More non-fairytale characters are coming to OUAT

The Scarecrow, the Tin Man, Toto, Dorothy, and the Cowardly Lion — will any of these characters — or the Wizard of Oz himself — appear on Once Upon a Time?

Whether we like it or not — some of us do, some of us don’t — we’ve been seeing a lot of non-fairytale characters introduced this season on Once Upon a Time — first Mulan, then Lancelot, and now Captain Hook.

In what may be good or bad news — depending upon how you feel about this trend to widen the character base — show creators Ed Kitsis and Adam Horowitz told Entertainment Weekly, in an interview published last night, that they will be introducing many new characters who come from stories that are not fairytales.

Specific details are after the jump (spoilers).

We can count on seeing someone(s) from The Wizard of Oz. When asked about Oz, Kitsis/Horowitz answered:

Kitsis: We’ve been talking about Oz since Day 1. Look at the pilot. One of the pages of Henry’s book shows flying monkeys. And in Jefferson’s hat there seemed to be an emerald curtain.

Horowitz: Oz is another “when,” not “if.”

Another sure thing (this one you may have already heard about) is the Little Mermaid:

Kitsis: Absolutely. We’re waiting for the right moment. You don’t want it to be just one episode.

Horowitz: It’s already woven into the fabric of what we’re doing; the only question is when.

It sounds like Robin Hood is also a strong possibility. When that name was brought up, these were the responses:

Kitsis: Absolutely.

Horowitz: Definitely in-bounds.

When asked about Achilles, Horowitz answered, “He’s on the border. Possible.” So the creators are willing to reach into Greek mythology for characters. That surprised me. Although they already have used a mythological character, King Midas, I thought that was just going to be a one-time thing. Now it sounds like it might not be.

This surprised me too: K & H originally wanted the Sheriff to be Sherlock Holmes! The only reason they didn’t go ahead with that is because they couldn’t get the rights to the character:

Kitsis: Here’s something interesting. Originally the sheriff was Sherlock Holmes. He was going to be a detective and his curse was he was in a town with no mystery. So he was this bored sheriff. And there was a rights issue so we could not get it.

The only characters who got strong thumbs down in the interview were Genghis Khan (“too historical”), Captain Jack Sparrow of Pirates of the Caribbean (they’d need Johnny Depp to do it), and Mickey Mouse (“He’s been on the show — in phone form. I can’t ever see how he’d get on and feel real.”)

Some names that elicited ambiguous responses were Captain Ahab of Moby Dick (H: “I like Ahab.” K: “You never know.”) and Tarzan (K: “Never talked about Tarzan. But in a world where The Jungle Book exists, I don’t know why Tarzan couldn’t either.”)

(You can read the full EW interview here: ‘Once Upon’ Showrunners Reveal Which Famous Characters They’d Consider Adding)

It sounds like any fictional character is now fair game. In some of the possiblities they mentioned, Kitsis and Horowitz are roaming far from the fairytale world. While it may be a short step from fairytales to other stories set in fantasy worlds, such as The Wizard of Oz or Tarzan, it’s a longer step to go from fairytales to stories such as the Sherlock Holmes tales and Moby Dick, which are set much more firmly in realistic environments.

What do you think about this trend to incorporate more non-fairytale characters into the show? We already started discussing this after last night’s episode, which introduced Captain Cook, and there were different opinions. Some people welcomed the new characters, while others were apprehensive that the sprawling character base could ruin the show.

10 responses to “More non-fairytale characters are coming to OUAT

  1. Adding none fairytale characters is great, there are only so many fairy tales out there and adding just as famous book or movie legends is awesome and creative, I mean hell next weeks episode is about the Dr Frankenstien legend or did u not notice who he was from the preview.

  2. So Disney does have the rights for Oz… And now I’m excited for Robin Hood. Both of them seem to fit with the worlds they have already introduced. I admit though, using characters from classic novels may be jarring. Nonetheless, I’m interested in how they are going to use them, if they choose to.

  3. The copyright situation for the Oz characters turns out to be surprisingly complicated.

    The characters in the original book (and in all the 14 Oz books written by L. Frank Baum) are in the public domain. Anyone can use them for any purpose.

    The characters in the 1939 MGM movie, however, are copyrighted.

    That seems to mean that someone making a new movie or TV program can’t copy the iconic look of the characters in the 1939 movie too closely. As one site put it, an actress playing Dorothy “can wear red shoes, but she can’t wear The Ruby Slippers.”

    That’s for the first book. To make things even more complicated, Disney owns the film rights for the other 13 books written by L.Frank Baum.

    But it’s the characters in the first book — the ones that most people have come to know through the MGM movie — that the OUAT creators are likely to want to use.

    So we are probably going to see characters who are familiar to us, but who don’t look exactly the same — or speak exactly the same lines — as in the 1939 movie.

  4. Although I like how they are giving us a significantly wider range of fictional characters to identify the OUAT characters with (which makes the guessing and theorizing more fun), I really didn’t appreciate how the “wraith” was incorporated. It was obviously meant to be like a dementor (from Harry Potter), what with the soul-sucking and black-cloak thing and all, but why did they have to change the name? I mean, all the other characters have the name of their original stories! I think if there was a copyright problem, then they shouldn’t have done it at all. But if they were going to do it, they should of done the job 100%.

  5. I agree about the wraiths. That just didn’t work they way it was done.

  6. I think there is a line for what fictional characters to bring in. Personally, classic literature set in our own world shouldn’t be brought it. Oz, Wonderland— no problem. But Sherlock Holmes? It loses the romance for me He’s a detective from London. Is there a Jane Austen land in Jefferson’s hat? King Midas and even Lancelot were a stretch but at least they are mythic. There are so many more fairytale characters out there to be had–even obscure ones from old European folklore–that I think it’d be fun to bring them in. Baba Yaga, Bluebeard, Rapunzel, Rose Red, anyone? After waiting for Doctor Whale’s big reveal, I was totally disappointed he was Dr. Frankenstein! What “world” is he from?? Black and White East Europe??

  7. “Black and White East Europe” world <--- LOL!! I'm actually glad that they are getting away from doing so much Disney stuff. It would be great if they did an all-traditional-fairytale show -- but Season 1 was turning out to be more like an all-Disney-movies show.

  8. I feel that to get to the other worlds Jefferson would have to become a main character because of his hat or somebody should steal it

  9. You know who would be an excellent fit? Shrek and Fiona! Since most of the termoil in Fairytale world was the Ogre wars, it would be neat to get an Ogre prespective. Maybe even smooth things over as they did with the Giant. Shrek and Fiona can have there human forms as their curse after the curse so to speak. They would need to be in Fairytale land to complete their transformation back to ogres. But for now with Storybrooke post-curse, they both could have Fionas curse. By day one way, by night another. They could have been in hiding knowing how people might feel about 2 ogres running around, but decide to come out once they hear that Prince Charming is trying to get everyone home. Series of Unfortunate events and, uh oh, they turn to ogres before the townspeoples eyes. Of course everyone has Ogre War Jitters and gets upset, but with the help os Snow White and Emma they appease the town and show them that Ogres are not as bad as they grew up to believe.

    I think this would be a great storyline. Since so far all the ogres they have encountered are pretty dumb. Shrek can prove that they’ve just been given a bad rep.

What do you think?