If you were among those who at last month’s Comic-Con saw the 20-minute “drama presentation” that sold ABC on Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, you basically laid witness to the first half of the new series’ premiere.
After Alice breaks out of the asylum into which her father had her committed, “We’re going to actually go [back] into Wonderland” in that first episode, cocreator Eddy Kitsis explained Sunday at the Television Critics Assoc. press tour in Beverly Hills. There, “You are going to meet Jafar (played by Lost‘s Naveen Andrews), get more of the Red Queen (Emma Rigby) and get more a sense of that world.”
Co-showrunner Adam Horowitz meanwhile clarified the scheduling plan for what he and Kitsis dubbed a “psychedelic romance,” seeing as an ABC press release suggested Wonderland would finale by the time the reality series The Quest claims Thursday’s lead-off spot on Jan. 2.
Working off an order of currently 13 episodes, he said, “The plan would be to tell a whole string of episodes in the fall, and then we come back after The Quest to finish up the story for this season.”
Other hot topics from Wonderland‘s TCA panel:
* The plan stands to have Barbara Hershey at some point reprise her Once role as the Queen of Hearts, in flashbacks. As for Rigby’s frosty Red Queen, she will share “an uneasy alliance” with Jafar, seeing as they each have specific reasons for keeping Alice from reuniting with the genie Cyrus.
* In addition to the hookah-smoking caterpillar (again voiced by Roger Daltrey) and the White Rabbit (a series regular character voiced by John Lithgow), “You will see the Cheshire cat in the pilot,” Kitsis shared. Explaining the casting of Lithgow (who replaced Paul Reubens) as the time-conscientious bunny, Kitsis said, “John brings an incredible depth. There are layers to the character and his backstory that we want to reveal.”
* Although Sebastian Stan is in high demand and currently unavailable for an encore on either Once series, Kitsis said, “We’re never going to have a Mad Hatter not played by Sebastian.”
* The EPs explained that the events of Wonderland take place concurrently with original Once — which raises the question of how then Alice can live in Victorian England. “It’s not historical Victorian England; it’s fictional Victorian England,” Horowitz said. As with other realms visited on Once, Wendy Darling’s England, Dr. Frankenstein’s world and such “are lands of story” removed from time.