Once Upon a Time Casts Ernie Hudson as Ursula's Father Poseidon in Season 4

Once Upon A Time Poseidon

A retired Ghostbuster is heading under the sea for Once Upon a Time.

Ernie Hudson will appear as Poseidon in Episode 15 of the ABC drama’s fourth season, our sister site Deadline reports. In addition to being the god of the sea, Once‘s Poseidon is also the father of Merrin Dungey’s Ursula, a concept omitted from Disney’s The Little Mermaid in 1989, though later included in the Broadway musical.

JoAnna Garcia Swisher is also set to appear in Episode 15, reprising the role of Ariel.

In addition to his work on the big screen, Hudson has recurred in a number of TV series, including Franklin & BashThe Secret Life of the American Teenager and Desperate Housewives.

Your thoughts on Hudson’s casting? How do you suspect Poseidon will play into the events of Season 4? Drop a comment with your theories below.

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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  1. James says:

    I thought Poseidon was Triton’s father?

  2. Gerald says:

    I dread to think what his Poseidon costume will look like. Hopefully it’s an improvement over the awful Ursula one.

  3. Kristina says:

    Very cool!

  4. brandon says:

    The best part of this story is the return of Ariel! I don’t understand why she’s not a regular!

  5. Douglas from Brazil says:

    Is there some agenda on Disney to hire black actors to play fairy tales characters?

    • lizo says:

      there’s just too many characters of colour working on tv these days. WHAT ABOUT ALL THE WHITE PEOPLE?!!? /sarcasm. Get over it. It’s not an “agenda” – it’s called reality.

      • Douglas from Brazil says:

        Yeah…but fairy tale characters are white people, right?

        • StephonJS says:

          no all Fairy tale characters are not white. The Grimm Brother collect the stories from all around the world and made the characters white.

      • SR says:

        Yes, of course, because it’s perfectly logical to have Black actors play Germanic and French characters and not try at all to work in actual African or Asian folklore or mythology.

      • Tywyll Alva says:

        No, reality is actually using the correct RACE to play as said characters. Poseidon was Greek, and therefore the one playing him should be as well. THAT’S reality. I don’t see a white person playing as Martin Luther King????

    • Ann says:

      It hurts my heart that our country is so divided that fairytales have become a problem. I encourage Douglas and SR to do some research. There is a shared history among many cultures that includes origin mythology and folklore. Northern Africa and asia had closer ties to Greece and Rome than Europe. Some version of the tales can be found in subsaharan Africa as well. The stories for the most part are not unique to a region.

      It’s also important that OUOAT is a re imagining of old tales. Sometimes in that process liberties are taken. The Disney version of the snow queen doesn’t line up with earlier versions. The Disney version of most things don’t line up with the source material lol

      Before getting upset and trying to upset others please do some research. I love my country but the education system has failed many. The lack of world history not centered on western Europe is a disservice to us all. African, Asian, and eastern European history have a lot to offer us all

    • ScottJ says:

      This is an example of what is referred to as colour neutral casting. British television has been doing for it a very long time. The only consideration is whether or not the actor can fufil the role. They could be black, white, purple, pink or yellow and still get a part. Anyone who can’t handle that simple concept is an outright racist.

    • Anon says:

      So, it’s ok to hire white actors to play asian characters (DBZ, The Last Airbender, Speed racer) and black/middle eastern characters (Exodus: Gods & Kings) but it’s not ok to hire minorities to play white characters?

      Also wanna point out that the world, especially the western world, is drowning in Eurocentrism. So naturally there’s gonna be a push to get minorities to the front whenever possible.

  6. SR says:

    And I’m out. Ernie Hudson is a great actor, yes, but he’s not Greek. I’ve tried hard to be nice, I really have, all in the name of cultural perspective and political niceness and not being a horrible person. I’ve tried to be open to new ideas, including a black Rapunzel and Cruella Devil being considered a “queen of darkness” and on the same level as Maleficent and Ursula and I can’t. The writing on this show has gone terribly downhill, and while the actors have tried their best, this is really the last straw. I can’t look at Hudson and say, “yes, I accept you as Poseidon.” For me, this is on the same level as casting Jackie Chan as Anansi or David Spade as the Monkey King. It feels wrong and kind of stupid.

