Once Upon a Time Spin-Off Finds Its Alice and Gets a Wonderful Title

Once Upon a Time Spin-Off Once: WonderlandOnce Upon a Time‘s potential Wonderland-set spin-off has found its heroine.

English-born Australian actress Sophie Lowe will play Alice in the project, which is now being called Once: Wonderland.

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Alice is described as having a generous heart. She carries the scars of a long hard life.

Lowe joins the recently cast Brit Peter Gadiot as Cyrus, Alice’s love interest who has a mysterious background, and Michael Socha (the UK’s Being Human) as the Knave of Hearts, a sardonic adventurer, man of action, loner and heart-breaker.

The five-scene Wonderland presentation [see glossary] will film in Vancouver after Once wraps Season 2. The prospective spin-off is envisioned as an American Horror Story-style 13-episode standalone that would ostensibly bridge the original series’ wintertime hiatus.

Once creators Eddy Kitsis and Adam Horowitz will pen the project with input from consulting producer Jane Espenson and Zack Estrin (Prison Break), the latter of whom is expected to run the series with Kitsis and Horowitz if it is greenlit.

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65 Comments
  1. hillary says:

    Michael Socha! I hope this gets picked up – I’d love to have him back on my tv after Being Human ends!

    • wordsmith says:

      I would LOVE if they could write in some Wonderland hijinks that would cause his character to be transformed for an episode or two into Michael’s sister Lauren. She was the best part of Misfits, and she would be hilarious playing her brother’s character.

  2. Rob says:

    I’m actually okay with this. I love to see networks taking risks and being experimental with programming.

  3. Bailey says:

    So you’re basically saying that Once will have a 13+ week gap now?

    I guess this is one way to appease the people complaining about the hiatuses.

    • Meghan says:

      June/July/August, 12 weeks

      most shows return in september/octocer, so a 13+ hiatus shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone, really

      • Zacqua10@gmail.com says:

        The article said winter hiatus.

      • Gem says:

        It is meant for the winter hiatus not the summer. With this show there would be no repeats and would air between the fall and spring halves of Once’s season.

      • Bailey says:

        Summer hiatus is a given, why even bring it up? lol. Most 22 episode seasons aren’t cut up with a 13+ week hiatus in the middle. Lost did it in season 3 and people hated it. Since the creators are Lost guys, they probably remember that and that’s why they want to add the new show in the middle. Long runs/no repeats for Once, new programming to shut up the complainers. Win-win.

    • Teag says:

      It’ll air from January to March. So only one break for Once Upon a Time.

  4. sarah says:

    5 scene? So it’s 5 episodes? 13 episodes seems like too many for a hiatus. Wee bit confused.
    Regardless, I’m really excited!

    • Guy says:

      No, they mean the pilot is five scenes, most likely because it’s like a 10 minute executive’s pilot…which will then determine if they should go through with it.

  5. ABC says:

    Horrible title.

  6. Mike says:

    I like the title, but is Cora going to be in it, I really need more Cora on my television.

  7. Amy says:

    Too soon maybe?

  8. Billy says:

    Any word if Barbara Hershey will reprise her role as the Queen of Hearts??? It won’t be Alice in Wonderland without her…plus I like the character. Also I’m guessing this is going to take place before the curse but I can be wrong

    • wordsmith says:

      I guess that depends on where it falls in the timeline. If it’s a prequel, then I suppose a Cora return is possible. However, Wonderland is a separate world from the Enchanted Forest, so the curse shouldn’t really have affected them at all.

      • Alex Neeley says:

        We should all remember, though, that the Mad Hatter was taken out of Wonderland and into Storybrooke by the curse, so it DID hit Wonderland after all.

        • wordsmith says:

          Do we know that for sure? My memory’s a little fuzzy on where Jefferson was and what he was up to in the days before the curse hit. He was still in Wonderland at that point?

          • Jessica M says:

            Whale/Frankenstein wasn’t in the Enchanted Forest and his land was affected by the curse, so who’s to say that Wonderland wouldn’t have been affected too?

        • darcywilson says:

          But Cora wasn’t and she was the Queen of Hearts so…

  9. João Amaral says:

    If this will just be a mini-series, it could be pretty cool.

  10. anil says:

    its not like once is as popular as it was in season 1. why do a spinoff? i doubt it’ll last.

    • wordsmith says:

      That’s the point of a limited series – it’s not supposed to last. They do 13 episodes and it’s done. If it does well, then maybe they’d do another 13 set someplace else next year.

