Fall TV Preview

Once Upon a Time Season 3: JoAnna Garcia Swisher to Make a Splash as Ariel

Once Upon a Time Cast Mermaid ArielThings just got a lot better under the sea, with the casting of JoAnna Garcia Swisher as Once Upon a Time‘s Ariel.

RELATEDOnce Upon a Time in Wonderland Spoilers — Lost‘s Naveen Andrews Cast as Jafar

An ABC rep confirms for TVLine that the Reba/Privileged alum will play the mermaid with moxie in at least two episodes, starting with the sixth installment of Season 3. TV Guide Magazine first reported on the casting.

RELATEDOnce Upon a Time Season 3 Spoilers — Giancarlo Esposito Returns

Although Ariel’s appearance on the show — and often with Swisher’s name loosely attached — has been rumored since Season 1, the character’s Season 3 debut was confirmed at last month’s Comic-Con, in a teaser reel that showed a mysterious being sneaking up on a dwarf, stealing the fork (!) out of his lunchbox and vanishing into the ocean. Then, with the flick of a glistening fin, the redhead revealed herself and swam away.

Yet despite the context of the teaser (a la the previous Comic-Con’s misleading glimpse of Captain Hook), Ariel will not surface in Storybrooke but in another realm.

Once opens Season 3 on Sunday, Sept. 29.



Comments (84)

  • Casting PERFECTION.

    Comment by Rob – August 16, 2013 04:31 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I agree she’s perfect for this.

      Comment by CBWBDK1 – August 17, 2013 12:44 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Ha, the fans called this one! Love her.

    Comment by megan – August 16, 2013 04:33 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • This is an excellent casting!

    Comment by John – August 16, 2013 04:33 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Cool.

    Comment by Michael Sacal – August 16, 2013 04:33 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Seriously? Rebecca Mader is willing and available, OUAT! Get your s*** together!

    Comment by Jon – August 16, 2013 04:33 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Mader is wonderful but Swisher looks exactly like Ariel. The only thing Mader has in common is red hair, and it isn’t even the right shade of red.

      Comment by Rob – August 16, 2013 04:41 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • So does Mader. What else is there to be other than a white female with red hair?

        Comment by courts – August 16, 2013 05:31 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • Red hair isn’t even the main issue, due to wigs. The difference is that if you compare Swisher’s face to a picture of Ariel, the features are remarkably similar, whereas the shape of Mader’s face and nose are different. She looks a bit too Irish for Ariel.

          Comment by Will – August 17, 2013 09:42 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
          • They shouldn’t be casting based on a cartoon.

            Comment by courts – August 19, 2013 06:16 AM PDT  
        • Umm I don’t know, the personality? Ariel is bubbly and happy and likable with that high voice (all which Joanna has). Rebecca Madar would have played “slutty Ariel.” Joanna was the PERFECT choice.

          Comment by dude – August 18, 2013 11:16 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
          • Wow. You sound like a jerk.

            Comment by courts – August 19, 2013 06:16 AM PDT  
    • Hate to play the guy card but Joanna Garcia is hot and mader not so much. Plus she looks more like Ariel.

      Comment by Bender – August 16, 2013 09:26 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Ugh, so glad it’s not Rebecca Mader. I can’t stand her.

      Comment by popculture420 – August 16, 2013 11:19 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • You must be kidding me? She has such a weird looking face!

      Comment by CBWBDK1 – August 17, 2013 12:45 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Ah, except it’s not a fork, it’s a dinglehopper!

    Comment by bamabunny – August 16, 2013 04:40 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • SO excited!

    Comment by Alex – August 16, 2013 04:40 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Can’t see it. Too old for Ariel

    Comment by hello – August 16, 2013 04:47 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Yes. Because all princesses are frozen in time and NEVER AGE.

      Comment by Alice – August 16, 2013 06:51 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • It seems like this Ariel will probably be a little older than the movie version, but I think Joanna looks fairly youngish. Snow was aged up too- Ginny looks good for her age but it’s clear that Snow is supposed to be close to 30

      Comment by Addie – August 16, 2013 07:09 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I lover her but I’m slightly unsure of this casting. Fingers crossed!

