Report: Once Upon a Time Seeks New Mad Hatter for Possible Spin-Off

SEBASTIAN STANOnce Upon a Time‘s Mad Hatter may soon get an ABC tea party of his very own.

The network is thinking about spinning off the Alice in Wonderland-based character, who has appeared in six episodes of the fairytale drama, into his own series, according to our sister site Deadline.

RELATED | New Spoiler Alert! Reveals Once Upon a Time Death Scoop, Good Castle News and More

The only problem: Portrayer Sebastian Stan is unavailable for a return and the potential new project, so the series is looking to recast the role. Just last week, TVLine asked series creators Adam Horowitz and Eddy Kitsis if Stan was due for an encore anytime soon; they said his schedule with the Broadway revival of Picnic (and the next Captain America pic) prohibited it.

The new Hatter would be cast as a guest star with a series option, similar to what the show has done with Emile de Ravin, Meghan Ory and Colin O’Donoghue.

UPDATED to advertise two reader suggestions: Seth Gabel (Fringe) and Andrew Lee Potts (Syfy’s Alice).

Would you watch a Mad Hatter-centric spin-off? Vote below! And who would you cast as its lead? Sound off in the comments!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Amanda says:

    No! If Sebastian Stan isn’t playing him, I don’t want it.

    • Lexi says:

      I know! Stan is so good as Hatter… I really can’t see anyone else doing it.

    • LC says:

      I don’t see enough to his story to warrant an entire series of his own. With or without Sebastian, I wouldn’t watch this.

      • zoot says:

        Exactly! Need a third option…Don’t care enough about the character and won’t watch either way.

      • Lena120 says:

        I agree. Haven’t they delved into Wonderland enough with him and Cora being the Queen of Hearts? Why don’t they spinoff one of the lands that got NO backstory. Bring in King Arthur and lets see how he delt with Lancelot’s death. I feel like OUAT has bastardized a lot of the backstories of their fairytale characters already.

    • Ty says:

      Correct. They better not recast him. If they want to do a spin off they should just do the writing and concept work right now, and get the peripheral casting planned, and wait until Sebastian Stan is FINISHED with that broadway thing.

      Sebastian Stan in ANYTHING lights up the entire screen because he is so – #%king – beautiful. He is also a good actor but his whole package is what makes him so endearing and enjoyable to watch in damn near anything.

    • MadHatterLuvr says:

      Hey, I think it’s great that Stan is having so many successes right now. I will miss him as the Hatter, perhaps he can return later, but until that time I nominate Andrew Lee Potts who is already familiar with the craziness that is Alice!

  2. ahhh they should totally keep him… just hold off on the series for a while, hahaha

  3. No. Don’t recast him. Ugh, that would be a bummer.

  4. Sarah says:

    Oh please no.

  5. Choco says:

    I don’t understand why they would do a spin-off without Sebastian Stan. It won’t be the same character.

  6. Shoof says:

    No, no, no.

  7. Rob says:

    Why, they must be mad! (someone had to do it)

  8. Add me to the please don’t recast list. He made that roll, unless your replacing him with Johnny Depp. Pass.

    • Merri Beth Sartors says:

      Johnny Depp was good but he was a COMPLETLY different Mad Hatter. I l

    • Merri Beth Sartors says:

      *I love Sabatian Stan as the Hatter but if they were to get anyone to replace him I would choose Andrew Lee-Potts from Syfy’s Alice. His version of Hatter was much closer to Sabastian’s. Their versions are more realistic and not as over-the-top as Depp’s.

      • Grace says:

        I totally agree. I hope they decide to wait til Stan is done but if not then Andrew lee Potts would be the best option

  9. Alex says:

    The reason fans love the character so much is because of the actor’s portrayal… it makes absolutely no sense to re-cast, and I truly hope they don’t. I’d rather wait for greatness than settle for (potential) mediocrity.

