This is Fairy Tale Land. It's filled with magic, monsters and all of the characters we all know from stories growing up. It's real, and so are the people in it. But unlike the "happily ever after" you may have heard about, their stories continued, and The Evil Queen cast a Dark Curse over the land....
This is Storybrooke. It's a quiet, little, New England town filled with people who go about their everyday lives with no idea who they really are. The Queen's Curse has trapped them here and placed her in near-complete control. They have no real memories and no real hope.
Once Upon A Time is, at its core, a story about hope.
"For us, that’s what a fairy tale is. It’s that ability to think your life will get better. It’s why you buy a lottery ticket—because if you win you get to tell your boss that you’re quitting and you get to move to Paris or wherever and be who you always wanted to be. And that’s Cinderella, right? One day she’s sweeping up and the next she’s going to the ball. Adam and I just wanted to write about something hopeful that for one hour a week allows one to put everything aside and have that feeling that your dreams just may come true."
- Edward Kitsis, Co-Creator/Executive Producer
About Season 2
To ensure that no one in fairytale land—especially Snow White—had any more "happily ever afters," Evil Queen Regina cast a curse which trapped the fairy tale characters, frozen in time, and brought them into our modern world. Although still alive, they had no knowledge of their former selves and were sleepwalking through life—ageless—for 28 years, until a savior arrived in the form of Emma Swan. Unbeknownst to Emma, she was the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming, who had whisked her out of Fairy Tale Land and into our world as an infant to save her from The Curse. Abandoned as a baby, Emma's life was anything but magical; her last job was as a bail bondsperson, but she mostly drifted without much of a life plan. When her 10-year-old son, Henry—whom she had given up for adoption years earlier—appeared on her doorstep with a book of fairy tales and a wild story about how Emma was the progeny of fairy tale characters trapped in a town called Storybrooke, she thought he was crazy. But curiosity got the better of her, and when she brought Henry back to the town—where Regina, ever the control freak, had made herself mayor and was also Henry's adoptive mother—Emma soon discovered that Storybrooke was more than it seemed. Over time she came to believe the stories were true, began to see cracks in the curse, and was finally able to break it.
Reality and myth were merged as the fairy tale characters began awakening, once The Curse was lifted, and remembered who they were. But to their dismay they were not transported back to fairy tale land. And to make matters worse, Rumplestiltskin—aka Mr. Gold—in an effort to gain the upper hand in his power struggle with Regina, introduced magic into the town. In fairy tales magic has its place, but in our world it can have unfathomable consequences. Now the fairy tale characters must contend with magic in their quest to find a way home, as new fairy tale characters are revealed, old acquaintances are revisited, and some we had come to believe could be trusted will turn against their own kind.
About Season 1
Emma Swan’s life has been anything but a fairytale. A 28-year-old bail bondsperson, she’s been taking care of herself since she was abandoned as a baby. But when Henry—the son she gave up 10 years ago—finds her, everything changes. Henry is desperate for his mom’s help and thinks that Emma is actually the long, lost daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming. Yes, the actual Snow White and Prince Charming. Even stranger, Henry believes that Storybrooke, the sleepy New England town he calls home, is really part of a curse cast by the Evil Queen, freezing fairytale characters in the modern world with no memory of their former selves.
Of course the seen-it-all Emma doesn’t believe a word, but when she gets to Storybrooke, she can’t help sensing that everything’s not quite what it seems. As Henry shows Emma around with the help of his fairytale book, the town, and its inhabitants like Henry’s therapist Archie Hopper and the enigmatic Mr. Gold, seem just strange enough to set off her already suspicious nature. She becomes even more concerned for Henry when she meets his adopted mother, Regina, who he suspects is none other than the Evil Queen herself!
Storybrooke is a place where magic has been forgotten—but is still powerfully close—and happily ever after seems just out of reach. In order to understand where the fairytale world’s former inhabitants came from, and what ultimately led to the Evil Queen’s wrath, you’ll need a glimpse into their previous lives. But it might just turn everything you’ve ever believed about these characters upside-down.
Meanwhile, the epic battle for the future of all worlds, modern and fairytale alike, is about to begin. For good to win, Emma will have to accept her destiny and fight like hell.
Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz, two master storytellers behind Lost and Tron: Legacy, invite everyone to brace themselves for a modern fairytale with thrilling twists and hints of darkness, brimming with wonder and filled with the magic of our most beloved stories.
"We kept circling back to the idea of fairy tales. The very first stories that you hear when you're a kid. They're full of magic and heroics and fear and joy. But we also found fairy tales are full of all these unanswered questions. Like why is Grumpy grumpy? Why is Geppetto so lonely that he'd actually carve a little boy out of wood? And did The Evil Queen really try to kill Snow White simply because of vanity? With Once Upon A Time, we set out to explore those questions and not re-tell these stories but attempt to dig beneath what we all know and try to discover something new."
- Adam Horowitz, Co-Creator/Executive Producer