* AbilityOverAppearance:
** Creators said as much about Merrin Dungey's casting as Ursula from ''Disney/TheLittleMermaid'', as she does not resemble the character much. But they were inspired to cast her because of her performance in ''{{Series/Alias}}''.
** Likewise Joanna Garcia is a full eighteen years older than Disney's Ariel, being 33 when she first played her. But it's hard to imagine an actress who can capture Ariel's optimism, clumsiness and quirky attitude better than she can.
** To a lesser extent, Sarah Bolger looks nothing like Disney's [[Disney/SleepingBeauty Princess Aurora]] but her performance was very well received.
* TheAbridgedSeries: Natch. You can find it [[http://daesgatling.livejournal.com/ here.]]
* ActingInTheDark:
** Christie Laing, who plays Marian, didn't know that [[spoiler: Marian was actually Zelena in disguise in season 4]] until "Heart of Gold".
** Eion Bailey auditioned for August pretty much knowing only what was in the script for his first appearance. He joked that the creators went to great lengths to hide the twist [[spoiler: that he was really Pinocchio]] for as long as they could from him.
** Otherwise averted with David Anders, who only signed on when he was told [[spoiler: his character was really Dr Frankenstein]]. Likewise Meghan Ory was told that [[spoiler: Red would turn out to be the wolf]] a few episodes before it actually happened.
* ActorAllusion:
** This [[BlackSwan isn't]] the first time Barbara Hershey has played a StageMom with a preference for black clothing whose daughter eventually comes to embrace her dark side.
** Jiminy's admonishment to Henry that "giving into one's dark side never accomplishes anything" becomes hilarious once you realize [[VideoGame/KnightsOfTheOldRepublic where you've heard his voice before]].
** A Machiavellian {{Chessmaster}} type with a hidden agenda in a constant power struggle with another questionable authority figure? Yeah Creator/RobertCarlyle has [[Series/StargateUniverse never done]] ''[[Series/StargateUniverse that]]'' [[Series/StargateUniverse before]].
*** Or playing a WoobieDestroyerOfWorlds that was never really a ''good'' guy, but never planned on [[Film/TheWorldIsNotEnough becoming world-destroying evil]], either
** Creator/RobertCarlyle also abandoned his family in a moment of cowardice in ''Film/TwentyEightWeeksLater''.
** Ginnifer Goodwin previously had an affair with man in a loveless relationship with a blonde in ''Film/SomethingBorrowed''. And gets a verbal smackdown from the lady in question when it's discovered too.
** Creator/AmyAcker as a CuteClumsyGirl who becomes especially {{Adorkable}} around her love interest? The only things missing are the [[{{Series/Angel}} glasses and Texan accent]].
** David makes a comment to Snow about falling through a portal to Asgard. Josh Dallas was the [[http://peetahales.tumblr.com/post/101046489687 original Fandral]] in ''Film/{{Thor}}''.
** Eion Bailey previously played a writer in ''Series/BandOfBrothers''. His character in that went on to write a book about sharks in real life and ended up lost at sea - [[spoiler: which is interesting, given that Pinocchio was nearly eaten by a whale]].
* AscendedFanboy: Ginnifer Goodwin has said that ''Snow White'' was her favourite Disney film as a child. Other cast members have said just how much like Snow White she is in real life too.
* AscendedFanon: Due to how little the final film bore to the source material, many fans of ''Frozen'' had theorized that Andersen's Snow Queen existed in the ''Frozen''-verse as a separate entity than Elsa, another fan theory being that Elsa's powers were tied back to the former. ''Once'' appears to be going with an idea similar to this, with Creator/ElizabethMitchell portraying the Snow Queen as a separate character from Georgina Haig's Elsa. Both theories were ultimately used, with the Snow Queen turning out to be Elsa's aunt.
* TheDanza: Young princess Eva is played by Eva Allan (also credited as Eva Bourne).
