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Television is the land of make-believe, where your wildest imagination comes to life. Thanks to Showmax, you can now set foot into your very own fairytale world in fantasy series Once Upon A Time (2011-current; Seasons 1-5 are available on Showmax to stream, download and binge-watch). And it’s filled with every character you know and love, from Snow White and The Evil Queen, to Red Riding Hood, Prince Charming and Rumpelstiltskin.
“This show is as if every fairytale character you know and love is real and they exist in this universe of its own,” laughs lead star Jennifer Morrison. She plays bail bondswoman Emma Swan and jokes that “these things [fairytales] are real and they really go on forever after [in this town called Storybrooke]. The characters have been cursed and part of that curse is that they are living in reality and they don’t know who they are.”
But what would any fairytale be without a knight in shining armour riding in on their horse to save the day? Well, as it turns out, that’s exactly who Emma Swan is. “She is the prophesied saviour of this world called Storybrooke,” says Jennifer, although Emma isn’t wearing armour and her trusty steed is a beat-up old car. We won’t spoil it for you by telling you how Emma fits into the fairytale world, but her co-star Ginnifer Goodwin (who plays Snow White) explains that “Emma is the only truly original character in Once Upon A Time. She doesn’t exist in any of the fairytales and children’s stories you’ve heard.”
Season 1 starts with Emma meeting a boy named Henry (Jared S Gilmore), who, as it turns out, is the son she gave up for adoption. Wanting nothing to do with him – still – Emma takes Henry home. During their drive, he pulls out a magical book and starts explaining his theory to her: that he’s living in a fairytale world, filled with fairytale characters and that Emma is the missing piece of the puzzle that will lift the curse of Storybrooke and everyone will find out who they really are.
In-between all the “regular” fairytale characters, you’ll also spot a couple who’ve been made famous around the world by Disney, who own the studio that produces Once Upon A Time. Here are some of the Disney Princesses and when they’ll make their appearances in your binge-watch schedule…
Belle from 1991 animation Beauty and The Beast (played by Emilie de Ravin)
You can’t have a beast like Rumpelstiltskin (Robert Carlyle) without a beauty, and we meet Belle in Season 1, episode 12. She was forced to be Rumpel’s servant in exchange for him protecting her town, but during her time in his service she learns a thing or two about magic from The Evil Queen (Lana Parilla). This angers Rumpel, whose rage scares her off and she flees, only talking to The Evil Queen because she was searching for love. Watch now »
Ariel from 1989’s The Little Mermaid (played by Joanna Garcia)
A mermaid in the middle of a forest setting? Nothing’s out of question for Once Upon A Time and Ariel saves Snow White from drowning after she leaps off a cliff in Season 3, episode 6. Ariel then asks Snow if she knows a man named Eric (Gil McKinney) because she’s been in love with him since saving him a year before. And since Snow White knows a thing or two about love at first sight, she agrees to help Ariel find her “one true love” during the 12 hours a year that mermaids can walk on land. Watch now »
Rapunzel from 2010 animation Tangled (played by Alexandra Metz)
Like the original fairytale, Rapunzel finds herself locked in a tower in Once Upon A Time Season 3, episode 14. She’s hiding from her destiny as the future queen of the kingdom when she sees Prince Charming (Josh Dallas) and calls to him. But he’s not alone down there – a dark spirit is following him up Rapunzel’s rope hair as he climbs up to her… Watch now »
Elsa from 2013’s Frozen (played by Georgina Haig)
The princess with powers over snow and ice pops up in Season 3, episode 22, searching for clues to her parents’ whereabouts. She ends up trapped in an urn that’s locked in Rumpelstiltskin’s vault and when she breaks free in Season 4, expect a blizzard to turn Storybrooke into a winter wonderland. Watch now »
Merida from 2012 animation Brave (played by Amy Manson)
The bow-slinging redhead arrives in Season 5, episode 1 to rescue Storybrooke’s rescuer. Emma is consumed by darkness in the Enchanted Forest and needs help from the wizard Merlin (Elliot Knight), but first she needs to get to the fabled kingdom of Camelot. Cue Merida protecting Emma on her journey – Robin Hood’s got nothing on this sharp-shooting princess! Watch now »
Other Disney princesses to look out for include Cinderella (Season 1, episode 4) and Aurora, from the 1959 animation Sleeping Beauty (Seasons 2, 3 and 4).
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