What Makes Once Upon a Time's Wicked Witch So Wicked? Plus: Who's Dorothy In this Story?

Once Upon a Time Wicked Witch DorothyWhen Once Upon a Time resumes its season on March 9, the ABC drama will commence its first dive into the stories of Oz — including the introduction of a witch who is so wicked partly because the character is, as one cast member puts it, “so damn likeable.”

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Make no mistake, Rebecca Mader‘s Wicked Witch — as seen in the fairytale land portions of the coming episodes — is unabashedly abominable. (As she snarls to a minion in the midseason premiere, “I’m wicked, and wicked always wins.”) But as revealed by ABC’s synopsis for the second half of Season 3, there remains a Storybrooke component to the storytelling. Because although the fall finale ended with the Maine burg vanishing from existence (as Regina, Snow White et al were returned to the Enchanted Forest), mysterious circumstances restore Storybrooke and much of its population — the Wicked Witch’s “kindly” alter ego included.

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In her Storybrooke form, the witch “is seemingly a kindred spirit to Snow White, which is part of what makes her so evil,” Ginnifer Goodwin explained during TVLine’s visit to the show’s Vancouver set last week. “She seems so genuinely kind and has a way of becoming intimate with others and making them trust her…. Rebecca Mader called her ‘Mary Poppins,’ because she was just so damn likeable!”

Goodwin credits Mader for that wicked wrinkle, explaining how the Lost alum tweaked her Storybrooke persona while rehearsing her first such scene. “She wanted her to be manipulative and conniving, something of an investigator,” Goodwin relates. “But then she realized, ‘No, what would actually be wicked would be to match Snow’s sweetness and really seem like someone cut from the same cloth.'”

So good is Mader at being so bad, Goodwin said with a laugh that she and others will at times witness a scene and find themselves wondering, “Is it bad that in some respects we want her to win?!”

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Of course, if you bring on a Wicked Witch (and, ultimately, a good one), it stands to reason that somewhere in this Oz-some arc, there must be a Dorothy. Could that role be filled by Emma, who for the past year has been living with Henry in New York City, oblivious to her fantastical origins or their Storybrooke days? If a certain pirate can somehow find a way to convince Emma of the unbelievable truth?

“I think so…. Eventually,” Jennifer Morrison offers. “I’m not sure, but… a lot of this is about Emma accepting Storybrooke as her home, so I think that’s where the Dorothy theme will come into it, that ‘there’s no place like home.'”

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

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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48 Comments
  1. raven64 says:

    Cant wait!!

  2. Will says:

    So insanely excited for this!!

  3. Amy says:

    Thanks so much for the scoop Matt….I’m really excited to see the rest of the season and it’s nice to see how excited Rebecca Mader seems to be for her role on twitter! It looks to be shaping up to be a heck of an arc!

  4. kali says:

    I cannot wait!! Have never been so excited for a show to return. Adam and Eddy are doing such a spectacular job with the way they tell their story and I particularly love how the introduction of Peter Pan and now the Wicked Witch will she’d more light on the regulars.
    Loved the Neverland arc for revealing so much about Emma, Hook, the Charmings and Rumple…cannot wait to see what will be revealed through the story arc of the Wicked Witch.
    And I cannot wait for true love’s kiss( one that’ll work because she’ll have her memories back) between Hook and Emma! Adam and Eddy do such a brilliant job with their storyline, doing justice to both these characters as individuals and as a team – I’m rotting for them hard :)

  5. Len84 says:

    Thanks Matt :)
    I think Rebecca Mader looks fantastic in green lol…. i am gonna enjoy watching her, and the clash… and i kinda has feeling she will dupe everyone in and then play them all
    Had a feeling Emma would like kinda like Dorothy finding her and getting home, with Henry and with Hook finding her and bringing her back (Hook and Henry paralleled by turning up at her door to take her home and to her family ;) )
    Rooting for Emma/Hook and for more moments between them. Charming and Hook bromance!
    Actually a team up of all of them against WICKED ;)

  6. Anne says:

    Not sure if I will return 3b. The death and the Cora spoilers are not things I want to see. I wish the writers would take a look at Season 1 and see why the show work then. I’m tired of hyping gimmicks like Neverland/PP and now OZ/Wicked Witch instead of solid character based storytelling. i’m sure by the end of the Season we will know more Wicked Witch and Cora backstory than we do for people like Emma, Belle and Neal.

