Once Upon a Time Spin-Off Scoop: Queen of Hearts Cora May Reign Alongside Red Queen

Get More: Casting News, News, Pilots

Once Upon a Time SpinOff Barbara HersheyABC’s Wonderland-based Once Upon a Time spin-off — if it gets ordered to series — may hold a pair of queens in its hand.

On the heels of British beauty Emma Rigby (the UK’s Hollyoaks, inset) being cast as the Red Queen in the four-scene “presentation” [see glossary], TVLine has learned that Barbara Hershey‘s Cora might also serve as a royal pain – if ABC picks up the limited series to bridge Once’s winter 2013-14 hiatus. (Official talks with Hershey likely won’t take place unless the pilot moves forward.)

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Clarifying how Once Upon a Time in Wonderland (as it is currently dubbed) syncs up with Once Upon a Time proper, series cocreator Eddy Kitsis says, “You will see [Wonderland] both post- and pre-curse. It will be very similar to Once in that there will be flashbacks of these new characters that take us to pre-curse Wonderland.”

Before Regina enacted the Dark Curse, as fans of ABC’s sophomore drama know, Wonderland was lorded over by the Evil Queen’s more evil queen mum Cora. “We can’t imagine visiting that time in Wonderland and not seeing Cora as the Queen of Hearts,” says series cocreator Adam Horowitz.

PHOTOS | Once Upon a Time Season 2 — Belle Lets Loose as ‘Lacey’

As previously reported, the prospective spin-off’s Alice (played by Sophie Lowe) is described as having a generous heart scarred by a hard life. Other characters featured in the presentation — which will film in Vancouver this month after Once wraps Season 2 — are Alice’s love interest Cyrus (Peter Gadiot) and the Knave of Hearts (Being Human‘s Michael Socha), a sardonic adventurer.

Want more scoop on Once Upon a Time, or for any other show? Email mattmtvguy@gmail.com and your question may be answered via Matt’s Inside Line.

Comments (70)

  • They can’t even keep the timeline straight on one show. How will they handle it on TWO?!

    Comment by xaverie – April 4, 2013 08:42 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Chaos x 2 goes unnoticed?

      Comment by lyn – April 4, 2013 08:47 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • How is the timeline not straight on the main show?

      Comment by zacqua10 – April 4, 2013 08:48 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Pay attention. The show starts in late October 2011. By Episode 1.12, it is now February 14th, 2012 (though the actual dialogue makes it seem like a much shorter time).Episode 13 takes place very close to episode 12. Episodes 13-18 take place over seven days. Episodes 1.18-2.02 take place over, AT BEST, three-four days. So it should be maaaaaaybe April, if we stretch. 2×07 shows that LESS than 28 days has passed since the curse broke. 2.10-2.16 take place over only a few days again yet somehow it is the middle of winter. Whoops. Somehow almost a year passed without anyone noticing.

        Comment by xaverie – April 4, 2013 09:29 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • It’s because they filmed in several months while only a few weeks passed in the show. They can’t control. They can’t control the weather.

          Comment by Dylan V. (@weaslark) – April 4, 2013 09:35 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
          • Ah….I’m not talking about the weather. I’m talking about DIALOGUE THEY SAY ON THE SHOW.

            Comment by xaverie – April 4, 2013 09:35 AM PDT  
          • xaverie, your big complaint really seems to be about the weather, just based on your statement above. Could you please provide more substantial proof other than “2.10-2.16 take place over only a few days again yet somehow it is the middle of winter.” To me, that seems like your beef is with the weather.

            Comment by Sara – April 4, 2013 10:30 AM PDT  
          • How can it be about the weather? Watch the show. You literally see people wearing the same clothes in 2.10-2.12. With both having action that directly leads from the episode before it to the episode after. Specifically 2.11 takes place in one day. 2.12 takes place THAT SAME NIGHT. The next morning covers 2.13 and unless travelling a few hours from Maine to New York somehow managed to take weeks, it is then the day after in 2.14. 2.14 and 2.14 merge together because we know that very little time has passed in New York but for certain 2.15 takes place over one day. 2.16 takes place only hours after 2.15 because they didn’t have enough time to drive, like, 7 hours from NYC to Maine.
            Do you actually watch the show? How can it be about the weather when we are actually seeing a problematic timeline.