  10. HeatherC says:

    That doesn’t sound like a good idea. Sebastian is awfully popular as the Hatter on OUAT and I don’t know if Once fans would respond to this new show very well. Please change your mind ABC! =P

  11. WayneInNYC says:

    Even when his Broadway gig is over, Sebastian Stan will be going directly into film the next Captain America film reprising his role as Bucky Barnes (aka The Winter Soldier) so he won’t be in OUaT for the foreseeable future, much less available to headline a new series.

    • ZmaX says:

      Even with the film, I don’t see why he couldn’t do a few guest appearances on OUAT in the future (season 3). Emily VanCamp is in Captain America 2 as well and she’s actually the lead of Revenge. They’ll finish the movie by the time network shows resume production in late July anyway.

      • ej says:

        ^ This. Hold off on the series until his schedule allows for it. Recasting for the character on OUAT, if it becomes necessary, is one thing (it worked for Bewtiched, I guess!) but a recast spin-off? The studios are over-saturating with fairy tale genre stuff right now anyway. The Snow White movies and now both Jack and Oz. Too much of a good thing ruins it for everyone IMO, and the number of spin-offs that actually succeed even with the same actor, you could count on your fingers.

      • Erik Galston says:

        except Emily Van Camp’s character is likely not as important as Sebastian’s character and will likely not be in as many scenes so her filming the movie will probably be shorter than Sebastians.

  12. I really like Stan as an actor but if they want to bring the character back to Once AND spin him off into his own tv – they are going to have to recast. Stan has the Broadway show then immediately after that he goes into shooting for the Captain America sequel which would make it almost impossible for him to shoot Once.

    Sucks, but I would hate for them to forgo a great idea for a spin-off as well as story for Once just because they can’t get an actor. There are plenty of actors out there that look exactly like him anyway they can get that are just as good if not better. haha.

  13. Pepper says:

    Why would anyone wanna do that? I mean the spin-off, not the recast.

    • Lily says:

      Agreed! I liked the Mad Hatter character on Once, but I cannot imagine watching an entire episode, let alone a whole series about him…I would need a little more knowledge about the concept of this show before even considering tuning in.

      • Lily says:

        I get the whole Alice in Wonderland thing, but that doesn’t seem like a new concept…

      • taran63 says:

        As far as I’m concerned, there’s no pressing need to bring the Mad Hatter character back. I think Stan did a great job playing him, but the character’s whole motivation was to get his daughter back. He succeeded, so he has no real reason to interact with any of the others on the show. If the actor can come back it would be nice to see him again, but there’s no need to rush it.

      • CS07 says:

        I’m not sure it would be a series based solely on the Mad Hatter, with the same deal being given to Emile de Ravin, Meghan Ory and Colin O’Donoghue it makes me think that maybe those characters would all leave Storybrooke together, going back to where they came from. Having a series in Storeybrooke and another in fairy tale land.

        • CMG says:

          You misunderstood the article. When the article talks about “guest star with a series option” and referring to those actors, it means their contracts were structured such that they appeared on Once Upon A Time as guest stars, but the show had the option to continue them on as series regulars (i.e. if they “clicked” and their characters worked well enough to continue featuring them). It wasn’t saying that they all would be featured on a spinoff, if there is one.

  14. Cory Myers says:

    I think people need to just simmer down and wait. I love Sebastian Stan’s Jefferson too! However, we need to keep an open mind about it. It will not be exactly the Jefferson we’ve come to love, but the new Jefferson could find a place in our hearts as well. Sometimes this has to happen in the television and film worlds so a great story can be told. Just wait… trust the OUAT creators and see what they come up with… they might surprise you…

  15. sara says:

    AHAHAHAHAHAHA. Oh man. Yes, spin-off a character when there are already two other Wonderland related shows being developed for the pilot season.

    • Rob says:

      To be honest, that’s just good counter programming. They have a built-in fan base. I think it’s a little soon for Kitsis and Horowitz to take-under another show so I do actually hope they wait one more season to try to put together a backdoor pilot of sorts.

