We all know the story: an ordinary orphan (the hero) is told by a stranger that they have an extraordinary destiny in another land, a land of magic and wonder, a land that needs saving from the forces of evil. Not only does this magical realm need saving from darkness, but the fight against that darkness is the reason why the hero became an orphan in the first place. As with every hero's journey, the orphan refuses to believe or accept their destiny, but eventually they embrace magic and defeat the darkness by having Voldemort shoot himself in the face with his own spell.
Wait, are we talking about Harry Potter or Once Upon A Time here? Well, in the case of Merlin and the Dark Swan, it's both.
A Fan Theory by Teresa Martin (@Teresa__Martin)
“Enter the Dragon” featured a beloved Once character working undercover as a Villain with the Queens of Darkness.
He seems to be successful in the deception so far.
Yes, he. I’m not talking about Regina, but rather Rumplestiltskin!
I believe that Rumplestiltskn is far from Team Villain in 4b.
Rather, what has appeared to be his treachery, are clever ruses to bring him back to redemption and a Happy Ending with Belle.
This idea first came to me when I considered a line of Rumplestiltskin’s which seemed a little out of place: “Sometimes you need to fall very far to finally see the light.”
A Fan Theory by Mauri Lazaro
By now we all have probably seen the title script tease that Adam Horowitz tweeted of the upcoming episode entitled “Mother”. We, the staff of OUAF, have chatted and voiced our theories on which mother the episode title is referring. Most of us are thinking it is Cora. In our conversations of mothers on the show, one staff member stated that she wanted to know who Rumple’s mother was and what happened to her. I jokingly said, “Maybe Blue is Rumple’s mom?” but the more I thought about it, and as crazy and random as it seems, I couldn’t shake the idea. It would just be our favorite Dark One’s luck to have the person that he hates the most turn out to be the person that should be the dearest to him.
Over the course of the last four seasons Blue has acted pretty shady at times. She lied to the Charmings about letting Pinocchio go through the wardrobe, she knew about the book and author, she banished Tink for helping Regina, she kept Dreamy and Nova apart, and she acted strangely when she came out of the hat. She could be upset because the Sorcerer’s hat is in Storybrooke, but there’s always something more going on with her, just like Rumple. Maybe she’s withdrawn because her son tried to kill her? Then there is her Storybrooke title. Blue is the head of the fairies, a convent of nuns in the real world because of their good will, making her Mother Superior. But could this title have a double meaning? Could she be Mother Superior because in fact she is a mother and the leader of the fairies?
Baelfire and Blue
The Best of All Worlds
By Teresa Martin @Teresa__Martin
My theory has its origins in a certain spoiler picture that just . . . rang . . . off, and not only because there was no context. It was out of character, unlikely, random . . . .
Alien. Out of this world.
I think so, and therefore believe said spoiler is merely one of many like it. We are going to see in 4b plots of our characters that are not from our town. Just as we’ve seen Fictional Victorian England, we will see Fictional Storybrooke.
Straight out of a story . . . book.
One that will be written inadvertently by Team Operation Mongoose as they peruse through the library introduced in 4x11. Books full of empty pages just waiting to be written upon.
So potentially a fictional Storybrooke will be written into existence wherein each character has a different story than the one we’ve known from past seasons. Perhaps these characters will even through some accident of magic clash with True Storybrooke.
This would serve as an explanation for pictures of Rumple and the Queens of Darkness in Storybrooke. They were able to get in because they are in a different version of the town that does not have a residual curse from Ingrid. It will be here that the villains attempt to bring about their Happy Endings. They may even travel between several Fictional Worlds until they fulfil their quest.
The Best World for them.
If this is the case, then the mission of the heroes will be not only to find The Author, but to ensure that the correct characters end up in the correct world.
So can we expect to see even more outlandish situations amongst our favorite characters?
I hope so!
The possibilities are endless.
As endless as the stories in any book.
