5:00 pm EDT, November 20, 2011

‘Once Upon a Time’ fairytale character wishlist

There is no new episode of our favourite fairytale drama tonight, so we decided to write up a post about the show to help tie you over till next week! Read on for Hypable’s top 10 list of classic fairytale characters we hope to see on Once Upon a Time in future episodes!

We’ve got Snow White and Cinderella already and we know we’ll get Beauty and the Beast‘s Belle – it might seem like the writers are just going down the list of Disney Princesses, but so far at least, all the fairytale characters on Once Upon a Time have been from actual fairytales – which most of Disney’s classics are too, but it means that we probably can’t expect to see any original Disney/Pixar creations like Wall-E or Sebastian the Crab on the show.

Luckily though, actual fairytales provide us with a wealth of other characters to look forward to seeing, and this column lists ten characters we want Once Upon a Time to feature on the show, whether in big or small roles!


#10 Winnie-the-Pooh

A. A. MilneOkay, he’s a toy, but Pinocchio is a doll! Since we can’t have Toy Story‘s Woody and Buzz Lightyear, wouldn’t it be great to have Winnie and co. living the sweet life in the fairytale forest, only to then see them as lifeless toys in Storybrooke? Perhaps we’d only see them in the background, maybe in Henry’s room, but it’d be a cool shout-out to the amazing A. A. Milne story we all remember from our childhood. And yeah, it’d be pretty grim too, but Once Upon a Time likes to turn stories on their heads and shock the audience, so this could be one of the ways to do that. Alternatively, Pooh’s Storybrooke counterpart could be some well-meaning elderly sweets shop owner who falls in love with Granny, wouldn’t that be nice?



#9 The naked Emperor

Just because we want to see him naked. No, really. The Emperor’s New Clothes is one of H. C. Andersen’s lesser known but none the less fantastic fairytales, about the power of persuasion, the fear of looking stupid and reality versus pretense. The writers of Once Upon a Time could do fantastic things trying to weave the morals of the story into a modern-day context, and it would definitely be hilarious to see some bigot parading around Storybrooke in his underwear while expecting everyone to behold his majestic robes.



#8 Pippi Longstocking

Astrid LindgrenSo maybe this one doesn’t count as a fairytale, but they can’t all be Grimm and Andersen on here! We’d love to see Once Upon a Time shake it up with some characters from more modern stories, and Astrid Lindgren’s most famous heroine Pippi Longstocking would be great to see on the show! Pippi is a fantastic character: she’s smart, she’s cheeky, and most interestingly, she is pretty much the female Peter Pan but without the magic. Could you imagine the crossover possibilities if we got Peter and Pippi in the same episode?



#7 The Sandman

H. C. AndersenSee, here’s the opportunity for a really creepy villain! The Sandman is another H. C. Andersen creation, and of course he is traditionally thought of as a good character, helping children sleep by sprinkling sand or dust in their eyes. But the Sandman’s powers can quickly turn very sinister, and we’d like to see the Sandman as one of the Evil Queen’s most powerful allies. One wink from him, and her enemies are lulled into a magical sleep. He’d have to be very creepy, but have a calming effect on the people around him, and in Storybrooke, perhaps he translates to a night burglar or an assassin who uses poison on his victims. We get chills just thinking about it!



#6 Aladdin

If it doesn’t work out with Sheriff Graham, Emma’s gonna need a new love interest, and who better than the charming thief from 1001 Arabian Nights? Not only is it a classic fairytale from which we have not yet seen any figures, but Aladdin is also an engaging, dynamic character in his own right whom it’d be great to see both in the fairytale world and in Storybrooke! He would provide some great comic relief, while also showing real depth, balancing his role as thief with his desire to be a good person and do the right thing. We’d also like to see some kind of Genie grant a wish in the fairytale world, and be rendered human in Storybrooke much like the Magic Mirror/Sidney has been.



#5 The Pied Piper of Hamelin

What would be amazing about seeing the Pied Piper in Once Upon a Time is that his story so closely resembles Rumpelstiltskin’s: Rumpel wants children for what we’re sure are nefarious reasons, and the Pied Piper is said to have led scores of children away from the German city of Hamelin, never to be seen again. The image of the Pied Piper with his pipes, first hired to lead the rats out of the city, is haunting, and the fact that he takes the children because the citizens refuse to pay would be something the Once Upon a Time writers could work with. What we really want is some reveal that the Pied Piper is perhaps Rumpelstiltskin’s brother or protégé, which would add a layer to the latter’s character and give Robert Carlyle more chances to shine!



