Once is definitely playing homage to Disney’s Beauty and the Beast with Emilie de Ravin’s Belle – and yes, worried fans, she is a brunette. Check out the first picture, and read what showrunner Adam Horowitz has to say about the casting!

Once Upon a Time

We have to say, the former Lost star looks fantastic. Not only did they capture the perfect Belle expression on her face in that moment, but look at her dress! Some fairytale fans may not appreciate Once Upon a Time‘s Disneyfied characters, but it is kind of cool in a breaking-the-fourth-wall meta kind of way to see them in the flesh.

Showrunner Adam Horowitz says that we can look forward to seeing Belle’s father Maurice, Gaston and the Beast in this episode! He also explains the casting decision:

Emilie projects a very natural strength and warmth, which are characteristics we wanted to explore with Belle. We have a fun spin on [the story].

Finally, Aladdin fans will be excited to learn that the character (one of our picks on the fairytale character wishlist) and his Genie will also be appearing on the show this year!

Emilie will be appearing in the episode airing on Valentine’s Day (February 14 2012), and the image was posted on TV Guide.