A Fan Theory by Anthony Catalanotti
Just when we think we have figured out every Storybrooke character’s enchanted identity, we are – quite literally – swept away by a tornado of verdigris and land right back into the shoes (dare I say, Ruby Slippers?) that we have worn throughout the entire series. Which of our beloved heroes has been given a third, handcrafted, and temporary identity by Her Wickedness in green? Our Cowardly Lion and Scarecrow are quite blatantly revealed, while their Tin Man counterpart remains in question. Additional characters may even be suggested by our ever-growing plot that lends elements to support the existence of lesser known L. Frank Baum Ozians not necessarily made famous by Hollywood.
We find David/Charming in an episode-long battle against his fears, with promise of a continued storyline. He, the most king-like character with a fur-lined cape, transforms into our Storybrooke Cowardly Lion by a sip of Nightroot-spiked tea – out of a mug with décor oddly reminiscent of a roaring lion. As Zelena mentions, “I hope chamomile is okay – I hear it’s good for the nerves.” This transformative medium is undoubtedly a parallel to Baum’s wizardly cure of drinking a mysterious liquid for the Cowardly Lion to temporarily regain courage. Backwards, but similar. The addition of Charming’s symbolic hilt to Zelena’s pocket-book-inventory (how big is that bag?) seals the deal on our mane man.
We then meet Gold/Rumplestiltskin feeding “madness” and straw into a spinning wheel. This lovable villain has clearly lost his mind amid his pre-spun-gold raw materials. Brainless and covered in straw, our Scarecrow might be the most obvious parallel in the episode. While we do not yet know how this transformation occurred, it is sure to have been orchestrated by Zelena as he is currently in her control.
But where is the Tin Man to make this trio whole? Three characters present with impressive resumes when it comes to being this heartless literary archetype. First, Neal/Baelfire is missing and “stuck” somewhere – however, the mystery might be the only thing fueling this suspicion. Hook is a good contender with a hand made out of metal and a lot of unanswered questions about how he obtained this memory potion. Did he give up his heart willingly for Emma? (Lest we forget that Zelena is Cora’s daughter.) Or is Emma our Tin (Wo)Man? While it would certainly debunk all of the cute suspicions that she is “Auntie Em,” she has the strongest rationale behind her. Both David and Gold were transformed into their Wicked-identities by Zelena. Emma’s heart was broken by Walsh, one of the Lady Z’s pawns. Further, the writers draw attention to her heart with Hook’s romantic, “If it can be broken, it means it still works.” (They need to just get together already.)
A final Wicked-identity that may be surfacing is the Hungry Tiger – a character not present in the “Wizard of Oz” that everyone knows and loves. The Hungry Tiger was a character introduced in Baum’s stories after Dorothy made her way back to Kansas. He served as the protector of Ozra, one of Oz’s royals, alongside the newly courageous Cowardly Lion. In their story, the two beasts leave Ozra’s side and make a failed attempt to give into their human-eating desires. Along their journey, they come across a boy who has lost his mother, two prime meals. Instead of eating them, the Cowardly Lion and Hungry Tiger help to reunite the mother-son duo. Anything about Regina and Henry’s current fractured relationship ring a bell? But who is the Hungry Tiger? Hook? Hood? Another character who has a name beginning with three different letters?
So many questions. But wicked is growing. Time will tell.
A Fan Theory by Brooke Summerlin
Poor Henry—the kid just can’t catch a break. Once again all faithful Oncers should be concerned for Henry’s safety. Pan may be out of the picture for now, but there’s a new villain on Once Upon a Time, and she has it out for the truest believer. In fact, I think she’s already made at least one attempt on Henry’s life.
What did poor Henry ever do to her? Nothing, of course. In “NYC Serenade” Zelena, the Wicked Witch, makes it clear that she’s out for revenge against Regina. And as Aurora hints to Philip, if you incur Zelena’s wrath, she doesn’t just go after you—she goes after your children.
