ABC’s surprising hit Once Upon a Time gets curiouser and curiouser with each passing day. The latest update delivers word of new fairytale characters—namely Mulan and Sleeping Beauty—and while we’re all fairly well-versed in both characters’ stories (thank you, Disney), Once Upon a Time also serves up their real world counterparts. ABC was kind enough to reveal the fairy tale versions of these new characters to EW, but we’re left to wonder about who they might be on the Storybrooke side of the divide.
Mulan (Jamie Chung of Sucker Punch) is the first new character of legend. Disney first pulled the character from an ancient Chinese poem, so this marks the first OUAT story that stems from outside the typical fairytale canon. Mulan, like the Disney cartoon version, is a skilled warrior trained in weaponry and tracking. She’s very spiritual and her good opinion is not an easy thing to obtain, but her friendship, once attained, is strong. So where could she fit in the real world, with Henry and Mary Margaret?
Her real world counterpart could be a young twentysomething who left home when she realized her parents’ idea of her future did not match her own. Much like Mulan, this Storybrooke resident’s parents may have expected her to get married and start a family, but she has different ambitions. As such, she lives alone in the isolated town, a place which would be just a stop along the path to her dreams, but of course, like everyone else, she can’t leave the cursed little hamlet. And backstory aside, perhaps some of her weaponry skills will permeate the barrier between fairytale and real worlds and she can prove useful in Emma’s battle against the Evil Queen/Regina that is surely brewing after Season 1's explosive finale.
Also being added to the season two lineup is Sleeping Beauty (Sarah Bolger of The Tudors). Her character doesn’t quite pack as much punch as Chung’s warrior, but there is great potential with the iconic damsel in lethargic distress. Once Upon a Time’s Princess Aurora (whom all of her subjects adore-ah) is described as a spoiled girl born into privilege. And since all Once Upon a Time characters have fatal flaws, Aurora’s got one a few of her fellow TV princesses can understand: she’ll “sacrifice everything for love.”
While the word “spoiled” may send some fans running for the wooded hills, we should keep in mind that Once Upon a Time is known for elevating its classically “helpless” princesses and heroines to independent, self-sufficient women. Snow White is a warrior with a bleeding heart. Red Riding Hood isn’t the victim of the wolf – she is the wolf. And even the Evil Queen isn’t simply vain and needlessly vicious. She’s colored by sadness and her plan, while devious, is more guile and wise manipulation than jealous anger. As such, we can surmise (and hope) that Aurora will be tinged with immaturity, but her stalwart heart will be in the right place. Plus, since Maleficent (the beguiling and pitch-perfect Kristin Bauer van Straten) was such a large part of the season finale, it wouldn't be much of a stretch to see the villainess step in and play her famed role in Aurora's temporary demise.
The real world counterpart to the fairytale Sleeping Beauty could be a teen girl not yet versed in the harsh realities of adult life. She may even be a tad annoying and admittedly boy crazy, but at her core, her mission will always be true love. Perhaps Emma or Mary Margaret will have to help her find her gooey center? (And it if we're lucky, it might even help Mary Margaret realize her equally gooey heart still beats for David.)
Granted, Once Upon a Time is known to pull a Rumpelstiltskin from time to time and surprise us all with an unimaginable twist, so there’s no telling who or what these girls will actually be when the season starts Oct. 23. However, Hollywood.com will be on the scene next week at the series’ San Diego Comic Con panel, where we can bet a secret or two from the next season will be spilled. (That's your cue to stay tuned.)
Who do you think Mulan and Sleeping Beauty will be in the real world?
Follow Kelsea on Twitter @KelseaStahler.
[Image: David Edwards, Daily Celeb]
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Once Upon a Time
The first and most important thing you should know about Paramount Pictures’ Thor is that it’s not a laughably corny comic book adaptation. Though you might find it hokey to hear a bunch of muscled heroes talk like British royalty while walking around the American Southwest in LARP garb director Kenneth Branagh has condensed vast Marvel mythology to make an accessible straightforward fantasy epic. Like most films of its ilk I’ve got some issues with its internal logic aesthetic and dialogue but the flaws didn’t keep me from having fun with this extra dimensional adventure.
Taking notes from fellow Avenger Iron Man the story begins with an enthralling event that takes place in a remote desert but quickly jumps back in time to tell the prologue which introduces the audience to the shining kingdom of Asgard and its various champions. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) son of Odin is heir to the throne but is an arrogant overeager and ill-tempered rogue whose aggressive antics threaten a shaky truce between his people and the frost giants of Jotunheim one of the universe’s many realms. Odin (played with aristocratic boldness by Anthony Hopkins) enraged by his son’s blatant disregard of his orders to forgo an assault on their enemies after they attempt to reclaim a powerful artifact banishes the boy to a life among the mortals of Earth leaving Asgard defenseless against the treachery of Loki his mischievous “other son” who’s always felt inferior to Thor. Powerless and confused the disgraced Prince finds unlikely allies in a trio of scientists (Natalie Portman Stellan Skarsgard and Kat Dennings) who help him reclaim his former glory and defend our world from total destruction.
Individually the make-up visual effects CGI production design and art direction are all wondrous to behold but when fused together to create larger-than-life set pieces and action sequences the collaborative result is often unharmonious. I’m not knocking the 3D presentation; unlike 2010’s genre counterpart Clash of the Titans the filmmakers had plenty of time to perfect the third dimension and there are only a few moments that make the decision to convert look like it was a bad one. It’s the unavoidable overload of visual trickery that’s to blame for the frost giants’ icy weaponized constructs and other hybrids of the production looking noticeably artificial. Though there’s some imagery to nitpick the same can’t be said of Thor’s thunderous sound design which is amped with enough wattage to power The Avengers’ headquarters for a century.
Chock full of nods to the comics the screenplay is both a strength and weakness for the film. The story is well sequenced giving the audience enough time between action scenes to grasp the characters motivations and the plot but there are tangential narrative threads that disrupt the focus of the film. Chief amongst them is the frost giants’ fore mentioned relic which is given lots of attention in the first act but has little effect on the outcome. In addition I felt that S.H.I.E.L.D. was nearly irrelevant this time around; other than introducing Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye the secret security faction just gets in the way of the movie’s momentum.
While most of the comedy crashes and burns there are a few laughs to be found in the film. Most come from star Hemsworth’s charismatic portrayal of the God of Thunder. He plays up the stranger-in-a-strange-land aspect of the story with his cavalier but charming attitude and by breaking all rules of diner etiquette in a particularly funny scene with the scientists whose respective roles as love interest (Portman) friendly father figure (Skarsgaard) and POV character (Dennings) are ripped right out of a screenwriters handbook.
Though he handles the humorous moments without a problem Hemsworth struggles with some of the more dramatic scenes in the movie; the result of over-acting and too much time spent on the Australian soap opera Home and Away. Luckily he’s surrounded by a stellar supporting cast that fills the void. Most impressive is Tom Hiddleston who gives a truly humanistic performance as the jealous Loki. His arc steeped in Shakespearean tragedy (like Thor’s) drums up genuine sympathy that one rarely has for a comic book movie villain.
My grievances with the technical aspects of the production aside Branagh has succeeded in further exploring the Marvel Universe with a film that works both as a standalone superhero flick and as the next chapter in the story of The Avengers. Thor is very much a comic book film and doesn’t hide from the reputation that its predecessors have given the sub-genre or the tropes that define it. Balanced pretty evenly between “serious” and “silly ” its scope is large enough to please fans well versed in the source material but its tone is light enough to make it a mainstream hit.