            Comment by xaverie – April 4, 2013 10:45 AM PDT  
          • I just assume that there are days that aren’t even shown. I mean not every day is going to be full of drama. Some days it’s going to be wake up, Breakfast at Granny’s, work, and then sleep. Lol

            Comment by Nick – April 4, 2013 11:28 AM PDT  
          • @Nick Which is why I give some days leeway. But there are several times where we’re actually shown one day going into another like 1.20-2.01 and 2.11-2.16. Also we see on screen that 1.13-1.18 take place over 7 days.

            Comment by xaverie – April 4, 2013 12:02 PM PDT  
        • Wow, okay, so your beef is with the weather in Vancouver…? Maybe I am thinking this isn’t the show for you? There really is an awful lot of TV on Sunday nights. Ping any of us if you need a suggestion!

          Comment by lauren – April 4, 2013 09:35 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
          • …*headdesk* you think I’m talking about the weather? Please watch the show. In 2×15 The Queen is Dead, it is Snow’s birthday. This is what Johanna says to her: “Because they could survive the harshest winter, and you were born during the harshest one of all.” They are back in winter.

            Comment by xaverie – April 4, 2013 09:37 AM PDT  
          • Xaverie, You’re assuming that the seasons in Fairytale land match up with the seasons in Storybrook??

            Comment by JJ – April 4, 2013 09:41 AM PDT  
          • @lauren If they don’t, then the conversation about Snowdrops, that only flower in the winter and are very clearly flowering there, doesn’t make sense.

            Comment by xaverie – April 4, 2013 09:45 AM PDT  
        • oops I wrote “they can’t control” twice

          Comment by Dylan V. (@weaslark) – April 4, 2013 09:36 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • this happens on nearly every show on television. You’re being incredibly nitpicky

          Comment by JJ – April 4, 2013 09:39 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
          • Not really. Most television shows have time pass at a normal rate so that characters can age and grow.

            Comment by xaverie – April 4, 2013 09:41 AM PDT  
          • Time didn’t pass at a normal rate for 28 years in Storybrooke. Most of the characters there did not age for 28 years. This show isn’t like most.

            Comment by Andy – April 4, 2013 09:57 AM PDT  
        • I honestly have not done the math on the Storybrooke timeline but judging by the info you gave the timeline seems to make sense.

          So it seems that it was around Feb 22 by episode 1.18, Feb 25 by 2.02, around March 15 by 2.07 and by 2.16 around March 18, which is still Winter and still pretty cold in the Northeast.

          Unless I misunderstood something…

          Comment by Ariel – April 4, 2013 10:20 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
          • That they’re trying to move the timeline forward to make it seem LESS like Neal and Emma was statutory rape, not more. So if it’s still March-ish 2012, Henry being 11 makes Emma 16 when she got pregnant and Neal several hundred years older.

            Comment by xaverie – April 4, 2013 10:25 AM PDT  
          • No, Henry was 10 on Emma’s 28th birthday, the night he found her in Boston. Ergo, he was born when she was 18. She was 17 and barely PG when she got arrested and sent to juvie.

            Comment by lyn – April 4, 2013 01:34 PM PDT  
          • @lyn Try your math again. For Henry to be TEN on Emma’s 28th birthday, that means he had to be born when she was SEVENTEEN.

            Comment by xaverie – April 4, 2013 01:59 PM PDT  
        • Going from the last in line since I can’t reply to it. They didn’t drive from NYC to Storybrooke or don’t you remember their arrival by Hook’s ship in the beginning of The Miller’s Daughter.

          Comment by Mary – April 4, 2013 11:17 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
          • That’s what I mean. The seven hour drive was TOO SLOW so there is even less time.

            Comment by xaverie – April 4, 2013 11:59 AM PDT  
        • Ok. I get your problem but seriously… have you ever read fantasy literature? part of this show asks us to believe things that are untrue (magic, witches, living fairy tales, curses, etc.) but you have trouble with time and weather? Maybe this isn’t the kind of show for you. And I don’t mean this as “get out of here” more in a “this is how this show goes”. Maybe what in Storybrook are months it has been years for the rest of the world since the curse and when it broke the place has gone through some “adaptations” to the outer-world… maybe?

          Comment by Tinemi – April 4, 2013 11:49 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
          • Actually, fantasy is pretty much my genre. Probably why I’m so disappointed in OUAT. Their characterization and plotting is sub-par at best.