Within a day or two of being launched back into the Enchanted Forest by the “reset” curse, Regina was attacked by a flying monkey who wanted to retrieve her blood. Why Zelena needed this blood to exact her revenge upon the queen is unknown. Perhaps she hoped to curse Regina’s son through blood magic. However, Regina and Henry are related through True Love, not blood. Therefore, Zelena’s revenge curse was ineffective, prompting a need to physically enter the world without magic and get the job done.
When we last saw Emma and Henry, they were driving away from Storybrooke into their new lives. Their destination was unknown, but it’s likely that they returned to Emma’s home in Boston. Flash forward one year after the reset curse was cast and Emma and Henry are now living in Manhattan. The reason? A house fire destroyed their home in Boston, so they relocated to New York. A detail like this cannot be ignored. Recall, the Wicked Witch was something of a pyro, constantly tormenting the Scarecrow with fireballs. For this reason, it is possible the fire was real and not a false memory. Although Emma does not give a specific date, it is likely that the fire occurred a few months after the reset curse was cast.
In fact, my guess is that the fire occurred approximately eight months prior to the events of “NYC Serenade.” Why? Because Emma met Walsh eight months ago at his furniture store in NYC. When your home is destroyed in a fire, one of the few things you can replace is furniture. Was it mere happenstance that Emma found the one guy in the Big Apple who happened to be a flying monkey?
Not at all! Look closely and you’ll see Walsh has a linear scar on the left side of his neck. The flying monkey who attacked Regina was grazed by an arrow in the exact same place. Walsh is not a random fairy-tale creature; he’s a monkey on a mission. The fire in Boston was no accident. Who knows what he had planned if Emma continued her relationship with him?
Although Zelena’s first attempt to exact her revenge on Regina proved unsuccessful, I fear she has more wickedness in store for Henry and for Storybrooke. If she’s smart she’ll realize that she cannot rely on blood magic to exact her revenge. On Once Upon a Time, True Love always trumps magic. And Henry’s mother is well-armed. Both of them.
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A Fan Theory by Samantha Holbert
Could the Wicked Witch of the West be the child of Young Cora and soon-to-be-King Leopold?
We know from various spoilers that Leo did not want an arranged marriage. My theory is that he met The Miller’s Daughter and perhaps fell in love with her. But Cora, being a peasant, and we, knowing what became of her; obviously it did not work out.
When we met Cora in “The Miller’s Daughter,” Young Eva tripped her, and succeeded in humiliating her in front of royalty. It is also obvious that Cora may want power, but she has nothing but contempt for those above her status.
Then there is the deal with Rumple for her first born child. Cora had no qualms about signing that contract because she had already hidden away her first-born; thus duping Rumple.
So the Wicked Witch is the daughter of Leopold and Cora. This makes her both Snow White and Regina's half-sister!
What made her wicked (and green), remains to be seen.
A Fan Theory by Peter Pizzola
I have a new theory about what the effects of the new curse will be in "Going Home" and how it will impact the rest of the season. What if this curse is more personal in nature, allowing each person to revisit a pivotal moment in their lives, and see how things would have gone if they had made another decision?
I base this theory off of some clues from the press release for the episode. For example, the cast list includes Dave Mathews (doctor) and Joy Castro (nurse), who were both present at Henry's birth. Maybe this means Emma revisits this moment and sees what her life would have been like if she had not given up her son! The cast list also includes Tony Perez (Valet - a.k.a. Regina's father). Perhaps Regina revisits the time she cast the Dark Curse, and witnesses what would have happened if she had not killed her father! I noticed that Christopher Gautier (Smee) is also present, who is connected to Hook. Maybe the pirate sees the consequences of not going to Neverland in pursuit of revenge! I also base this theory on the latest script peek from Adam, which shows a flashback conversation between Belle and Rumple that I gather is about Baelfire. Maybe Rumple sees what would have happened if he had not kicked Belle out of his castle but had opened himself up to her and given up his magic!
Adam and Eddie also said in a recent interview that the second half of the season would feature a compelling new form of storytelling. I theorize that instead of the traditional flashbacks, each episode will show each character's vision of their alternate future, where they had made another choice. Scenes have already been shot that show Emma and Henry and New York - maybe that is where mother and son ended up after her decision. Also, if Regina chose not to enact the curse, she would still be in the Enchanted Forest, where she could conceivably meet Robin Hood!
