Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Interview: Once Upon a Time Creators Respond to Show's Disneyfication


Once Upon a Time creators Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis were at Wondercon and chatted with the audience about their hopes for the future of the show. Spinoff Online has an article about the panal. (Full Article). 

They responded to the accusations that the show is "light and fluffy":
"Although Once Upon a Time may be filled with fairy tales, magic and true love’s kisses, the one thing the television drama is not, creators Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis told Spinoff Online, is light and fluffy.
“I constantly read people that are like, ‘It’s so light, like Disney!’ [The Evil Queen] ripped her father’s heart out to enact a curse, and [Belle] cut her fianc√©. How much darker can you get? Throw in cancer?” Kitsis said over the weekend at WonderCon in Anaheim, California."
On their relationship with Disney:
The show has also incorporated multiple nods to ABC’s parent company Disney, from Belle (Emilie de Ravin) sporting the same name and dresses as the heroine in the animated Beauty and the Beast to Mickey Mouse’s hat from “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” short in Fantasia appearing in the background of a recent episode.

However, the drama’s dark tone has led to some tensions with Disney, most notably when one of Snow White’s dwarves was stabbed in a courtyard.
“Obviously at first when they heard there was eight dwarves and we killed one, they wanted to talk to us about that!” Kitsis laughed.
“We had a discussion,” Horowitz said.
Despite that, the creators said working with Disney has gone smoothly, and they have the company’s full support to mess with or incorporate parts of their mythology wherever they see fit.
“They’ve been great, they’ve been very supportive,” Kitsis said. “Even in the pilot, I think it was the first time they showed Snow White giving birth or wielding a sword on TV — this was the beloved franchise of Disney and they said, ‘OK, go have fun!’ We’ve had Disney references from the beginning, even in the pilot when Emma wishes on the blue star, because we can and because they’re fun and we’re fans of Disney.”
That balancing act between the show’s darkness and the lighter Disney moments is one of the main challenges of writing Once Upon a Time, the two admitted.
“It’s tricky, but it’s what’s fun to us about the show, which is to tell different kinds of stories but have them fall under the umbrella of one tone,” Horowitz said.
It sounds like the process is rather schizophrenic. Adam and Edward want to create a dark, edgy fairy tale and Disney wants the light and fluffy. And it is light and fluffy, did you watch the Dreamy episode, Adam and Ed? Pink jellyfish dress. While the creators think they can have that tonal discrepancy, I think that is what is putting a lot of audience members off.

What do you think? Does it work? Or does it tonally clash?


  1. I know Mike and John took up this discussion on FB, but what they consider "dark" moments totally gets lost in the fluff of this cotton candy show. It's a lot of the design that's making this go total fluff, but also a lot of backing out on really great characters. I do not give two Shites for Emma, she hasn't shown me anything but her scowl, but I loved Belle and Red and Rumple - give me more of them!

    They're too meandering with this story. I think you had it right a couple of posts ago that they're losing the trees for the forest - they think they're being really clever dropping little plots and bits throughout, but we're almost to the finale of Season 1 and I feel liker we're still not past the whole arching plot being "Evil Queen is EEEEVILLLL."


  2. So true! Red, Rumple, Belle, and yes I love Snow. I honestly like Snow/Charming in fairy tale world. They are being bothersome in real world. It seems we'll get more evil queen think and I am seriously hoping she gets more complex. The behind the scenes photos of The Stable Boy episode look like she's an ingenue with an evil witch mother, so mayhap she will get more interesting?

    And whatever happened to Jimmany Cricket? He had a great episode and then disappeared