THR: 'Once Upon a Time' Creators Reveal That Prince Charming Was Set to Die in First Episode and Other Secrets
Given all of the iconic Disney characters you’ve included
over five seasons, ABC seems the only logical spot for this series. Had
you pitched it elsewhere?
KITSIS At the time, we pitched this show to, like,
10 different places, and they all passed, so I think we went into it
hoping someone would buy it. Now, we realize it could not be anywhere
but Disney because we wouldn’t be able to have Grumpy, we wouldn’t be
able to have Jiminy Cricket …
HOROWITZ They were so supportive of it because the
idea was really about putting a spin on all of these characters, and
they were totally game to do that. There are so many of these characters
that are so iconic [during] all of our childhoods that we forget that
their most iconic versions were developed by Disney.
What is the process like when you’re putting these classic
characters into the show? Is there a point person at Disney who says yea
KITSIS Disney has people who protect the brand. The
very first image of our pilot was when we put a sword into Snow White’s
hands, which we didn’t realize was the first time that that had
happened. We had this meeting with the people at Disney, and we said,
“Well, in the original movie, she went into a dwarf’s house and cleaned
up, but we wouldn’t want our daughters [to do that.] That’s not the
kind of Snow White they want to see.”
HOROWITZ We talked about how we wanted to make these
characters for a modern time and create what we like to call our Disney
cul-de-sac, where we take the characters out for a little spin and then
return them to the shelf.
Who’s still on your wish list?
HOROWITZ Aladdin and Jasmine are characters we love. The Princess and the Frog is a movie we really enjoyed, and we think that there are wonderful characters in there.
You did a spinoff once before, Once Upon a Time in Wonderland. With such a huge ensemble, have you talked about doing another one?
KITSIS We did try it once, and had that show [aired
during] our hiatus, it would have worked better. But we’re really not
thinking about spinning it off right now. For us, it was always our
dream to make Storybrooke like Springfield in The Simpsons. The very first spec Adam and I ever wrote was for The Simpsons.
We just loved how once a year you knew Disco Stu was going to come and
you knew everyone at the school, and it had its own world. For Once, that’s what we always wanted to aspire to.
The show has several strong female characters at its core. How conscious a decision was that?
KITSIS We never wanted to do damsels in distress.
Princess Leia didn’t need to be saved, and that was always inspiring.
And we had always written strong women, whether it was Kate on Lost or Felicity [from Felicity]. For us, that’s what was interesting. We wanted princesses that kicked ass.