When it began in 2011, Once Upon a Time promised to bring in all manner of fairy tale characters into the fictional town of Storybrooke, Maine. But over the years, it has grown into exercise in intellectual property usage. Because it airs on the Disney-owned ABC, Once Upon A Time has the licensing to utilize whatever characters from Disney canon it would like. That’s why, over the past five years, characters featured have spanned from the classics – like Snow White and Cinderella – to fresh-off-the-big-screen favorites like Merida from Brave and Elsa and Anna from Frozen.
Thou the series has done a lot of original things with its cast and characters, we think there's room for some more fan favorites from the Disney vault. While Once Upon A Time has explored a lot of its Disney heritage by integrating all of these animated characters, we’ve come up with 12 Disney Characters We'd Love To See in Once Upon A Time.
12 Lilo (Lilo and Stitch)
Apart from infants, Once Upon A Time doesn’t really feature many children – especially those around the age of Lilo, of Lilo and Stitch. Though the show has yet to cast a young girl to play the Disney heroine, but it would be pretty awesome if they did.
Henry (Jared Gilmore) doesn’t really have a lot of people his own age in Storybrooke, much less someone younger than him to serve as a mentor to. With Lilo’s sass and personality, she and Henry could get into a world of adventures and it might make a nice change of pace for Henry to have a story without the adults for once.
11 Yzma (The Emperor's New Groove)
One of the most hilarious, sassy, and opinionated villains in the Disney canon, introducing Yzma to Storybrooke would give Regina Mills’ (Lana Parilla) witty and sharp retorts a run for their money.
Yzma, being the sly villain that she is, would probably serve best as a one-off villain, rather than a season’s “Big Bad.” Still, with her flair for the dramatic and impeccable way of dressing, adding Yzma into the Once Upon A Time story would only serve to enhance the show and perhaps give it a bit more of a comedic jolt.
(Bonus points if the show also brought Emperor's Kronk to life on screen, too.)
10 Flora, Fauna, Merryweather (Sleeping Beauty)
Though it was long speculated that the Blue Fairy (Keegan Connor Tracy) was Merryweather, it hasn’t ever been stated as fact, and it seems odd that a show with so many fantastical creatures didn’t cast Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather in prominent Storybrooke roles.
It would be interesting to see them integrated, especially now that Once Upon A Time has established that not all fairies are good. Perhaps throwing in a twist – that these three are now a lot less innocent and perfect than their Sleeping Beauty alter egos – would be a good way to integrate them into the new television narrative.
9 Roger and Anita (101 Dalmatians)
While it’s true that Dr. Hopper (Raphael Sbarge) owns Pongo in Once Upon A Time’s slight twist on the 101 Dalmatians story, it would be nice to get the chance to see Roger and Anita in some capacity in Storybrooke, even if it is just briefly.
In 101 Dalmatians, Roger and Anita are kind-hearted, dog-loving people who meet and fall in love because their respective dogs play matchmaker for them. Incorporating Roger and Anita as characters in the Once Upon A Time universe might simply just mean that the audience sees them in the background of the diner at Granny’s, or an entire episode might be devoted to them. Either way, the show could benefit from adding these two as characters.
8 Mowgli (The Jungle Book)
Although the live-action movie version of The Jungle Book might prohibit Once Upon A Time from incorporating Mowgli as a character, it could still be an interesting way to breathe more life into the Enchanted Forest.
In spite of the fact that this season of Once Upon A Time is focused primarily on The Underworld, eventually the heroes will return to Storybrooke for their next adventure. A trip into the Enchanted Forest and encounter with Mowgli would be welcome. Much like Lilo, Mowgli is a child and having a child hero would be something pretty unprecedented for the show. Even when the Neverland arc took place, Peter Pan (Robbie Kay) was a teenager. Mowgli’s introduction would breathe some fresh life into the (often stale) Enchanted Forest.
7 Aladdin and Jasmine (Aladdin)
Shockingly, Once Upon A Time hasn’t yet introduced Aladdin or Jasmine into their universe. This could potentially due to the fact that the story of Aladdin was mentioned as just that – a story – in Once Upon A Time in Wonderland. Whether or not integrating live-action versions of the thief turned hero and the princess (also a hero) would conflict with that canon remains to be seen.
Still, the fact that Aladdin and Jasmine are both diverse characters would, in and of itself, add to Storybrooke. If cast correctly, these two characters could be dynamic heroes and join forces with the already-established ones in the narrative. Regardless of their roles, Aladdin and Jasmine are such fan-favorite Disney characters that it seems weird to leave them out of the Once Upon A Time universe altogether.
