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Everyone wants a magical solution for their problem, and everyone refuses to believe in magic.

—Jefferson to Emma src

Jefferson, also known as the Mad Hatter or simply the Hatter, is a character on ABC's Once Upon a Time. He débuts in the seventeenth episode of the first season and is portrayed by guest star Sebastian Stan.

Jefferson is based on the Hatter from the novel, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, the Mad Hatter from the animated Disney film Alice in Wonderland, and Tarrant Hightopp from the live-action Disney film Alice in Wonderland.


Before First Curse

Employed as a thief, Jefferson steals treasures for a living. At some point, he works with a man named William to pull off heists. As his greatest asset, Jefferson has a portal hat, which he uses to jump between worlds. ("Out of the Past")

At some point, possibly around the same time as he obtains or makes his original hat, Jefferson obtains or makes at least one other version of his portal jumping hat. ("The Final Battle Part 1")

At Rumplestiltskin's behest, he goes searching for a crystal ball and a pair of slippers. Only finding the crystal ball, Jefferson returns to the Dark One's castle to deliver it, although he wasn't able to acquire the slippers. Prior, he also promised to assist Rumplestiltskin in a scheme to force one of his magic pupils, Regina, to move on from her past. Since she wishes to resurrect her dead lover, Daniel, and stubbornly refuses to give up, Jefferson mentions knowing a wizard from another world who can revive the dead. In return for bringing this man to her, he asks for a royal pass to travel throughout the kingdom without restrictions, which she consents to. After the wizard, Victor, is brought to the Enchanted Forest, he examines Daniel's corpse, which is in suitable condition for the resurrection, and then hand-picks a heart from a vault. As Jefferson and Regina wait outside a tent, Victor attempts the procedure on Daniel and fakes a failed revival. While this leaves Regina heartbroken and left with no choice but to let go of her deceased lover, Rumplestiltskin gives Victor a heart as payment for his services, to which Jefferson then transports the doctor home through the hat. ("The Doctor")

Later, Jefferson arrives to Camelot to steal the king's treasures, only to find another thief, Priscilla, is already there and after the same prize as him. To elude the real guards, Priscilla takes him with her out a window, before they both escape into the portal hat. After having many thieving adventures together, the pair fall in love, marry and have a daughter, Grace. Two years later, their finances dwindle, but when Jefferson learns from William that the March Hare has the Clock of Evermore, he plans to steal and sell it to provide for his family. However, he is captured by the March Hare, who rewinds time with the clock and forces him to stay for a never ending tea party. With the White Rabbit's help, Priscilla crosses worlds to rescue him, but Jefferson insists on retrieving his hat from the March Hare's house. After reclaiming the hat, he and his wife run from guards, in which Priscilla is fatally injured by an arrow. With her last breaths, she persuades him to go home without her so Grace won't be orphaned. Honoring her wish, Jefferson cradles her body a final time before going into his hat. Regretful that his line of work caused Priscilla's death, he retires the portal hat, opting to live poorly as long as he can be with his daughter. ("Out of the Past")

Making a meager living as a mushroom seller, he and his daughter are playing hide-and-seek in the woods when they spot the Queen's carriage outside their house. Jefferson instructs Grace to wait outside, and he goes into the house where the Queen, Regina, asks for his help retrieving something from another land. Temptingly, she promises him riches so he can lavish his precious daughter. Jefferson refuses her request, which she seemingly accepts with no argument. During a market trip, Grace wants a rabbit doll, though he cannot afford it. He tries bargaining with the vendor, an old woman, but she turns him away. Despite that, Grace is not upset, but Jefferson begins to worry that he cannot give his daughter a happy life. Unseen to them, the old woman is Regina in disguise. Returning home, Jefferson gives Grace an improvised toy rabbit he made for her, and the two enjoy a make-believe tea party. Wishing to give her a better childhood, he decides to take up on the Queen's offer. Jefferson informs Grace of this, which she pleads against, but he promises to be back in time for tea. After sending his daughter off to the neighbors, he and Regina jump into the hat and arrive in a room of portals to other lands. Jefferson warns that if two people enter Wonderland, then only the same amount of people can exit out. In Wonderland, Regina burns a route through a hedge maze and reaches a vault where she snatches a box. After outrunning the Queen of Hearts' guardsmen, Regina reveals the item in the box is her father, and she intends to return home with him. Thus, Jefferson is entrapped by her while the pair leave for the Enchanted Forest. The guards catch up, and then haul Jefferson to the Queen of Hearts, who beheads him, yet he remains alive. Panicked, he admits what happened with Regina and his hat, so the Queen of Hearts orders him to make another one. Following numerous failed attempts to do so, Jefferson manically works on a new hat while the room is already filled with thousands of them. ("Hat Trick")

