Once Upon a Time Exclusive: Supernatural Patriarch Cast as Ariel's Prince

Once Upon a Time Prince Eric Gil McKinneyOnce Upon a Time has found Ariel’s soul mate.

The ABC drama has tapped Gil McKinney (Supernatural, Friday Night Lights) to play the pivotal role of Prince Eric in a multi-episode Season 3 arc, TVLine has learned exclusively.

PHOTOS | Fall TV Spoiler Spectacular: Exclusive Scoop on Once Upon a Time and 44 Other Returning Faves

Prince Eric is, of course, known for being the love interest of mermaid Ariel, who will be portrayed by JoAnna Garcia Swisher (Reba, Privileged). Both characters will debut in this season’s sixth episode, appropriately titled “Ariel.”

Though little has been confirmed about Once‘s wrinkle on Ariel’s fish tale, the smart money says that our Storybrooke travelers bump up against the lass while braving the island of Neverland — perhaps cuing up a flashback to the “trouble” Regina once had with a certain mermaid. (Is the Evil Queen also Ursula? Discuss.)

VIDEO | Once Upon a Time Season 3 Spoilers — Emma Versus Regina

McKinney played Dean and Sam’s paternal grandfather on Supernatural. He also appeared on the final season of Friday Night Lights as Julie’s T.A./love interest.

Once Upon a Time returns Sept. 29 at 8/7c.

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  1. MP says:

    He’s hot!

  2. Elyse says:

    ill give him a chance.

  3. WayneInNYC says:

    He was really good on Supernatural. I’m excited about this bit of casting.

  4. WayneInNYC says:

    P.S. I want Harvey Fierstein to play Ursula.

  5. Michael Beechan says:

    Darn. I really wanted Tom Welling to be cast as Prince Eric. He would’ve been perfect

  6. Lisa says:

    Looks a lot lime how Eric looked only cuter especially since he isn’t a cartoon character

  7. sarah says:

    We know who is playing Eric in 3×06 but we still don’t know who is playing “Liam” in 3×05? I’m curious!

    • L3nn13 says:

      Me too – very curious

      Who is Liam – could he be Eric too???

      Also this guys seems older as well.. right age for casting call we saw for Liam i think

  8. L3nn13 says:

    Looking good – i see him as Eric

    Eric-Ariel <3

  9. Crossing fingers that Lana is Ursula!

    • Kay says:

      Please no! Once Upon a Time desperately needs to add an interesting villain.

      • Gerald says:

        Definitely, the show needs something new and fresh. I always though it was a mistake to kill off Cora as she added so much to the show. Besides, having the Lana or Rumple always being related to other stories is getting old and repetitive. I mean, seriously they can’t have Lana being The Evil Queen, Ursula, Morgana…..

        • JR1 says:

          Isnt that the point of Rumpel being connected to all fairytales which the show wants to play out – makes sense esp if it connects to the main characters – why brings others in IMO

          I cant wait to see Eric and Ariel

          • Cam says:

            Because most of the characters we have aren’t that interesting. Yes we have Rumple and Regina, but if we have the chance to add another fun and exciting character; why waste it?

        • Louise says:

          Agreed so much. Lana Parrilla is fantastic and adds so much to Once Upon A Time. Same for Robert Carlyle. But they have to be careful not to overuse them in their fairytale land personas. Rumple and the Evil Queen are always connected to everyone. It’s getting a bit too much. We know they will be already connected to two new characters – Rumple to Peter Pan (and possibly Felix) and Regina to Tinkerbell. Ursula should really be someone new and not Rumpe or the Evil Queen. They could use fresh blood on the villains front especially since they killed off Cora way too soon and Maleficent is obviously no longer really among the living either.

          • Luis says:

            I agree but what you don’t know is that in the episode where they put Charming to sleep Rumple explains that the ink that was used to keep him locked up in the cell, “was obtained from a creature that is in the depths of the sea only a mermaid can go there” something like that.. so i guess that Ursula is real and since the ink was magical i guess its going to be new .. let’s hope it’s something like Maleficent

      • Olivia says:


      • Ash says:

        Preach. I miss Cora.

    • Sarah89 says:

      God no

  10. Melissa says:

    I was rooting for Tom Welling, but this guy is attractive. He’ll do. :)

  11. Lysh says:

    I kind of thought young John Winchester would be good, but Henry Winchester is good, too!