6 Tarzan and Jane (Tarzan)
Another popular pairing that would fit into the Once Upon A Time universe is that of Tarzan and Jane. If Hercules (Jonathan Whitesell) could be fit into the Enchanted Forest, than surely this pairing would as well. In spite of the fact that the Neverland arc was a bit hit or miss, it was nice to see the Storybrooke heroes and villains take a trip away from their homes for a while and enter unfamiliar territory.
If Once Upon A Time continued that trend, entering the Enchanted Forest (or something akin to it) and encountering heroes like Tarzan, Jane, Mowgli, and villains like Shere Khan, Sabor, and Clayton, the show would be able to bring a freshness to its stories. Tarzan is such a unique hero, and Jane such a fearless young woman that their love story is only enhanced by their adventures together. They’d be a great fit on the show.
5 Mary Poppins (Mary Poppins)
Mary Poppins is the kind of character who seems so easily accessible that it’s baffling that she has not yet been integrated yet into the show. The casting for her would need to be careful and perfect, but Mary Poppins would easily fit into the realm of Storybrooke.
Her kindness and goodness would likely draw the attention and friendship of Belle (Emilie de Ravin), and her understated magic and way with children would make her the perfect fit to become a teacher in Storybrooke, just like Snow White before Emma arrived. Mary Poppins is such a fun character that it seems natural she would end up in Storybrooke somehow – if she isn’t there already!
4 Milo and Kida (Atlantis: The Lost Empire)
It is easy to forget that Atlantis: The Lost Empire is a Disney film. And, as such, it is fair game to integrate into the Once Upon A Time universe. In spite of the fact that it is one of the lesser-known and talked about films, Atlantis is a great adventure (and love) story about two characters who are worlds apart from one another. Milo would be a fantastic character to integrate into Storybrooke – a bit of a nerd, as a linguist and explorer.
His adventures would likely draw the attention of Robin Hood (Sean Maguire) who is always up for an expedition. And in terms of heroines, there is no one quite like Kida. This Atlantean princess would be such an interesting character on Once Upon A Time if the show decided to bring her to life – she is a linguist, an intelligent and passionate leader, a skilled fighter, and has an incredible love for and connection to Atlantis. The better question is: why isn’t Kida already a part of Once Upon A Time?
3 Esmeralda (The Hunchback of Notre Dame)
Esmeralda is one of the most underrated and unrecognized Disney heroines. Perhaps it is because of how dark The Hunchback of Notre Dame is, but this gypsy is more passionate, loving, and caring than any other character in the film. Integrating her into Storybrooke would be amazing, as her fiery personality is a stark contrast to her gentleness and love for Quasimodo.
Esmeralda seems like she would bond well with Emma and Regina. The additional inclusion of her love interest Phoebus would give David (Josh Dallas) someone to bond with as well. Esmeralda is the epitome of a well-rounded female character who is looked down upon by society but fights for her rights and the rights of people just like her. This social justice aspect of her heroism would make her the perfect fit in Storybrooke’s modern era.
2 Tiana (The Princess and the Frog)
Perhaps one of the most hard-working, passionate, and driven Disney heroines in recent memory, Tiana is an ideal fit for Storybrooke and the Enchanted Forest. Besides the simple fact that adding Tiana to the cast would help to make Once Upon A Time a bit more diverse, Tiana’s one of the most normal Disney heroines (except for the time she was transformed into a frog).
Her New Orleans dreams and her incredible spirit are what make her so beloved. She could feasibly work alongside Ruby (Meghan Ory) somewhere, while making her way from working-class into restaurateur status. A character like Tiana – one whose happy ending isn’t completely wrapped up in a prince, but also in her realizing her dream – would definitely be welcome in Once Upon A Time.
1 Christopher Robin (Winnie the Pooh)
Christopher Robin may not be a typical fairytale hero, but he is an iconic and classic character whose friendship with Winnie the Pooh and imagination sparked a lot of children into reading and daydreaming. In spite of being created by A.A. Milne, Christopher Robin was used in Disney television shows featuring the adventures of his friend, Winnie the Pooh.
In addition to adding more children into the show, Christopher Robin’s appearance on Once Upon A Time would perhaps refocus the show on the trajectory it had in the beginning – a show about the power of magic and belief. Christopher Robin’s power is in his imagination and love for adventure, so re-imagining the show from the eyes of a child – and seeing magic from his perspective – might be just what the ABC needs if the series will be around in the long-term.
What other classic Disney characters would you like to see integrated into Once Upon A Time?