[NEWS] ‘Once Upon A Time’ Season 4B Casting Details And Theories: Maleficent, Cruella de Vil, Ursula…and Pinocchio?

4b1It seems like ‘Once Upon A Time’ has not only taken advantage of the dreadful “mid-season hiatus” plaguing most quality shows, but they’ve also taken the opportunity to revamp the show’s structure. In previous seasons, there has been only one villain per storyline. But that’s changing with season 4B with the illustrious introduction of the #queensofdarkness – Maleficent (Kristen Bauer van Straten from ‘True Blood’), Cruella de Vil (Victoria Smurfit from ‘Dracula’), and Ursula (Merrin Dungey from ‘Alias’). As season 4A ended with the Snow Queen’s untimely departure, the very next episode introduced how the #queensofdarkness would fit in within the Storybrook universe. ‘Once’ creators have been slowly releasing more casting info, but it’s so many new faces in 4B that I’ve come up with my own theories:
Maleficent (Kristen Bauer van Straten): It’s been awhile since Oncers have seen the human Maleficent, so I’m sure she’s upset with Regina about being #dragonized. Since Maleficent and the Evil Queen have history, I wouldn’t be surprised if Regina visited her sometime between the ‘Wicked Witch’ and ‘Frozen’ events. I also wouldn’t be surprised if Maleficent somehow turned on Cruella and Ursula and helped her bring back the “wicked” sister she never really cared for. Sebastian Roche’ (‘The Vampire Diaries’, ‘Fringe’) will be portraying Sleeping Beauty’s father King Stefan, which means that there will be an official Aurora return (and hopefully a Mulan one) for 4B as well.
Cruella de Vil (Victoria Smurfit): Although the producers already revealed that Cruella’s magic is somehow “tied to animals”, it’s pretty obvious that her fur lapel/coat is what makes her magical. I’d love to see Rumple rip the coat off her at the penultimate point of betrayal, leaving her helpless to whatever his 4B trajectory leads him to do. Pongo (Jiminy Cricket’s dog and one of the original ‘101 Dalmations’) is apparently in danger when Cruella gets to town – maybe the more fur on her coat means the more powerful she becomes. The show producers haven’t announced any other stars to assist with portraying Cruella’s story, mainly because of the overemphasis on the magical gauntlet that she used Belle as leverage for against Rumple during the 4A finale. Here’s to hoping the actual gauntlet gets used before Rumple goes back to his old ways..again.
Ursula (Merrin Dungey): It’s commendable that the Ursula storyline will feature African-American actresses, as ‘Once’ has been constantly ridiculed for its lack of diversity in their cast and poor writing for minority characters. At the end of 4A, Ursula had a bit of a moment as Rumple discovered her – in human form – working at the legendary New York Aquarium. The great Ernie Hudson (‘Oz’, ‘Ghostbusters’) will be playing her father Poseidon, and there’s already a confirmation that Ariel will also return. Producers have recently revealed that Captain Hook and Ursula have history, which could possibly mean trouble for Henry and Emma. However, I’d like to see Ursula have more interaction with Snow White and Prince Charming as an unexpected twist. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a Neverland tie-in featuring the three of them that would somehow bring back Peter Pan (he’s not really dead).
In addition to the above casting roundups, Pinocchio (Eion Bailey) will return after a two-season departure. He was last seen as he turned into wood for lying (a la the original fairytale), so it’ll be interesting to see how he gets back. Being that he rode around with a typewriter strapped to his motorcycle, it’s certain he’ll also fit in with #theauthor storyline. My hope is that they’ll tie him to Cruella somehow, being that both original fairytales were written around the same time. Watch the clip that introduces the #queensofdarkness below and look out for ‘Once Upon A Time’ to return on Sunday, March 1, 2015.

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