Ginnifer Goodwin (Snow White) and Josh Dallas (Prince Charming) met on the set of this show, fell in love, married (as of 4/12/2014), and had two sons together, Oliver Finlay (May 29, 2014) and Hugo Wilson (June 1, 2016).
Names for many characters in Storybrooke are often coordinated with their fairy tale counterpart. For example: Mary Margaret Blanchard (Snow White): Blanchard derives from the French word "blanc" or "blanche" for white. The name "Mary Margaret" is from a real-life woman believed to be the inspiration of the Snow White character named "Maria Sophia Margaretha Catharina Freifräulein Von Erthal" (born on June 15, 1729 in Germany). Regina Mills (Evil Queen): Regina is a Late Latin and Modern Italian feminine noun and name meaning "queen". Regina's grandfather was a Miller so that is a connection to her last name. David Nolan (Prince Charming): The masculine name David means "darling" or "beloved." In Biblical text, it is also the name of the shepherd who became King David after defeating the Goliath the giant. Nolan is a Gaelic name meaning "noble," "fighter," or "champion." Mr. Gold (Rumpelstiltskin): Rumpelstiltskin spun straw into gold in his story. Ruby (Red Riding Hood): A ruby is a pink to blood-red colored gemstone. Ashley Boyd (Cinderella): Cinders precede ashes in the burning process. Boyd derives from the Gaelic word "buidhe" meaning yellow-haired. Sidney Glass (Mirror): Because another word for mirror is glass or looking glass. Also, his newspaper is called "The Mirror." Sidney's character as the Queen's minion trapped in a mirror parallels a genie trapped in a bottle/lamp as a master's servant. The name Sidney refers to Sidney Sheldon, the creator of I Dream of Jeannie (1965). Archie Hopper (Jiminy Cricket): Crickets are sometimes called hoppers, because they hop to get around. "Archie" could also allude to the cockroach poet created in 1916 by Don Marquis. Jefferson (The Mad Hatter): The group Jefferson Airplane has a song called "White Rabbit" which uses lyrics derived from the "Alice in Wonderland" tales. Paige (Grace): In the real world, the Hatter's daughter is named Paige, but in the fairy tale land her name is Grace. Grace Slick was a member of Jefferson Airplane and writer of their song "White Rabbit." Dr. Whale (Dr. Frankenstein): In his black and white fairy tale world, he is Dr. Victor Frankenstein. James Whale was the director of the original Universal Frankenstein (1931) and its sequel Bride of Frankenstein (1935). Cora (The Queen of Hearts): Derived from the Latin word "cor" meaning heart. Zelena (The Wicked Witch): Zelena means "green" in various Slavic languages. August W. Booth (Pinnochio): W. Booth references to Wayne C. Booth, who coined the term the "unreliable narrator" i.e. a blatant liar who misleads the audience. August's fairy tale counterpart is known for lying.
During one of the episodes, Prince Charming mentions to Snow White about falling through a portal to Asgard, a reference to Marvel's Thor. Josh Dallas played Fandral in Thor (2011).
At the 2014 Oz Comic Con, Jennifer Morrison confirmed that one of her favorite scenes was when Hook quoted the infamous "as you wish" to Emma, saying that it was her own "Buttercup moment".
The wardrobe that Emma was sent through when she's born, is a nod to The Chronicles of Narnia.
Singer Christina Perri dedicated her song "The Words" to the show's main couple, Emma Swan and Captain Hook. Colin O'Donoghue (Captain Hook) is in the song's music video.
Many actors and actresses from Lost have appeared in this series, including Lana Parrilla, Emilie de Ravin, Jorge Garcia, Alan Dale, Rebecca Mader, Naveen Andrews (who appeared in the spin-off Once Upon a Time in Wonderland (2013) as Jafar), Patrick Fischler, Daniel Dae Kim, and Elizabeth Mitchell.
The friendship between Snow White and Little Red Riding Hood is a nod to "Snow White and Rose Red", another German fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm.
Of all of the Prince and Princess couples that could have been the focal point of the series, Snow White and Prince Charming were chosen, because of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) being the first movie Disney produced.
Elizabeth Mitchell found it hard to wear high heels in the woods, for her role as the Snow Queen, and suggested that she be bare-footed instead.
Sarah Bolger (Aurora, a.k.a. Sleeping Beauty) once said in an interview, that her first on-screen kiss was with Colin O'Donoghue (Hook, a.k.a. Killian), when they co-starred alongside each other in The Tudors (2007).
The creators formally offered the part of the Blue Fairy, a.k.a. Mother Superior to singer Lady Gaga. However, according to Edward Kitsis, they never heard back from her management staff. The part then went to Keegan Connor Tracy.
