Once Upon a Time distinguished itself early on in the series by introducing an ensemble cast inspired by some of the most popular and beloved fairy tales and fantasy literature of all time. But although the show has introduced plenty of interesting characters, it has also forgotten about many of them to the detriment of the storyline and, in some cases, the series itself.
It became clearer in the third season that the show is primarily focused on the ‘core cast’ of Snow White, Prince Charming, Emma Swann, Henry, Regina and (who else?)
Rumpelstiltskin. While other characters have been introduced, some with storylines tied into the lives of these ‘core’ characters, they have not always been well represented in the show.
Let’s take a look at some of the characters that Once Upon a Time has introduced and then dropped despite their seeming importance in the storyline.
Cinderella was introduced early on in the series, which seemed to cement that she—like Snow White, another very popular fairy tale—could at least be one of the supporting players for the show. She was introduced via flashback, where it was revealed that she struck a bargain with Rumpelstiltskin that resulted in him wanting her first born child for reasons that he would not reveal. To protect her child, she tricked Rumpelstiltskin—which is how he ended up in his underground cell—but he somehow caused her own Prince to disappear.
In Storybrooke, Cinderella was Ashley.
She was a pregnant young woman who struggled to make ends meet because of a deal she had with Mr. Gold that would result in her giving her child up for adoption. Emma stepped in and made a bargain with Gold to do him a favor; Ashley was able to keep her child and made amends with the Storybrooke version of her own Prince.
But the show never touched on the Cinderella storyline again, leaving fans with many questions.
What deal did she strike with Mr. Gold in Storybrooke? Why did Rumpelstiltskin want her baby? And what happened to Cinderella’s Prince? Ashley appeared a few episodes later as a struggling new mother in Storybrooke, who seemed fairly close with Mary Margaret and Ruby—but she has yet to appear again.It seems that Cinderella, like her Prince, may have been left at the metaphorical ball where many Once Upon a Time characters and storylines seem to be trapped.
Astrid, the fairy who fell in love with Grumpy and was developing feelings for his counterpart in Storybrooke, is another character who has disappeared. Despite regaining her memories, she was not shown to even try to contact Grumpy or confront the Blue Fairy over her actions. She didn’t even appear at the memorial for the Blue Fairy, despite being one of the few fairies to get a name and a backstory in the show. Unfortunately, it seems a little too late to reintroduce Astrid—but the writers should surely give her disappearance an explanation.