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This article focuses on the character the Apprentice.
For his Wish Realm counterpart, see Wish Apprentice.
For the episode with the same name, see "The Apprentice (episode)".

I am his Apprentice. And you are not the first Dark One I have faced.

—The Apprentice to Zoso src

The Apprentice is a character on ABC's Once Upon a Time. He débuts in the fourth episode of the fourth season and is portrayed by guest star Timothy Webber and co-star Graham Verchere. He is the main reality version of the Wish Apprentice.

The Apprentice is based on the character of the same name from the poem "The Sorcerer's Apprentice", and Mickey Mouse from the Disney film Fantasia, and is an allusion to Wart from the Disney film The Sword in the Stone.


Before First Curse

On the day he becomes Merlin's Apprentice, the sorcerer gifts him a special wand, which was forged from both light and dark magic. ("The Dark Swan")

One day, the Apprentice watches Merlin healing villagers and introduces him to a woman, which he surprisingly knows nothing about since he knows most due to his powers of foresight. ("Nimue")

Later, after the creation of the Dark One, the Apprentice witnesses Merlin tethering the broken piece of Excalibur into a dagger meant to control the Dark One, making it known as the Dark One Dagger. He then also sees Merlin placing the other half of the sword into a rock. ("Nimue")

For eons, Merlin and his Apprentice have chosen a person, whether male or female, to become an Author, whose sole responsibility is to witness and record stories in a book. ("Best Laid Plans")

As part of his duties, the Apprentice protects the Sorcerer's creation, a box capable of transforming into a hat for absorbing and accumulating magic, from each person that takes on the Dark One's powers. As an added measure of security, the Sorcerer curses the box so those who have succumbed to darkness may never open it, and only someone who has been tempted into darkness but has not given into it can do the opposite. As an added measure of security, the Sorcerer curses the box so those who have succumbed to darkness may never open it, and only someone who has been tempted into darkness but has not given into it can do the opposite. The Apprentice stores the box in the basement of his cottage for safekeeping. While sweeping the grounds of the box's location, the latest Dark One, Zoso, arrives in an attempt to open the guarded relic. The Apprentice, after being magically thrown aside by Zoso, watches the Dark One's futile endeavor to access the box's contents only to be blasted away by the artifact's magic. Once he informs the Dark One of why his mission will never succeed, a beaten Zoso teleports away. ("The Apprentice")

During December of 1966, after the last Author has died, the Apprentice poses as an employee from a publishing company in the Land Without Magic, in order to locate the next Author. Isaac, an aspiring writer, receives a letter from this publishing company, and arrives to meet the Apprentice, who places several different pens on a desk and asks him to choose one. When Isaac picks the right quill, he is recognized as the next Author. After briefly explaining the Author's role, the Apprentice magically opens a door to a different world, intending to take Isaac there. ("Operation Mongoose Part 1")

Years later, the next Dark One, Rumplestiltskin, also conspires to possess the Sorcerer's box and utilize the hat within it. By some method, the Apprentice ingests a potion that Rumplestiltskin created, which will transmutate him into a mouse. In a deal with Anna, Rumplestiltskin sends her to put a bottled substance, which she presumes to be poison, into the Apprentice's tea. In actuality, it is an antidote to cure him. During one day, the Apprentice opens his door to Anna and invites her in for tea and biscuits. He even allows her to stay at his home as long as she desires. As he busily sweeps the floor, Anna checks on the boiling kettle. Despite Rumplestiltskin's instructions, she is unable to harm the kindly man and dumps the bottled substance into a fire. After Anna's departure from the cottage, he turns into a mouse. Since discovering the truth, Anna rushes to the Apprentice's house and begs Rumplestiltskin to undo the potion's effects, but the Dark One tricks the girl into nearly succumbing to darkness, though she ultimately turning away from it, which allows him access to the box containing the hat. After Rumplestiltskin gains the box, the Apprentice, in mouse form, jumps onto and bites the Dark One's hand. Startled, Rumplestiltskin drops the dagger, to which Anna seizes it and commands him to give the box to her. She forces him into sending her and the box to Arendelle as well as reverting the Apprentice into a human. ("The Apprentice")

After some time has passed, the Apprentice is approached by the Snow Queen, Ingrid, who wishes to make a deal with the Sorcerer in exchange for returning the hat. He cites that the Sorcerer does not make deals; especially since she has succumbed to darkness. Then, holding her at sword-point, the Apprentice demands the hat. Ingrid won't return it until the deal is fulfilled, so he asks her what she wants. Put simply, she desires happiness. Ingrid reminisces about her happy times with her sisters, which ended because she has magic while they did not. Due to this, she wants sisters who have magic. Having already chosen her niece as one sister, Ingrid asks for another who must be a perfect match. The Apprentice warns such a match is hard to come by, but she insists on waiting as long as necessary.