* BillingDisplacement: Raphael Sbarge (Archie) during season 1 and Michael Socha (Will Scarlet) during season 4 are in the credit opening as main characters despite being actually secondary. Eoin Bailey also qualifies as although his role in season 1 did become crucial in later episodes, he was only in half of them and ultimately functions more as a supporting character; like Sbarge, he was billed as recurring/guest thereafter.
* DawsonCasting:
** Elsa is 23 years old and is portrayed by 29 year old Georgina Haig. This is just slightly less egregious than ''Frozen'', where a 21 year old Elsa is voiced by 42 year old Creator/IdinaMenzel.
** Whilst played straight in ''Frozen'' (where a then-18 years old Anna is voiced by a 33 year old KristenBell), ''OUAT'' makes it a minor trope, since Anna is 20 years old and is played by a 22 year old Elizabeth Lail.
** Kristoff is 23, and portrayed by a 29 year old Scott Michael Foster.
** Nicole Munoz was twenty when she played Lily at 16.
** Ruby is implied to be late teens or early twenties. Meghan Ory was nearly thirty when she first played her.
* {{Defictionalization}}: The exterior shots of Storybrooke's main street are filmed on a real road in British Columbia. The signs on certain shops are covered with a Storybrooke equivalent during filming and removed afterwards. However, some shop owners let the production company keep the signs up permanently partially due to this trope and partially to make less work for the film crew (to erect and tear down the signs every week). The producers also leased two units just for the storefronts. These are kept the same year round, since they were never real shops in the first place.
* DuelingShows: Was initially this with ''Series/{{Grimm}}'', an NBC show that debuted around the same time that also focuses on fairytale characters existing in the real world. It soon became clear both shows were going in different directions. ''Grimm'' focuses on more obscure characters and creatures from the many, ''many'' lesser known Grimm fairytales, as opposed to the more famous and iconic ones in ''Once.''
* DyeingForYourArt:
** For Belle's three season 1 appearances, blonde Emilie de Ravin just wore a wig. When she was upgraded to regular in season 2, she dyed her hair brown.
** A marginal example, as Jennifer Morrison ''is'' a natural blonde. But she had been dyeing her hair brown for ''{{Series/House}}''. She went back blonde to play Emma.
** Agnes Bruckner darkened her blonde hair to brown to play Lily.
* FanCommunityNickname:
** Rumplestiltskin/Mr. Gold's fans are called [[CatchPhrase Dearie]]s. So named by [[https://twitter.com/#!/robertcarlyle_/status/173902407380631552 Robert Carlyle himself.]]
** The Queen's fans are called Evil Regals, Snow White's are the Fairest, the Seven Dwarves' are Team 7, Prince Charming's are Charmers, Ruby's are Little Reds, and Belle's are Beauties. Emma's fans were originally called "Team Emma" though "Ugly Ducklings" is becoming more popular.
** [[CrowningMomentOfFunny Captain Hook's fans are named "Hookers"]].
* FanNickname: King Charmless, for Prince Charming's "father".
** The Charmings, for Snow, David, Emma and Henry.
** And for Neal, [[spoiler: Nealfire as a combination of Neal and Baelfire.]]
** The Television Without Pity forums have nicknamed the [[spoiler: adult Darling brothers]]: [[spoiler: The Hipster Darlings]]
* FakeBrit: Cruella and Hook are both played by Irish actors doing British accents.
* FakeNationality:
** Mulan is ([[FantasyCounterpartCulture kinda-sorta]]) Chinese, but Jamie Chung is Korean.
** The Genie is from Arabian folklore but played by the half-black, half-Italian Giancarlo Esposito.
** Princess Aurora is played by Irish actress Sarah Bolger doing an American accent.
** Australian actress Georgina Haig does an American accent to portray Elsa.
* HeyItsThatGuy:
** [[Film/{{Eragon}} Durza]] is [[Series/TrueBlood Rene]]'s [[spoiler:father]]? That's... odd on so many levels.
*** [[Series/StargateUniverse Doctor Rush]] is Rumplestiltskin.
** So why didn't [[{{Alphas}} Cameron Hicks]] use his Alpha abilities to escape from Emma?
*** When Storybrooke first came into existence, it was discovered by Stanton Parrish and his son.
*** Griffin is Zelena.
** Speaking of Camerons, apparently [[Series/{{House}} Dr. Cameron]] now works as a bail bondsperson in Boston.
** Snow White used to be in a [[Series/BigLove polygamist marriage]].
*** She also used to be married to [[WalkTheLine Johnny Cash]].
** Prince Charming is basically [[Film/{{Thor}} Fandral the Dashing]] with a [[ShaveAndAHaircut shave and]] [[IncrediblyLamePun a haircut]].