Keep in mind, I am not saying that each character physically travels back in time to relive these moments (that would get messy), but just becomes burdened with the knowledge of what could have been. I still have no idea how these glimpses of possible futures affects the characters in the present. Maybe it helps them reevaluate their lives, and come to term with past mistakes. Maybe this knowledge is helpful in the ultimate battle with Rebecca Mader's new villain character! We need only wait and see!
Who Wrote The Storybook? - A Fan Theory by Zach Van Norman
In the first part of this theory (which can be found here), I discussed the source of the Dark powers (Neverland), why Peter Pan wants Henry (in short: to undo the Dark One and return the power to Neverland), and the idea that the person who gave Pan the drawing of Henry is also the person who wrote Henry’s storybook. Now I’ll reveal who I think that person was:
Yensid, the Sorcerer from Fantasia.
Um…random! Where did that come from?
The first hint at Yensid’s existence came in the first season, during the episode “Skin Deep.” As Rumple and Regina are discussing Belle, a hat can be seen perched on a pedestal, a hat that looks remarkably similar to the Sorcerer’s hat:
A Fan Theory by Samantha Lee - @SamsJag
In the Season 3 promo Mr. Gold says, "Neverland is a place where imagination runs wild." I believe this is a clue to the nature of magic in Neverland. I think that magic in Neverland is powered by imagination and imagination is strengthened by belief. Perhaps this is why Neverland is controlled by children; they still own their ability to believe in what their heart tells them instead of what their mind says is logical. This is why Henry is so important to Peter Pan.
Since the very beginning of Once Upon a Time, Henry's greatest strength has been his belief. He believed in the Curse. He believed that Emma was the Savior. He believed that David was Prince Charming. He believed that Emma and Mary Margaret could be rescued from the Enchanted Forest. Not only does Henry hold on to his belief, but he makes those around him believe too. He helped Emma accept her role as Savior. He convinced Regina to open the portal in the well and let Emma and Mary Margaret come through.
Season 3, episode 1 is titled 'The Heart of the Truest Believer.' This is an obvious reference to Henry. If imagination and belief are magic in Neverland then a true believer like Henry will have great power there. In the traditional 'Peter Pan' story Tinkerbell is saved because children believe in fairies. (Everyone clap your hands!) Maybe Henry's belief is needed to save her in Neverland. Or, maybe, quite literally it is his heart that is needed!
Whatever the case, I'm excited to see what happens next. #SaveHenry
A Fan Theory by Zach Van Norman
At the D23 Expo in Anaheim, Eddy Kitsis and Adam Horowitz screened the first clip from the season three premiere of Once Upon A Time, during which we see Rumplestiltskin having an exchange with a Lost Boy named Felix. Their conversation revealed a bit more about Rumple’s history and made it clear that season three will raise the stakes of the story, and the very foundation of the show may be affected by Rumple and Pan’s relationship. Let’s take another look at what we’ve learned and add it to what we know.
- The Clip -
Let’s start with the facts that the clip established:
1) Rumple and Pan know each other from the past;
2) Rumple and Pan are enemies;
3) Pan kept a doll that has meaning to Rumple.
The last point is the most interesting. The doll is very simple, white straw for the body and wearing a blue jacket with white trim. It appears to be a child’s toy, and Rumple’s reaction to its appearance, as well as Felix’s words, make it clear that it used to be his.
A Fan Theory by Brooke Summerlin
The Seer’s ambiguous final words to Rumplestiltskin, “The boy will be your undoing,” are a hot topic in the aftermath of Once’s new episode “Manhattan.” The boy likely refers to Henry, whose decision to find Emma and bring her to Storybrooke set off a chain of events ending in Rumplestiltskin’s reunion with Baelfire. However, “undoing” was likely chosen for its ambiguity. While the prophecy might allude to the end of Rumplestiltskin’s term as the Dark One, it could also be euphemism for his physical death. Brace yourselves, dearies: the Beast must die.
