Once Upon a Time: Burning Questions Answered!

The premiere of ABC’s Once Upon a Time — to be repeated this Sunday at 7/6c, leading into Episode 2 — not only enchanted viewers, it left them with lots of questions! Who all knows about the curse? Will John Doe ever open those pretty eyes? And what other fun fairytale characters are visiting the show during Season 1?

TVLine found answers to those questions and others during a Vancouver set visit arranged by ABC. Read on to find out what the cast and executive producer Steve Pearlman revealed about Once‘s big mysteries. (P.S. If you’re curious about the handsome Sheriff’s fairytale alter ego, we offer up our theory — and Jennifer Morrison’s! — in our Who’s Who slideshow.)

NOW THAT THE CLOCK IS MOVING, WHAT DOES THAT MEAN FOR STORYBROOKE? | The clock sets events into motion, so things are about to get… interesting. “There is a shift in terms of the energy of the world,” explains Josh Dallas, who plays John Doe/Prince Charming. “There’s something happening now. There’s something in the air.” Which leads us to wonder…

Ratings: Once Upon a Time Enchants 12.8 Million Viewers

WILL JOHN DOE EVER WAKE UP? | You bet he will. While Dallas can’t reveal when the sleeping charmer will wake from the coma, he does admit that “he’s not in it for long.” And once he does come to, that’s when the real drama begins. “You might find out what his name is,” teases the actor, “who he is, who his family is, and what his maybe real or false memories are.” Having been asleep for a while, it’s understandable that the guy is “very lost” and “confused,” especially since there are “people that are around him that may or may not be saying that they are family members or wives or brothers.” Sadly, the one person he does have a connection to – his fairytale wife – “he probably will not remember,” hints Ginnifer Goodwin (who plays Snow White).

DOES REGINA KNOW ABOUT THE CURSE? | The pilot heavily implied that Regina was aware of her true identity, and her portrayer, Lana Parrilla, agrees that madame mayor “may have an inkling.” Thankfully, this is one mystery that will be solved – and sooner rather than later! “You’ll find out,” promises Parrilla. “Soon. Very soon.”

WHAT OTHER FAIRYTALE CHARACTERS WILL THE SHOW EXPLORE? | A bevy, judging from the list of already announced guest stars: Emma Caulfield (Buffy) as the blind witch from Hansel and Gretel, Jessy Schram (Falling Skies) as Cinderella, Giancarlo Esposito (Breaking Bad) as the Evil Queen’s magic mirror, Alan Dale (Lost) as Prince Charming’s father, and Kristin Bauer van Straten (True Blood) as evil sorceress Maleficent. The last one will make her debut in Episode 2, and she’s got a big beef with her frenemy, the Evil Queen. “You get a very good sense that there’s a history between these two,” previews Pearlman. “Maleficent has something that the Queen wants, and what length will she go to with her dear, old friend to get that?”

Real Truths Behind ABC’s Once Upon a Time (Including That Pesky Fables Comparison)

Things are much more friendlier between the princesses, who all live inside the Enchanted Forest. “The princesses of the various kingdoms are all girlfriends,” explains Goodwin. That includes Snow and Cinderella, who appears in Episode 4 in the fairytale world and in our world. “Even though we tell her story also in Storybrooke, it really becomes more of a story about Emma,” teases Pearlman.

The real treat of Once, however, is “adding mythology and connecting characters that didn’t connect previously,” says the EP. “We’re doing a Hansel and Gretel story where we bring in the Evil Queen, when she obviously wasn’t in that story originally.”

IS THERE SOMETHING GOING ON BETWEEN REGINA AND THE SHERIFF? | Yes, it’s not uncommon for a mayor and a sheriff to have a close relationship, but Regina seems to rely on the lawman a lot. “He’s a very important character in her life,” says Parrilla, “and also in Henry’s life ’cause he stays there. And she trusts him enough to be there, so that says something, too.”

HOW DID REGINA COME TO ADOPT HENRY? AND WHY DID EMMA GIVE HIM AWAY? | “We will touch on that in some episodes, how she adopted him,” promises Pearlman. Meanwhile, the details of Emma’s pregnancy/Henry’s birth are “going to take a long time” to come out, says Jennifer Morrison (Emma). “It’s definitely going to be a slow burn of revealing information about Henry and what he meant to Emma when he was born.” Morrison meanwhile insists that contrary to Regina’s suspicions, Emma is not up to anything sneaky. “Emma does not have the intentions of taking Henry away,” she says. “And yet Regina feels like that could happen if Emma’s around for too long.” There’s also another very important reason Regina feels threatened by Emma’s presence: “She can break this curse, and Regina/Evil Queen will lose her power,” says Parrilla.

