ABC’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.)
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.
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.