The Once Upon a Time characters are the reason fans keep tuning in. The stories have twists and turns, sure, but it’s the characters we love, and love to hate. Most of the Once Upon a Time characters are based on fairy tale or Disney characters. Lately, they’re even based on myths and legends. Regardless of their origin, plenty of them are bad enough to be good.
Let’s take a look at the 10 Once Upon a Time characters we love to hate.
#1 The Evil Queen
When Once Upon a Time premiered, Regina (Lana Parrilla) was the big bad. She had cursed everyone in her kingdom to live out their days in sleepy Storybrooke, with no memory of their former lives. Eventually, her son’s love, and the friendship of Snow White, Charming and Emma, brought her over to the right side, the light side.
Her innate evil tendencies still come in handy. She had a hand in taking down Peter Pan and the Ice Queen, as well as Mr. Gold, several times.
Favorite quote: “Not having someone, well, that’s the worst curse ever.”
Better known as Mr. Gold, or just Gold, Rumplestiltskin (Robert Carlyle) just can’t seem to level up. His attempts at becoming a hero failed. Regardless of his love for Belle, he can’t kick his scheming ways. He was responsible for bringing Cruella, Ursula, and Maleficient to Storybrooke. He was responsible for unleashing the Darkness. And, originally, he was responsible for banishing his own son from their realm. This leopard can’t change his gold spots. Thank goodness, because watching him play evil is delicious.
Favorite quote: “That’s the thing about true love, dearie. It can slip through your fingers.”
Zelena, a.k.a. the Wicked Witch (Rebecca Mader), turned out to be Regina’s long lost sister. Like Regina 1.0, she’s as evil as the Emerald City day is long. Unlike Regina, she has no interest in being a hero. She has way too much fun being evil, which means she’s a lot of fun to watch. In her time, she cursed Storybrooke, disguised herself as Robin Hood’s wife in order to have his baby, betrayed our heroes to King Arthur, and helped Hook as the Dark One.
Favorite quote: “The Queen may be evil, but I’m wicked. And wicked always wins.”
#4 Peter Pan
Peter Pan as a villain? Once Upon a Time turned a beloved tale upside down when it made Peter Pan (Robbie Kay) the bad guy in Season 3. In Neverland, his Lost Boys were a menace. Poor Wendy, John, and Michael Darling were held prisoner. If his creepy shadow got hold of you, you were in big trouble. He even took over Henry so he could travel back to Storybrooke and seek his revenge. (Although , it was a nice vacation from the regular Henry.) One of the biggest revelations of the whole show was that Peter Pan, a.k.a. Malcom, was Gold’s father.
Favorite quote: “It is so much easier to get people to hate something than believe.”
Like other villains on Once Upon a Time, Maleficent (Kristin Bauer van Straten) had a deep backstory. Her story was one of the most interesting ones in the show’s history. It turns out that, in another realm, Snow White and Prince Charming stole her baby, thinking it was only a dragon egg. Gold brings her to Storybrooke, as one of the Queens of Darkness. Maleficent was ready to take her revenge on the couple, but it turns out her daughter is alive and well. Maleficent in dragon form is formidable.
Do you remember? Maleficent first appeared way back in the first season, when Regina was looking to sacrifice the thing she loved most. (Psst, her own father!)
Favorite quote: “You want darkness? I’ll give you darkness.”
Cora (Barbara Hershey), as a young woman, earned magic from Rumplestiltskin himself. As Regina’s mother, she schemed to marry Regina off to a king. She lived vicariously through her daughter, manipulating people and circumstances to get the power she desired. She went as far as to kill the love of her daughter’s life, Daniel. She became a threat to Storybrooke, finally meeting a sticky end at the hand of Snow White. Cora was evil through and through.
Favorite quote: “Love is weakness.”
#7 The Snow Queen
No, not Elsa. A different one. Ingrid (Elizabeth Mitchell) lived under the noses of everyone in Storybrooke, running an ice cream shop. When Elsa was released from her cursed urn, it set off a chain of events that found Ingrid trying to ditch her actual family (Elsa and Anna) for new sisters, in the form of Emma and Regina. Ingrid’s revenge also included freezing everyone in Storybrooke. In the end, she sacrificed herself to save everyone. Ingrid was beautiful, and powerful, and until the end, merciless.