      • sara says:

        It’s only good counter-programming if you can back it up because you run the risk of losing a lot of viewers because a) spin-offs tend to lose viewers from the mother ship, and Once isn’t a ratings juggernaut b) recasting turns a lot of people off, it’s almost universally reviled and c) oversaturation of the same idea can sink all the shows involved. Not necessarily OUAT, but the the spin-off along with the other pilots.

  16. David4 says:

    Stupid idea on both parts. The show should be around 3-5 more years, just wait to bring the character and the actor back.

  17. Josh says:

    This makes NO sense. “Hey the character was a HUGE hit, mostly due to the actor…so let’s have a spin-off series without that actor!”

    WTF? I just can’t think of a reason.

  18. Catherine says:

    I agree with the majority: wait for Stan to make the spin-off. I think it could be a good idea, but it would not be the same with a different actor.

  19. Georgina says:

    Please don’t do this. Sebastian is the Mad Hatter.

  20. Erika says:

    no no no no

  21. Jake L says:

    I agree with what most people have said here. Other actors can play the Mad Hatter, but the Once-verse Mad Hater is so well defined by Sebastian Stan that this seems like a mistake Also, Once is a very young and very complex show to produce, and it doesn’t seem like the right time to me to do a spinoff, much less one that would negatively impact the original show by causing a recast to happen. I feel like the focus should remain with the original series.

  22. Andy says:

    More people seem to be against the possible recasting than the possible spin-off. I love OUAT, but I don’t want a spin-off. If it were just to tell the Mad Hatter’s story, they can just do Hatter-centric episodes. But a spin-off? This show isn’t NCIS. I don’t want OUAT: Wonderland. There are already worlds connected to FTL and Storybrooke, but just contained in the one show. We don’t need several shows for all the worlds. And what would keep ABC from making more spin-offs? How are we to know there won’t be a pilot for fall 2014 titled Hooked? But that is just my opinion. Not looking to start a convo war.

    • Cory Myers says:

      You do realize that NCIS is itself a spin-off right? NCIS is a spinoff from the television show J.A.G. and proof that sometimes spin-offs can be just as good if not better than its predecessor. You never know until you give it a chance.

      • Andy says:

        Yes, I know NCIS is a spin-off of J.A.G. I’m just saying OUAT spin-off is just not right, especially at this point.

      • Ty says:

        @#^$ with all these acronyms !!!!!!!!!!! The ONLY one I get is OUAT and even that looks ridiculous when typed out. STOP IT PEOPLE !!!!!!!

      • JC says:

        JAG was in its eighth season when it spun off NCIS. NCIS was in its sixth season when it spun off NCIS Los Angeles, which is now in its fourth season, and working on spinning off the newest member of the family. OUAT on the other hand is only in its second season, and it’s been wobbling a bit lately in the ratings. I’d rather see the network focus on the current show for the time being, and then maybe in two or three years when OUAT is a mature well established hit they could take another look at a spin-off.

  23. Mike says:

    I said no without Stan, but if they casted the right guy, I might reconsider. I won’t knock it until I know it is not good.

  24. Khorrie says:

    I’m not completely against a recast, I’m just uncertain why Jefferson would be their spin-off character of choice. Is it because of the world-hopping ability that would allow the series to exist without relying on other established OUAT cast members? If so, can we just get a Jack the Giant Killer spin-off instead? I’m sure Cassidy Freeman could work it around her “Longmire” schedule…

  25. Mike says:

    As much as I love Stan, he is a guest star, his recasting would not ruin the show, it’s not like they’re recasting Red, now that would be the end if the show.

  26. Amanda says:

    Fans of Sebastian are currently tweeting #SebastianStanOnly to the writers and producers to make sure our voices are heard.