Captain Hook's ship is the replica of the eighteenth century ship Lady Washington, based in Grays Harbor, Washington. Lady Washington has appeared in various films, portraying the H.M.S. Interceptor in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003), and the brig Enterprise, a namesake of the Starship Enterprise, on the holodeck in Star Trek: Generations (1994). She provided the basis for the R.L.S. Legacy in Disney's Treasure Planet (2002).
Because Jared Gilmore (Henry Mills) is a minor, he is only allowed to work ten hours a day. Due to that, they have stand-ins when he is unavailable, and off-camera, have people speaking his lines. When performing one of the scenes, one of the actors thought the stand-in was actually Jared, and when he found out it wasn't, broke out laughing, because it was actually a twenty-year-old woman.
There are many references to the television show Lost (2004). Among them are many of the same actors and actresses, the Apollo candy bars, and the television show "Exposé". However, if you look closely in the first season, you will also see an Oceanic Airliner flying overhead, and the time that Storybrooke gets frozen, is 8:15. The same as Oceanic Flight 815. The address for Regina's house is 108, which is the amount of minutes on the clock in the hatch. Henry Mills' apartment in season 7 is 815.
Originally, there was a plan to bring back Jamie Dornan for the finale of the third season. However, due to scheduling conflicts, the plan was scrapped.
Lana Parrilla (Regina Mills) was sitting on the front porch with her cat when she was ten years old. Moments later, a dog attacked her. Because of this, Lana has a scar on her upper lip.
In the song "Do You Want to Build a Snowman?" from Disney's Frozen (2013), Anna makes friends with the portraits to ease the loneliness. In one line, she talks to a portrait and says, "Hang in there Joan." In this show, Joan is the alias she uses with Charming, a.k.a. David.
Kristin Bauer van Straten briefly appeared in season one, but she was unable to return, due to her role in True Blood (2008). However, once the show concluded its run in 2014, she returned in season four.
Jennifer Morrison has played a character who is in love with a Captain twice before. She had a recurring character in How I Met Your Mother (2005), who was married to a man named "The Captain", and she was married to James T. Kirk's father George in Star Trek (2009), who was Captain of his starship for just eighteen minutes.
There are multiple references to Walt Disney once being The Author. In season four, episode seventeen, "Best Laid Plans", August (Pinocchio) makes reference to there being many authors, including "a man named Walt", and in season four, episode twenty-two, "Operation Mongoose: Part 1", the episode starts in December 1966, with reference to The Author recently passing away, and a new author needed. Walt Disney died on December 15, 1966.
Many of the recurring actors and actresses can also be seen as supporting characters on Supernatural (2005). This show and Supernatural (2005) film in the Vancouver area. The season three episode of Supernatural: Mystery Spot (2008) was primarily filmed in Steveston, the filming location for Once Upon a Time (2011).
Sunny Mabrey (Glinda) and Ethan Embry (Greg Mendell) were married for seven years until 2012. However, in 2015, they have rekindled their romance, and are engaged to be married once more.
Snow White's name, in Storybrooke, is Mary Margaret. In the enchanted forest, Snow told Ruby, a.k.a. Red, her favorite names were Mary and Margaret.
Most of the storybook's characters, especially Queen Regina, are wearing Indian jewelry. Princes' and Kings' attires are Indian as well.
When Robin Hood is looking through the Wizard of Oak's, a.k.a. Oz's drawers in New York City, you see a Mickey Mouse shaped object in one of them, next to some scissors.
In season four, Captain Hook received a change of clothes, which began on the first date he had with Emma Swan.
Michael Socha played Will Scarlet in the spin-off series Once Upon a Time in Wonderland (2013).
There are multiple cameos of Apollo candy bars, like from the television show Lost (2004). There was also a television in one episode playing a show called Exposé, also from (or similar to) Lost (2004).
Regina Mills' adopted son Henry was named after the two loved ones in her life, her late father Henry, and her late fiancé Daniel.
According to the official timeline of the show, Emma and Neal met sometime in early 2001. However, Henry was born on August 15, 2001. So, unless Emma gave birth several months prematurely (which isn't likely, since he was adopted by Regina when he was only a few weeks old, and premature babies often spend several weeks in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit after birth) then the latest she could've met Neal to give birth to Henry at full term would be November 2000.
Paula Marshall was cast as Maleficent, but was replaced by Kristin Bauer van Straten, after producers decided to go in a different direction with the character.
Rob Thomas, the Creator of iZombie (2015), in which appear Rose McIver (Tinkerbelle) and David Anders (Dr. Whale), went to the same school as the Creators of this show, Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz.
The fairy tales are set during the Medieval times, but some of the characters have Revolutionary War-era clothes, and some modern day fancy dresses in the Enchanted Forest.