    This is not a comment on Hudson himself. Hudson is a great person and actor. I have absolutely no problem with him as an actual person. This is about the inappropriate casting itself. I study Greek mythology, and it’s a subject that is really close to my heart. I want to be the kind of person who this doesn’t bother, but I can’t. It feels, to me personally, like a slap in the face.

    • Stephon J.S says:

      I cant recall any actor who has played a greek god to be greek. Liam Neeson isnt and he played Zeus in Clash of The titans

      • SR says:

        And I didn’t watch Clash of the Titans, either. And I will not be watching the upcoming Exodus or the new Annie. My sense of being able to immerse myself in a story is immense, but I have limits. I know there are very few actual Greek actors in Hollywood, so I don’t expect every role where the character is Greek to be played by a Greek, but I expect at least an attempt. Maybe it is wrong to look at Neeson and say, “okay, you can play Greek,” and then look at Hudson and say, “you can’t play Greek.” I’m sorry, I don’t mean to offend, and I know I am. Maybe I shouldn’t have said anything, but I couldn’t keep quiet. I think Hudson can play any other role on Earth, and do a fine job. I can not see him, though, as a Greek God. I’m not Greek, myself ,and maybe every other Greek in the world will have no problem with him and even applaud the decision. I envy them, because then I could keep watching a show I did like and will miss. I am a fan of Hook and Swan and find Snow and Charming adorable. But this doesn’t feel or look right to me. This feels like them messing around not with a few stories but an entire culture, completely dismissing and bulldozing over an entire people’s cultural beliefs and motifs all in favor of some PC crap.

        And maybe it also has to do with the small but real fight in academia where some people in the Black community are trying to subvert Ancient Greek culture by claiming it actually came from Africa–the Black Athena debate. I find it laughable, I really do because there is no actual evidence of such a thing. Yes, the ancient Greek had contact with Ancient Egypt, but despite geography Egypt has always had closer ties to the Middle East than with the greater whole of the African continent.

        So a Black Poseidon isn’t something I can laugh off, even if it is Hudson. I’m sure the producers and writers had no knowledge of the argument–at least I hope so. But I, personally, am aware of the argument, and I can not disengage my feelings enough to be okay with this.

        • Tom says:

          I don’t recall reading the myth of ‘Annie’ in any of my many Ancient Greek mythology classes. I might’ve skipped that day. Racist troll.

        • StephonJS says:

          You really need to take the blinders. Its not possible to cause a GREEK as a Greek God.
          Greek Gods are every color of rainbow. I dont understand why u have a problem with a black man playing a Greek God. What Greek actors would do a better job then Ernie?

          You need to do search on the many stories of Rapunzel. That princess has been white, brown, tan, black.. so I dont understand your problem with her being black.

          I guess u will get mad if they made Aladdin Asian instead of Arabian. I bet u didnt know Aladdin came from Asia.

          • Lyn says:

            I don’t care who plays Poseidon, but if they cast anyone except Sendhil Ramamurthy or Keon Mohajeri as Aladdin, I’m going to pitch a fit.

        • Wow says:

          You’re not Greek, and yet you find an issue with someone playing a Greek character? Maybe you should seek help. If he was playing a REAL person such as Gandhi or Mother Teresa, I’d see your point. But mythology? Yea, get help for that, buddy.
          Anyways, March seems like a long time from now. 4b had better be good!

        • Anon says:

          You’re gonna stop watching the show just because you don’t agree with the casting? Really tho? smh

        • May Flowers says:

          The new Annie is entirely appropriate because it is set in modern times in a foster home. And it beats the original movie by far, while still maintaining the heart of the character, story and themes that were beloved in the old radio show.

          I do wish for historical pieces they’d cast more actors that match their character’s country origin though, like real Greek or Greek-Americans. But OUAT is fantasy and makes its own path.

    • lizo says:

      *cough* racist *cough*.

    • Jess says:

      It’s a myth. Nowhere does it say anything about the color of Poseidon’s skin in Greek mythology.

    • StephonJS says:

      When the last time u say a Greek play a Greek God?

    • kuinane says:

      I love comments like these because it proves there are still some straight up closed minded, racists out there who still sees color.
      In a world were a black & white men can get married and adopt an Asian baby, we still have people who are still worried about how “make belief fairy-tales” are not still portrayed in a manner to cater just to one race.
      I hope every show on TV keeps pushing these boundaries and making such people as uncomfortable as possible.

