells her to leave.

Of course, Cora is not done yet. She still needs a portal to get back to Storybrooke to find her daughter, Regina. When the team shows up at the magical healing waters to enact the compass and go home, Cora is there in wait. The Queen of Hearts and Hook fight Mulan, Aurora, Snow, and Emma, trying to obtain the object from them. When Cora tries to take Emma’s heart, she fails and is pushed back by its force, which allows Emma and the others to fall through the portal.

‘Once Upon a Time’ Meets Neverland and the Wicked Witch

Once Upon a TimeThe audience meets Tinkerbell, in this season of “Once Upon a Time.” She has lost her wings because she stole fairy dust to help Regina find her true love. Regina becomes scared and decides not to meet him. Then, she lied to Tinkerbell, telling her she was the worst fairy, ever. The Blue Fairy chastised Tink and told her she no longer believed in her, resulting in the fairy losing her wings.

After Henry’s rescue, the crew believes they have trapped Peter in Pandora’s Box. They made it back to Storybrooke, by way of Captain Hook’s boat, which was able to fly because Pan’s shadow is trapped in the sails. They brought the Lost Boys and Wendy Darling to reunite them with their families. However, the fight with the boy villain did not end in Neverland. Unbeknownst to most on Hook’s ship, Pan had changed bodies with Henry. The writers for “Once Upon a Time” had another twist up their sleeves; the one trapped inside Pandora’s Box was the one they went to rescue, Henry.

Another curse is enacted, but this time, by Peter Pan. However, the curse is reversed, instead of returning to a realm with no magic and memories, they are taken back to The Enchanted Forest. Only those born in that kingdom will be taken back. This did not include Henry, who was born in the real world. Even if Henry was able to travel back with them, Pan made sure that Regina would have to pay the ultimate price. This meant destroying the spell would also destroy the fictional town, as though it never existed, and Regina must give up what she loves the most, Henry.

Emma and Henry say their goodbyes to their family and loved ones, on the edge of town, as the curse rolls in to take them away. The drawback for the mother and son duo is that they will not remember anyone from Storybrooke and the lives they led while they were there. The only memories that will remain are that they have been together since Henry was born and their memories from living in New York.

After a year, Hook seeks out Emma to bring her back to Storybrooke, in order to break another curse that was enacted by the iconic figure from “The Wizard of Oz,” the Wicked Witch of the West aka Zelena. Fans learn of another twist writers Kitsis and Edward wrote into “Once Upon a Time.” Zelena is Regina’s half-sister. The jealousy of her sister sets Zelena on a crash course with the whole of Storybrook, as she tries to go back in time and change the past.

The Wicked Witch of the West would not be complete without her band of flying monkeys and “Once Upon a Time” stays true to her story with these fantastic flying creatures. The witch is given chance after chance to redeem herself and become good. One example is when the Good Witch of the East, Glenda, tries to show the Witch that she does not have to be wicked by trying to recruit her into a good witch colony. Unfortunately, this does not work due to the appearance of Dorothy Gale. Zelena views her as a threat when she is blown in by a tornado, of course, because of a prophecy that she sees as her potential downfall.

By Tracy Blake
Edited by Jeanette Smith


ABC: Once Upon a Time
IMDb: Once Upon a Time
TV.com: Once Upon a Time

Top and Featured Image Courtesy of Disney/ABC Television Groups’ Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
First Inline Image Courtesy of Genevieve’s s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Second Inline Image Courtesy of FanAboutTown’s Flickr Page – Creative Common License
Third Inline Image Courtesy of Ricky Brigante’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

2 Responses to "‘Once Upon a Time’ Disney and the Land of Untold Stories [Part One]"

  1. Pingback: ‘Once Upon a Time’ and ABC Say Goodbye to 5 Cast Members at Season’s End - Eik Awaz

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