IS REGINA/THE EVIL QUEEN REALLY ALL EVIL? | Depends on who you ask. Pearlman believes Regina is one of the “more complicated characters in the show,” but he also admits that her counterpart is not nice at all. “[Evil] is part of her name,” he points out. “She has the license to go there, and I think the audience will expect that from her.” But Parrilla hints that there’s more going on underneath her costumed surface than one might expect. “You will see a vulnerable side to the Queen, which I don’t think anyone’s ever seen on this level with these iconic Disney characters,” the actress offers. “She sheds tears, which is nice to see.” Just like anybody else, the Evil Queen has feelings, even some worthy of waterworks. “There was a time she did love. Deeply,” Parrilla shares. As for Regina, “She does have an agenda, which we learn more about in one of the early episodes,” teases Pearlman.

DO EMMA AND HENRY HAVE FAIRYTALE COUNTERPARTS? | Right now, the mother and son appear to be strictly in our world, but as the wise, little Jared Gilmore, who plays Henry, says, “It’s just the beginning. You never know!”

Comments (38)

  • Very well done pilot. It had great writing.

    Comment by Jack – October 25, 2011 05:04 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Better writing than this article. “Things are much MORE friendlier”?

      Comment by Well – October 26, 2011 09:23 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I already know that i will totally love Evil Witch and Snow White and will hate Emma. I know it´s too soon but it´s the feeling I got from the pilot.

    Comment by Carrie – October 25, 2011 05:08 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Couldn’t agree more!

      Comment by Melissa – October 26, 2011 08:32 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Why you hate Emma? She is so strong..I like her.

      Comment by CAROL – October 26, 2011 11:40 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • The Evil Queen was fun in the pilot but I found there was too much of her and her scenery chewing in the second episode. I liked Emma. On the fence about Snow because she could become sappy very quickly so I hope they make her kick-ass instead.

      Comment by Kate – November 1, 2011 09:15 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I love the show, finally some fairy tale we want to see, and i can not wait for Maleficient she is the bad ass witch.. and can not wait for see another fairy characters, i mean, what about Peter Pan, he has to be somewhere and Captain Hook,oo that would be awesome!!

    Comment by Lore – October 25, 2011 05:10 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I am eagerly awaiting awakening of John Doe. It better be soon! ;)

    Comment by Michelle – October 25, 2011 05:28 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • From this, and a line from episode 2′s promo, I’m thinking Snow White ‘stole’ the Queen’s man?

    Comment by Claire – October 25, 2011 05:31 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • more. more. more, more, more– uhm, yeah totally hooked — oh forsaken gods of “Lost” thank you for bringing us majicks & misteries again!!

    Comment by janie – October 25, 2011 06:45 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I loved the Pilot. Can’t wait for more! Very intriguing.

    Comment by Amy – October 25, 2011 07:39 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I’m really looking forward to Kristin Bauer van Straten. She could be playing a rock and I would probably be excited. But the fact that she is playing Maleficent, so much better!

    Comment by Tee – October 25, 2011 07:56 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • If time was frozen and no one was aging, then why isn’t henry still 3 months old. Also since he obviously grew, and there were obviously other kids around (making the bird houses) did he age when everyone else stayed the same age, did no one in town ever notice that he was aging and changing grades but they weren’t?

    Comment by Michelle – October 25, 2011 09:06 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Time was frozen for the people from Fairytale, but those who were not from there (like their children born here)were not affected.

      Comment by Michelle A – October 26, 2011 07:14 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Wouldn’t kids notice their parents aren’t aging?

        Comment by shaun – October 26, 2011 09:33 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • For starters: she got him at 3 weeks old, not 3 months. And he didn’t exist when the curse was laid on the residents of Fairytale, so it doesn’t cover him.

      Comment by Well – October 26, 2011 09:25 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Dare I say it, but I haven’t been this excited about a show since Lost. May be a little premature, but that’s how I’m feeling at this point. Can’t wait for more.

    Comment by Justin – October 25, 2011 09:20 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • This show feels a little like a live version of Shrek to me. Not that I’m counting the show out just yet on my DVR recording schedule, I’m just saying….it’s not exactly the most original idea ever. And I am hoping they play down the cheese factor just a tad for future episodes.