*** It's nice to see he escaped the terrible fate of being a [[Series/DoctorWho reference node on the Library planet]].
** [[Series/TrueBlood Pam]]?! When did you leave Eric's employ to become a Disney villainess?
** [[Series/{{Heroes}} Adam Monroe]] is now a doctor at the hospital.
** [[Series/StargateSG1 Bra'tac]] is now a master craftsman and made the magic tree.
*** [[Series/StargateAtlantis Dr. Beckett]] was reincarnated in Wonderland as the Knave of Hearts.
** [[PiratesOfTheCaribbean Pintel]] is Grumpy? Seems... oddly fitting.
** [[Film/ChildsPlay Chucky]] ditched the doll look and became the Dark One. Wonder what [[Film/LordOfTheRings Saruman]] would say?
** [[Series/TheXFiles Krycek]], congratulations! You're the father of twins.
** [[Film/TrickRTreat Sam]] has a twin sister? Eek!
*** It's [[Series/{{Fringe}} young Peter Bishop and young Olivia Dunham]] as siblings! Does this make it weird?
** [[Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer Anya]]'s gone from being a vengeance demon to an eyeless witch.
** [[Series/TheWestWing Toby Ziegler]] got promoted to king, and his daughter is Snow White.
** [[Series/BandOfBrothers David Webster]] is a writer here, too.
** [[Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer The Mayor]] is now Jiminy cricket's father.
** [[Series/{{Angel}} Fred]] [[Series/{{Dollhouse}} (or Saunders)]] is now a fairy/nun and she's in love with a dwarf. Also, her fairy name is Nova, which would explain why she'd possess the body of [[ScoobyDooMysteryIncorporated a dog also named Nova.]]
** [[Film/CaptainAmericaTheFirstAvenger Bucky]] seems to have lost his mind after he fell.
** [[Music/TheWho Roger Daltrey]] played the Caterpillar. No wonder he asked [[ShoutOut "Who are you?]] [[ActorAllusion Who Who Who Who"]].
** From ''Series/{{Lost}}'': Charles Widmore is Prince Charming's father; Claire Littleton is Belle; Hurley is Anton; Charlotte is the Wicked Witch of the West (Ben was right to try to shoot her...); and as of "White Out" Juliet looks to be the season 4 BigBad.
** [[Film/BlackSwan Erica Sayers]] is Regina's controlling ambitious mother. So... Regina and Nina are siblings?
** Dorothy has come a long way from when she was [[TheKilling a street kid in Seattle]].
** [[Film/SuckerPunch Amber]] is Mulan.
** It would seem that [[Series/DowntonAbbey Mrs. Patmore]] was [[IncrediblyLamePun released]] by Cora without any references.
** From TheTudors: Lady Mary Tudor is Aurora, and Duke Philip of Bavaria is Captain Hook.
** [[Series/PrettyLittleLiars Wren Kingston]] is Prince Phillip.
** [[Series/TeenWolf Boyd]] left Beacon Hills to become a Knight of the Round Table.
** [[Series/{{Eureka}} Vincent]] is Mr. Smee.
** Hook [[Film/TheRite used to want to be a priest]].
** [[{{Smallville}} Tess Mercer]] is a GenderFlipped [[Literature/JackAndTheBeanstalk Jack]].
** [[ParkerLewisCantLose Kub]] always was a giant.
** [[Series/{{Andromeda}} Trance Gemini]] is Geppetto's mother.
** [[Franchise/PiratesOfTheCaribbean That cabin boy]] is now ''against'' pirates and has become a nightmare worthy of Davy Jones himself.
