Press Tour: ‘Once Upon A Time in Wonderland’ to be ‘trippy, weird’

While Comic-Con fans got a longer look at “Once Upon A Time in Wonderland,” more details about the show were revealed at press tour. A panel including Emma Rigby (The Red Queen), Naveen Andrews (Jafar), Michael Socha (Knave of Hearts), Sophie Lowe (Alice) and executive producers Edward Kitsis, Adam Horowitz and Zack Estrin tried to explain the complex world of the new series — and how it may function with the mothership of “Once Upon A Time.”

After Horowitz explained  that the first season of the show will be self-contained with a beginning a middle and an end, Kitsis got to the important work of explaining how the show will work with “Once.” “Cora [Barbara Hershey’s character] is the Queen of Hearts, and the Red Queen is from the Looking Glass, so we’re stealing from both,” Kitsis said. “We’re hoping to have Barbara Hersey in flashbacks… We saw a bit of Wonderland in the Mad Hatter story [on ‘Once’], and we really loved Wonderland. We didn’t show Alice, so this has its own mythology that’s not dependent on the mothership.”

Still, Horowitz pointed out that the spin-off exists “concurrently with the ‘Once’ mothership, so we can hit the ground running.”

Lowe spent some of the panel talking about how excited she is about her new job, admitting she’d never done green screen before. “I just take it all in and enjoy every bit of it.” 

Socha, on the other hand, made a point of saying he’s doing his best to forget his role as a werewolf on “Being Human.” “The less I think about that character for this the better.”

“Until he turns into a werewolf,” joked Kitsis. “That’s episode five.”

Andrews, who discussed he looked forward to “an opportunity to do something completely different,” said that his Jafar won’t be what we’re used to seeing. “In the popular imagination I know he exists as… an incarnation of evil. We wanted to present the audience they’ve never seen before. There had to be ambiguity. Everyone had a childhood, yeah?”

Kitsis confirmed that in this ‘trippy, weird and intense’ Wonderland we’ll be seeing the Cheshire Cat in the pilot, and that Alice’s troubled relationship with her father will be part of the “darker past” we’ll be seeing for her character. “She was an ignored girl growing up,” explaining that her quest to win his love was a drive for the character.  “We like writing strong females. We didn’t want her to be a damsel in distress.”

While Mad Hatter Sebastian Stan is largely unavailable due to other commitments, Kirsis admitted he would move “heaven and earth to have him back on either show,” and that they would not be recasting the role. “We’re just keeping that seat empty.”

The good news is that there are plenty of other characters for Alice to play with. John Lithgow is the voice of the White Rabbit, while Roger Daltry will be “the hookah-smoking caterpillar,” said Kitsis. “We’re longtime Who fans.”