    • just saying says:

      Once isn’t as popular because it really isn’t a good show. I thought the premise was interesting so i gave it a shot. And although it was a bit slow I stuck with it, trying to give it a chance. But I figured out what I don’t like about it. There’s never any real suspense for me. The pacing is just off. The writing is stilted and the characters are stupid quite often. It’s too PG for adults and too PG13 for little kids. It doesn’t know what it wants to be. This, like Revolution, is a show that had an interesting conceit that was poorly executed. The difference (for me) between this and Revolution is that Once has some really good actors (that are just given piss poor material). I find myself not caring if I miss an episode of Once. I don’t feel like I’m missing anything. Especially, since they are so determined to keep needlessly doing the flashback thing. It became overdone in Lost and on it’s heels, I find it overdone here. And if I don’t DVR it, I refuse to watch it on Demand, because it’s just not interesting enough to be worth sitting through commercials for. I know die hard fans will castigate me for not loving the show. Kvetch away. But I find this is a show you WANT to like more than you actually DO like, if you’re honest with yourself. I’m surely not the only one who feels this way. Rant over.

      • Will says:

        Speak for yourself. It might be a show YOU want to like more than YOU actually do. I’m completely honest with myself in considering it not only the best show currently on network TV, but the best in years, at least since Pushing Daisies went off the air. The writing is brilliant, the characters, plots, and world are rich, layered, and complex, it’s enormously ambitious, and 9 times out of 10, it hits the nail right on the head for me. And the acting is superb. I adore Once to bits.

  11. sara says:

    Great, just what Once Upon a Time needs, a 3+ month hiatus between episodes in the winter.

    • wordsmith says:

      We’d be getting that anyway – this at least gives us something, which is theoretically better than nothing at all.

    • the girl says:

      Its better than two weeks on, two weeks off. I hate that back and forth foolishness. I’d rather have a fall season and a spring season, like some of the cable networks do (USA, TNT, ABC Family).

  12. Ashley Gabriel says:

    I’d totally kill to be the Cheshire Cat! I have the gymnatics ability of a cat and a Cheshire worthy smile!! Man that would be so amazing!!

  13. Kristoffer says:

    This sounds interesting. If the ratings do well they could do all kinds of mini spin offs I guess. This woman/girl looks familiar…. but I can’t figure out who it is she kinda reminds me of. Someone on a fairly recent show.. like within the past few years. Anyone?

  14. rachelle says:

    Wow. Michael Socha looks DEAD like his sister Lauren.

  15. riverautumn says:

    Anytime I see a project by any of the “creatives” from Prison Break, I refuse to watch. Those idiots ruined a perfect show. After the first season, they lost any creative brains they had between them. The final kick in the face to fans was killing Michael and saying we should have loved it. I simply vowed never to invest in a project any of them were involved in.

  16. mia says:

    Awesome! I think its a great idea to fill in the unavoidable mid-season hiatus with a miniseries set in the same universe. Hopefully Sebastian Stan can make an appearance or two and get Barbara Hershey!

  17. “ostensibly bridge the original series’ wintertime hiatus.” like what Heroes Origins would have done for Heroes.

  18. Summer says:

    I thought that Jacqueline (Cassidy Freeman) was hinted to be Alice in the episode that she appeared in? She had the mushrooms “from a far off land” that made one change in shape, and she mentioned said that she slayed the Jabberwock.

    • Shaun says:

      No,she was Jack!

      • wordsmith says:

        It’s possible she could be Alice too (Like Rumpel is also both The Beast and The Crocodile) – but I think you’re right – she wasn’t THE Alice, just a traveler who may have been to Wonderland, or met someone who had.

  19. Morgen says:

    Oh please let Barbara Hershey be involved in this!

  20. Babybop says:

    … I don’t know how I feel about this. The show is only in its second season and they’re trying to plan spin offs? Also, wasn’t Alice a little girl in Once?

  21. Sriram says:

    Since they keep comparing it to AHS, is it gonna be like a different spin-off every year with a different realm, for eg this year Wonderland, next year since they are gonna be using Neverland in Ouat so spin-off is gonna be Neverland. If its gonna be this way, then I’m up for it.

    • Jon says:

      I also like the idea of the spin off taking place in a different realm each season. That way they could explore different worlds and characters without people complaining that they’re taking time away from the main characters in OUAT.