*** He's also still trying to find a [[Literature/WaysToLiveForever way to live forever]].
** And [[Series/PowerRangersRPM Summer Landsdown]] is now Tinkerbell.
** [[Series/{{Psych}} McNab]] is Gaston, and a young Shawn Spencer (played by Skyler Gisondo) was one of the Lost Boys.
** Granny, Mr. Smee, and the Wizard of Oz were all [[Main/HarpersIsland once suspects in a massive killing spree]]. [[spoiler: The Wizard was the killer]].
** Lumiere's SB identity was likely [[Series/SleeperCell a jugoslavian terrorist teacher with a passion for hip-hop]] or [[Series/{{Grimm}} the Grim Reaper]].
** [[Series/{{Fringe}} Etta Bishop]] is Elsa.
** [[Series/TheWalkingDead Sasha]] is Tamara.
** As mentioned above, [[Series/{{LOST}} Juliet Burke]] is The Snow Queen. Her younger self is [[Series/TheWalkingDead Lizzie Sammuels]].
** [[Series/{{Defiance}} Christie McCawley/Tarr]] is Emma's childhood friend Lily.
** Prince Thomas, by the way, is [[VideoGame/DMCDevilMayCry Dante]]... but you can call him Dante the Demon Killer. Has a nice ring to it, don't you think?
** The genie is [[Series/BreakingBad Gus Fring]].
** The Huntsman [[RetroactiveRecognition will be]] [[Film/FiftyShadesOfGrey Christian Grey]].
* HeyItsThatVoice: Archie[=/=]Jiminy Cricket is [[Franchise/MassEffect Kaidan Alenko]], [[VideoGame/KnightsOfTheOldRepublic Carth Onasi]], [[WesternAnimation/JusticeLeague Deadman]], [[VideoGame/StarWarsRepublicCommando Scorch]] and quite a few other video game/cartoon characters.
** HilariousInHindsight since Carth and Kaiden often act as the voice of conscience for Revan and Commander Shepard.
** [[spoiler: The ''real'' Ursula is voiced by [[Series/{{Community}} Shirley Bennett.]]]]
* IKnewIt:
** [[spoiler:Mr. Gold perfectly remembers being Rumplestiltskin]]. Most fans probably guessed it from a mile away, though TheReveal was no less satisfying.
** Surprise (or not)! [[spoiler:Cora is the Queen of Hearts after all.]]
** Several people guessed as early as the first season that [[spoiler:Henry's father (Neal) is Baelfire.]]
** Fan boards had joked [[spoiler: since ''{{Disney/Frozen}}'' hit theatres about how it would translate to that universe. Guess who just showed up...]]
** Many had theorized that [[spoiler: Elsa wasn't the actual BigBad of Season 4 and that the Snow Queen was the real villain]]. They were right.
** A smaller case. When Merrin Dungey's Ursula appeared in Season 4 (and was referred to as "the sea witch"), a few assumed that she wasn't ''the'' sea goddess that Eric's kingdom worshipped. "Poor Unfortunate Soul" confirmed that she was just ''named'' after the goddess - though it's not confirmed whether that was her at the end of "Ariel" or the true goddess.
** [[spoiler: Lily being the daughter of Maleficent]] was so obviously guessed by everyone it would have been a bigger twist if it ''hadn't'' turned out that way.
** Henry's middle name being [[spoiler: Daniel]] was a popular theory.
** A smaller one brought on by TheReveal that [[spoiler: Zelena was really Marian in disguise]]. Two episodes later revealed [[spoiler: she was pregnant with Robin's baby]], which had been tossed around by fans.
* MeanCharacterNiceActor:
** The Evil Queen is (or [[spoiler:was]]) -- well, [[CaptainObvious evil]]. Lana Parrilla, on the other hand, is an incredibly nice, warm, lovely human being who adores her fans and fellow cast members, is a second mom to Jared Gilmore (Henry), and has embraced her "Evil Regals" with open arms.
** Rumplestiltskin is... not nice. Robert Carlyle, on the other hand, is by universal acclaim the nicest person on the set. Given the temperaments of most of the rest of the cast, that's saying something.