    • e says:

      ugh, i totally agree with all of this! i watched OUAT from the first episode, and LOVED season one. i am pretty worried that with emma forgetting her memories, we are going to be stuck in neutral for the remainder of this season, with the finale finally have her “remember” who she is, wasting valuable 3b time to develop relationships between emma and her parents/henry and neal etc. it’s quite reminiscent of season one when emma finally “believed”, and this all feels like it’s been done before. while I am curious to see what they do with oz, focusing on all of these brand new characters abandons the core characters and how they relate to their world. i will tune in, but i am very cautious, which bums me out since this was a must-see show for me at one point.

    • jerrired says:

      Yeah the death is really bothering me already. I like all the main characters, and some of the ones I like more are likely to die. So I’m really not sure how I’ll feel by the end of this season. And as much as I like Neverland in the beginning, it became like an endless circle to the dramatic conclusion, which would have been perfect as a series finale, if it didn’t have that ending that I didn’t like at all. But this Wicked storyline is not really getting me excited, though I’m sure it’ll be well-acted. So we’ll see, I’ll probably finish the season through but depending on how it ends will determine if I tune into season 4. And thanks for the scoop Matt, still waiting on that puffy shirt picture.

  7. “mysterious circumstances restore Storybrooke and much of its population” That’s disappointing. I was hoping for Storybrooke to become like it’s own realm in the Enchanted Forest.

  8. Louise says:

    I’m Team “Evil” in Evil vs. Wicked, but I’m very excited for Rebecca Mader’s debut as the Wicked Witch. It will be interesting to see her act like a normal, friendly citizen of Storybrooke, but I’m more excited for the “wicked” side and I hope we’ll see some cool magic duels with the Wicked Witch and Regina.

  9. JoRo says:

    Thank you Matt. Wicked looks fab! Cant wait for the 2nd half. Seems like characters will forget they spent a year in Enchanted Forest due to another curse hitting and Storybrooke coming back.
    I think Hook is the only one who will remember the year spent in EF… because he left to find Emma before the curse hits (thats my theory anyhow) but for me Hook going to FIND her is also all about If you love them… then you find them! He will bring Emma and Henry home and to her family!

  10. Jus says:

    ok, this sounds really, REALLY interesting! I don’t know why, but I can shake the feeling that Rebecca Mader will be amazing in this role! She is pretty mesmerizing.

  11. Rachel says:

    I’m glad they are introducing a new evil character or should I say wicked? Regina simply isn’t as evil anymore and neither is Rumple not enough to think they are the “big bad” anyway.

    • Len84 says:

      They are not…. they will always be dark and grey characters which is good due to how they have been and are etc but not much villians anymore first half of season 3 was for that to shake that off… for Rumpel and Regina and even Hook (who i never really saw as a villian per say) . We saw each of what their happy ending is at the start of S3 and hope for them (Rumpel = was getting Henry back, and Belle (i see Belle more as his hope) and Bae. Regina = Henry, and new hope/love still out there in form of Robin Hood, and Hook = Emma, a part of something, his new love/hope – man of honor getting back to who he was before pirate/Hook) and all 3 of them didnt get it the end as they let go due to a curse and sacrifice for Rumpel. But hopefully second half we see them on that journey. :)

  12. giftofamber says:

    Thank you for some awesome spoilers/teasers that aren’t ship related. :) I’m excited to see the duels between Wicked & Regina, and to see Emma protecting her family from Wicked (Regina, Henry, and the Charmings).

    I hope the show will also delve into Emma’s backstory at some point; the time in between coming out of the wardrobe (closet) and being a runaway teen leaves a huge gap in the timeline.