    • ej says:

      I agree. Other shows like Grimm and Revolution were off until March, eliminating repeats. The AHS style could work really well for OUAT. They could cut back on some of the flashblacks that this season have detracted from the contemporary events (especially when they had the past and two different present worlds) and effectively eliminate the frequent hiatuses by filling one gap during the holiday/award show/super bowl season with an in-depth flashback to whatever magical world in the present time is potentially important for the season finale/following season. It would get fans psyched about what’s to come without getting bogged down in what was during the original series while also, potentially, bringing back characters who are dead or AWOL in the present (or there just isn’t time to get to them). Cora’s return would be great! A Neverland series could sustain those crazy rabid Hook fans, giving them their fill of his hot mess inept villainy without him staying on the show beyond his character’s usefulness (although Peter and the Lost Boys might all be too far into puberty by then to make that work!). Maybe for season 3 they could get Sebastian Stan back, not for Wonderland, but for a trip to Oz when he failed to get the ruby slippers for Rumple. There’s so much potential there! But they could easily screw it up. We’ll see.

  22. prish says:

    Alice as a hard knocks girl, emotionally scarred to boot, seems too depressing and not wonderland material. We need a few non-hard knocks heroines, too. I always loved Alice as the girl who spaced out while the sister read a boring book. Alice is a middle schooler/pre-teen type. Actually, the perfect Alice would be Alissa Skovbye, the girl who plays Grace/Paige. Having the Mad Hatter’s daughter be Alice would be fun.

  23. Paul says:

    Sophie Lowe was BRILLIANT in the Australian mini series The Slap… She played damaged and evil and vulnerable and everything that Alice should be. If she is Alice, I’m only sorry that its only going to be 13 episodes…

  24. Elyse says:

    I hope it gets picked up!! I can’t wait :)

  25. I have to say, I think this is a really bad idea. It’s only going to detract from Once Upon A Time. And if the writers, etc. are already thinking about spin-offs, have they run out of ideas for Once?

  26. kirads09 says:

    Likely I will give it a chance. Wondering if it is simply too soon for a “Once” spinoff.
    And so much depends – the storylines, rest of cast, etc. Mixed feelings at this point.
    Oriignal OUAT is quite a bit to keep up with in and of itself.

  27. Spencer says:

    Does this mean that these actors could reprise these roles in OUAT season 3? Well, I suppose we’ll have to wait and see what happens to there characters in Wonderland before we know if they could come back at all…

  28. Ram510 says:

    Do people realize that next winter will be the Winter Olympics? This is a smart move for ABC to keep original programming on during the Olympics, football and awards (btw I still think they should’ve used V for this reason). Plus this could be the AHS for ABC and they could actually start a new trend in broadcast TV, it’s a smart solution to a problem ABC had had for years now. Plus they could try and infiltrate the mini series category for an Emmys potentially. However the title needs work and I’m not excited about the story or the main actress. But still a good idea

  29. Ram510 says:

    Plus just because this show will have 13 episodes doesn’t mean ABC can’t still schedule a few OUAT episodes during that time as well (end of Feburary sweeps/March maybe).

  30. Gizmo says:

    Would love to see Once scheduled like BBC does Dr. Who. 6-8 weeks of shows, a break with a big Christmas story, a break and then shows again 6-8 weeks without interruption. You’d have connectivity in story content and know exactly when the shows would be on. This would leave time for the interim series idea. That seems very doable! The not knowing when episodes are going to be on and the loss of continuity is very frustrating. No wonder people wait for the DVDs to come out!

  31. prish says:

    Actually, Sophie Lowe would work well as the older sister with Alissa Skovbye, the girl who plays Grace/Paige, as Alice. The Mad Hatter, Stan, could be their father. Sophie Lowe’s character could have been separated from her father, when young, leading to her tough life, similar to Emma’s life. Now, that would work. Plots and characterizations repeated as themes in novels, work very well. Like Brea and Emma, Alice’s sister could be a separated child, also.

  32. Jess says:

    Honestly I don’t care who is as cast AS LONG AS BARBARA HERSHEY REPRISES HER ROLE AS THE QUEEN OF HEARTS BECAUSE I NEED MORE BARBARA HERSHEY ON MY SCREEN AND AM STILL PISSED OFF ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED TO HER CHARACTER IN STORYBROOK!

    • Mikael says:

      I would LOVE to see Cora back as the Queen of Hearts. I hope this takes place before the curse. I think making a winter hiatus show is a great idea. Then there won’t be so many repeats in the Fall/Spring and the wait won’t seem as long because we have this show to tide us over.

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