            Comment by xaverie – April 4, 2013 12:00 PM PDT  
        • Totally agree with the timeline mess. It’s NOT a year, even if at PaleyFest Adam and Eddy said that about a year passes with each season: it’s only been 6 months for season 1 and 2 at most. With Emma’s birthday confirmed as October 23, 1983 and Henry’s birthday presumably taking place on or about April 21 when “Lacy” airs (and it IS his 11th birthday from the candles on the cake in the promo stills) Emma was 16 when she got pregnant around July 2000, turned 17 shortly after finding out she was pregnant, and didn’t turn 18 until about 6 months after Henry was born. The “winter” comment on the show about Snow’s birthday is sketchy (it’s clearly NOT winter, but spring, although in both Vancouver and Maine the weather could still be cold in April and who knows what season corresponds in FTL). Then there’s the newspaper article back in Season 1 which had completely different dates for when Emma was born (some time in 1979 as she was arrested at 17 in June 1996), which the creators apparently decided to scrap in favor of 1983 in Season 2. Of course, the underage thing with Neal is annoying too; it wouldn’t be illegal in a lot of states (they could have gotten married in Florida, for instance), but IS in Oregon, even if it’s misdemeanor sexual abuse, not felony statutory rape (as some people keep claiming here). I know some people claim this is nit-picky, but when the creators claim that they have the chronology of the show all worked out and yet it comes off as vague, confusing, and at times contrary on the show, it just gets ANNOYING. And now they’re going to dump this flashback/flashforward insanity on Wonderland. I was hoping for JUST a flashback to fill the seasonal gap to eliminate a flashback series on OUAT. I love Barbara Hershey, but chronologically, this is just a nightmare in the making!

          Comment by ej – April 4, 2013 03:15 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
          • I’d just like to point out that Emma was already eighteen when she had Henry. In one of the first few episodes of season one, when Emma is talking to a pregnant Ashley (i.e. Cinderella), she asks, “How old are you?,” and Ashley replies, “Nineteen,” to which Emma responds, “I was eighteen.” (Meaning she was eighteen when she was pregnant) So we can’t assume that whatever happened between Neal and Emma was illegal.

            Comment by Jo Hansen – May 17, 2013 04:12 PM PDT  
    • The timeline is perfectly handled in OUAT. You just need to watch every episode, listen carefully and put the pieces together.

      Comment by Allan – April 4, 2013 08:52 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • No. It’s not. It’s actually WORSE if you pay attention.

        Comment by xaverie – April 4, 2013 09:24 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • Why are you paying such close attention if you dislike the show so much?

          Comment by Josh – April 4, 2013 04:04 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
          • I DON’T dislike the show. I watch the show. I just want it to make sense. And when your show is entirely based on cause and effect and based on time, it’s kind of important.

            Comment by xaverie – April 4, 2013 04:39 PM PDT  
    • The timeline is just fine. The past/flashbacks aren’t aired in a linear manner. It fills in the gaps as it goes, with narrative clues about what order it all happened in.

      Comment by Brooke – April 4, 2013 08:57 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Yes, I’m aware. Though the past/flashbacks are problematic in that they don’t match up or make sense in a lot of cases, Storybrooke is MUCH worse.

        Comment by xaverie – April 4, 2013 09:25 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • I’m sorry this seems so important to you. I understand what you’re saying, but maybe this isn’t as important to a multitude of people. If the timeline inaccuracies were as blatant and disturbing as you say, then I don’t think you would be the only one harping on them. The fact that you could quote all the weeks and the weather-based and time-based dialogue in them is sad. Very sad. This is a fantastical TV show, not to be taken so seriously.

          Comment by JoMarch – April 4, 2013 10:37 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
          • I’ve watched the episodes once this season. I’m FAR from the only person complaining.

            Comment by xaverie – April 4, 2013 10:47 AM PDT  
          • Plus, there are lots of people who don’t like using their brains when they watch tv. That’s fine. No need to belittle people that do notice things about the television shows they watch.

            Comment by xaverie – April 4, 2013 10:52 AM PDT  
          • xaverie: Here’s something for you to crusade about= On The Big Bang Theory both Sheldon and Leonard have allergies, yet they did an episode where they had 17 cats in the apartment. Now that’s prosecutable.

