Once Upon a Time (TV series)

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Name: Once Upon a Time
Abbreviation(s): OUaT, OUAT
Creator: Edward Kitsis
Adam Horowitz
Date(s): October 23, 2011 - May 18, 2018
Medium: TV Series
Country of Origin: United States
External Links: Official Website
Once Upon A Time by daekazu (2013)
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

Once Upon a Time is an American fantasy-drama television series, which aired on ABC from 2011—2018. The show focused on Emma Swan, the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming, and the adventures of fairy tale characters navigating both their own realms and our own after The Evil Queen brings them to the real world. The show had seven seasons, with S7 being a soft reboot, focusing on a grown up Henry Mills.

The show gained infamy for its complicated family tree and seemingly nonsensical mixing together of characters from both the public domain and Disney owned IPs. It's name was often shortened to either Once or the initialism OUAT.

The series also had a one-season spinoff entitled Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, focusing on Alice and her adventures with Will Scarlett (Knave of Hearts), Cyrus (a genie and her true love), and the White Rabbit, as well as featuring the Red Queen.


The first season focuses on Emma Swan's arrival in Storybrooke, her developing relationship with her biological son and ultimately discovering and breaking the curse. The following seasons see the core Charming family and established characters such as Rumplestiltskin and Regina explore and experience the different fairytale realms. Emma and Snow get to know each other spending time in The Enchanted Forest in Season 2, and Neverland plays a huge role when Peter Pan kidnaps Henry in Season 3. The relationship between Emma, Henry and Baelfire is a pivotal part of the series. Multiple new characters are introduced over the seasons, from different factions of fairytale lore such as the Frozen characters in Season 4. The story plays with themes of light and dark, good and evil as Emma also tries her hand at being The Dark One. A major change in the show's style occurs in Season 7, where an adult Henry takes centre stage and multiple original characters do not feature more than in guest appearances.



Actor Character "Storybrooke" Alias Seasons
Jennifer Morrison Emma Swan 1—6, guest 7
Ginnifer Goodwin Snow White Mary Margaret Blanchard 1—6, guest 7
Lana Parrilla Evil Queen Regina Mills All
Josh Dallas Prince Charming; Prince David David Nolan 1—6, guest 7
Robert Carlyle Rumpelstiltskin; Beast; Crocodile Mr. Gold All
Jared S. Gilmore/Andrew J. West (7) Henry Mills All
Emilie de Ravin Belle Belle French, Lacey
Colin O'Donoghue Captain Killian "Hook" Jones 2—7
Michael Raymond-James Baelfire Neal Cassidy 2—3, recurring 1
See Category:Once Upon A Time Characters‎ for more characters.

Creator Comments

"I could be wrong, but I think this is the first time anyone's shown Snow White with a sword, or pregnant."[1]

Realms of OUAT

  • Enchanted Forest/Misthaven - A land existing with the presence of magic as well as the inclusion of inhabitants who are prevalent to fairytales; such as Snow White, the Evil Queen, Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Pinocchio and so on.
  • Land Without Color - A land existing with the presence of science, and is colorless by nature. It is home to Dr. Victor Frankenstein.
  • Land Without Magic - A land void of magic, but is susceptible to those who possess it may pass through into this world. It is the home of Storybrooke, Maine - a town which is cut off from the rest of the world due to the Evil Queen's Dark Curse and later regains magic from Rumplestiltskin after the Dark Curse is broken by Emma Swan.
  • Netherworld - A land that is entirely accessible only under the influence of the Sleeping Curse, or had been under the Sleeping Curse when the person is unconscious. Its known inhabitants are Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Henry Mills, and David Nolan.
  • Neverland - A land where no one can grow older in age, and is home to the forever youthful Peter Pan.
  • Wonderland - A land existing with the presence of magic like the Enchanted Forest. It also includes inhabitants who are prevalent in the Alice in Wonderland book, such as the Mad Hatter, Queen of Hearts, White Rabbit, Red Queen, Knave of Hearts and so on.
  • Victorian England - A land that runs perpetual to the Victorian London of the Land Without Magic and is home to Alice and her family.
  • Agrabah - A land that is across the desert from Prince Eric's kingdom and where Jafar and Cyrus are from.
  • Arendelle - A land that is across the seas from the Enchanted Forest - knowledge of magic was fairly unknown before Elsa and the Snow Queen despite the presence of the trolls.
  • Land of Oz - A land based off of the world in created in the Wizard of Oz. Zelena was sent here as a baby in a tornado, she later becomes the Wicked Witch.
  • 1920's England - A land set in perpetual 1920's England much like the Victorian England realm and serves as a home to Cruella de Vil.
  • Camelot - A land set in medieval times and serves as the home of Merlin, as well as the former home of Lancelot.
  • DunBroch/The Highlands - DunBroch is an island, separated from Camelot and the rest of the continent by the Ivory Sea. DunBroch is located north of Camelot.
  • Wishverse or WishRealm: Realm created by a wish from Emma


