Posted by Ashley B at Tuesday, September 03, 2013 10 CommentsOnce Upon A Time In Wonderland
Synopsis and Plot Spoilers
We know that this telling of the classic tale of Alice in Wonderland is actually a take on what happened after Alice returned from her adventures. Both familiar and new faces will be seen as Alice, struggling with the memories of her lost love Cyrus the Genie, escapes from an asylum and heads out on a new unfamiliar journey back to Wonderland to save him. Creators Kitsis and Horowitz tease that this vision of Alice in Wonderland will follow the model set by the original Once Upon a Time. There will be twists and turns in this epic tale and not everything, or every one for that matter, will be as they seem.
We also have been told that OuaT in Wonderland will cross paths with the main Once Upon a Time story sooner and more often than you think, though neither show’s story will be dependent on the viewership of the other. Viewers will be able to enjoy either show without being a fan of the other, a wise decision in my opinion.
The first episode is appropriately titled “Down The Rabbit Hole”, and a short clip featuring Alice (Sophie Lowe) and Cyrus the Genie (Peter Gadiot) can be seen here.
Once Upon a Time in Wonderland will be premiering Thursday October 10th. Originally slated for a thirteen episode run, OuaT in Wonderland’s episode order has been extended, but the official count is yet unknown. It will also be following the new ABC split schedule, taking a hiatus mid-season and returning January 2nd. I feel idea of split scheduling as a whole is wise on ABC’s part. Though a long hiatus is in store for fans mid-season, this will not only help viewers keep track of the plot with shows as layered and flashback heavy as OuaT in Wonderland, but will alleviate the frustration of having a one or two week break every other episode. The amount of times I wanted to chuck my remote at the television after seeing or hearing the words “In Two Weeks” is unfathomable.
Much buzz was garnered on the convention circuit regarding Once Upon a Time in Wonderland. The best way to get the word out about a new series these days is to tease the target audience, and what better venue than San Diego Comic Con? As an attendee, I found myself getting more and more intrigued by the possibilities that lay ahead for this new show as each minute of the panel passed. A live tweet break down of what Kitsis and Horowitz have in store for the viewers can be found here, as well as a clip from the panel, which can be seen here. A short mention at the Disney Expo, D23, can also be found here. Most of the information gathered has already been discussed above, with the exception of some surprise casting news that caused quite the cheer to erupt in Ballroom 20.
Like Once Upon a Time, Wonderland is sure to be overflowing with characters, both familiar and new. Casting for episode one entices us with the mention of a young girl, about 12 years old, similar in description to Alice. Could this be casting for a younger version of our hero or an entirely new character? We have yet to find out. It should be mentioned that casting for this show has, for the most part, been in the favor of unknown actors. Executive producers have gone on record as saying they preferred low profile actors so as not to distract from the story being told. I believe there are more pros than cons to this decision, though not knowing how the writers and directors will flesh out our favorite Wonderland citizens opens the door wide open to any performance, familiar or otherwise. We do know the Chesire Cat is being cast as a voice over role similar to John Lithgow’s performance as the White Rabbit. We have yet to see a character design, so who knows what type of personality this iconic character will have.
The big casting news from Comic Con was that of Naveen Andrews taking on the role of Jafar. Not only does this mean viewers will be treated to a taste of Agrabah and perhaps more Aladdin characters, but Naveen is set to be a reoccurring character, giving a different take on villainy opposite Emma Rigby’s Red Queen.
Casting calls have also been sent out for Silvermist, a beautiful 20-something Asian looking for revenge, Bearded Man/Farzeen Shahmed, a 40-year-old Middle Eastern man who sells scarves; and Old Prisoner, a 60-year-old Middle Eastern man who was imprisoned by Jafar 10 years ago. The Old Prisoner is planned as a reoccurring character. My thoughts are that he may be a source of comic relief in a show sure to be heavy on drama. Other casting news are the roles of 25-year-old tomboy know as Liz or Lizard and the guest role of Amara, a powerful and beautiful sorceress from Agrabah. The role of Liz reminds me of the character of Bill, the White Rabbit’s handy man, seen in the Disney version of Alice in Wonderland. The casting seems to be a bit heavy on the Agrabah side, though this may be in order to set up both Cyrus and Jafar’s backstories.
In an interesting twist, the role of Grendel of Beowulf fame is to be cast as well. Though this seems like a monstrous addition to the growing OUaT in Wonderland cast, the series creators were quick to mention Grendel was more of a "wink and a nod’’, as opposed to a deep exploration. This is for the best, as a tale as epic as Beowulf would require its own spin off.
One final casting tidbit, it has been confirmed the Barbara Hershey will reprise her role as the Queen of Hearts. I am thrilled at seeing this tie in to the original Once Upon a Time and wonder what her relationship will be like with the Red Queen.
Official photos of the Once Upon a Time in Wonderland pilot can be seen here.
In addition, two official posters have also been released, though only one will be picked in the future as the main imagery for the show.
All these images reveal very little, aside from establishing the focus of the series as the relationship between Alice and Cyrus.
The lack of photos was certainly made up by the abundance of promos released to raise audience awareness. They are titled as Love Conquers All, Search For Lost Love Begins, Feel the Love, Eternal Love, Asylum, Doctor Says, and Twilight Games. Obviously we are meant to understand the theme and core of the show is love and the fact that true love conquers all.
Behind The Scenes
And what would a spoiler roundup be without a little behind the scenes footage? Set photos of Alice and Cyrus have been gathered and it doesn’t seem as if their relationship was all twilight meetings on romantic cliffs. Perhaps Cyrus was the one to teach Alice to defend herself, taking the distress out of the damsel?
Other behind the scenes footage captured is that of worlds colliding, specifically those of Once Upon a Time and Once Upon a Time in Wonderland. Emma Swan’s trademark yellow beetle was seen during OuaT in Wonderland scenes shot in Stevensen and it appears that the savior may have an accidental run in with the Knave of Hearts (Michael Socha), nearly side swiping him as he crosses the street. Where this encounter fits in the Once Upon a Time timeline is anyone’s guess, though it will be interesting to view both shows and try to see where they overlap. A video of the encounter can be seen here.
That’s the end of the spoilers for now. As much information as the viewers and spoiler hounds have received, we still know very little about what will actually go on in the world of Wonderland. The creative minds are playing their cards close to their vest so even the Queen of Hearts herself will have a challenge gathering details. I look forward to seeing how each of these details and teases fit in to the larger picture when Once Upon a Time in Wonderland premiers in October.
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