By Beast, I mean the Dark One and Rumplestiltskin. When analyzing Rumplestiltskin we should remember the complex layers of his character. As David Nolan suggested in Episode 202, “we are both.” Not only is Rumplestiltskin the Dark One, an ominous and wicked imp, but he is also a weaver living under the shadow of cowardice. However, there is a third aspect of Rumplestiltskin’s character: Mr. Gold. In this third person there is the potential for self-actualization. If Rumplestiltskin represents natural man, and the Dark One man’s latent wickedness, then perhaps Mr. Gold is an archetype for man’s potential for heroism. Gold, in a literary sense, often represents quality, value, and merit. Let’s cross our fingers and hope we can one day say “he is as good as gold.”
A Fan Theory by Teresa Martin (@Teresa__Martin)
The Powers that Be on Once Upon A Time have confirmed that Rumpelstiltskin will play a role in returning Belle’s memories. It occurred to me that he will relinquish his powers in exchange for Belle returning to normal. This is a logical progression in the story of Belle and Rumpelstiltskin for “Skin Deep” established that their conflict centered on his love of power. The attachment was ultimately for a good cause as the audience learned later in “The Return.” That episode revealed that Rumpelstiltskin’s desire for power was not a lust, but rather faithfulness to his belief that magic was the only way to get his son back. When he mistakenly thought that August was his son, Rumpelstiltskin showed that Bae had become his sole motivation since he handed the dagger to August, essentially renouncing his power.
Hence finding the real Bae will be more than an emotional reunion, but also the event that signals the end of Rumpelstiltskin’s reign as the Dark One. The scene with August will replay except this time it will be the real Baelfire to whom Rumpelstiltskin gives the dagger. This will turn out to be the “price” he needed to pay to finally have Belle, not only with her memories intact, but also as his mate. The conflict prevalent in Rumbelle’s story-arc since Season One will be resolved.
“Tallahassee” was a revealing episode that answered many questions from Season 1. We learned the reason for Emma's imprisonment (Neal), why she is so guarded when it comes to love (Neal), and, finally, who Henry's father is (Neal). We also found out that it was Pinaugusto (had to do it) who sent Neal the postcard, solving a Season 2 mystery as well. But “Tallahassee” revealed much more than Emma and Neal's history together. Many of the missing pieces of a major puzzle have now been played, which all but prove a widely-believed theory: Neal is Baelfire. But the evidence that proves this also has implications for August and the Blue Fairy. Let's put it all together and see what comes out of it!
What Could Possibly Be Inside That Box?
Emma has had a roller-coaster love story that very much mirrors that of Snow and Charming's. Both mother and daughter have spent time in jail while the men they loved weren't there for them. The key difference between them is that Emma's trip to jail was meant for the greater good. It was August's arrival in Portland that led to Emma's jail time, with his box in tow. The contents of the box were enough to convince Neal of the existence of magic, and furthermore, to leave Emma in jail, allowing her to embrace her destiny as the Savior. Whatever it was, it was major, but not enough to make him have an outburst of denial or shock. Neal accepted the existence of magic quite easily.
In Episode 18 “The Return,” August is shown to have a drawing of Rumplestiltskin's dagger. I, like many people, believe August's box in “Tallahassee” contained that drawing. It's all but certain that the only people who could have known about the dagger are Baelfire and Rumple, given that Rumple's desire to keep it secret was enough to drive him to kill his maid. It's doubtful that he would allow knowledge of its existence to go beyond himself. How did August know about the dagger? Rumple asked August the same question in Episode 18, and August's response was that “a little fairy” had told him.
You have all been speculating hard since the Season One Finale aired with regards the direction Season Two will go in. Below are just a few of the speculations and predictions that you have been sharing with us. Keep them coming.
I am thinking Mr. Gold's "price" for magic will be obsession. He will be so obsessed with winning over Regina and being more powerful than her - He will lose Belle because of it.
