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. Singing gal says:

    Seth Gabel would be more than acceptable for this OUAT/fringe fan Vancouverite… :)

  2. DreamRose311 says:

    I really really really don’t want to see this role recast. If it HAS to be done though, Seth Gabel would be a great choice.

  3. farsia2010 says:

    no no no no
    the reason i fell in love with the character was the way Stan portrayed him. the vulnerability he brought to the character, the charm, the boyish naiveté. not to mention that he is just gorgeous without being overly glamored up and he is a really good actor. there is simply no one else for the role! period!
    and any how, the show is only in it’s second season, isn’t it way too early for spin-offs?

  4. A says:

    I’m glad almost everyone seems to share my opinion that they should not recast. Stupid broadway ruining my tv life. Ok maybe if Logan from Veronica Mars was Mad Hatter it might be ok. But I would rather see more Hatter on Once than a spin off

  5. Melody Paris says:

    I love the suggestions of Andrew Lee Potts and Seth Gabel! I just don’t like the idea of it being a spin off. If you want to do a story about the Hatter, fine, but it does seem wrong to have it be a spin off and not have Stan be Hatter. Personally, I’m rooting for Potts because I loved him as Hatter in Alice and I’ve missed him on my TV since the end of Primeval.

  6. CS07 says:

    Originally I thought I wouldn’t be a fan of recasting but then I remembered Gabel playing The Count on Arrow a couple of weeks ago that had a Mad Hatter vibe that was done brilliantly.

  7. Or, you know, they can just make it it’s own show in itself, since that’s what it pretty much would be anyway.

  8. Dominique says:

    NO. Just no! Sebastian is a GREAT Mad Hatter, he brought the character to the life and made him who he is, and why most of us love him. A new actor taking over the role.. no thanks.

  9. Buddy321 says:

    I like Seth Gabel and Andrew Lee Potts. May I also add Ed Westwick? I always felt he had so much more potential than Gossip Girl allowed.

  10. Tom Charles says:

    I’m in the extreme minority, I can’t stand Sebastian Stan so I’d welcome this recast

    • Kristina says:

      I’m in that group too. He’s in a lot of stuff I really like, but I’ve never really cared all that much for the actor. I think I liked him in this role better than any of the others I’ve seen, but I wouldn’t mind a recast (which is unusual for me).

  11. Seriously? It´s like doing a Jack Sparrow series without Johnny Depp!

  12. kirads09 says:

    I love OUAT (mostly thanks to Robert Carlyle). But meh – I do not think I would be much interested in a “Hatter” spinoff no matter who starred in it. I really don’t feel he was that much of a stand out character or performance.

  13. Dizzle says:

    Noooope. I understand sometimes recasting a role is necessary, but this doesn’t strike me as one of those circumstances. ABC has a good property in OUAT but it’s fading fast, ratings-wise – launching a spinoff now, and recasting a popular character in order to do it under a rushed timeline, could kill the franchise. Just leave it be, Disney!

  14. Laurel says:

    I just don’t want it

  15. John says:


  16. LM says:

    I will say this: I am fine with recasting if the Mad Hatter is going to be a part of storylines in the show. This would be better than introducing another new character that appears only occasionally. However, I am not interested in a spinoff.

  17. roguebelle says:

    I would rather not see the character at all than see the character played by someone else. Seb *made* that role — he’s *why* Jefferson has a fan following. Recasting would just be… wrong.

  18. Billy W says:

    I’d be curious on the main plot of the spinoff. Would it simply be an alice in wonderland show without the “real world/storybrooke” side or would it be someone from fairytale land who was in the real world trying to reconnect with his daughter as he could travel through dimensions? A spinoff is much different than a “retelling”. They branched out from Smallville with Arrow but now with Justin Hartley behind the bow and arrow and that show has done surprisingly well.

  19. Katie says:

    Personally, I would love to watch a series about the Mad Hatter but it’s hard to imagine it without Sebastian Stan as the title character. I’d check it out, but warily.