  7. aurat22 says:

    I am a new viewer to the show, and I like it but why do they need to bring on so many guest stars? I’d rather see more development with the main characters and their interactions with each other, than see so many additional characters added.

    • chris says:

      Yeah nothing against this dude or the other prospective cast members but rather than tour the Disney catalog in non-animated form it would have been nice to have had a cohesive story for the main (are they even main anymore?) characters from season one. I’d been hoping they would return to them after the extended Frozen advertisement that was this season but I guess not. It’s too bad because I liked the show when it started but it’s time for us to part ways.

  8. lizo says:

    still frakn annoyed that they didn’t cast a fat actress for Ursula.

    • Jess says:

      Who says Urusla is fat? That was just a Disney interpretation of her.

      • jcm says:

        Disney made Ursula overweight. prior to disney, the only interpretation of ursula that i had seen was that like the statue that was initially shown as ursula early in Once Upon a Time. But in that one, the evil queen pretended to be Ursula, and she looked something like the Disney Ursula.

      • Lizo says:

        And OUAT hasn’t followed the Disney canon at all right.

      • May Flowers says:

        I believe it was to make her seem like an octopus, as she had the tentacles. OUAT didn’t have to go AS far as the Disney cartoon version, but I agree that it was a missed opportunity to have a more full-figured woman represented.

    • StephonJS says:

      She’s based on a fat man in drag name Devine. Should be mad a man in drag wasnt cast

  9. Tom says:

    I love this and I really hope this is opening up the Once world to the Disney Greek mythology and one of my favorite Disney characters: Hercules.

  10. Welch says:

    Wow!…talk about glazing over Greek myth and history in favour of being PC! Nothing wrong with Ernie but you can’t cast like this its ridiculous. Its got nothing to do with being racist its just actual centuries old ancient mythological history which you can’t just completely alter on a whim. OK lets make a new movie about Malcolm X and cast Fassbender as Malcolm X, that’s OK right? This is just getting silly and the fact people are instantly labelled racist when they speak out against it is very sad, sign of the times.

    • Network says:

      Except Malcolm x was a real person you big dummy. Before you send some stupid response, PROVE he’s a real white or eruopean person.

    • Stephon J.S says:

      I have seen Greek God both in books and tv/movies in every color of the rainbow, so whats the problem with a black man playing a character who i have seen as white and blue?

  11. Jamie says:

    I like the show, because it fantasy. It be funny see gold deal with the real world and find out people are just as rude as him. The stores are different versions of the stores around the world and it seems like you kind of forgot it was fantasy show and it not real just enjoy the show

  12. Jax&Juice's Girl says:

    Nice, can’t wait to for the show to come back!!!! Ernie is a good fit the role he’s a good actor WHO GIVES A F**K if it’s a black actor playing a Greek God why does it matter?! They had Mulan who’s Asian, Robin Hood’s wife is played by a black actress and Rapunzel was played by a black actress too. It’s nice to see more diversity on Tv especially on this show. I hope they will bring Pocahuntas (sorry if I didn’t spell the name right) in their storylines in future seasons….WHO by the way is what Native American or Cherokee.
    So people get OVER IT we come way too far to still be BITCHIN’ about race even with what’s been going on lately!!!

  13. Anon says:

    It’s fantasy people!!! Get off your high horse about race and fashion and whatever else you’re complaining about. It’s not that deep -.-

  14. Vari says:

    This is gonna be interesting. I am also hoping we see maybe Davy Jones….
    Im wondering if we see if Hook also knows him esp as Ursula is here

  15. Ann says:

    I do have a fashion complaint. I don’t like the Ursela costume. Is there somewhere I can ask them to work on that? Lol

  16. LaLa says:

    I love this casting! Looking forward to it. I hope the story is interesting. I feel like the Frozen storyline got bogged down for a while, though I was satisfied with the resolution.
    As for Ursula’s costume, I really had a problem with the head dress. Maybe if they could find a better wig for the actress . . .actually, come to think of it, I think all of the hair/head dresses for the 3 (Maleficent, Cruella, Ursula) were terrible. Hopefully they’ll work on that this second half.

  17. Brigid says:

    Great casting!!!!!