    Comment by Amber – October 25, 2011 09:28 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I didn’t really love the pilot, but I love the promise of this show. Can’t wait for more!

    Comment by Andie – October 25, 2011 10:28 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Thanks! I love the pilot and can’t wait to find out more!

    Comment by Sally – October 25, 2011 11:43 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I loved it :D
    Reminds me of “The 10th Kingdom”
    Can’t wait to see more of what this show has to offer

    Comment by Cait – October 26, 2011 01:29 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Very good start. Great story telling. Jennifer Morrison is excellent, better than I have anticipated. The little kid is also very talented.

    Robert Carlyle has had an everlasting impact on science fiction television with SyFy’s unappreciated Stargate Universe. We are very lucky to have him on TV in this fantasy drama.

    Comment by Ogla Sungutay – October 26, 2011 02:47 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Why is the Queen here at all? When she cursed the others, did she curse herself as well? Does she remember who she is?

    Comment by bcmom – October 26, 2011 04:25 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • You’ll find out in episode two, though at the moment it looks like she lost her memories too.

      Comment by Amanda – October 26, 2011 04:44 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Man this show is going to be AWESOME!

    Comment by Emgee – October 26, 2011 05:04 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • All I can say to this is…
    Mmm…. John Doe…
    hehehe! Okay Im tripping but I cannot wait to see him some more! He’s just really too charming *winks* Come on Sunday get here already!!!

    Comment by Julie – October 26, 2011 06:44 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • “DO EMMA AND HENRY HAVE FAIRYTALE COUNTERPARTS?” Of course Emma does. She’s her own counterpart.

    I’m enjoying the show so far. Looking forward to see how things turn out.

    Comment by Angela – October 26, 2011 07:05 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I’m really looking forward to the show. And it’s nice to see a site that supports is. EW’s review sounds like it was written by Grumpy himself! Thanks for the answers!

    Comment by Alice – October 26, 2011 07:50 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I honsetly didn’t think I was gonna like but I LOVED IT!!
    Adored the Evil Queen/Regina. The Sheriff and Prince Charming are gorgeous.

    Comment by qeee – October 26, 2011 07:52 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Vlada: Is there an error in your first sentence? What time is the pilot episode repeating on Sunday? Should it be 7pm Eastern/6pm Central?

    Comment by Famin – October 26, 2011 08:17 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Yes, it’s airing at 7/6c. It’s fixed, thanks!

      Comment by Vlada Gelman – October 26, 2011 09:06 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • One other mystery: Who is Henry’s father? Is he one of the cast-out fairytale characters?

    Comment by Seanti69 – October 26, 2011 08:38 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • “The real treat of Once, however, is “adding mythology and connecting characters that didn’t connect previously,” says the EP. “We’re doing a Hansel and Gretel story where we bring in the Evil Queen, when she obviously wasn’t in that story originally.””

    I love that they are going to take other characters from other fairy tales and weave them in to the story- I loved seeing Granny and Red riding hood… that was fantastic. Really surprised by how much I like this show.

    Comment by Justin – October 26, 2011 09:59 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Tank you!!! :) It0s a great show.
    I love Emma very much, Jennifer is fantastic and Ginnifer, Lana, little Henry and Robert too!!!

    Comment by tracy – October 26, 2011 11:38 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • In short!! Snow because she’s pure stole the queen’s man! Hurt/Deceived, the wicked queen
    who once was good as (from he garden of eden) reflecting in her own counterpart, as Emma
    will revert back to good with the mysterious help of her son Henry.. through the eyes of her
    child, Henry will clearly solve his mom’s destiny, which as in all (fairy / true life tales) to be
    happy ever after… I’ll wait for as long as I have to…

    Comment by Rosalie Gambino Votsis – November 1, 2011 12:58 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Who wrote the book Henry is reading….The queen doesnt find it odd that she cast a spell on everyone in fairy land and there is some book detailing all of it that her son is reading?

    Comment by Frank – November 8, 2011 06:18 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • for one! I’ve never been so into a sjow n 29 yrs of life!!!ty for makin me feel like a kid again, but my question is if rumplestiltskin knew the pen was magic and would break the curse y did he sign it?

    Comment by rashell – November 13, 2011 06:28 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • because he knew what would happen to her for her betrayal would be worse than anything that could happen to him, he can see the future and wanted revenge

      Comment by Katt – November 17, 2011 12:35 AM PDT  Reply To This Post

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