  13. Nath says:

    TVLine publishes an article that has zero to do with “ships”, like a prayer mill the same shippers as always come in to repeat the same comments as always. #groundhogday

    • Mary says:

      Oh of course. No Once article can go online without bringing the “ships” being brought into it, whether the story had anything to do with any of them or not.

      • Amy says:

        in all fairness to everyone in the ouat fandom there are so many ships that it would be impossible to write an article or a response and not mention them ….and technically this article does allude to the fact that Hook is sent after Emma …and really with all the crack ships maybe there is already a sect shipping Regina and the Wicked Witch or Snow…I think instead of calling out fans of a show that like one things or another you just be happy we have a great scoop and what’s looking like a great 3b ;0)

        • Gil says:

          What makes me laugh is the only ships (prefer to call them couples esp in the show or pairings) that should even matter is the ones in the show developing together and individually that fit together, and have something happening between them, so really if ppl bring it up its coz its in the story and narrative… to me that is what matters. and what is developing between the characters is what matters thats why Emma and Hook are mentioned and rooted for as well (coz of how they are written) and will do so coz its happening and romantic something happening. Like Regina and Robin yet to meet will be brought up, and Snowing and Rumbelle. These 4 couples matter coz they have and will have moments and build up.

          • Mary says:

            Because of how they are written? Hook suddenly “loves” someone he barley knows and thinks it’s okay to hit on her while she’s looking for Henry? You really like that? You like that they made him a pathetic character and if they go with this “ship” and have Emma fall for him, completely ruin her character? Thank goodness so far she isn’t interested in him. And don’t give me that she said “Good” when he said he’d remember her. That was more knowing that if he’s thinking of her he won’t be causing trouble. She wasn’t even going to say anything to him when she left. He stopped her.

          • Louise says:

            I’m not sure I get your point. Can’t everyone decide for themselves what matters and what doesn’t? I have friends who ship Red and Frankenstein like crazy for example or others who still love Regina and Daniel or Emma and Graham. Many fans of this show ship fanon couples. Everyone gets different things out of a show like this. It feels exclusive to tell others what they like about the show doesn’t matter. I’m also weirded out by the group of “4 couples” (2 of them aren’t even couples) that some want to enforce so bad. I’ve never seen Rumbellers or Snowing fans do that. To me it feels like it’s always coming from the same group.

  14. Mary says:

    I hope that’s as far as it goes as Emma kind of filling the role of Dorothy in the “no place like home aspect.” I like that she’s her own original character.

  15. Oncer07 says:

    Everything was goo until I read “certain pirate”…. bye

  16. J. says:

    I’m really excited to see the Wicked Witch! I think Rebecca will be great! I want someone new cast as Dorothy. I’m sick of people playing multiple characters on this show. I’m also sick of everyone being related which is what’s happening with the Witch.

    Thank you Matt for the great spoilers! Spoilers that aren’t about ships. I hate how everyone likes to make this show only about ships, especially one in particular. It’s nice to hear other spoilers.

    • Sayre says:

      Totally agree. They need a fresh face for Dorothy. And what a great part! They can rewrite it any number of ways. If they don’t, they’re flushing down a golden opportunity.

  17. Rebecca says:

    This fandom is exhausting to be a part of. CSers adding comments about something even if their ship isn’t mentioned just to feel relevant, people arguing over which character needs more screentime…. I’ll probably end up becoming an alcoholic before the hiatus ends.

    • Stormy says:

      If you do, you’ll fit right in because IMO there is an entire flotilla of ships on here manned by what must surely be drunken sailors.

  18. Sid says:

    Thanks.
    So Emma will go down the yellow brick road with her yellow bug ;)
    Wicked seems awesome… bring it!!!
    I think Emma will get her memories back sooner and Hook will bring her back! – I like it!
    I want to see Team Neverland – Emma, Hook, Regina, Charming and Snow teaming up again to face Wicked!!!

