Once Upon A Time may have closed the storybook after season 7, but the show continues to be loved by the fans.
It's a show that fills audiences with hope and sparks the imagination. Like any series, Once Upon A Time had its issues, but they don't take away from the show's positive messages, creativity, and highly immersive nature.
Taking a look at behind-the-scenes photos offers a different glimpse of the show, though, even for fans who know the series inside and out. These photos reveal the secrets behind the magic and how settings like Camelot and the Enchanted Forest can be so visually appealing.
The photos also shows the dynamics between different actors on the set and in between takes, and in some cases, even the possibility of how a certain story or character relationship could've gone an alternate route.
Practically every major character turned evil at some point. Four Dark Curses were cast and no one can keep track of how many times the characters lost their memories.
Still, there were some intriguing possibilities that the show didn't explore, some of which are hinted at in these photos.
Without further ado, let's dive into the 28 Behind-The-Scenes Photos That Completely Change Once Upon A Time.
28 The Blue Kingdom Of Camelot
Camelot is one of the most splendorous settings of Once Upon A Time, and is arguably the show's best embodiment of medieval fantasy.
Royalty, chivalrous knights, and prophecies all coalesce into King Arthur's facade of a magnificent kingdom. As such, it's a moment of awe and wonder when the core characters first enter Camelot.
This makes it particularly strange to see that-- with the exception of a couple banisters and flags-- the scene where the characters enter Camelot is mostly created around a blue screen.
The pride on King Arthur's face along with the curious, impressed looks of the Storybrooke folk is crucial to making Camelot believable in this moment.
27 Green Waters
Season 3 opened with several former enemies uniting to save Henry. They traveled to Neverland and began their quest aboard the Jolly Roger.
Facing a torrential storm and vicious mermaids in the seas of Neverland was a thrilling sequence of the season 3 premiere and one of many major obstacles that the heroes would face in their mission to save Henry.
While there was a physical set for the Jolly Roger, they did not film the scene at sea, let alone in any waters.
Instead, the Jolly Roger set was placed around green screen that would allow the vicious mermaids and most of the storm to be added in later.
In this case, both the realism of the Jolly Roger and the actors' abilities were essential to making the scenes work.
26 The Best of Frenemies
Once Upon A Time was never shy about unlikely characters and stories crossing over. One of many examples was in season 5 when the story of King Arthur and Camelot became entangled with the characters of Disney Pixar's Brave.
In fact, Arthur led his armies to invade DunBroch-- Merida's kingdom from Brave-- to acquire a magical helm that he believed would make the sword Excalibur whole again.
During the invasion, Arthur slayed King Fergus-- Merida's father and the ruler of DunBroch.
Enemies on-screen can be the best of chums behind the scenes, as we can see with this picture of the actors who played King Arthur and King Fergus. Both actors are smiling and enjoying one another's company.
The trailers behind them could be found in Storybrooke, but certainly not in Camelot or DunBroch, which contrasts even more with what fans are used to from watching the show.
25 Flying With Support
Starting out as a full-on villain in season 3, Zelena went on to become one of the show's most delightful characters to watch.
Rebecca Mader's performance and the writing certainly brought a different spin to the Wicked Witch of the West, but many of her best moments were often flying aboard her broomstick.
Some of the magic is stripped away when we see her supported in the air and surrounded by a blue screen.
Her pure joy is refreshing to see, though. It's that kind of emotion-- plus some excellent costuming choice and wicked green makeup-- that enabled Zelena's flying scenes to become so riveting to watch onscreen, even if it isn't so magical behind-the-scenes.
24 A Real Life Prince Charming
Prince Charming is naturally popular with the ladies. In reality, Josh Dallas takes this phenomenon to a whole new level on the set of Once Upon A Time.
In need of drying off after a scene, this group of ladies surrounding him seem all too eager to dry him off and perfect his costume and overall look for the next scene.
Dallas seems like he can be a real life Prince Charming, not just one for the show. This likely played a role in marrying Ginnifer Goodwin, who played Snow White.
23 Mermaid Struggles
Ariel comes off as a very graceful and majestic individual. This makes it all the more amusing to see what the mermaid fin looks like when the scene was initially filmed.
It does create a certain amount of realism when it comes to a mermaid being unable to walk or run on land, though. JoAnna Garcia Swisher was pretty much stuck in that spot when wearing what audiences later saw as a beautiful fin.