After much searching, the Apprentice finds Ingrid in Arendelle. The Apprentice confirms a third sister has been located, but she hasn't been born yet. Going by the Sorcerer's word, he advises against giving the hat to Rumplestiltskin or she'll never find her happy ending. Materializing a portal door to another realm, he receives the hat from Ingrid and gives her a scroll, which will locate the third sister in due time. As he opens the door, Ingrid disappears into it. ("Smash the Mirror")

Sometime after this, the Apprentice is visited by Snow White and Prince Charming, who desire a way to rid their unborn child's potential to be evil. Under the Author's influence, the Apprentice advises it can only be done by infusing darkness in another living vessel. Snow White and Prince Charming then steal Maleficent's egg for the Apprentice, who casts a spell to implant darkness in it. As part of the enchantment, he must send the vessel to another world to keep this land safe from it, but Snow White and Prince Charming are horrified at this unexpected price since they promised to return the egg to Maleficent. As a portal opens and the egg hatches into a baby, the two try to save the child before being interrupted by Cruella and Ursula, who berate them for what they've done. In the midst of an argument, Cruella, Ursula and the baby are sucked into the portal. Afterwards, the Apprentice confronts Isaac for forcing him into casting the spell on the child inside the egg. When Isaac casually states it helped to make a better story, the Apprentice deems him corrupt as well as undeserving of his job as Author and banishes him into the storybook's door illustration. ("Best Laid Plans")

After Issac's banishment, the Apprentice goes to speak with the Sorcerer about what transpired, assuring him that while the imprisoned Author can still record stories, he can never change them again. He hopes for a way to undo Isaac's manipulations, but the Sorcerer cannot, as the fates of both children have always been entwined. ("Lily")

During First Curse

The Apprentice travels to the Land Without Magic to meet Maleficent's child, Lily, on a bus. He admits to having been involved in determining her fate and explains that the darkness in her life is caused by something beyond her control. Lily, at first, thinks he is crazy, but she starts to believe him. Before giving her the whole truth, he begins by telling her about her birth mother. ("Lily")

At some point, the Apprentice meets August in Phuket, Thailand and persuades him to learn more about the storybook. ("Operation Mongoose Part 1")

After Second Curse

In Storybrooke, the Apprentice opens his door to be greeted by the Dark One, Mr. Gold. Forced into a seat by Mr. Gold's accomplice, Hook, he watches the Dark One set down the sorcerer's box, opening it with the cursed dagger, which transforms into a hat. Despite being surprised Mr. Gold has the box, the Apprentice warns that every Dark One has tried to possess it, but all eventually fail. With cautious assertion, he declares the unlikelihood of Mr. Gold's plan to amass enough magic in the hat to free himself from the dagger's will and still keep his Dark One powers. Mr. Gold assures him otherwise and then turns the hat's underside to face the Apprentice, who is sucked into it. ("The Apprentice")

As the heroes work to stop Isaac from changing everyone's stories, August directs them into seeking help from the Apprentice, who Mother Superior frees from the hat. Getting right to the problem, the Apprentice explains they must retrap Isaac into the door illustration. While he goes with Emma and Regina to find Isaac at the pawnshop, Henry, his grandparents and Hook search the loft for the illustration. However, Isaac rewrites everyone's happy endings before they can reach him. ("Operation Mongoose Part 1")