    Comment by Elly – August 16, 2013 04:49 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • wow that’s actually great casting

    Comment by Tim – August 16, 2013 04:52 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Everyone called this and she even lobbied for it at the end of the first season!

    Comment by Yasin – August 16, 2013 04:56 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • LOVE this casting!

    Comment by Ella – August 16, 2013 04:56 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • She was one of my picks to play Ariel and JoAnna is a pretty good actress!

    Comment by Leny1 – August 16, 2013 04:58 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I’m so happy as she was long rumored since season 1 and she herself, Jennifer Morrison who is one of her best friends, and Eddie and Adam were pushing for it and the fans too. It just all was the timing and now it’s finally right. I can’t wait as Ariel is still my favorite Disney princess!

    Comment by Amanda – August 16, 2013 05:03 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Yay, she’s a good choice

    Comment by Md – August 16, 2013 05:10 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • JoAnna’s got everything. She’s got gadgets and gizmos a-plenty. She’s got whozits and whatzits galore. You want thingamabobs? She’s got twenty!

    Comment by Andy – August 16, 2013 05:17 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Brilliant!!!!

      Comment by Libradino – August 16, 2013 05:35 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I wish I could take credit for that comment

      Comment by Kay – August 16, 2013 07:09 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • But who cares? No big deal. I want more.

      Comment by A – August 16, 2013 07:14 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Hmmmm…..too old????
    And who will play Eric?

    Comment by Sarah – August 16, 2013 05:27 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I think Hook should play Eric as his second role a la Rumple/Beast.

      Comment by A.B. – August 16, 2013 06:38 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • +1

        Comment by Jenny – August 16, 2013 07:41 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • + 2

          Comment by April – August 16, 2013 08:11 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
          • But…wait…where’s the Hook and Emma Love!!!!

            Comment by Anon – August 16, 2013 11:20 PM PDT  
      • There’s a theory going around Tumblr that Hook is the son of Eric & Ariel and with Joanna being older and there is a casting call for a British mid-30s dark haired sailor that fits both Eric & Hook’s dad.

        Comment by Amanda – August 17, 2013 06:26 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • Joanna does not seem old enough to be hooks mother! She’s only in her 30s like come on now people-.-

          Comment by Yasin – August 17, 2013 09:11 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
          • Works if he grew up in the Enchanted Forest and she lived in Neverland and didn’t age. Just like how Ginnifer Goodwin isn’t even a year older than Jennifer Morrison but is playing her mother.

            Comment by Mary – August 17, 2013 03:55 PM PDT  
  • Oh. I’m glad they went for a generic pretty redhead that is shippable with Hook.

    Comment by courts – August 16, 2013 05:30 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Yea! Love her & her hubby. And they just had a baby girl. Good things for the Swisher family!

    Comment by Deena – August 16, 2013 05:34 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Love Joanna. Definitely miss her Reba days. Cheyenne was awesome! She kind of looks like Ariel too so that’s a plus.

    Comment by A – August 16, 2013 05:37 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Love it!!! I love Joanna. She is so funny and talented. This is a character I would love to see get a permanent home in OUAT, otherwise, I hope she finds a new show with a great script, unlike Better with You which was truly awful.

    Comment by Babygate – August 16, 2013 05:45 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Shut the front door, better with you was really funny

      Comment by Eli – August 16, 2013 09:24 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Perfect role for the wife of baseball star Nick Swisher (which team is he on now?).

    Comment by Jack Bauer 2.0 – August 16, 2013 06:18 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Cleveland Indians

      Comment by Candace – August 16, 2013 11:53 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Yay! I really like her so this is great news! I hope it turns out to be more than just the 2 episodes though

    Comment by Robin – August 16, 2013 06:20 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • She’s got a Disney princess face.

    Comment by Josh – August 16, 2013 06:47 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Yes, yes, yes. LOVE her.

    Comment by Brandy – August 16, 2013 06:50 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Tom Welling for Eric!