            Comment by lyn – April 4, 2013 01:40 PM PDT  
        • How do the flashbacks not match up? If we look at last year, you Snow Falls which took pace right before the Shepard and before Red-Handed and The Heart is a Lonely Hunter. But you had 7:15am, True North, Heart of Darkness, and Apple as Red as Blood take place after Snow Falls. And then you had The Thing You Love Most and the Pilot flashbacks take place right before the curse began.

          IA that this season’s flashbacks are not coherent at all though. We know when the We are Both flashbacks took place (after Regina married Leopold), when Lady of the Lake did(after Charming woke Snow up), when The Cricket Game did(sometime before Snow and Charming’s wedding), when Manhattan/The Crocodile did (before Rumple became the Dark One) and obviously Tallahassee (11 years before Emma came to Storybrooke). And you could say the Child of the Moon flashbacks took place after Red-Handed and Queen of Hearts/The Outsider took place after Skin Deep. But there’s no line that really attaches any of them like last years did

          Comment by Jen – April 4, 2013 12:22 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
          • …those aren’t the problem, although they have curse timeline issues in the first few episodes. None of the flashbacks are what is being referred to.

            Comment by xaverie – April 4, 2013 02:02 PM PDT  
          • @xaverie: “Though the past/flashbacks are problematic in that they don’t match up or make sense in a lot of cases”

            Is that not what you said?

            Comment by Jen – April 4, 2013 02:42 PM PDT  
          • The timeline doesn’t match in Storybrooke, but the FTL flashbacks don’t make sense in a different way. Like, if Regina can make the sleeping curse why she needed to spend so much time tracking it down with Hansel and Gretel. How come Jefferson didn’t know who Daniel was when in fact he had spent some time, you know, staring at Daniel’s dead body? That kind of thing. If Regina can use the hat why she needed Jefferson to help her at all either in 1.17 or 1.21. And it’s not because she needed to trick him because we know she could have taken a dead body with her an accomplished the same thing.

            Comment by xaverie – April 4, 2013 04:43 PM PDT  
        • Actually, if I remember correctly, Emma was 18 when she had Henry. She turned 28 on the first episode of the show. Henry was 10 the first season. Emma was likely 17 or at least almost 17 when she got pregnant if we have to be so technical. As for the moving timelines, I do not think different timelines are too hard to follow. This show is hardly the only show that has moved back and forth in time. However, I understand that this style is not for everyone.

          Comment by WingsStef – April 4, 2013 01:38 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
          • You’re misunderstanding both. The problem is not the flashbacks/present day style. The problem is that their present day timeline doesn’t work.
            And while yes, Henry is 10 in the first season there is no way for him to be 10 in the pilot on Emma’s 28th birthday, if she hadn’t had him when she was 17.

            Comment by xaverie – April 4, 2013 02:02 PM PDT  
    • haha so true…and worst the show has been really weak this season. I wish they’d hold off on the spin-off and focus on well…regaining the focus of Once. I can’t help but feel Once is going the direction of Heroes.

      Comment by Josh – April 4, 2013 09:01 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Agreed. I loved Heroes and then it just got messed up with hiatuses and the writers losing focus by adding too many storylines. The cluttered menagerie of secondary characters and lackluster writing this season, plus the sketchy math timeline is just a mess. I am really hoping the show will improve in Season 3, but dividing focus for this spin-off after such a hot/cold sophomore season seems unwise on both fronts. I liked the AHS style mini-series idea initially, but the more I hear about the layout of Wonderland, the more concerned I am for both shows. Sounds like ABC and Adam & Eddy may be counting their ugly ducklings before they’ve hatched.

        Comment by ej – April 4, 2013 03:22 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • So excited for this!!!!

    Comment by Kat – April 4, 2013 08:45 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Is it possible they could cast Rose McGowan as Cora? Just a thought.

    Comment by Sheila – April 4, 2013 08:52 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Probably not, as it has already been established that a Barbara Hershey-aged Cora was the Queen of Hearts. I do hope they find more use for Rose McGowan as Cora, though.

      Comment by Sara – April 4, 2013 08:58 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Not really. Cora arrived in Wonderland after a young adult Regina had pushed her through the looking glass as seen in episode 2.02. It has to be Barbara Hershey who plays her. But Rose McGowan will be back on Once Upon a Time as the younger Cora next season and I’m looking forward to it. :)

      Comment by Louise – April 4, 2013 09:00 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Barbara Hershey as the Queen of Hearts/Cora would be the only reason for me to watch it to be honest. Not really into the whole spin off idea so far. I would rather see more Wonderland on OUAT proper.