** Hook was not a very nice person initially. Colin O'Donoghue, on the other hand, is incredibly polite, kind, ''and'' is completely {{Adorkable}}.
* OlderThanTheyThink:
** Little Red Riding Hood hunting a werewolf that terrorises her village every month at the full moon? That's the plot of a film called ''Film/RedRidingHood'' with Amanda Seyfried as the heroine. In both movies the love interest is a suspect and both movies call him Peter to boot (possibly as a ShoutOut to ''Peter and the Wolf''). In both stories [[spoiler: Red's father was a wolf]]. Except in the film [[spoiler: he's the main antagonist]] while in the show [[spoiler: he's passed it on to Red herself]].
** Ditto for TrueLovesKiss working as a symbol of family love. It was originally scripted for ''Film/SnowWhiteAndTheHuntsman'' - where the Huntsman was conceived as a much older man. The kiss that wakes Snow White up was meant to symbolise a father's kiss. Ultimately things were changed, Chris Hemsworth was cast and the Huntsman became a love interest instead.
* TheOtherDarrin:
** [[CastAsAMask It seems to be intentional]]. In Season 1, the Queen of Hearts is played by Jennifer Koenig. In Season 2, she's played by [[spoiler:Barbara Hershey]] when she's revealed to be [[spoiler:Cora]]. It should be noted that [[spoiler:even when she was played by Jennifer Koenig, Barbara Hershey supplied the voice, which was hard to make out due to her speaking only in whispers.]]
** In season 3, Sean Maguire replaces Tom Ellis in the role of Robin Hood.
** In season 4, Merrin Dungey replaces Yvette Nicole Brown in the role of Ursula. [[spoiler: Subverted when the episode ''[[Recap/OnceUponATimeS4E15PoorUnfortunateSoul Poor Unfortunate Soul]]'' reveals that they're separate characters: Dungey's character was named for Brown's.]]
* PlayingAgainstType:
** Jamie Chung is normally known for playing AsianAirhead roles. Mulan is TheStoic in this version, making it a very different role for her.
** Graham was retroactively this for Jamie Dornan - who tends to be a VillainProtagonist or at least a morally questionable character. Graham is probably the most heroic role he's ever played.
** Robert Carlyle's characters tend to be the ButtMonkey of the story - rather than the MagnificentBastard Rumpelstiltskin is.
* PlayingWithCharacterType:
** Rose [=McIver=] usually plays women with tragic backstories, or who have gone through BreakTheCutie in some way. Tinkerbell is similar but recovers from her damage and reverts to TheCutie pretty quickly.
* PlayingGertrude: Annabeth Gish, who plays Red's mother is only eleven years older than Meghan Ory.
** Sally Pressman who plays Helga is two years younger than Pascale Hutton - her younger sister Gerda.
** Frances O'Connor, who plays Belle's mother, is only fifteen years older than Emilie de Ravin.
** And last, but far from least, Lana Parrilla is only one year older than Ginnifer Goodwin.
* PropRecycling: Captain Hook's ship is also the ''[[Film/PiratesOfTheCaribbean Interceptor]]'' and the ''[[Film/StarTrekGenerations Enterprise]]''.
** The compass Hook and Emma steal from the giants' castle is the same one that Gretel gets from her father in "True North."
* RealLifeWritesThePlot:
** Related to the trope below; just as Ginnifer Goodwin and Josh Dallas are expecting a baby in real life as 2013, so are Snow White and Prince Charming in the third season.
** Hook's role in the second half of Season 2 had to be cut down due to Colin O'Donoghue breaking his leg.
** Mulan was quickly written out of the series, due to Jamie Chung being cast in another series.
* RomanceOnTheSet: Ginnifer Goodwin and Josh Dallas. Yes, that's right, [[LifeImitatesArt Snow White and Prince Charming fell in love]].
** Creator/JenniferMorrison and Sebastian Stan, which is more creepy than the above example when their characters' interactions are considered. They broke up in 2013.