    Comment by Nick – August 16, 2013 07:03 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • God no. She deserves a guy who can actually act alongside her

      Comment by Addie – August 16, 2013 07:06 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • He would make a beautiful Eric. Acting wise I couldn’t speak on.I haven’t seen him in anything since the 4th season of Smallville.

      Comment by tp – August 16, 2013 07:21 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I am a HUGE Little Mermaid fan so I was very nervous when I found out that OUAT was casting Ariel because I didn’t think that I would approve of any actress for the role. I have been proven wrong. I have been a fan of Joanna since her Reba days and I can’t wait for her Ariel to become a part of my world.

    Comment by Kay – August 16, 2013 07:09 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Loveeee it so much, I love joana Garcia and very happy she’ll be ariel

    Comment by Juan – August 16, 2013 07:12 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Huh…that is spooky….I am pretty sure that in a “What If” type of article TVLine did last year, they picked JoAnna Garcia Swisher as their favorite.

    TVLine has powers.

    Comment by Anon – August 16, 2013 07:40 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • PLEASE, OUAT writers, make Hook Ariels Eric. Pretty please? As a ginger myself The Little Mermaid and Ariel are my all-time favorite Disney movie and princess. it had the best songs, too!

    Comment by April – August 16, 2013 08:10 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • They’re pairing Hook with Emma and there is a very possible theory that Ariel is Hook’s mother and Eric is his father that he thinks “abandoned” him.

      Comment by Amanda – August 17, 2013 06:29 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Hmm… what about the actor that played Van on Reba for Eric? I thought those two had chemistry on the show.

    Comment by Steve F. – August 16, 2013 08:25 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Yeah they were good together on that show, but I just don’t think he’d fit well on this show. Plus he really looks nothing like Eric and he definitely needs to cut his hair lol. It’s not doing him any favors keeping it long. He really has aged a lot since Reba imo

      Comment by A – August 16, 2013 10:05 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • You mean Steve Howey who currently plays Kev on Shameless US

    Comment by tee – August 16, 2013 08:41 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Let me guess, she’s going to be super tough and kick butt.

    Comment by Kate – August 16, 2013 09:01 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Well since it wasn’t going to be Felicia Day, this is EXCELLENT casting! *does dance of joy*

    Comment by Tom Charles – August 16, 2013 09:12 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • If you think of Ariel, you think of Joanna Garcia, since the moment we start to play the roles, she was Ariel

    Comment by Lore – August 16, 2013 09:22 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I’m just happy Joanna will be on a show that will stick around. She was best on Reba, Privileged was nice and Better With Yoi should’ve been renewed (the show was great especially the mom). I hope she either finds her own show that sticks around or they make her a regular character somehow on OUAT

    Comment by Ram510 – August 16, 2013 10:27 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Love Joanna and she is the PERFECT choice for Ariel!

    Comment by Jared – August 16, 2013 11:00 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • LOVE IT

    Comment by tiffany – August 17, 2013 01:02 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • She doesn’t look like Ariel, sorry. She doesn’t even have Ariel’s expressive blue eyes and she looks and she is too old for the part. The only thing in common is the red hair.

    Comment by nv ifxn cfkxn ifcxj – August 17, 2013 01:08 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • They never said that Ariel was going to be the same age as in the films so it really doesn’t matter what her age is. In terms of the eyes, they could always use colored contacts. The characters don’t necessarily have to look exactly like they do in the original films. Hook typically has long, curly hair, yet Colin O’Donoghue doesn’t. Pinocchio was shown both as an adult and a little boy. The Queen of Hearts from the Wonderland films/books was a really fat woman, but Barbara Hershey wasn’t. At least Joanna resembles a little bit of what an adult Ariel might look like. Also let’s not forget that when we’re comparing her looks to Ariel, we are basing it on a cartoon character so there will obviously be some difference.

      Comment by A – August 17, 2013 02:02 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • It’s interesting to compare this comment with some higher up in the thread.

        Comment by courts – August 19, 2013 06:18 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Oh I like her! Looking forward to this.