  27. CMG says:

    Don’t recast him, and most importantly, don’t do a spinoff. Geez. Haven’t US networks ever heard of “too much of a good thing?” Or possibly “leave ’em wanting more?” No, as usual, they want to run a good idea into the ground, *sigh*

  28. ABC says:

    I’m down if they get Andrew Lee Potts. Otherwise, forget it.

    • Katie_Mead says:

      Okay, forget my suggestion below, yours will do nicely.

      • Susi says:

        Noo, if it’s going to be done (which I don’t think would be the best idea to begin with) I’d much prefer to have the awesome Seth Gabel!

    • Alia says:

      Okay, yeah, I’d watch it if they cast Andrew Lee Potts, but only because I miss Primeval.

    • GeekGirl13 says:

      While I’m open to other casting choices too, Andrew Lee Potts should be a shoe in, IMHO. Above someone said that Stan is the reason viewers love Hatter, but for me, I loved Stan’s Hatter because I could so easily see Potts in him and the part.

  29. Katie_Mead says:

    If a recasting of the Mad Hatter is completely necessary (whether for some spin-off, or just to fill the original recurring role … Seth Gabel.

    • Krystan says:

      I love Seth Gabel!

      • Lemon says:

        Well, I like most actors, but that doesn’t mean they can act tough role. Seth Gabel is fan favorite mostly because Fringe, but he was *coughawfullcough* or let we say “little disappointing” in Arrow as Vertigo. And this is almost the same kind of role.

      • Deion says:

        Seth Gabel could be capable, but let’s face it, he looks most like Sebastian Stan than any other actor.

  30. Brett Heitkam says:

    Recasts are always so tricky. I think that OUAT is too young of a show to even be thinking about a spin-off at this point, let alone a spin-off starring a re-casted character. I feel like there is no way this spin-off could equal the magic, mystery, and excitement of the original. I understand ABC wanting to capitalize on one of their most popular shows, but a similar companion series would be more appropriate than a spin-off at this point. Do a series based on The Wizard of Oz or Narnia or Wonderland (but keep EVERYTHING completely seperate from the Once mythos). This is the only way something like this could succeed for ABC. Look at Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice. Yes, PP lasted 6 seasons…barely… but their ratings were always quite anemic when compared to Grey’s, which is still one of the highest rated dramas on TV after 9 years.

  31. Alice says:

    The show is still in season 2- it doesn’t need a spin-off! They have brought in plenty of new characters and new worlds this season, there’s plenty for them to work with. Spin-off in general makes no sense, but spinning off a Wonderland show without Sebastian Stan makes even less sense. And it would mean that we would never get Stan back as a guest star on Once ever again, we’d get spinoff Hatter. I’d rather not see a spinoff and see him in a year or so than get a crappy spinoff and lose him forever.

  32. Dave says:

    such a bad, bad, bad idea.

  33. rowan77 says:

    Broadway actors go off and shoot pilots all the time. And that gives their understudy a chance to shine more than one day a week. If they really wanted to (or if Sebastian really wanted to) they could work something out with the producers of Picnic.

    Mrtin Freeman turned down playing Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit – twice – citing his Sherlock schedule. After the second refusal, Peter Jackson and Warner Bros got on the phone with Moffatt and Auntie Beeb (BBC) and they came to a compromise – Sherlock would shift shooting to six months later, then Martin would take five months off of shooting The Hobbit to concentrate on Sherlock. It worked out great for everyone involved.

  34. Juliette says:

    Of course, writing played a key role, but can it really be denied that a large part of the reason for the Hatter’s popularity was Sebastian Stan? I agree with Brett: OUAT is too young, and I’ve heard the numbers fluctuate even now, for a spin-off to be a good idea at this stage. If this is true, it seems like a lukewarm idea at best, and much too soon. What if Emilie or one of the other actors had been unable to return for some time? Would they have recast? #SebastianStanOnly, please.

  35. DL says:

    I was initially against any recasting, but after hearing Seth Gabel’s name I would actually be satisfied.

  36. kelly says:

    Not a good idea in general, and without Stan definitely no.