Favorite quote: “Family isn’t about blood. It is a bond far stronger than mere genetics.”
#8 Cruella de Ville
Cruella de Ville (Victoria Smurfit) was another Queen of Darkness summoned to Storybrooke by Gold. When Cruella’s mother realizes that her daughter killed her father and subsequent stepfathers, she locks her in the attic for years. Cruella was kept prisoner. When she finally escaped, she had the misfortune to become entangled with the Author. He wound up writing a story for her that kept her from being able to kill anyone ever again. She died when Emma thought she was defending herself. If only she had known the truth! Cruella, like the other evil Once Upon a Time characters, was one of the wittiest characters in Storybrooke.
Favorite quote: “I suppose that’s better than blaming bad judgement and gin.”
Ursula (Merrin Dungey), the villainess of the sea, is the third Queen of Darkness who comes to Storybrooke at the behest of Gold. She comes looking for revenge on the pirate who stole her voice — Hook. When he can’t give her her voice back, Hook tracks down her father with the help of Ariel. Ursula leaves Storybrooke, happy after reconciling with her father. I hated to see her go. She was one of the most interesting Once Upon a Time characters in a long time, and one of the funniest.
Favorite quote: [To Belle] “Quite a place you’ve got here. Must beat sweeping castles.”
#10 Dr. Whale
Dr. Whale (David Anders) is only a minor villain on Once Upon a Time, but he’s one of the funniest. He has a dry, cutting wit. In another realm he was Dr. Frankenstein. He works to bring his brother back from the dead, only to have his brother beat his father to death. He performs the same trick in Storybrooke for Regina. He reanimates the love of her youth, Daniel. But Daniel, of course, is just as much of a monster as Dr. Whale’s brother was. Although Regina returned him to his own Realm, he popped up again to help deliver Zelena’s baby.
Once Upon a Time Characters I Just Hate
These Once Upon a Time characters aren’t ones I love to hate. I just hate them. They’re annoying, ineffectual placeholders. Some of them are already dead, but that doesn’t mean the glowing embers of my hatred have cooled. They still appear in flashbacks, and they’re still annoying.
This kid is as milquetoast as they come. The only time Henry (Jared Gilmore) has been interesting was when he was possessed by Peter Pan. If he’s not begging one of his mothers to be a hero, he’s whining about… well, everything.
Emilie de Ravin was lovely on Lost, but for the life of me, I can’t figure out how she’s lasted this long on Once Upon a Time. She has zero presence and can’t play time periods for crap. She looks uncomfortable in every scene, and throws away most of her lines. Belle’s goody-goody nature is nauseating, on top of the terrible acting.
Thank Regina he died. Michael Raymond-James wa another actor who didn’t seem comfortable playing a supernatural role. Plus, his raspy voice grated my last nerve.
I hate to say anyone is whipped, but Robin Hood (Sean Maguire) is whipped. And by more than one woman! If it’s not Marian, or Regina, it’s Zelena! There’s little this character can do on his own. His biggest job is stroking Regina’s ego.
Mulan and Princess Aurora
Poor Mulan (Jamie Chung, left). She is Once‘s attempt to bring an LGBT character into the mix. Her love for Aurora was an afterthought, however. Her mediocre fighting skills and bland portrayal make her very forgettable.
When I remember Aurora (Sarah Bolger, right), all I can see are pleading eyes. Pleading and pleading. Her character was thinner than Peter Pan’s shadow.
I was excited to meet Maleficent’s daughter, because I was expecting a badass. But Lily is too sulky to be taken seriously. And she was certainly no match for Emma. Lucky for us, she disappeared pretty quickly.
Here’s another character who was so meek he was boring. Simpering is not attractive. Thank goodness he was wiped away.
What is it with ineffectual men? The Queen’s own father, Henry, was a lap dog. Ugh.
Thanks for reading! Click here to download a free Guide to 75 Binge-Worthy TV Shows for free.