Submitted by GPMac
I see Jefferson opening up a whole new availabilty of movement between Storybrooke & Storybook. It was heavily stressed that the hat had great importance, but without magic, it was useless.
Jefferson left a big hole in his own story with the finale (His hatred of being burned yet again by Regina, the release of Belle, his Daughter still in a lerch) and as such, there could very well be an operating world back in Storybook.
Submitted by Pastor Guy
I feel they will still be trapped within the bubble of Storybrooke. Which was NOT what Rumple intended. He wanted to find his son. With the prospect of what was lost will be returned that leaves so much room to grow.
Will Bae feel a gravational pull and be drawn to Storybrooke? The Blue Fairie said she was on the 'right side of Magic', is she? Good/Evil is all about perception. Will Jefferson turn out to be a bad guy? Or does he get his Grace back and all is forgiven?
Regina has NOTHING to lose now so she will be even more horrible. The road to hell is paved with good Intentions. Does the town remember the last 28 years or are they lost all over again?
Emma also still owes a favor to Gold. Will she be one of the few that can leave and the favor will be to find Bae? That's what she does in life so I think so. She will not like what she finds, that much is clear. I feel that this whole series will be about the Redemption of Rumple.
Submitted by Sami H
I think Rumple may be surprised when the purple fog lifts. They may not be in FairyTale Land and / or they may not be together with the loved ones they were last hugging, newly found.
The clock reset back to 8:15, so they may be frozen in yet another land of magic. The characters have found their true selves, with FTL and Storybrooke memories, but I have a feeling the Eddy and Adam are going to splinter families again...
Submitted by Juliette
I was struck by Gold's line about magic coming back to Storybrooke. That would make Jefferson's hat work. So his hat is a way back to the Enchanted Forrest for those who want to go.
I believe that because of all the bad blood for what happened, many will want to fight it out. People will be Team Gold, Team Regina, and Team Snow and Charming.
With magic back the fight will be epic and brutal. Those who choose to leave are Team Switzerland. This is significant for the plot because Belle, being Team Rumpel Gives Up His Power, will choose to leave. So Belle is the price Rumpel pays. However being in the Enchanted Forrest allows for a happy ending at a later time.
Submitted by Woodrow
Mr. Gold said he used a drop of True Love on the parchment upon which the curse was written. Did he incorporate other hidden alterations in the curse? Like the one where everyone stayed in Storybrook once the curse was broken. Did he exempt himself from the "true love breaks all curses" clause? How unpredictable will magic be in Storybrook?
I think Belle will stay with Rumple for a while until she gets tired of his deals that turn out badly for others.
I think Pinocchio will start out wooden and become a "real boy" again.
I think Regina will use her magic to maintain her stranglehold on the inhabitants of Storybrook, driving them to Mr. Gold.
I think Grace will reunite with her father and Jefferson will use his hat to travel between worlds. I think he will bring the Queen of Hearts to this world to do battle with Regina.
I think Emma will have trouble relating to her parents but will try to be a good mother for Henry. I also think Emma, the product of True Love, will begin to be able to use the magic in her much the way Tabitha (Bewitched) did when she was a baby. I think she will gain more and more control over her magic as the season progresses.
I think that Jefferson and Emma will travel to the different worlds to recruit help to battle Regina. I think Peter Pan and Tinkerbell will enter the picture this way. Maybe even Aslan?
Greek and Roman mythology could also be introduced next season. Maybe even Norse, India Indian and American Indian mythology.
Submitted by Kathryn
I think, a lot of new characters will be appear in season 2. Maybe we will discover who's Henry's father, and what happened to Rumple's son.
I wonder what Regina and Rumple will do now that they have their powers again. Will Rumple choose magic over Belle again? We will see.
And I wonder, what magic Emma has? She has the power love of a mother, but Mr. Gold told her, that she's more powerful than she thinks. And we all know, love is the most powerful magic of all, that breaks any curse in the whole world.
Submitted by Andro