Emma Swan/Regina Mills

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Pairing: Emma Swan/Regina Mills
Alternative name(s): Swan Queen, SQ, 🦢👑
Gender category: Femslash, F/F
Fandom: Once Upon a Time
Canonical?: non-canon
Prevalence: popular
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Swan Queen is the pairing of Emma Swan and Regina Mills (the ex Evil Queen) from the Once Upon a Time fandom.

Canon Overview

Emma and Regina share custody of Regina's adopted, and Emma's biological, son, Henry Mills, and met through him. Originally they were antagonistic towards one another, particularly Regina hating how Henry went out and found his birth mother. Not to mention Emma was the promised "Savior" who was supposed to break Regina's curse that brought the entire town of Storybrooke into being.

The two continued to fight once the curse was lifted, and the addition of magic to the town did not help matters. However, "because Henry asked her to," Emma repeatedly saved Regina from the vengeful mob of newly-woken Enchanted Forest-ers out for her head. In her efforts to save Regina from getting her soul eaten by a Wraith, Emma accidentally triggered Regina's own magic by laying a hand on her arm, and then subsequently fell through a portal to the Enchanted Forest (aka Fairy Tale Land or FTL) with her new mom, Snow White. Emma's absence gave Regina an opportunity to have Henry to herself forever, but because she made a promise to their son that she would be "better" and earn his love, she absorbed a death curse to save Emma and let her return to Storybrooke.

There were quite a few subsequent issues involving the return of Regina's abusive mother, Cora, a trip to Neverland, evil Peter Pan, the Wicked Witch of the West aka Regina's older sister Zelena, and although they still don't always get along, Emma and Regina now more often than not join forces to protect their family and the town.


The pairing quickly gained traction in fandom, drawing femslashers from far and wide and contributing to the growth of other femslash pairings in the OUAT fandom, such as Sleeping Warrior aka Aurora/Mulan. However as the series went on, fans of the pairing developed a somewhat tense relationship with the show's production team as Swan Queen has several times been cited as an example of queerbaiting,[1] one of very few noted femslash examples of the same. Cranz notes in their History of Femslash:

Once Upon a Time’s premise is a little gay. A kid has two moms, and those moms like to argue passionately with one another while looking at each other’s lips. It spawned the major pairing, Swan Queen [...] But the showrunners of Once Upon a Time were not even a little okay with the queer focus of fandom, or the demands hinged on “social justice,” and they went out of their ways to assert the hetero nature of the leads. First by calling any flirtation “unintentional,” and then by trucking out male love interests for both characters, who just happened to be identical to the supposed female love interests apart from how they identify gender-wise.

It was an absolute shitshow. Fandom, accustomed to having its demands met when they were attached to the concept of social activism, was appalled by the tone deafness of OUaT’s showrunners (one showrunner still doesn’t have a Twitter account) and infuriated by the show’s complete refusal to entertain the idea of better queer representation.

Salt was added to the wound when the show hinted that Mulan was gay and then, only minutes later, shuttled her off screen for two seasons. [...] After raging at Once Upon a Time, the femslash fandom licked its wounds and began to migrate. They found refuge in Orange is the New Black and Orphan Black (even creating the Orphan is the New Black portmanteau as a result). On those shows, the ladies were unapologetically queer and at the forefront of the show.[2]

Notably the Swan Queen fandom has a great deal of crossover with the The Devil Wears Prada fandom. This is likely due to the similarities of the romantic pairings. Both feature a stern and villainized woman with power who victimized and is victimized by the heroine.

There has been some tension between Swan Queen fans and fans of other ships within the OUAT fandom. See Captain Swan vs. Swan Queen

San Diego Comic Con 2013

At SDCC in 2013 a fan asked the cast and showrunners about the possibility of Swan Queen being canon one day. Before the cast could respond the showrunners interjected and said any queer reading of OUAT was wrong and not intended by the creators. This led to an enormous uproar in the community with many BNFs leaving the fandom.[citation needed]

Awards & Statistics


  • Swan Queen: The official pairing name for the ship.
  • Swen: What shippers (at least on tumblr) call themselves. Came from the SWan quEn Nation or SWan queEN.
  • Swan-Mills Family: The name given to Emma & Regina & Henry in most fics.



The Swan Queen fandom is international with many artists and vidders hailing from different countries, such as nialies and napfreak who are both from Spain.





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