    • Rebecca says:

      Hook was completely useless in Neverland except his ship got them there. All of his ‘plans’ were unhelpful. He’d be zero help against the WWW. I’d rather see him turn evil again & team up with her. Hook is/was better as a villain. Period. His so called ‘redemption arc’ is ridiculously rushed for a ship that’s being shoved down our throats. I want S2/evil Hook back. S3 Hook is an embarrassment.

  19. Lisa says:

    Thanks for the info! Hopefully Storybrooke will still exist at the end of this season and both Emma and Regina will call it “home”

  20. Addie says:

    I wonder who the Wicked Witch’s Storybrooke personality will be? A fellow teacher? Snow’s OB/GYN? Clearly someone who interacts with her/the rest of the cast. And I like that the Dorothy stuff will be just symbolism, home is such a big thing for Emma that it makes sense for it to be about her journey. I’m looking forward to the rest of the season!

  21. Amy says:

    It sounds like the second have could be a great as the first half of season 3.

  22. Jasmine says:

    This show is a joke now. The writing is awful, the plot makes no sense, and they are completely devoid of ideas – rehashing the S1 curse plotline? Just an admission they got that wrong in the first place by breaking it so early on. No wonder the ratings have collapsed. I’ll be amazed if ABC continue to fund this trainwreck past it’s syndication season. Or at least fire Adam and Eddie and replace them. The characters are atrociously written, and now A&E have turned it into the Captain Swan Love Show, and reduced Emma to having one braincell, and Hook a love sick puppy. Rumple is gone, and now Neal is going to be killed off in the name of CS fanservice. I know I’m not the only one sick of the Once Upon A Captain Hook. And now this lame Robin Hood love interest plotline is coming up – too bad we all remember he had no tattoo back in Season 1 before the writers retconned the whole show to shove Outlaw Queen down our throats. Doesn’t sound random at all Adam Horowitz! To quote Lana Parrilla #BARF

    • xav says:

      It’ll get more awkward when it turns out that the wicked witch is Regina’s sister. So…
      .
      But seriously. The tattoo is only mildly important. Unless Regina’s appearing and disappearing tattoo is important too.

    • Rebecca says:

      You’re my new best friend….. Seriously though. This show is tanking in the ratings and A&E still think that CS’s gonna be a great idea. News flash guys…. Ratings are going down with each episode you force CS & a horrible Hook redemption arc down our throats. I’m not a professional writer, just one by hobby mostly…. But I could probably singlehandedly write this show better than the team of ‘professionals’ they have on this show. Once Upon A Time/Captain Swan just comes off as bad/cheesy fanfiction now. It’s like…. “Hey yeah, let’s forget about all the awful/horrible things that Hook did in S2 and make him a sudden hero! Even though Rumple & Regina had to work/still are working for their redemption’s! We’ll just reset Hook’s entire personality to pander to fans that think Colin’s hot!” That’s literally what I think A&E and the writers talked about over the summer.

    • Sayre says:

      I think they are back on track now. this new plot is a brilliant way to bring back the original fire (let’s face it; OUAT is best when it takes place in Storybook, there’s too much charm to the place to leave it for too long!) And now we are way more invested in the flashbacks, because they arent just rehashing fairy tales (altho Im sure there will be some of that) but also showing us the past they cant remember! I credit them for coming up with a wonderfully redeeming second half of season 3. I’m happy it’s back! Lots of people were unhappy with the Neverland storyline. But it’s brought is here, and I’m glad.

    • 1543 says:

      It’s a great show…. but I agree that CS is a dumb ship

  23. Joan says:

    I cannot wait for march 9th!!

  24. StanJS says:

    Emma might have similarities to Dorothy like she has similarities to the ugly duckling but Emma isnt Dorothy since Dorothy in the book. her story took place long b4 Emma was born

    • DPL says:

      It’d be pretty freakin sweet if Dorothy did show up though. Fingers crossed that if there is another family tree reveal it would be one showing us Dorothy as Regina’s daughter

  25. Sayre says:

    Emma cant play Dorothy! That would suck! (no offense to Emma) They need to bring in an outside. I feel like Emma playing Dorothy would be cheating the fairy-tale somehow.

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