  12. Ash says:

    Never heard of the guy so I have no opinion on him but I swear if Regina is Ursula I will throw things. No more doubling up on characters. Enough is enough.

  13. A says:

    God I hope Regina isn’t Ursula. I’m gonna be so mad. Regina is fine being her evil psychotic self. We already have an intriguing twist with Peter Pan being the Big Bad this season, but since Cora’s gone, It’s time for another truly awesome villain played by a great actress. They already destroyed the Maleficent character, which is arguably the best Disney villain of all time, so I hope they learn from that and cast someone truly great and Ursula-like for the role because next to Maleficent, she is second best. I also hope they actually keep her as an octopus and not a human being. I can just imagine myself as Emma. Growing up watching The Little Mermaid and coming into contact with Ursula. LMAO that would be terrifying.

    • Nicolas from Poland says:

      They show PRESENT Maleficent, not that one from the past, dearie, so they do not destroy her.

      • A says:

        I love Kristin Bauer on True Blood, but she was definitely not the best person to play Maleficent, IMO. Regardless of past, present, or future, I don’t think Maleficent should ever be cutesy and pink. OUAT’s Maleficent didn’t even give me the chills or make me feel like I watching an actual Maleficent. Hopefully Angelina Jolie can give a better portrayal of the villain in the movie next summer.

    • Louise says:

      I was so disappointed with what they did to Maleficent. If there was one character they could have brought back to live after season 1, it was Maleficent who was a powerful with who “died” in her dragon form. It could have worked and from the way the writers teased that we didn’t see her body it sounded promising, but what they then did to her in late season 2… really disappointing. Maybe they couldn’t get Kristin Bauer for that episode, but it was still a real disappointment.

    • Mikael says:

      You took the words right out of my mouth! They ruined the best villain by making Regina the most evil and powerful villain on the show. Maleficent should have been a formidable rival for Regina. I love Lana as the Evil Queen, but to have an actual Ursula on the show would be just what the show needs. Regina’s on the road to redemption now anyway, so they could use another evil villain and save Wicked Queen Regina for flashbacks. Maybe her “problem with a certain mermaid” could be that she needs Ariel for something, but she can’t get past Ursula. They had so much potential with Cora being Regina’s mother and the battle between them, but they had Regina forgive her and work together and then kill Cora off. Again, wasting a good character.

  14. neha says:

    He’s the married professor that Julie had an affair with on FNL! I think. Anyways, I can definitely see it.

  15. Liz says:

    I don’t want Regina as Ursula. Ursula should be a bad ass not a whiny victim like Regina. Cora is dearly missed. I would not have minded Cora and Ursula being bffs hatching plans together.

  16. Tom Charles says:

    Drat I was hoping they’d maybe twist things a little and make it Ericka.

  17. Anne says:

    I hope Regina is Ursula, because it makes sense and has actual buildup as opposed to Rumple as the Crocodile. Plus Lana based her evil queen on Ursula more then the Evil Queen.

  18. Sarah says:

    Damn. Read this headline and thought it was JDM …thought it an unusual choice, but I was in!

  19. bcjsdbruhuioohj says:

    Worst casting ever.

  20. Alia says:

    He does seem to have that Prince Eric hair, and I remember liking his character on SPN.

  21. Amanda says:

    I remember him from “FNL”!!! It works for me and am very excited to see him with Joanna. Plus this helps the theory of Hook being Eric and Ariel’s son as Gil kind of looks like Colin when Colin’s clean-shaven. Plus I’m guessing Gil’s part Irish too based off his last name.

  22. starjazz says:

    Loved him on ER, Friday Night Lights, Supernatural and LA Noire! I think he’ll do a great job as Eric!

  23. Kami says:

    I think the shadow is the intersting new villian. He’s someone that even Rumple is afraid of!

  24. Ram510 says:

    This could be an ok pick to play Eric if they make him bulk up just a little bit. From the looks of his other work he looks more like he should be on Big Bang Theory than playing Eric on OUAT

    • Brandon says:

      Thats pretty much sums up my feeling about this dude.
      The little mermaid is my fav fairytale and Disney movie so I have been patiently waiting for her to make an appearance on OUAT
      ….then this guy shows up as Eric….not liking this casting or Ariel’s to be honest.

  25. lauren w says:

    I can agree with the dislike of their casting for eric but I liked who they cast as ariel. At the end of the episode another person cast as Ursula was teased so any thoughts on her coming back as a villain when lana isn’t playing the role?