Fans of Once Upon a Time get a double-dose of magic with new spin-off Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, and in turn, twice the incredible characters and imaginative scripts from the joint writing teams.
While not everyone from OUAT’s writers’ room crossed over to Wonderland, fan favorite Jane Espenson certainly did, already penning an episode of each series this season. When Wetpaint Entertainment caught up with her at New York Comic-Con on October 12, she teased what’s to come for Alice & Co., including her parallels to Bandit Snow, romance with Cyrus, and why the Knave of Hearts is like Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s Spike for her.
Read on for our chat with Jane, then hit the comments with what you want to see in Wonderland.
Wetpaint Entertainment: You’re currently juggling Once Upon a Time, and Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, and CW Seed web series Husbands. How have you balanced the three?
Jane Espenson: It’s been remarkably easy! Brad [Bell] is running Husbands full-time now, and the Once Upon a Time and Once Upon a Time in Wonderland writers’ rooms are right next to each other. I sort of show up and they tell me which room I should be in that day!
Do you think you’ll be more focused on Once or Wonderland moving forward?
Right now it’s been split right down the middle. So far this year I’ve written one solo episode of Once and one solo episode of Wonderland, and I hope that continues — to be equally involved in both shows.
Who excites you most to write for so far?
I’m very excited for the character of the Knave. It reminds me a lot of writing for Spike [on Buffy the Vampire Slayer].
That’s amazing. With the Knave, I feel like his chemistry with Alice started off being more intriguing than hers with Cyrus, but she and the genie have such a sweet romance.
Keep watching, because Cyrus didn’t have as many scenes with her. When you see more scenes with Cyrus, I think you’re going to see sparks there. I kind of love Cyrus. I love them both, but I think you’ll find the relationship with Alice and Cyrus will really get to you.
And for Alice and the Knave, it’s the opposite of what you see from Snow and Charming on Once, working together.
Alice and the Knave have a great solid male-female friendship that I love. I love that choice. I think they’re great together, and we also get to introduce other great characters as we go along. And Jafar, as you know, is our villain, and my episode has a lot of Jafar in it, and he’s really fun.
With Alice, I feel she has a lot of parallels to Bandit Snow.
Oh, that’s interesting…
Do you see that at all?
Now that you mention it, yeah, but I think they’re unique characters. I really think they stand on their own. But in the sense that she is a woman who can take care of herself, absolutely. She is the most kickass Alice I think we’ve ever seen.
Definitely! For Alice and all the characters, will we see any shifts in the tone of Wonderland as the season progresses?
I think the tone you saw in the pilot you’re going to see continue through, but like every new show, it continues to find itself. It refines itself visually, the characters get deeper, you learn more, you invest more. So people should definitely watch — don’t just sit down and watch one, watch a bunch of them. Watch the first five weeks. You’re going to get hooked on it. It keeps getting better and better.
Once Upon a Time in Wonderland airs on Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC. Who is your favorite new character? Sound off below.