#4 Hua Mulan

We admit that Mulan mostly made the list because of her kickass Disney counterpart, but the Mulan story is actually a real fairytale of sorts. It is an ancient Chinese legend about Fa Mulan, a woman who disguises herself as a man to join the army in place of her father, and unlike in the Disney version, she is never discovered to be a woman. Why we’d like to see Once Upon a Time tackle this legend is because – as awesome as Emma is and as much as Snow White is able to kick some fairytale butt – the show really needs some strong female characters, both in the fairytale world (perhaps as a member of James’ royal guard) and in Storybrooke. Whether or not they make a big deal about her being a woman is actually kind of irrelevant, but we think she definitely has a place in this show about bringing fairytale characters into the modern world, being a great feminist symbol and showing that women have a place in a world thought of exclusively for men. Snow White may have exemplified some of Mulan’s traits in ‘Snow Falls,’ but none the less she still relied on her femininity in a lot of ways – we’d like to see a character for whom her gender was a non-issue, who was fully committed to proving herself in a man’s world and who won’t end up a princess in a big castle at the end of the story.



#3 Robin Hood

So it’s starting to look like Sheriff Graham is not, in fact, the Sheriff of Nottingham despite his misleading accent. But what about introducing some more Brits in the form of Robin Hood and Lady Marian? Stealing from the rich and giving to the poor would provide some great conflict for the presumably-now-law-enforcing Emma – do we jail Robin, or accept his good cause? And Robin Hood is similar in this way to Aladdin, really, so imagine seeing the two of them working as a team! Talk about worlds colliding. Plus, there are convenient forests all around Storybrooke, so maybe there’s actually a secret society of outlaws living there, waiting for their time to strike against the corrupt mayor and her cronies. Wouldn’t that be a great plot point for the supposed epic battle that’s coming up?



#2 The Little Mermaid

H. C. AndersenH. C. Andersen’s The Little Mermaid is a story Once Upon a Time is almost sure to tackle at some point in the future. First of all, mermaids are fantastic fairytale creatures that can look absolutely stunning visually (especially if the show is actually willing to cough up some dough for the underwater sequences), and second of all, Andersen has already provided the perfect real-life analogy: a girl who has feet, but in payment, she has lost her voice. Depicting Storybrooke’s Ariel as a mute would send a powerful message and emphasise the darker tones of the story (as opposed to the happily-ever-after Disney version), and would show a great contrast between Storybrooke and the fairytale world where she would have her voice and her fin, naively dreaming of a better life where she could walk on land. It would be a tragic story, watching Ariel fight for legs and feet, knowing that in Storybrooke she would have her wish yet be miserable. Perhaps in the fairytale world she even makes a deal with the Queen instead of Ursula, to help her cast the spell in return for the promise of walking.



#1 Peter Pan and Hook

J. M. BarrieIt was a toss-up for first place between Peter Pan and Ariel, but ultimately Peter Pan won out because he has Hook too! The J. M. Barrie classic of the boy who refused to grow up translates so perfectly to the Storybrooke world, because of course the characters have been frozen in time for the past 28 years, so he’s so far gotten his wish – but now everyone is presumably beginning to age, so what will happen to Peter? Wendy and Peter’s love story is a tragic one, and since Once Upon a Time has so far liked to highlight the romances in the stories, it would be interesting to see the conflict between Peter and Wendy pushed to the forefront, perhaps with Storybrooke-Peter being able to mature a little bit and ending up choosing Wendy rather than eternal childhood. And then there is Hook, a fantastic villain who is just begging to have some kind of wicked connection to the Queen, and to be some really sleazy bad guy in Storybrooke with a prosthetic hand. It’d be awesome! It would also be interesting to see if they tied The Little Mermaid and Peter Pan together, seeing as there are mermaids in the latter story.


It’s reassuring to look over this list and see how much potential Once has to tell great stories. While some standalone episodes focusing on some of these characters would be nice, we’d of course hope that the writers would incorporate some of the more interesting characterss into the narrative on a more permanent basis, allowing us to explore them in more depth. We’ve already seen how richly they can expand what seems like straightforward stories like Snow White and Cinderella, and that richness and depth is what makes the show so fantastic to watch.

Tell us in the comments what fairytale characters you’d most like to see on Once Upon a Time! Did we miss them off the list?!

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