Before Third Curse

After Henry becomes the new Author and reverts Isaac's work, the Apprentice counsels him about not misusing the quill's powers. When Henry expresses hopes of using it to revive his deceased father, but the Apprentice advises that not even an Author can bring back the dead. The Apprentice, knowing fully it is possible, chooses to lie in order to keep Henry from going down that path. Though the boy reasons that Hook died and was resurrected, the Apprentice states that Hook's death happened in Heroes and Villains, a work of fiction created by Isaac, a fiction that has been erased, but sadly Baelfire died in the real world, which cannot be undone. He opened Once Upon A Time, stating that the stories within cannot be erased as they're based on truth and says and the best way to honor someone is to record their stories. Realizing the power to alter reality is not something anyone should have, Henry snaps the quill in half, a decision that the Apprentice approved of. Later, the Apprentice is sought after by Belle to help a dying Mr. Gold, whose heart is nearly destroyed by darkness. Taking out Mr. Gold's heart, he absorbs all the darkness within it into the hat. When the darkness escapes, it leeches onto the Apprentice, but Emma uses her light magic to free him. He then tells her about the Sorcerer's history with the darkness that led him to tether it to a human soul, which created the Dark One and the dagger. As the only means to contain the darkness, he advises her to seek out the Sorcerer, Merlin, before closing his eyes, leaving the effects of the darkness unclear. ("Operation Mongoose Part 2", "The Brothers Jones")

Weakened from having his body briefly overtaken by the darkness, the Apprentice lies awake in the pawnshop as Mother Superior dabs his forehead. Hook and his allies burst in, wanting to know where Emma went after becoming the Dark One, to which the man states she is in the Enchanted Forest, the birthplace of all darkness. Hook asks to be taken there, but the Apprentice is too weak for that, and he instead conjures a wand that Merlin gave him on the day he became his Apprentice. He talks about the wand being forged from both light and dark magic, and as such, it must be wielded by someone with light and dark essence, in order to cross realms. After giving this information, the Apprentice takes a final breath and shuts his eyes, as the wand falls from his grasp to the ground. ("The Dark Swan")

After his death, the Apprentice goes to the Underworld, where he possesses a key to Underbrooke's version of the Sorcerer's mansion. This key is later taken away by the sheriff, James, who stores it in a drawer in the sheriff's office. ("The Brothers Jones")

After Third Curse
While Henry is in the Underworld, he learns from Cruella that the quill's purpose was left unfulfilled after he broke it, and that the Apprentice lied about it not being able to resurrect a person. Cruella takes him on a search for the quill, and after Henry spots something in the woods, he investigates further on his own. He finds the Apprentice, who chides him for trying to revive Cruella with the quill's power. Henry insists he won't use the quill for that purpose and actually wants it because he's tired of not being able to help his family. The Apprentice then reveals he can get the quill from the Sorcerer's mansion in Underbrooke, and to gain access in, he'll need to steal a key from the sheriff. He decides to trust his judgment, in the hopes Henry will do the right thing, which is to use the quill for recording stories only. As such, the Apprentice stresses that Henry must choose wisely because clearing away his unfinished business depends on Henry's choice. After giving Henry this message, he disappears from the woods. ("The Brothers Jones")

Magical Abilities

  • Telekinesis - Ability to control the movement of the environment.
  • Teleportation - Ability to magically teleport oneself and/or others from one location to another.


Character Notes

  • According to Rumplestiltskin, he is thousands of years old. However, that is an exaggeration, as the Apprentice has been living for five hundred years at most. ("The Apprentice", "Nimue")

Production Notes

  • His casting call describes him as, "an elderly, grizzled and unflappable knight who for many, many years has dedicated himself to serving a righteous cause".[2]
  • The Apprentice was originally going to be a one-off character, but the show makers were so impressed with Timothy Webber's performance that they decided to give him a bigger role.[3]


Prop Notes


Note: "Archive" denotes archive footage.

See also


  1. File:721ApprenticeVision6.png
  2. Ausiello, Michael (August 5, 2014). Ask Ausiello: Spoilers on Big Bang, Sleepy Hollow, Once, P'hood, NCIS, Reign, Mindy Project and More. TVLine. “Question: Do you have any Once Upon a Time scoop that isn't related to the Frozen storyline? —Katia. Ausiello: I think so…? For Season 4's fourth episode, the ABC series is casting the role of an elderly, grizzled and unflappable knight who for many, many years has dedicated himself to serving a righteous cause. Anyone else getting a Holy Grail vibe from this…?”
  3. Steve Pearlman and David H. Goodman on the Season Seven Blu-ray-exclusive Audio Commentary for "Homecoming"
  4. File:412ApprenticeHouse.png
  5. File:404TheSorcererHimself.png
  6. File:312Promo32.jpg
  7. File:505Promo5.jpg
  8. Once Upon a Time - Merida's Stunt Sword (0377). iCollector. Archived from the original on August 2, 2020. Retrieved on August 2, 2020. “This style of sword also saw use by Prince Charming (S03) and the Apprentice (S04).”
  9. File:416TheEdge.png