Being genuinely trapped in that spot might actually have helped her get into character, however.
In contrast, the scenes where Ariel is given the ability to walk on land must've felt much more natural to Swisher than filming this particular moment.
22 Stalked By Your Flying Shadow
Seeing Pan soar through Neverland with supports and surrounded by a green screen is enough to make you watch season 3 differently. This change in how fans watch the show becomes even more extreme with the figure playing Pan's Shadow in the background. Pan and the Shadow are on the same side in the story.
The way that Shadow blends in with the green screen and trails Pan in the picture makes it look like Pan is being stalked.
It's downright creepy and contrasts with the dynamic between the two characters.
Suspended in the air and turning around to see a trailing figure blended in with the green screen seems unsettling on a certain level.
Perhaps it helped Robbie Kay immerse himself in the nature of Pan.
21 A Normal Mother-Daughter Relationship
It would be quite the understatement to say that Cora and Regina shared a contentious, toxic mother-daughter relationship for much of Once Upon A Time.
This makes it jarring to see them happily posing for a picture together like a normal mother and daughter when their characters are anything but.
Lana Parrilla and Barbara Hershey had incredible chemistry onscreen together. It's nice to see that some of this chemistry can be shared off-screen as well, and in a much more positive light.
This kind of picture also can't help but make fans wonder what the story could've been like if Regina and Cora had a better relationship while Cora was still alive.
20 Hook and Henry Sparring
As a father figure for Henry, Hook taught him many useful skills to survive in the realms of Once Upon A Time. Given his personality and opinion of himself, Hook was a confident teacher.
This included not only instruction of how to sail a fine vessel like the Jolly Roger, but also how to duel.
Hook's teaching is fast paced, so it's nice to see the moments slowed down behind-the-scenes, as Colin O'Donoghue and Jared Gilmore perfect not only the way their characters spar, but also their facial expressions and body language.
19 Queen Of Hearts
Pulling out someone's heart with magic and threatening to crush it became a staple of demonstrating power and asserting control in Once Upon A Time.
No matter how good the heart may look when the show airs, it won't matter if the actors don't sell it when the scene is filmed.
Barbara Hershey and Colin O'Donoghue manage to create a convincing scene here, much of which is achieved via their facial expressions.
The fierce look that Hershey creates for Cora-- the Queen of Hearts-- is a bit frightening, which certainly makes it easier for O'Donoghue to express the anguish and terror as Hook has his heart ripped out.
18 Hats Galore
Looking at behind-the-scenes photos, it's obvious that most things are digitally added in later on than are actually there when the scene is originally filmed.
This makes it almost surprising to see that the Mad Hatter/Jefferson is actually surrounded by lots of hats in the scene where he's trapped in Wonderland, forever making hats and going mad in order to find a way back to his daughter.
There's something unsettling about being surrounded by nothing but tons of hats while filming a solo scene using green screen, all of which probably helps the crazed look on Jefferson's face appear even more authentic.
17 Henry and Charming
Henry often had an almost reverential outlook of his grandfather Prince Charming. He was the living embodiment of a tale larger than life itself and of the kind of hero Henry wanted to be.
It's a nice change of pace to see Henry goofing around with Charming.
Also, it's nice to see that despite working with many adults in a professional setting, Jared Gilmore was allowed to act like a child and be himself in between takes.
Dr. Whale completes the picture by looking serious and out of place as Henry and Charming have a grand old time beside him.
16 Roland In Charge
All things considered, Roland is a pretty simple child. Behind-the-scenes, this was not always the case, though, as Raphael Alejandro adorably takes command of almost everyone's attention on set and rambles into a walkie-talkie.
In all seriousness, Roland never got enough focus in the show, so it's nice to see the actor receiving some attention here and thoroughly enjoying himself.
It's even cuter seeing how amused and almost proud the actors playing Roland's parents, Robin Hood and Marian, look.
It's less cute to remember that in the story Marian is actually Zelena in disguise here in her efforts to make Regina's life miserable.
15 The Charming Family's PDA
The Charming family is all about the romance. Normally Henry is onboard with this, often being the one to encourage his mothers Emma and Regina to take the steps towards romance and happiness that they're anxious to take.
