Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, there was Alice, an ordinary girl who… kicks butt and tangles with genies?
Yes, ABC’s newest fantasy drama (premiering Thursday at 8/7c) is most definitely not your childhood Wonderland story, given its feisty heroine and the dash of Aladdin thrown in (hello, Jafar!).
From an evil union to a couple that does not hook-up to the familiar faces popping up, here are six things we learned about this latest trip down the rabbit hole, during TVLine’s visit to Wonderland by way of Vancouver, Canada.
ALICE’S HEART IS WITH CYRUS | The series’ quest revolves around Alice’s (played by Sophie Lowe) search for her lost love, the genie Cyrus (Peter Gadiot). Helping her along the way is the roguish Knave of Hearts (Michael Socha of the UK’s Being Human), who may turn out to be something more? Nah! “They’re just friends,” maintains Lowe. “I feel like it’s very rare in TV these days to have friends that are boys and girls, and it’s really cool to have that.” Adds Socha about the strictly platonic pair: “I owe Alice a favor. She got me back my heart — whether I want it back or not is a different thing. But I’ve got a massive loyalty [to] Alice.”
THE BADDIES ARE RELUCTANT ALLIES | The Red Queen finds Alice to just be “a little girl that’s now causing her some annoyance,” reveals her portrayer Emma Rigby (Hollyoaks). In fact, her goal is much larger than just wanting to get the Wonderland interloper out of the picture. “She has a motive. It’s not necessarily that she hates Alice or she wants to kill her. It’s something else much grander, something that’s never been done before, that she wants to achieve.” To that end, she allies herself with Jafar (Lost‘s Naveen Andrews), who may turn out to be more foe than friend. “They need each other. But they also don’t trust each other,” explains Rigby. “You’ve got to always watch your back. They know that without the power that they both have, they’ll never ever move forward to get what they both want — and what they both want is conflicting.”
THE KNAVE OF HEARTS IS TROUBLE | Turns out Alice’s pal has something of a dark history and, thus, is reluctant to stay with her. “The Knave’s wanted in Wonderland, by everybody, dead or alive,” reveals Socha, explaining that he “ruined” all his relationships in the magical land. “He spent a long time there with his love. He just [forgot] everybody, and he decided to live on his own. He doesn’t trust anybody, he doesn’t need anybody, he doesn’t want anybody. Alice comes back into his life, and that’s his only care.”
THE GENIE QUESTION REMAINS | Let’s be frank: Genies and Wonderland aren’t your typical mix. The story of where the wish-granters came from and how they got to this wondrous land will remain something of a mystery – for now. “The creators very much said they were going to explore the genie mythology more,” says Gadiot. “And we have in terms of one aspect, but in terms of where they originally come from, we haven’t got there yet. We haven’t found out how Cyrus gets in the bottle. We are going to find out, for sure, but that’s been held back for the second half of the season.”
THE COSTUMES ARE HEAVY AND MAKE YOU EEEEVIL | Forget lifting weights. Just try sporting one of the Red Queen’s elaborate outfits all day. “The first one that I had actually weighed five pounds!” Rigby exclaims. “It was so heavy. It does affect how you are, and that’s important. [Costume designer] Eduardo [Castro] is an unbelievable talent.” The get-ups also lend themselves to the the villainous character’s “fabulous” personality. “It’s not so serious,” continues Rigby. “She’s enjoying it. It’s like she’s playing a game. Everybody likes to pretend they’re a little bit bad sometimes.”
THE WORLD WILL GROW | The Cheshire Cat (voiced by The Cape‘s Keith David) and the hooka-smoking caterpillar (voiced by Iggy Pop) aren’t the only Wonderland characters we’ll see this season. “There is actually Tweedles,” reveals Socha. Adds Rigby: “The great thing about the Red Queen is because she’s the ruler of Wonderland, she has access to all the people that are in Wonderland. There are lots of characters that are my favorite that are going to be a surprise.”