Once Upon a Time was on for seven seasons, and it wasn't perfect for those 156 episodes. However, maybe keeping the very complicated family tree straight meant other errors slipped through the cracks.
You can attribute many of the mistakes from the series to the fact that it had multiple takes. Maybe there wouldn't have been a continuity error if they used the same take to put together a scene. Maybe they didn't pay close enough attention to where a person was standing, wardrobe or props in a scene. Some mistakes could be because they neglected to cover up a sign from the filming location in Canada. In at least one case, a crew member was clearly visible during a scene. A change in wardrobe could have easily kept that from being the case. One error was due to a change in how an episode began. This one was too easy to pick up because the focus of the scene was the clock.
However, most of the mistakes in the series could have and should have been fixed in editing. The episodes should have never aired with those errors. It's too easy for someone to catch them by pausing a Blu-ray or DVD or while streaming on Netflix now. What the series had going for it was the elaborate effects and costumes, and casual fans likely didn't notice the errors. They were too busy focusing on everything else happening in a scene. However, fans who watched closely — or rewatched episodes — could and do pick up mistakes, even ones in the backgrounds of scenes.
With that said, here are the 20 Mistakes In Once Upon A Time Only True Fans Noticed.
20 The Disappearing Cloth
When she was evil, Regina disguised herself as a peasant in the Enchanted Forest in season 2's episode 20. When she was ready to look like herself again, she went to Rumpelstiltskin to remove the spell. She took a cloth off a mirror and threw it to the floor. She saw the peasant girl in the mirror. The cloth was on the floor off to the side.
Then, as Rumpelstiltskin removed the spell, the cloth was gone. There was no explanation for its disappearance.
If it had disappeared after he turned her back to Regina, you could argue that he'd gotten rid of it with his magic. However, it was gone before he started waving his hand.
19 A Crew Member in the Enchanted Forest
Prince Charming and Princess Abigail were traveling by horse-drawn carriage when a fallen tree stopped their journey. Charming realized that the tree had been cut down and placed there so someone could ambush them - and that someone was Snow White.
Charming and his men ran back to the carriage as Snow White rode off on a horse. Charming turned to run to a horse to chase after her. That was when you could see someone wearing a blue baseball cap behind one of the horses. This was clearly a crew member, likely a horse wrangler. This person stood out because this scene in season 1's episode 3 took place in the Enchanted Forest. If they needed this person on set, the best bet would have been to have him or her wearing a helmet like Charming's men.
18 An Unchanged Store Sign
In season 1's episode 4, Emma walked Henry to the school bus and stood outside Storybrooke Coffee Co. Sheriff Graham pulled up in front of her. The sign outside the front of the coffee shop read "Storybrooke." However, the smaller sign on the side of the building did not. It read "Steveston Coffee Co."
It was an obvious mistake because it was clearly visible as Sheriff Graham got out of the squad car. The main problem was that as it was neither he nor Emma who was talking, so the focus was on their surroundings. The series filmed in Steveston in Richmond, BC. Once Upon a Time often changed signs around the filming location for Storybrooke, but there were times, including in this instance, that someone missed a sign.
17 The Length of Dreamy's Beard
In season 1's episode 14, the dwarves hatched. Bossy started trimming Dreamy's beard as the latter asked questions. He wanted to know what he was ("a dwarf") and what he was doing ("being cleaned"). When Dreamy asked about the woman he saw, Bossy stopped his work on his beard.
He stood back as he asked "what woman," but when we saw Dreamy again, his beard was significantly shorter.
This could have only happened if Bossy had continued to trim his beard. He also would have had to be doing so for more time than had passed. Bossy then put the scissors down and continued to clean him up. Dreamy's beard was even shorter after he joined the other dwarves, dressed and ready to receive his axe and name.
16 Changing Glass Contents
When David joined Henry at a table in Granny's in season 2's episode 7, his glass was about half full. He sent Henry to get cocoa instead of coffee and took a small drink from his glass. Albert sat down, congratulating him on becoming sheriff and reminding him he hadn't taken care of him in Storybrooke. Albert then threatened to make sure that the people in the town saw him as someone not fit to look after the town.
David stood as he told him the people in the town knew who both of them were. At this point, there was significantly less in his glass. David picked up his glass and raised it in a toast to Albert as he walked away. The glass looked to be almost half-full, close to what it was at when David first joined Henry.