Mary Margaret is Emma's mother in the show, but in real-life, Ginnifer Goodwin and Jennifer Morrison are only one year apart in age.
Michael Raymond-James, Sonequa Martin-Green, Brighton Sharbino, and Ethan Embry appeared on The Walking Dead (2010).
Neal Cassidy gets his name from the Beat generation's Neal Cassady, the friend and mentor of writer Jack Kerouac. The aloofness and independence of his character (as well as the run-ins with the law) is based on the real-life Cassady. He spent his teen years in and out of jail, due to numerous arrests for grand theft auto and petty crime. He served eleven months in prison for sale of stolen goods, the same prison sentence that Emma spends. Cassady also knocked up his second wife and abandoned her to raise their child alone, much like the character of Neal.
Rock superstar Roger Daltrey had a very quick cameo as the caterpillar in season one, episode seventeen, "Hat Trick".
Rose McGowan (young Cora) played sister witch Paige on Charmed (1998) seasons 4-8. She also played Red Riding Hood in an web series called "Doctor Lollipop".
Sean Maguire (Robin Hood), Patrick Fischler (The Author), Raphael Sbarge (Jiminy Cricket), and Wes Brown (Gaston) appeared on Criminal Minds (2005).
Jennifer Morrison and Amy Acker appeared on How I Met Your Mother (2005). Jorge Garcia also appeared in this show and How I Met Your Mother
One of Cinderella's stepsisters is Anastasia. In season one, they are seen and mentioned in Cinderella's flashback. Her character, though a different actress plays her, has a significant role in Once Upon a Time in Wonderland (2013). Her love interest is the Knave of Hearts, a.k.a. Will Scarlet, who is also linked to Robin Hood from this show. In season six, there is a flashback to Cinderella's past with her stepsisters. Neither of which are Anastasia. In season 7 in the New Enchanted Forest Yael Yurman plays a Resurrected Anastasia.
In an episode of season one, Henry was playing a game that Regina bought him, which is Space Paranoids. In the TRON (1982) franchise, Space Paranoids is a game created by a major character, Kevin Flynn. Writers Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz are the writers for TRON: Legacy (2010), and the producers and developers for the television show TRON: Uprising (2012).
Jennifer Morrison, Ginnifer Goodwin, and Josh Dallas appeared in Five (2011) prior to appearing in this show. The television movie is an anthology of five short films. Morrison and Goodwin appear in the first one, and Dallas in the second one.
In seventh season Henry Mills lives in the apartment number 815, same number as the "Oceanic" Lost's flight.
Coincidentally, Adelaide Kane and Gabrielle Anwar have both previously appeared on TV as real life British queens. In Reign (2013), Adelaide Kane played the role of Queen Mary Stuart (aka Mary, Queen of Scots). In The Tudors (2007), Gabrielle Anwar played King Henry VIII's sister Princess Margaret Tudor (later Margaret, Queen of Scots). Margaret, Queen of Scots was the paternal grandmother of Mary, Queen of Scots. In Once Upon a Time (2011) they play Drizella and Lady Tremaine (respectively).
Colin O'Donoghue (Captain Hook) and Sarah Bolger (Princess Aurora) appeared in The Tudors (2007).
Emma Caulfield Ford played Anya in Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1996), where Jane Espenson was a Writer and Executive Producer, and is now Writer and Executive Producer on this show.
On both Once Upon a Time and How I Met Your Mother, Jennifer Morrison plays a character with a criminal history.
Liam Garrigan (King Arthur) and Adam Croasdell (Brennan Jones) appeared in the television series The Chase (2006). They played Matt Lowe and Sebastian Montgomery respectively.
Kristin Bauer van Straten (Maleficent) and Giles Matthey (Gideon) have both appeared in the series True Blood (2008-2014). Coincidentally Giles Matthey portrayed a Faerie on the show.
Some actors and actresses were also in the television series Covert Affairs (2010).
The show is loosely based on the Vertigo comic "Fables", where classic storybook and fairy tale characters are forced into fleeing to Earth and live in hiding. Two attempts to make a Fables show were scrapped by ABC before they took the same premise and made the cast entirely out of Disney characters and some Brother's Grimm stories.
Colin O'Donoghue (Captain Hook aka. Killian Jones), and Julian Morris (Prince Phillip) have both worked with an actor who's appeared in the movie 'Ashes in the Snow'. Colin appeared in the movie, 'Carrie Pilby' with Bel Powley, where they played Professor Harrison and Carrie Pilby respectively, while Julian appeared in the TV show, 'Little Women' with Jonah Hauer-King, where they played John Brooke and Laurie Laurence respectively. In 'Ashes in the Snow', Bel Powley played the character of Lina, while Jonah Hauer-King played the character of Andrius Aras.