  20. GoT Snow says:

    Andrew Lee Potts all the way!!!

  21. Kristy says:

    I don’t see the point or potential for this spin-off, regardless who is cast.

  22. Gilda says:

    I’m reeeeaaaally attatched to Sebastian Stan in that role. He’s not going to be on broadway forever. They should wait a season or two and then do a spin-off with him!

  23. Jared says:

    After recently seeing Seth Gabel as Vertigo on Arrow there’s no doubt in my mind that he could play one hell of a Mad Hatter..perfect choice. ABC needs to get him cast immediately.

  24. Jared says:

    *Seth Gabel as The Count on Arrow

  25. Jade says:

    Ed Westwick or Penn Badgley would be interesting choices to throw into the mix. Both actors are way more talented than what Gossip Girl allowed them to be.

  26. Chel says:

    There are a few gaps in Jefferson’s past that I would love to have a few more guest spots on ONCE fill in, but I’m not sure if there’s a whole series worth of it.
    Having said that, if they get Andrew Lee Potts, I would watch the CRAP out of that!
    I need more Andrew on my tv. The two guest spots in Primeval: New World were great, but not enough.

  27. K says:

    This seems like an extraordinarily bad idea.

    If they absolutely need a Wonderland-based portal jumper for some reason (Cora/queen of hearts backstory?) while SS is unavailable they can sub in some entirely new character–the March Hare, Jack of Hearts (aka Jack the Giant Killer?), White Rabbit (remember when we thought Neal might be the White Rabbit).

    And if they want to yet anothe Wonderland series to the too crowded field, just do it without any overt connection to OUAT at all.

  28. Emmaline says:

    Why not give Hook a series instead?

    • A says:

      THIS!! I would actually love that. Nothing against Sebastian Stan/Mad Hatter but Alice has been done quite enough in the past few years in movies and television so I don’t really see where they would go with an actual series. However, I do think its a little too early for the OUAT creators to create a new show/spinoff. I’d rather they spend more time on improving OUAT and making it even better.

    • Dominique says:

      Because Hook is overrated and becoming annoying and more one-dimensional real fast?

  29. Rose says:

    even if it take years to wait until Sebastian Stan’s comeback, I’d rather wait. he made Mad Hatter in OUAT that special, that unique, recasting makes no sense to me, please don’t(
    and yes, I’d watch spin-off about Mad Hatter, if Sebastian Stan is in it and if the plot is exciting, of course =)

  30. Ang says:

    Horrible idea considering Wonderland is all done with the horrific green screen sets. How about a huntsman spin off!?!?!? Set in the past, of course…

  31. Kristina says:

    Whoever suggested Seth Gabel is a genius. I could totally see him in the role.

  32. Sasha Welm says:

    I would really hope that if they did make a new Hatter they didn’t pretend it was the same one. Ie, that they made it clear that it was a cousin or a friend. Not Jefferson. Also, if they do recast him, I’m for Andrew Lee Potts. He was a great Hatter.

  33. Cheyenne says:

    The thing is, what made the Mad Hatter such a fan favorite was Sebastian Stan’s portrayal of him-the little nuances he brought to the character-and replacing that makes absolutely no sense. I would rather wait for Stan to be available for the role, no matter how long it takes, than have him recast.

  34. rachelle says:

    … Why would anyone think this is a good idea?? We as viewers form attachments to actors in certain roles. We don’t want them replaced! Sebastian Stan was amazing and I don’t want to see anyone else take the Hatter role; S.S. OWNED that role. I don’t know what kinds of amazing this new guy would have to be to get me to accept him as the new Hatter. Plus I don’t understand why they picked the Hatter to be the character with a spin-off. I love the character, but I’m not sure he can carry a whole show successfully.

    ABC, just… no.

  35. Lulu says:

    Sebastian only. I don’t think he is ever coming back though. He has a six picture deal with whoever is making Captain America.