Here we can see Ginnifer Goodwin and Josh Dallas getting close and personal behind the scenes. Dallas and Goodwin met while playing Prince Charming and Snow White on Once Upon A Time, but they went on to marry and have kids in real life as well.
The real life Prince Charming and Snow White are as deeply in love as their characters.
14 The Dark One's Makeup
Robert Carlyle wears the "Crocodile" skin of Rumpelstiltskin and plays the character with such ease that it's easy to forget he's not actually the Dark One.
This pictures provides insight into how extensive the makeup process is. Carlyle's attitude and body language also show how committed he is to each and every detail.
He's already immersed himself in the role of Rumpelstiltskin, and the way he approaches getting the intricate makeup done furthers this immersion.
Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis wrote Rumpelstiltskin with Robert Carlyle in mind for good reason.
The setting of the picture is also eye-catching. It's not just the castles that are digitally created later on, but even forests.
13 Cora Uses Her Magic On Regina
Part of what made Cora such a terrifying and formidable character was that she could use her powerful, vindictive magic at any moment.
Her magic doesn't quite have the same effect when we see how Lana Parilla was actually lifted off the ground and hoisted into the air.
Her acting as Regina is what really makes this scene work. It's not just her facial expression that is important, as her body language is crucial-- the way she has her arms strapped to her sides truly communicates the helplessness that ensnares Regina when at the mercy of her mother's magic.
It's this kind of helplessness that would drive Regina to become the ruthless Evil Queen, and make audiences understand and even sympathize with Regina's turn to the darkness.
12 The Ice Cave
Frozen's Elsa has become one of Disney's most popular princesses. When the character debuted on Once Upon A Time, Emma and others didn't know at first if they could trust her, and Elsa didn't know if she could trust them in her search for Anna.
This initial distrust led to Elsa instinctively using her magic to defend herself, which ended up trapping her in an ice cave along with Emma.
It's fascinating to see that there were some physical components built for the ice cave set, while other pieces were digitally inserted and edited later.
11 Season 7 Princess Power
Season 7 introduced an array of wonderful new characters, including the five ladies pictured above. While they were all delightful to watch, lots of tension existed between some of them.
Gothel and Drizella cursed Cinderella, Tiana, Lucy and the rest of the individuals in Hyperion Heights, while Gothel was mercilessly manipulating Drizella the whole time.
Once Upon A Time put their own spin on the contentious step-sister relationship between Cinderella and Drizella.
These intense dynamics onscreen make it amusing to see all of the ladies smiling and taking a group photo like they're one big, happy family.
It's especially funny to see Gothel, Drizella, Cinderalla, and Drizella all comfortably posing together.
10 Gothel, Hook, And Robin
Season 7 kept Hook as a main character of the show without taking away his original happy ending. The original Hook became a father and lived happily with Emma while Wish Realm Hook became one of the show's key players.
In order to escape her tower, the villainous Gothel allured Wish Realm Hook, had a child with him, and used the child to take her place within the enchanted tower.
The child-- Alice-- would grow up to have a romantic relationship with the character Robin.
Meanwhile, quite a bit of conflict ensued between Gothel and Wish Realm Hook.
Seeing the actors who play Wish Realm Hook, Gothel, and Robin together and goofing off seems odd at first given their tension onscreen.
It certainly makes for one of the most amusing behind-the-scenes photos.
9 Green Screen In The Haystack
Once Upon A Time used no shortage of green and blue screens. Majestic castles and other visual wonders can be digitally added in later, but it's interesting to take note of the physical elements that are present when scenes are filmed.
Sometimes it's the simplest and most mundane things that make the biggest difference.
In this scene of a captive Snow White being brought before King George, items like a haystack and wash basin made it onto the set to bring the scene to life.
Filming scenes with mostly green screen with just a haystack or wash basin here or there to ground the scene in some kind of reality must take some getting used to, though it's certainly something that Ginnifer Goodwin and Alan Dale have nailed.
Their shared scenes as Snow White and King George are highlights of the show.
8 Emilie De Ravin Holds Nothing Back
The group of unscrupulous travelers thought that they were pretty clever when they pushed Belle off their wagon after receiving the information that they thought they needed to track down the monster known as the Yaoguai.
Belle gave them false information, which lead them to later track her down, threatening to push her into a well unless she told them the real location of the beast. Things looked bleak for Belle until Mulan arrived to save the day.