* ShipperOnDeck: Ginnifer Goodwin (Snow White), Creator/EmilieDeRavin (Belle), and Michael Raymond-James (Neal/ [[spoiler:Baelfire]]) all ship Swan Thief (Emma/Neal).
** Jennifer Morrison (Emma) and Colin O'Donoghue (Hook) both ship Captain Swan (Emma/Hook). Josh Dallas (Prince Charming) seems to be on board as well.
* ThrowItIn: During the Ruby/Granny fight in "Red Handed" August can be seen all, "These ladies crack me up." His actor was clearly trying not to laugh, but it was so funny the scene was added.
* UnreliableExpositor: Emma claims to have been 18 when she had Henry, but he was already 10 when she turned 28, meaning she had to have been 17 when she gave birth to him.
** In Manhattan (which at the most is 6 months after the pilot) Henry is 11, making Emma 16 when she was pregnant.
* VindicatedByReruns: A common occurrence through DVR ratings. Example: the first half of Season 3's Neverland arc (episodes 1-6) was a ratings success on all fronts, but the second half not so much. A rerun of its final episode, however, brought its ratings score up to standard.
* WhatCouldHaveBeen:
** Apparently they wanted Music/LadyGaga as the Blue Fairy.
** The Sheriff was meant to be Sherlock Holmes, and his curse in Storybrooke was that there was no mystery to solve. The plan fell through due to an issue with acquiring the rights. Not to mention the fact that there are already [[Series/{{Elementary}} two]] [[Series/{{Sherlock}} Sherlocks]] on TV right now.
*** Speaking of the Sheriff, they wanted him to [[http://www.ew.com/article/2014/09/22/once-upon-a-time-jamie-dornan-return return in Season 3]], which fell through because Jaime Dornan was filming ''Film/FiftyShadesOfGrey''. If they'd gotten to do it, he'd have appeared in what was described as a ''Film/PeggySueGotMarried'' moment [[BackForTheFinale in the season finale]] - Emma would have seen him while trapped in the past, but been unable to reach out because doing so would have wrecked the timeline.
** [[Disney/TheLittleMermaid Ariel]] and Disney/{{Aladdin}} were planned for the second season, but their appearances got "pushed back" for unknown reasons. (Ariel showed up in Season 3, but Aladdin has yet to appear).
** Early drafts of the pilot episode had Charming killed off. This was changed after Josh Dallas auditioned and "blew them away" with his performance, prompting the creators to expand his role.
** Early drafts also had Regina with three children instead of just Henry, but the identities of the other two are not yet known.
** [[http://www.zen134237.zen.co.uk/Once_Upon_A_Time_1x01_-_Pilot.pdf The final draft of the pilot as it was sold]], before the show was picked up and more changes were made, has many differences, most notably Emma being named Anna.
** Hook was supposed to have a larger role in the second half of season two, but it had to undergo a major rewrite due to Colin O'Donoghue breaking his leg. The writers had to cut almost all of Hook's scenes.
** Regina and Henry's relationship from season 2 onward is only a result of Lana Parrilla (Regina) pushing the writers for it.
*** The same is true for Regina and Robin's relationship, somewhat...she only pushed for a romance for Regina, the choice of Robin Hood for the love interest is the writers' doing.
** Belle was originally intended for only one episode, but she was brought back by popular demand.
*** Similarly, Anton the Giant was originally going to only be in his nameless debut, "Tallahassee", but the staff liked him enough to bring him back and expand upon him in "Tiny" and "Lacey".
*** Another similar case is Blackbeard, whose death in his debut, "The Jolly Roger", was later retconned because the writers really enjoyed what Charles Mesure brought to the role and thus wanted to use the character in more stories.
** Captain Hook was originally supposed to appear in season 1, but the writers were unable to acquire the rights to Neverland in time.
** Dracula was considered as a character for season 1, but they went with Dr. Frankenstein instead.
** Ruby had more plots planned but the ever-increasing character load in season 2 left them no way to feature her.
* FreezeFrameBonus: In Season 4, a quick glance around Rumplestiltskin's castle shows that he hold Mjolnir, aka Thor's hammer.
----