  36. JC says:

    No no no. ABC should worry more about getting the existing show back on steady ground before they start thinking about spinoffs. The ratings have been slipping somewhat worryingly lately. I’d rather see more focus on fixing the problems with the current show. And I know the character was popular, but popular enough for his own show? I’m not sure I buy that. How much of the buzz around his character was due to the chemistry between Sebastian Stan and Jennifer Morrison? You won’t have that in a spin-off, much less if you recast.

  37. JC says:

    And to expand on my comment above, I was under the impression that what made him such a fan favorite in the first place was because fans wanted him paired with Emma, not because of any fascination with Wonderland. Now maybe I’m way off the mark on that, but if not, then they are totally missing the point with this whole spin-off idea.

  38. nick1372 says:

    Just FYI, this couldn’t possibly happen until fall 2014. There’s just not enough time to film a pilot by May Upfronts. So maybe Stan will be availble then.
    For me, it doesn’t really matter when. I’ll watch anything spun off the best drama on TV. (:

  39. dude says:

    Sebastian Stan is so good in the role I don’t know why the show would even consider recasting him just to appease the network. This is what happens when network execs suddenly decide they’re writers just because their wallets are bankrolling the operation. Leave the creative decisions to the people responsible for the success of your show and go back to counting your money.

  40. Starr says:

    OUaT is losing me…BUT i’m totally on board for a spin-off for the Hatter but more as a mini-series. AND only is Sebastian Stan reprises his role…ABC can afford to wait until he’s done with his current Broadway obligations

  41. Paul says:

    Why did, just last week, the producers say his schedule with the Broadway revival of “Picnic” prohibited his return? “Picnic” is closing, on schedule, Feb. 24th (i.e. tonight). Didn’t they know that? Or are they just making up excuses?

  42. Belle says:

    Please DON’T recast….Seb Stan is the only one for this role; re-casting will spell disaster!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  43. Nora says:

    I’d watch for either Sebastian Stan or Andrew Lee Potts, that’s it.

  44. TVDIVA says:

    Sebastian Stan is such a talented actor. He bought darkness, intense sexuality and a father’s love to his role that any replacement actor is going to find a tough act to follow. While I love Seth Gabel as a possible choice – ANY actor who follows the original Mad Hatter will be endlessly compared. I also do not see why OUAT has to do a spinoff just to complete with NBC’s Alice project. OUAT needs to get their show grounded with its huge stable of characters and stories. This is only the second season and most shows hit their stride in their third season.

  45. Jess says:

    Skeptical. Why mad hatter specifically? Aside from he looks delicious, I don’t feel he stood out any more than any other character on OUAT. Especially if Sebastian Stan isn’t even in it, seems like overkill.

  46. Brenda says:

    I don’t watch QUAT but but Im’ a fan of SS work. I see why fans are attached to his character, the little work Ive seen of him over the yrs has made me a fan. Imo QUAT needs to be on solid ground for another season before they even think of doing a spin off. And I dont see why they can’t wait for the actor. reach out to him and gauge his interest after the capt america shooting then do the pilot after that. SIgn him up for it so you don’t lose him to another project. Of course if said project doesn’t get off the ground then he walks.. But he should be your first choice if he wants it.

  47. Alondra says:

    The ONLY WAY I’d Watch OUAT with a spin-off character is if Andrew-Lee Potts filled the role otherwise there’s no way in hell anyone should replace Stan he is was and will be THE HATTER of this series I get thats its complicated to work him in with all the schedules and stuff but there professionals it can’t be the 1st time they’ve been over booked. He started the series so he shoulf finish it.

  48. Kell says:

    Andrew Lee Potts did a great job in the Syfy Alice mini series He would be great as the Mad Hatter again He really enjoyed playing that charager He would be the reason I would watch it

  49. Ideally Sebastian Stan should continue with the role if possible, but Andrew Lee Potts is an excellent actor that portrayed Hatter extremely well in SyFy Alice. Andrew is actually my favorite Hatter in all times, so if they casted him I’m sure the show would be a hit. He’s absolutely charismatic and would win all viewers to the show ;)