This picture shows just how far Emilie de Ravin was willing to go to convince audiences of the perilous situation Belle faced.
It looks incredibly uncomfortable to bend one's body in such a way, but she made it work and her pain and distress really comes off as authentic in the scene.
7 Merlin's Tree
While blue screen is used to create the castle of Camelot in the background, the set around Merlin's Tree contains a lot of rich detail.
There are the stone walls sporting some vines, the wooden gate, and the actual tree itself.
Compared to other behind-the-scenes photos, this one offers more than the average physical set design.
These details add to the realism of the scene. The tree and dirt evoke earthiness, while the stone walls and wooden gate provide a real sense of protection, all of which help to bring the set of Merlin's Tree to life.
This is quite important considering the pivotal role of this set and of Merlin in the Camelot arc in season 5.
6 The Bromance We Never Knew We Wanted
Hook and Baelfire/Neal respected and trusted one another because of their shared history in Neverland. At one point in Neverland, Hook was even like a father figure for Baelfire.
Later in life, they weren't exactly best friends, though, especially since they both loved Emma romantically.
Here, they do look like best friends, posing together as they stare off stoically into the distance.
This picture is made even better by the fact that they are being driven around by Snow White. A scene with Snow White driving close buddies Hook and Baelfire around Storybrooke is something that definitely would've been fun to see.
5 Captain Swan As Parents
Emma and Hook had one of the longest-running romantic relationships of Once Upon A Time, but they were also one of the last couples to have a child of their own.
This picture offers an adorable glimpse at what the show could've been like if they had their own child at an earlier stage in the show.
Roland could easily be the child of Emma and Hook here. Hook sharing his hook with Roland is definitely something that both characters would get a kick out of.
Fans got to enjoy Emma being Henry's mother and Hook becoming a father figure to him, but many fans would have prefered to see more.
Hook and Emma's child Hope was only briefly seen as a baby in the series finale. It would've been nice to see Emma and Hook raising their child together.
Incorporating Elsa and the rest of the Frozen characters-- except for Olaf-- so soon after the Disney movie came with a lot of pressure.
Once Upon A Time needed to use them smartly and not just bank off the recent success of Frozen.
A huge part of this was getting Arendelle just right, not only because of its ties with the movie, but also because it would serve as the location for most of the Frozen characters' flashbacks.
It ended up looking pretty good on Once Upon A Time, which makes it all the stranger to see that the scene where Elsa runs after her sister Anna through the paved streets of Arendelle was mostly created by green screen.
3 Perfecting A Fight Scene
Even without her magic, Emma Swan is not someone you want to face in a fight. She's determined, tough-as-nails, and has more than a few moves up her sleeve. Nothing can stand in her way for long, especially when her loved ones are at risk.
Jennifer Morrison does an excellent job portraying Emma this way, but in reality, she needs to be coached through careful fighting scenes.
The finished product of such scenes are often so fast paced that it's hard to catch all the nuance. This picture offers a glimpse into the details that can be overlooked in constructing a fight scene.
Sometimes to create a thrilling, fast paced fight scene, the scene must first be slowed down in order to perfect every step.
2 Jumping Overboard
Jumping overboard into mermaid-infested waters during a raging storm to save his daughter Emma was already a challenging task for Prince Charming.
The scene wasn't easy for Josh Dallas to film either, as he was tied up with rope and suspended in the air.
Unlike in the show, there's no real water underneath Dallas. There's likely some kind of cushion for a potential fall, but filming a scene like this at such a height must be at least a bit frightening on a certain level.
Hopefully Dallas didn't have any issues with heights.
1 When The Dark Ones Chill
As if becoming the Dark One wasn't difficult enough, Emma also had to endure the spirits of past Dark Ones, including Rumpelstiltskin. He tormented her and tried to push her to embrace the darkness. Emma had to resist his temptations.
In between takes two of Once Upon A Time's most powerful beings were able to relax, taking it easy with beverages and snacks. It's certainly a different dynamic than the one presented onscreen in season 5.
Even when the cameras aren't rolling, Robert Carlyle remains the perfect Rumpelstiltskin, as he still looks hungry to achieve his goals. Here, Carlyle is focused as he takes another look at the script.
What's your favorite behind-the-scenes photo from Once Upon A Time? Let us know in the comments!
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