The show has several main female characters—Mary Margaret Blanchard (Snow White), Emma, and Regina (the Evil Queen)—who get a lot of on-screen time, and it more than passes the Bechdel Test. The character of Mr. Gold (Rumpelstiltskin) (played by actor Robert Carlyle) is also popular.

Other popular characters are Belle, Henry Mills, Ruby (Red Riding Hood), David Nolan (Prince "Charming" James), Killian Jones (Captain Hook), and Jefferson (aka the Mad Hatter).

The large and dysfunctional family tree of Henry Mills has been a large component in talk due to several big reveals in Season 2 (Baelfire as Henry's father, as such Rumpelstiltskin is Henry's grandfather) and Season 3 (Rumpelstiltskin's father is Peter Pan)[2][3] and it was revealed by the creators that it would expand even more by the end of the season by at least two spots,[4] which was later revealed to be Zelena (aka Wicked Witch of the West from Wizard of Oz) as Regina's half-sister along with Neal Nolan (the son of Snow & Charming).


See also: List of OUAT Pairing Names


In 2015, two of OUAT ships made it on the "Most reblogged ships" on Tumblr: Captain Swan (#5) and Swan Queen (#14).[7] In 2016 Captain Swan made the list again.

In 2016, OUAT was ranked number eighth in the Top 20 "most reblogged" live-action television show on Tumblr, gaining one spot in popularity from the previous year.[8] In 2017, OUAT dropped 16 places, ranking 24th on the Top 30 "most reblogged" live-action television show on Tumblr.[9]

Common Tropes and Themes


  • OUAT - is the common way to shorten the show's name.
  • Oncer is the common term to refer to a Once Upon a Time fan
  • Bowls of Soup is also a term used for fans, stemming from an inside joke revealed by Robert Carlyle at PaleyFest 2013.
  • H and K: fan acronym for showrunners Adam Horrowitz and Eddy Kitsiss, sometimes A and E is also used


For the full list of challenges on Fanlore, see Category:Once Upon A Time Challenges

Example Fanworks



See character or pairing pages for character or pairing specific art.



See character or pairing pages for character or pairing specific vids

OUAT Ladies:


Archives and Communities

LiveJournal Communities

See Category:Once Upon A Time Communities‎ for more.

Dreamwidth Communities


Fansites and Resources


  1. ^ Quote by co-creator Edward Kitsis in TV Guide article by Denise Martin, 7 Aug 2011. (Accessed 16 Jan 2012)
  2. ^ charmestswan. Disney According to Henry Mills Posted November 20 2013. (Accessed 21 November 2013)
  3. ^ Nikki De Graeve at Entertainment Outlook. Once Upon a Family Tree Posted on November 18 2013. (Accessed 21 November 2013)
  4. ^ Matt Webb Mitovich at TVLine. Henry's Recently Expanded Family Tree Will Grow Even More Posted November 21 2013. (Accessed 21 November 2013)
  5. ^ TOASTYSTATS: Femslash stats, 2015 by destinationtoast
  6. ^ AO3 search results, July 17, 2018
  7. ^ Tumblr 2015 Year in Review: Most Reblogged Ships by Tumblr Fandometrics
  8. ^ 2016′s Top TV Shows - Live Action
  9. ^ 2017′s Top Live-Action TV Shows
  10. ^ True Love's Kiss Question with Jane Espenson: Copy of the Twitter Question Examples of Snowing/Captain Swan/Rumbelle Kisses and the True Love's Kiss not working (Accessed 12 December 2013)