    Comment by Tee – August 17, 2013 08:57 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Interesting. I don’t know her from anything though. I’d actually kind of pictured Amanda Righetti in the role, but I knew she couldn’t do it because of The Mentalist. Or Molly Quinn, since they’re not using her much on Castle anymore. But it looks like they’re going for an older take on the character. I’ll be interested to see how they work her in. I hope it goes better than Aurora and Mulan last year. Or Cinderella/Ashley the year before. Even Belle’s handling has been hit or miss. Come to think of it, other than Snow, I haven’t been impressed with their handling of any of the Disney Princesses. Let’s hope Ariel goes better.

    Comment by JC – August 17, 2013 09:35 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Belle has been great, but you’re right that the show hasn’t used her properly all that much. “The Outsider was a fantastic episode”, but since then the show kind of sidelined Belle.

      Aurora and Mulan especially also weren’t used that well. I don’t think the casting was the issue so much as how the storyline went. Hopefully they manage to include them more since they discovered Neal.

      My order for OUAT princesses would actually be Belle > Mulan > Snow > Aurora > Cinderella, with Cinderella being significantly worse than all the others.

      Comment by person – August 17, 2013 02:55 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Belle and Snow have gotten the most attention of course. The problem with Belle is that so much of her story has been tied up with Rumplestiltskin, which IMO hasn’t done the character any favors. She does better on her own, such as in the episode you mentioned, “The Outsider”. Which makes me hopeful for this upcoming season, since she’ll be on her own in Storybrooke. As far as Mulan goes, she’s still pretty much a blank slate. So far she has no story of her own. Aurora…..I was really frustrated with Aurora. But you’re right that it was more a writing issue than a casting one. Cinderella…..well, that was both. :( That was a mess. All it really did was serve the Rumplestiltskin story.

        Comment by JC – August 17, 2013 03:18 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • Wouldn’t look for too much more on Aurora and Mulan as both Sarah Bolger and Jamie Chung have new TV series that they will be on. Sarah’s in Mixology, which will air on ABC in the spring and Jamie is on a show that will be on NBC in the spring. They do say that Ella might be returning to Once as Jessy Schram is no longer on Falling Skies. She will be in the first episode of Once Upon a Time in Wonderland.

          Comment by Mary – August 17, 2013 04:05 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
          • Interesting. I figured they’d decided to sweep the Cinderella story under the rug and never speak of it again. It didn’t occur to me that it might be a scheduling issue. I wish they’d done more with Aurora though. I don’t know what I hoped for exactly from the Aurora story, but it certainly wasn’t what we got. And Meghan Ory is doing Intelligence so we won’t see a lot of Red/Ruby either. :( I’d like to see Kathryn/Abigail come back too, just to see whatever happened to her after the curse broke, but I guess the actress is also in another show? I guess Abigail’s a OUAT princess too, since her father was King Midas.

            Comment by JC – August 17, 2013 05:07 PM PDT  
  • Heh-heh. Swisher as a mermaid. Heh.

    Comment by Terri – August 17, 2013 10:56 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I’ve never actually watched this show but I just had to comment that this is the most amazing casting, so rarely is an actor so perfect for a role. Kind of wishing they made a new Little Mermaid with Swisher!

    Comment by Sims – August 17, 2013 11:00 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Omg, how many fans were begging for this??

    Comment by rachelle – August 17, 2013 02:47 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Great news! Joanna has a very soft, feminine voice that’s perfect for Ariel, not to mention her Disney-looks! I hope they include her in Storybrooke too!

    Comment by Cherry – August 17, 2013 03:34 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • This is a brilliant casting! I’m even more excited for season 3.. September 29th can’t get here soon enough!

    Comment by Jenn – August 17, 2013 04:51 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Rolls eyes at this decision.

    Comment by Amelia – August 17, 2013 11:00 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I love her! So excited for this. I always wondered why such a nice girl like her would marry such an ass like Nick Swisher.

    Comment by cas – August 19, 2013 05:23 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Honestly I hoped they would consider or picked Alexis Bledel because she has that look of innocence and spirit as Ariel has. All I want to see in this season is a romance between Hook and Ariel

    Comment by Arielle Burkhart – August 25, 2013 01:47 AM PDT  Reply To This Post

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