15 Disappearing Weapons
Mary Margaret and Emma fought Cora near a portal back to Storybrooke in season 2's episode 9. Both had weapons. Mary Margaret had a bow and quiver full of arrows and Emma was holding a sword. They both charged at Cora, weapons ready for a fight. Then Cora disappeared. Mary Margaret yelled at Emma to run for the portal and the next shot showed the two women doing just that.
Neither was armed as they did, though. Somehow, in a very short period of time, both women managed to throw aside their weapons and start running. They could have tossed the sword and bow to the side. However, Mary Margaret wouldn't have had time to take off her quiver.
14 "Motion Picture Use Only" on Bills
August ran into Tamara in Hong Kong in season 2's episode 18. They both sought out The Dragon in 2011. He joined her at a bar, and she talked him into joining her for a drink. She took out an envelope full of cash, and across the back of one read "Motion Picture Use Only."
Obviously, the bills used on the show were props. However, they should have edited out or avoided such a clear shot.
She paused long enough while flipping through the bills you got a glimpse of it without pausing the scene. The close-up wasn't necessary for the plot, as the same sentiment could have been conveyed just by showing the envelope of cash.
13 The Storybrooke Daily Mirror's Text and Placement
When Emma first came to Storybrooke, no one knew anything about her. The article on the front page of the Storybrooke Daily Mirror described her as a stranger. It detailed the destruction of the "Welcome to Storybrooke" sign. However, if you looked closely, you'd see that the text of the two-column article repeated itself. There were only about six paragraphs of information. The explanation is simple: no one expected anyone to freeze-frame the newspaper to check. They just needed two columns of text to fill the page.
This isn't the only mistake found regarding the newspaper in season 1's episode 2, however. Emma was holding the paper and put it down when Ruby brought her a drink. However, Emma was again holding the paper in the next shot as she looked down at the mug.
12 Double Take to the Railing
Smee confronted Captain Hook about Baelfire being on the ship in season 2's episode 22. After Hook yelled at him that he was the captain and gave the orders, he walked off.
Just as Hook was yelling this to the crew, Baelfire made a move to attack him. Smee yelled out "Captain," ran to the railing, and put his hands down on it. However, in the next (wider) shot, Smee reached the railing and put his hands down on it again. The problem here was that his hands had already touched the railing and he'd stopped running in the shot before he did so again. He was leaning on the railing with one hand gripping the front of it in the next shot.
11 The Strap of Aurora's Dress
When Neal woke up in the Enchanted Forest, Aurora, Mulan, and Prince Phillip were there. Aurora brought him a glass of water, and the strap on her dress was up over her shoulder. The strap was also visible as Neal realized where he was, and the others learned he was from there. When Mulan mentioned that his clothes meant that he was from the same world as Emma, he realized that they knew her. As he sat up and declared that he needed to get back to Emma, Phillip commented on his wound.
In this scene, Aurora's dress looked like it was strapless or like the strap on her right shoulder had slipped far enough down her arm to be out of the frame.
As she realized that he was Henry's father, the strap suddenly appeared again between shots.
10 Photoshopping Impossibility
Hook found Emma in New York and tried to wake her after a curse in season 3's episode 12. He sent her to Neal's place, where she found his camera with Henry's name on the strap. Emma had film developed and looked at the photos straight from the drug store. She then confronted Hook about the images, telling him she and Henry never lived in Storybrooke. They never did any of what was in the photos.
He thought that this meant she believed him, but she argued that he could have photoshopped the pictures. Not only did he not know what that meant, but it was also clear that she'd had them developed. He couldn't have photoshopped them unless he'd given her the printed photos.
9 An Addition to Snow White's Wanted Poster
In the season 3 finale, Snow White walked into Prince Charming's trap in the Enchanted Forest. She decided that the nickname of Charming suited him and demanded that he cut her down. Instead, he took out a poster for her, which claimed that she was wanted "for crimes against the Queen." It listed the charges and featured a drawing of her. He knew that she was Snow White,, though her name wasn't written on the poster.
However, after a quick shot of Snow in the trap, the poster had changed. Her name was written under her photo and above the charges. There would have been no reason for Charming to have two Wanted posters for Snow White. He also wouldn't have had time to pull out another poster in the time between shots.
8 The Perfectly Placed Breadsticks Basket
Emma and Hook went on a date in season 4's episode 4. He waved over a waiter, who began walking over with a basket of breadsticks. Meanwhile, Will sat at the bar and watched them. He tried to walk by behind the waiter, but he bumped into someone else and the waiter.