    Comment by Louise – April 4, 2013 08:57 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • This! Why the spin-off? Instead of going to Neverland they should go to somewhere cool as Wonderland or the Emerald City!

      Comment by James – April 4, 2013 08:32 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • THIS!!! I will only watch a spin off if Cora will be in it! I miss her in UOAT… The new story line “lets still magic” not that convincing…

      Comment by ilona – April 6, 2013 05:26 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Good to know and good for her. She was a fine villain, a little bit cliché but still a good villain.

    Comment by Azerty – April 4, 2013 08:58 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I don’t know about this OUAT spin-off. I’m still traumatized with Criminal Minds’ spin-off almost killing the original.

    Comment by sofia – April 4, 2013 09:13 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Idk about this spinoff but I will definitely try it out if it gets picked up to series.

    Comment by Elyse – April 4, 2013 09:43 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • If Barbara Hershey is in this I’m THERE. As long as it’s not just a couple of guest appearances though. She’s too good. She should be a main character.

    Comment by Louisa – April 4, 2013 09:52 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • she was soo good as hannah in hollyoaks!

    Comment by london12 – April 4, 2013 09:55 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Tho i havent watched any of the episodes since the winter finale(im waiting for the season finale and will just have my own OUAT marathon)i have never ever noticed or had an issue keeping up with the timing in Storybrook or or in the Fairytale land. The 2 parallel “dimensions” aren’t happening simultaneously and thats very evident. Time has stood still in Storybrook,hence the clock in the town center never changing.

    Comment by Darrius – April 4, 2013 10:13 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • …yes. It’s very clear that the flashbacks are in the past. That’s why they’re called flashbacks.

      Comment by xaverie – April 4, 2013 12:03 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Wait, Emma Rigby is 23 and Sophie Lowe (alice) is 22. Shouldn’t the Red Queen be significantly older?

    Comment by Kaycee – April 4, 2013 10:17 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Well to be fair Lana is 35 and Ginny is 34, I think that’s how the show works haha

      Comment by LE – April 4, 2013 12:40 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I’m looking forward to it as a way to keep watching fairytale land during OUAT’s many hiatuses. It is ridiculous how many breaks ABC schedules for OUAT, Revenge, Nashville, etc. Just when the momentum gets moving – bam – another break. ABC needs to come up with clever ways to fill the voids.

    Comment by Gillian – April 4, 2013 10:24 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Do you think they are going to try something similar to what they do on ABC Family? They have several shows alternating in the same timeslot. They air around 10 new episodes, take a break, series 2 alternates with their 10 episodes. It is much better than reruns and the strange breaks on the ABC dramas.

      Comment by Lisa – April 4, 2013 10:53 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I hope they keep Barbara Hershey on the second show – she is awesome. I hope both shows work out – I would hate to see either fail because the showrunners cannot do two shows, let alone one right.

    Comment by TVDIVA – April 4, 2013 06:10 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • A spin off is a good idea, fresh faces in a familiar set can be a real boost for the show. Exciting!

    Comment by Lucy – April 5, 2013 08:51 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Hi, thanks for sharing.

    Comment by child care – April 9, 2013 01:25 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I absolutey love it…and find the storylines enthralling …really hope they do the spin off!!!! :-D

    Comment by Tracey – April 28, 2013 01:55 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I think it is cool they are going to do a spin off of Once Upon a Time. How are they going to bring Cora back? Cora died on Once Upon a Time so they really should not bring her in the spin off.

    Comment by Jillian Fawcett – May 19, 2013 07:21 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I really hope everyone knows that Cora is the Queen of Hearts and Anastasia is the Red Queen. Two distinctly different characters in the wonderland story.
    Look at Anastasia. There are no hearts ANYWHERE. Her tiara is not hearts. Her castle is not hearts. Her dresses are not hearts. Just red. She has the chess theme, just like the Red Queen from the story.
    Two distinct characters from two different stories.
    And now two different characters from two different tv shows.

    Cora is the one who is responsible for Ana learning magic. The writers have confirmed it.
    Barbara Hershey is going to be in the show as a flashback. She’s not present right now, she’s dead.

    Comment by OMGshNicholas – November 19, 2013 01:50 PM PDT  Reply To This Post

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