  37. John DeMayo says:

    I’m not sure I want this to happen — especially the “spinoff” aspect of it. But if it MUST — there is only one actor I’d want to see take over the role: Seth Gabel. I love Sebastian Stan’s portrayal, but if he’s not going to be available to even come back AT ALL to continue his storyline on “Once”, then there’s really no way to avoid a recasting. I repeat, if they recast the Mad Hatter, it has to be Seth Gabel.

  38. Ana says:

    We need another option to vote for: would you watch a mad-hatter spin-off? Because my answer to that would be ‘no.’

  39. A.B. says:

    As I said in a different site I’m opposed to recasting the role cause Sebastian Stan did an awesome job. I was kind of looking foreward to see him again and was even pairing him up with Emma. However if they can’t then I would be down for Andrew Lee Potts. I love SyFy’s take on fairy tales “Alice” “Tin Man” and the one of Peter Pan(I’m blanking on the name) but those are mini series. Not sure i would want to see that show

  40. Sunshine says:

    I sincerely did like Sebastian Stan as the Hatter but could handle the recasting since he’s only been in a handful of eps. If they go the recasting route I’d love them to go with the actor who played Hatter on SyFy’s Alice. He was incredible and would make a great additional as well as be able to carry a series. The Alice miniseries was great.
    Side Note: SyFy drops the ball a lot by not capitalizing on miniseries they could make into great shows… Alice, Riverworld, Tin Man

  41. John DeMayo says:

    What a lot of people here seem to be missing… is the fact that Sebastian Stan isn’t going to be available to even return as a guest star for quite awhile. He’s going to be off playing a major role in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. How long do you wait for him before you have to think about recasting?

    • Alice says:

      His storyline got wrapped. He doesn’t NEED to be on the show for quite sometime. Certainly not badly enough for them to re-cast him rather than waiting a season or two to see Jefferson again. It’s a big ensemble and his character has been more removed than most from the main action since the very beginning. Leave things as they are. If they have a great idea for Hatter, I’m sure they can look at it again in a year or two. Once has characters a plenty to fill the time until then.

      • gdv says:

        I completely agree. The Hatter is a rich storyline, but leave it for a season or two until Stan becomes available again. I’m not sure I’d be into a spinoff. I’d much rather see the Hatter in more OUAT eps than his own show. He’s a fan favorite, too, so it makes more sense for them to keep Stan than recast him.

  42. Sweetiegrrl says:

    I LOVE Sebastian Stan as the Hatter, but I’d definitely watch if Andrew Lee Potts was cast. He was brilliant in the Syfy movie, and I always wanted to see more of him as Hatter. Heck, I’m still pulling for an Alice sequel someday!

  43. Troy McClure says:

    Spin-off! Is there any word more thrilling to the human soul? Hi, I’m Troy McClure! You may remember me from such TV spin-offs as Son of Sanford and Son and After Mannix.

  44. Megan S says:

    I would watch the pilot just to see if any good. I’d continue to IF Andrew Lee Potts were Hatter!

  45. Jessi says:

    Wait til AFTER he is done with Picnic! There is no other Hatter than Sebastian!

  46. Summer says:

    Considering how popular the Hatter and Stan are in fandom, this may not be the brightest idea.

  47. Wrstlgirl says:

    No no no no….

  48. Mark says:

    I guess I’m in the minority, but I didn’t like the Mad Hatter character at all on Once. What would the spin off be about anyhoo? The mad hatter using his hat to go to other dimensions or something? A Dr. Who esque show?

    • Ela says:

      Well, if you’re in the minority, then I’m right there with you. I didn’t like Stan as Mad Hatter at all, plus I really don’t see how they could possibly make an entire series out of his story.

  49. Tracy Sims says:

    If it’s Andrew Lee Potts as the recast , I’m in, but only him..

  50. Joey says:

    I hope his commitments don’t keep him from reprising his role in Captain America 2.