The waiter had been holding the basket as he was falling forward into Emma and Hook's table.
He either should have still been holding the basket or it should have fallen to the floor. Instead, as the waiter stumbled, the basket was suddenly placed perfectly on the far side of the table. He had no time to put it down, however, as he tried to steady himself.
7 The Color on a Sign Changed
Will thought that he had to break into the Storybrooke Free Public Library in season 4's episode 8. As he knelt down to pick the lock, the sign with the library's hours was on it was blue. It stayed this color as the two of them stood outside on the sidewalk.
Robin Hood just stood by as Will went on about the lock and got to work. He then looked at the sign and pushed open the door. As he pointed out to Will, the library was still open. Will closed the door behind them as they walked inside. Suddenly, the color of the sign changed from blue to black. Since the camera focused on the sign to show off the hours, someone should have caught the change.
6 The Disappearing Earring
The town of Storybrooke prepared for the Spell of Shattered Sight in season 4's episode 10. Hook went to the sheriff's station to see Emma one last time before chaining himself up for everyone's protection. When he first showed up, he had his signature earring in his right ear.
However, when she gave him a goodbye kiss, the earring was suddenly gone. There was no in-story explanation for it, and it was absent throughout their kiss and most of their goodbye. When he backed away and began walking away, the earring was back, without an explanation. Someone should have caught this since not only does the earring stand out, but the scene also focused on Hook and Emma's faces.
5 The Blood on Mary Margaret's Forehead
Mary Margaret and David helped Maleficent look for her daughter in season 4's episode 21. At the time, Lily was going around Storybrooke as a dragon. When they found her, Maleficent ran to her and Mary Margaret followed. Lily was out of control and swatted Mary Margaret to the side and into a rock with her tail.
Mary Margaret hit her head on the rock and lay unconscious with blood smeared across her forehead.
David tried to get to her, only for Lily to blow fire between them. The next shot of Mary Margaret showed her still unconscious and still with blood on her forehead. However, the blood was much cleaner and almost in a perfect line, as if someone had cleaned her up a bit.
4 Sleeve Lengths and Mother Superiors
Zelena disguised herself as Mother Superior in season 5's episode 16. Her sleeves were rolled down as she approached Belle. Then the real Mother Superior joined the two of them, with her sleeves rolled up her arm a bit.
However, as the real Mother Superior asked the imposter who she was, their sleeves had changed. The real one's sleeves were rolled down, while the fake's were rolled up. As Belle realized that the imposter was Zelena, Zelena's sleeves were again rolled down. Then the real Mother Superior's sleeves were rolled down when she confronted Zelena with her wand. The explanation was simple: with the same actor playing both roles, there was a continuity mistake with wardrobe.
3 Time Travel?
As Emma and Hook walked down the street, the clock read 8:45 on the tower in season 5's episode 22. She wanted to go into Granny's without him to break the news to Regina carefully that he was back. Regina had just lost Robin and couldn't get him back.
As she went into the diner to do so, Mr. Gold was in the clock tower. The clock read 8:30 as he sought to gain more power by absorbing magic. This was actually explained in the audio commentary on the Blu-ray set for season 5. The episode was originally supposed to begin with Mr. Gold in the clock tower, so the times would have made sense.
2 The Changing Storybook
Henry sat at the counter in Granny's reading the storybook when David and Hook joined him in season 6's episode 2. When they first approached him, the storybook was open to a full-page picture on the left side. However, as he expressed his frustrations to them, the page on the left side was half-picture, half-text.
As he explained that sequels were "more involved" than the original stories, the page changed. It returned to the full-page picture.
It was once again the half-picture, half-text page as Henry continued to explain his thought process to David and Hook. During the first curse, everyone had been ripped away from their stories. This time, the people were running from their stories.
1 Who Did Regina Help Up?
Hook was about to lose his life in Once Upon a Time season 6's episode 17 in Neverland when a portal opened. However, Emma came through it to save him. She helped him get free, and the two of them ran back through the portal to Storybrooke. They fell to the floor once home, with Hook landing on top of Emma as they did.
Regina and Henry helped them up. Henry had been helping his mother up while Regina was helping Hook, but in the next shot, both he and Regina were behind Emma. There wasn't enough time for Regina to move positions or switch to helping Emma up while Hook was still getting his feet under him.
Did you notice any other mistakes in Once Upon a Time? Let us know in the comments!