During First Curse

After the curse is cast, Jefferson retains his memories from his old life while also gaining memories of a false life in the town of Storybrooke. In obtaining this new identity as a result of the curse, Jefferson gains a large house, something never obtainable in his prior life, but he is left without his daughter, who is now the child of neighbors and she has no memory of her actual father. He attempts to map escape routes out of Storybrooke, but can never leave town. Due to the curse, Jefferson and the other residents do not age because time is frozen. Following twenty-eight years, the savior of the curse, Emma, arrives to town, and Jefferson becomes aware that she has magic. Wishing to return home to the Enchanted Forest and be with his daughter, he keeps a close eye on Emma; watching her through a telescope while she on duty at the sheriff station. One night, Jefferson captures a runaway Mary Margaret in the woods and kidnaps her to his house. Then, he feigns a limp when Emma, out searching for Mary Margaret, nearly hits him with her car. Believing he is seriously wounded, she drives him home as an apology. Once at his house, Jefferson invites her in for tea and plants a sedative. Once she passes out, he gags and ties her up. Later, he finds Emma, after freeing herself, is attempting to untie Mary Margaret. After forcing her to rebind her friend in place, Jefferson demands that Emma use magic to fashion a hat so he can return to the Enchanted Forest. Emma believes he is delusional, but expresses sympathy when he mentions how the curse separated him from his daughter, Paige, who has no memory of him. However, once his back is turned, she knocks him out and rushes to free Mary Margaret. Awakening moments later, Jefferson blocks the two women from escaping. He aims a gun at them, but Emma forces the weapon out of his reach. While fighting, Mary Margaret kicks him out a window, to which he mysteriously disappears. ("Hat Trick")

Later, Jefferson strikes a deal with Regina to get rid of Emma by retrieving something from the Enchanted Forest in exchange for erasing memories of his past life, and creating new lives for himself and his daughter. After Regina provides him with his old portal-jumping hat, he requests magic in order to open a vortex. She sacrifices a ring, but it only has enough power to open a tear into the past Enchanted Forest. Thus, Regina retrieves a poisoned apple, which she bakes into an apple turnover and gives to Emma as a parting gift. Though her hopes are set on the savior consuming it, Henry falls victim to the apple's cursed power. ("An Apple Red as Blood")

With his end of the bargain fulfilled, Jefferson confronts Regina as she is visiting a comatose Henry at hospital. He desires his reward for helping her, but she coldly refuses to honor their agreement as the deal became void since Emma didn't eat the poisoned apple. Furious at being "screwed over" by Regina a second time, Jefferson threatens that their business is not finished, but she doesn't take his warning seriously. Realizing there is still one other way to ruin Regina, he breaks into the hospital's psychiatric ward, drugging nurse with spiked tea, and frees Belle from her imprisonment. While she is puzzled by his help, Jefferson simply instructs her to seek out Mr. Gold and tell him that Regina was the one who locked her away. ("A Land Without Magic")

After First Curse

After the breaking of the curse, Mr. Gold marks Regina for death with a medallion and sends a creature to kill her. Due to Henry's concern for Regina, Emma decides to protect her from harm. Since the creature cannot be killed, Regina suggests sending and trapping it in another realm, and she brings out the magic hat for this purpose. Surprised, Emma recognizes it as Jefferson's hat, though Regina feigns ignorance. ("Broken")

In the aftermath, the creature disappears into a portal made by the hat, though Emma and Mary Margaret are sucked in as well. Desperate to regain his wife and daughter, David seeks out the owner of the hat by bargaining with Mr. Gold for a locator potion. Infused with potion substance, the hat takes a life of its own and leads David straight to Jefferson, who is stuck inside an overturned car. Once freed, Jefferson is questioned about how to find Emma and Mary Margaret, but he laughs at David's assumption that the Enchanted Forest is destroyed and gone. Refusing to assist him with the rescue mission, Jefferson then escapes. ("We Are Both")

