5 Crossovers That Need to Happen on Once Upon a Time

Once Upon a Time, in case you haven’t heard, is an ABC show currently in its third season. The best way to describe it is “Enchanted for grownups.” Or “the ultimate Disney crossover fanfiction.” Or “that show where Snow White and Prince Charming’s daughter got knocked up by Rumpelstiltskin’s son and their kid got adopted by Snow White’s evil stepmother who was almost the lovechild of Rumpelstiltskin and the Miller’s Daughter and that’s just the beginning.”

Or “LOST, with Disney characters.” Image via Wikipedia.

Although Once‘s original pitch was classic fairy tale characters living in the modern world, it quickly became obvious that “classic fairy tale” = “anything either in the public domain or owned by Disney.” So far the world of the Enchanted Forest has intersected with Wonderland, Frankenstein, the Knights of the Round Table, Robin Hood, Neverland, and most recently, Oz. Which is AWESOME. Go big or go home, right? Once Upon a Time is almost sure to get a fourth season. Here are a few yet-untapped veins in the Disney properties and public domain gold mines.

5. SHERLOCK HOLMES

There’s always a mystery afoot in Storybrook. Who better than Sherlock Holmes, the world’s greatest public domain detective, to show up and solve one? Sadly, it’s unlikely that CBS or the BBC would loan Miller or Cumberbatch to a rival network. Just as well, though, since pulling Holmes and Watson out of 19th century London seems more in keeping with Once’s style. Most likely scenario: Sherlock must solve a paternity case, and he discovers that he himself is the Blue Fairy’s son, Aladdin’s brother, and Captain Hook’s father.

4. DRACULA

Srsrly tho, WHY have there not been vampires in Storybrook yet? Half of Regina’s Evil Queen costumes look like they were designed for a vampire (hmmm, maybe Carmilla would be better?). There could be this whole storyline about Dracula only being able to drink blood from someone if they have a heart, and Regina has to use her magic heart-stealing powers to save the whole town from being vampired, and Dracula is Jiminy Cricket’s son, Grumpy the Dwarf’s brother, and Mulan’s father.

3. NARNIA

The property rights situation on this one is complicated, but Disney distributed the Narnia movies, so I’m throwing it in here anyway. We’ve already seen several characters travel to and from Storybrook via wardrobe. Agrabah, a major location in the underrated Wonderland spinoff, could easily be part of the Calormen Empire. Come on, writers; I want a twisted, tangled backstory about the War of the Drobes in the land of Spare Oom. A story in which Mister Tumnus is revealed to be Red Riding Hood’s son, Ariel’s brother, and Mushu’s father.

2. MARVEL

Specifically, a Once Upon a Time/Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. two-part crossover episode. The big reveal would solve Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.‘s major ongoing mystery regarding Skye’s parentage thusly: Aurora is currently pregnant with Skye, and Mulan is the father.

1. THE FRIGGIN’ MUPPETS

Miss Piggy: “Mirror on moi’s dressing room wall, who’s the biggest diva of them all?”

Muppet mirror: “O Queen of Hams, if camp could kill, we’d all be slain by Regina Mills.”

Miss Piggy drags the Muppet crew to Storybrook to investigate. A battle royale between her and Regina ends in an accidental curse that turns everyone in Storybrook into Muppets. They spend the whole episode trying to put things back to normal. Chaos and random musical numbers ensue. All is put to right at the end, but not before it is discovered that Miss Piggy is Cora’s other long-lost daughter, Kermit the Frog is Princess Tiana’s brother, and Gonzo is Rumpelstiltskin’s grandfather.

Nicola Tesla, Vampire: NBC’s Dracula

What if Nicola Tesla were a vampire, and the corporate overlords who suppressed his inventions for their own profits were part of an ancient Draconian order of vampire hunters?

I get the impression that was the original premise of NBC’s Dracula, and the network ended up using Bram Stoker’s public domain characters instead for the sake of mainstream familiarity. Here is Jonathon Rhys Meyers as Dracula:

Image via Zap2It

And here is a colorized photo of Tesla:

Napoleon Sarony [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
The story here is that Dracula, having been resurrected from his Romanian crypt, has come to London posing as an American inventor/entrepreneur named Alexander Grayson. Though the American part is a facade, the inventor part isn’t. Drac has a steampunk machine in his basement that conducts wireless geomagnetic energy and looks a lot like a Tesla coil. Rumor has it that he was chased out of the States by Thomas Edison. In England, he’s immediately branded a threat by the elite of the burgeoning oil industry. Who also happen to be the leaders of the Order of the Dragon, inquisition-like vampire hunters who executed Dracula’s family centuries ago.

All the familiar figures from Stoker’s novel are here in name. Jonathan Harker is a journalist as in the book. He’s courting Mina Murray (played by Huntress from Arrow), a promising young medical student, but they’re not engaged yet and he introduces her as a “friend”. The idiot won’t propose because he thinks she can do better. Be that as it may, Mina wants to do him.  Her brassy BFF Lucy Westenra (played by Morgana from Merlin with an ill-advised blonde dye job) thinks Jonathan is boring and that Mina needs someone more exciting. Enter Dracula, to whom Mina was apparently married in a past life. Rounding out the gang is Van Helsing, Mina’s med school professor and Dracula’s handler.

Jonathan Harker, Mina Murray, and Lucy Westenra. Image via Period Drama

This incarnation of Dracula is suitably creepy, dangerous, and bloodthirsty, but overall I’d describe him as an antihero. The real villains are the Order of the Dragon. They’re the people a modern audience loves to hate. Politicians. Corporate fatcats. Oil barons. Anti-science traditionalists who fear, hate, and destroy anything that deviates from what they deem acceptable, even as they participate in those deviations in the shadows. Dracula is the grey hat to the Order’s black hat.

Overall, I put this miniseries in the Guilty Pleasure category. It is a thick slice of red velvet cheesecake served on “vintage” Victorian china from Anthropologie. Don’t watch if you’re wanting more Sleepy Hollow. Watch if you want pretty people in pretty neo-Victorian costumes, suave throat-slitters/blood-drinkers, almost-couples who are too brainy for their own damn good, and steampunk. I hope to enjoy every decadent slice of this cheesecake as much as the first.

Want to read Bram Stoker’s original novel on your computer, smartphone, tablet, or e-reader? Click here. For bonus Victorian vampire guilty pleasures, check out Sheridan Le Fanu’s novella, Carmilla, which predates Dracula by over 20 years and stars a lady vampire in an interesting relationship with her female prey.