3:30 pm EDT, October 14, 2014

Seven ‘Once Upon a Time’ characters whose stories still need telling

Once Upon a Time season 4 has introduced a bunch of new Frozen characters. But what about existing peripheral characters whose stories haven’t been fully told yet?

The addition of the Frozen characters to Once Upon a Time has been met with mixed reactions from the show’s fans.

While the characters are wonderfully realised and their mythology adds an interesting new dimension, some fans worry that spending half a season exploring Elsa (Georgina Haig) and Anna (Elizabeth Lail)’s world uses up precious time that could be spent on previously introduced characters whose arcs have been put on hold.

We love the Frozen storyline, and are of course hoping that Once Upon a Time has many more seasons left to revisit these characters, but here are the left-behind players we are impatiently waiting to see the show return to:


Once Upon a Time Mulan

Mulan (Jamie Chung) is the only known person in Once Upon a Time‘s history who found True Love with someone who already had a True Love of their own. Of course, the show has established that someone who has lost their True Love can find another (and how someone can find themselves torn between two True Loves, like Robin Hood is), but usually True Love is shown to be reciprocated

Aurora (Sarah Bolger) already has her happy ending, now let’s give Mulan hers. The fierce warrior was a great addition to Once Upon a Time season 2, and while she’s popped up in other people’s flashbacks (we loved seeing her team up with Belle!), we’d like for Mulan to finally get her own plot.

When we left Mulan in season 3, she was off to join Robin Hood’s band of Merry Men. Another Merry Man who has recently resurfaced? The Knave (Michael Socha). We wonder (and hope!) that there’ll be some connection there.

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Lancelot and the Round Table Knights

Once Upon a Time Lancelot

Lancelot (Sinqua Walls) appeared in a Snow White flashback episode, and was revealed to have been killed by Cora. While we don’t doubt her ability to do that, we’re always skeptical when a character dies off-screen – there’s always a possibility they’ll miraculously have survived.

Anyway, we’re not as interested in Lancelot’s present as we are in his past. We know he’s a disgraced knight of the Round Table who found his way into King George’s service, but how did this happen? Is Guinevere out there somewhere? And what about King Arthur, and the great wizard Merlin (who may very well be revealed as the owner of the mysterious sorcerer’s hat)?

The writers introduced a whole new mythology into the universe by bringing Lancelot to the Enchanted Forest, and while we know a lot of magical lands will never be explored, we hope the show will take a trip to Camelot before it wraps up its run.


Once Upon a Time Granny

There’s a lot more to Granny (Beverley Elliott) than her diner. Like her awesome crossbow skills!

While she’s always been relegated to the background, there’ve been a few hints that she has a compelling backstory worth exploring. The two Ruby-centric episodes, “Seeing Red” and “Child of the Moon,” presented two conflicting retellings of Granny’s past. Will we ever learn the truth?

To hear her tell it, Granny raised Red after her parents were killed by werewolves. Granny herself is a werewolf, whose powers have allegedly diminished with age, and she was marked by the man who would later become her husband. (That’s a story worth telling right there!)

But when Red’s mother revealed herself to be alive, the legitimacy of Granny’s story was thrown into question. What really happened to separate Red from her mother? Who was Red’s father? What was Granny’s youth like, growing up as a werewolf, tied to the man who sired her?

Knowing Once, they could easily find a way to tie Granny’s story into another fairytale. She’s of an older generation, which means she’d have been young with a completely different set of characters: Gepetto, Cora, King George, King Leopold, and Rumpelstiltskin.

And let’s not forget Rumpelstiltskin’s throwaway line in season 2 about how their paths have crossed before. Granny’s brothers were all in the Ogre Wars, which means it’s possible that the two grew up in the same area. There must be something more to this connection, and we’d love for the writers to tell that story… if only they can find the time.

Archie Hopper (and Gepetto)

Once Upon a Time Archie Hopper

Jiminy’s backstory was explored back in season 1, and it was a pretty straight-forward story. But while one can argue he doesn’t need more screen time, that’s just until the writers give his character another dimension, and weave some important encounter into the tapestry of his backstory.

Plus, we just really enjoy seeing Raphael Sbarge on screen. And seeing as how his character keeps popping up on the show, we’d like him to become a little more important to the plot.

Then there’s Gepetto and Pinocchio. The two have certainly gotten their happy ending, with Pinocchio’s life having been reset, and as such their arcs don’t need any additional tying up. We’d just like to see more of their past, to find out how the Once writers might spin the classic tale of Gepetto making Pinocchio from an enchanted tree, and how they ended up inside that whale.

The Giant

Once Upon a Time Anton the Giant

Basically we just love Jorge Garcia’s giant, and want to see more of him. The broad strokes of Anton’s backstory have already been laid out: he was a giant who dreamed of being human, experienced it for a day, and ended up being indirectly responsible for the death of his family.

But what now? He’s in Storybrooke, planting beans (at least that’s where we last left him), hanging with the dwarves. We wish the writers could find a way to incorporate the character more into the story, so we could enjoy having Garcia back on the show on a more permanent basis.

Leroy and Astrid

Once Upon a Time Nova and Grumpy

In Grumpy (Lee Arenberg)’s only flashback episode, we were introduced to Nova (Amy Acker), a fairy whom the newly hatched dwarf inexplicably fell in love with.

As far as we know, Grumpy is the only dwarf who has ever fallen in love – and with a fairy, no less! The unlikely pair planned to travel the world together, but reality caught up with them, forcing them back into their cages.

But they are both in Storybrooke now, and Astrid might be a nun, but she’s also got her memories of her life as a fairy. Leroy promised Nova a ride in his boat, and being the hopeless romantics that we are, we’d just like to see him fulfill that promise. We’d love for Amy Acker to return, just for one episode, to give these two their long-overdue happy ending.

The Mad Hatter

Once Upon a Time Mad Hatter Jefferson

We can’t forget this fan-favourite character, whose past is still steeped in mystery.

Sometimes characters aren’t phased out because of story reasons, but because it’s hard to get the actors’ schedules to align. Jefferson was a brilliant character introduced in the latter half of season 1, and the writers were hoping to get him back for Once Upon a Time in Wonderland. Sadly that wasn’t possible – but there’s still hope!

Now that the Knave is in Storybrooke, we’ve got our Wonderland connection. There’s a lot of ways his story could incorporate Jefferson, and if they flash back far enough, we could have a younger actor playing the role, and finally learn how he gained his world-hopping powers. That seems to us like the most powerful magical ability of them all! (Though it seems more likely that any Knave flashback would focus on his time with Robin Hood. Oh well!)

Of course, there are many more characters whose stories could be expanded – the Blue Fairy, Dr. Whale and the Magic Mirror are among them – but these are the seven we think could be most interesting to explore.

Do you agree or disagree? Sound off in the comments!

Once Upon a Time season 4, episode 4, “The Apprentice,” airs next Sunday at 8/7c on ABC.

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