Seeking solace at the dock, Jefferson is approached by Henry. Assuming the boy wants the same thing as David, he once again refuses to help. Instead, Henry presses him about why he hasn't spoken to his daughter, Paige, yet since the curse has been broken. Distraught over the possibility of bringing himself into her life again, Jefferson admits he feels guilty for having left to go to Wonderland and then being unable to return to her, but Henry persuades him that it's now or never. After school dismissal as the students are let out for the day, Jefferson notices Paige walking in the opposite direction on the street. He calls her by the name he has always known her as, Grace, to which she turns around, ecstatic to see her father, and runs into his waiting arms. After an emotional embrace between the two, they walk off together. ("Lady of the Lake")




  • Solid lines denote blood parent-child relationships
  • Dashed lines denote marriage relationships that result in offspring
  • denotes the deceased



Character Notes

Production Notes

Fairytales and Folklore

  • The Alice's Adventures in Wonderland novel does not specifically mention what kind of hat the Hatter wears. In Chapter XI, the King of Hearts orders the Hatter to take off his hat, and when the Hatter states that the hat isn't his, the King of Hearts concludes that it must be stolen, prompting the Hatter to explain that he keeps his hats to sell and has no hats of his own. The character's signature top hat comes from John Tenniel's illustrations from the first edition of the novel, in which the Hatter wears a large top hat. ("Hat Trick" et al.)

Props Notes

Set Dressing


Other Notes


Note: "Archive" denotes archive footage.

See also


  1. Once Upon a Time - Episode 1.17 - Hat Trick - Casting Call. SpoilerTV (January 13, 2012). “[JEFFERSON] Late 20s to Mid 30s, a rakishly handsome, former criminal who in Fairy Tale Land has given up his life of crime and dedicated himself to his daughter, while in Storybrooke he is a dangerous and mysterious figure who knows about the curse and attempts to convince Emma that it is real. Guest star. Any ethnicity.”
  2. First The Official ABC Once Upon a Time Podcast. ABC (2012). (At 09:21)
    Rought, Karen (September 11, 2012). ‘Once Upon a Time’ launches official podcast, creators talk seasons 1 and 2. Hypable. “In addition, they discuss some of their inspirations for the show, pulling examples from music and fashion in particular. The Hatter, for instance, was based off of Mick Jagger from the '60s. They wanted an Edwardian feel to the character, but also just loved the Rolling Stones.”
  3. Ng, Philana (February 22, 2013). ABC Eyeing Potential 'Once Upon a Time' Spinoff, Recasting Mad Hatter. The Hollywood Reporter. “Sebastian Stan, who has played the Mad Hatter since 2012, will not be reprising his role later this season when the character returns, and the network has begun looking for a replacement. ABC and the producers hoped that Stan could have continued, but he was unavailable for long-term work.”
  4. Jeffery, Morgan (March 4, 2013). 'Once Upon a Time' exec: 'No plans to recast The Mad Hatter'. Digital Spy. “Once Upon a Time co-creator Edward Kitsis has denied that the show will recast The Mad Hatter. A spinoff show featuring the character is reportedly in the works, but original actor Sebastian Stan (Captain America: The First Avenger) was said to be unable to commit to a full series. However, speaking at PaleyFest 2013, Kitsis insisted: "We have no plans to recast anyone."”
  5. File:202NoOneHeardMe.png
  6. 6.0 6.1 Dove, Steve (October 10, 2012). Storybrooke Secrets: We Are Both. ABC. Archived from the original on April 15, 2016. “Speaking of Jefferson, When Charming finds him in a wrecked pickup truck, there is a toy "Deluxe Tea Set" on the ground, recalling his prior tea parties with the March Hare and the imaginary tea parties his daughter Grace used to throw with her stuffed animals. When Jefferson comes out of the truck, he's clutching a stuffed bunny—White Rabbit or March Hare—like the one he made for Grace back in Fairy Tale Land.”
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 File:104ShoeOff.png ("A Mad Tea Party" is over the left bedpost, while "Alice in Wonderland" is on the right hand side of Henry's cuckoo clock)
  8. File:310BedTime.png (at the top, over the bedpost)
  9. File:117SneakingDownTheHallway.png
  10. File:202Help!.png
  11. File:W101TeaParty3.png
  12. File:W113IDontKnow.png
  13. File:708BeLostToo.png
  14. File:USGraceLetter.png
  15. File:117MadHatterStorybook.png
  16. File:202AliceInWonderland.png
  17. File:218MadHatter.png