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You have something that belongs to me. My staff. Where is it?
Jafar to Will Scarlet src

Magic Staves are magical items featured on ABC's Once Upon a Time and Once Upon a Time in Wonderland. They first appear in the second episode of the first season of Once Upon a Time.

The most prominent magic staves are based on Maleficent's staff from Disney's Sleeping Beauty and Jafar's snake staff from the Disney film Aladdin.

History

Before First Curse

As Jafar learns to use magic under the tutelage of his mentor and lover, Amara, he betrays her by turning her into a serpent staff. The staff allows Jafar access to her magical abilities, which will also enable him to cast the Spell of the Three Genies, a spell which will turn him into the most powerful sorcerer ever but requires a second sorcerer. ("The Serpent")

Later on, Jafar becomes the "vizier" of the capital province of Agrabah by using his magic to enthrall the Sultan of said province. When three thieves are caught, he has the guards bring them to the middle of a highly populated area and with a wave of his staff, he turns them into rats as punishment. The Sultan's daughter, Jasmine, grows concerned for her father, but when she tries to take him to a safer location, she is intercepted by Jafar, who uses his staff to trap the princess in an hourglass as it fills up with sand. She is saved when Aladdin, embracing his role as savior, rides a magic carpet to the royal castle, where he overpowers Jafar by snapping Jafar's serpent staff in half, which also lifts Jafar's spell on the Sultan. ("Street Rats")

Much later, Aladdin is sought out for help by Emir, who is then killed when Jafar blasts him with a repaired serpent staff, reducing him to a pile of dust. ("The Savior")

In the Enchanted Forest, Maleficent accosts Ursula for trespassing in her home and defends herself against the woman's lunging tentacles by blocking with her staff. Ursula states she was invited to the castle, but Maleficent denies sending for her. As the pair bicker, they stop upon hearing the approaching sound of loud barking dogs. Maleficent readies her staff, creating an orb of magic, as the hounds halt at the two women's feet. The dogs' master, Cruella De Vil, then walks in and removes her power of persuasion from her pets. Moments later, Rumplestiltskin arrives and reveals he sent invitations to Ursula and Cruella so he could propose something to them as well as Maleficent. In the castle lounge room, he suggests they help him retrieve a curse from Bald Mountain so each of them can have the happy endings that they would otherwise not get as villains. The women agree, and as the group traverse into the mountain, they face three great obstacles. Cruella uses her persuasion to remove the first hindrance, and once they reach a room with the curse surrounded by flames, Maleficent channels the fire into her staff. Lastly, Ursula grabs the curse orb with her tentacles, which triggers the awakening of the Chernabog. Admitting he used them to obtain the curse, Rumplestiltskin offers advice on the Chernabog, who eats the heart of the person with the greatest potential for evil. After he flees out of the exit, the women formulate a plan to allow the demon to pick one of them to attack while the other two will climb to safety and save the remaining person. The Chernabog chooses Maleficent, who counters with rapid magic blasts from her staff. Believing the women have abandoned her to die, Maleficent stops firing as the Chernabog closes in on her just as Ursula's tentacles pull her up and out of danger. ("Darkness on the Edge of Town")

At some point after this, Maleficent forms an alliance with Cruella and Ursula as they seek to obtain a magic gauntlet in Rumplestiltskin's possession. Kidnapping his maid Belle as ransom, they force him to show up at Demon's Bluff with the gauntlet. Once Rumplestiltskin arrives, Maleficent coldly asks for the requested item, to which he levitates her into the air while magically choking her. When he asks for her last words, the witch gleefully chokes out that she is not alone. Soon, Ursula and then Cruella make themselves known as each of them pressure him to give up the gauntlet. Ursula proceeds to crush Belle with her tentacles until he angrily forfeits the gauntlet to the trio, and with the terms now satisfied, Maleficent teleports herself and her allies away. ("Heroes and Villains")

Sometime after visiting Aladdin, Jafar returns to the capital of Agrabah's palace to boast about the former savior's now broken state and demand Jasmine's hand in marriage. He gives her until sundown to accept, or he'll destroy Agrabah forever. Jasmine grudgingly agrees to marry him to save Agrabah and gives him her dowry, the ring known as the Crown Jewel of Agrabah. However, Jafar admits he never intended to marry her or destroy Agrabah and instead he wanted the ring to break the protection it holds over Agrabah. He proceeds to use his serpent staff to entrap Agrabah inside the ring. ("a Wondrous Place")

Leaving the past behind, Maleficent settles for peace in her castle with a pet unicorn. The Queen, having previously traded the curse for a sleeping curse, wants it back. With the curse orb secured atop her staff's head, Maleficent refuses to return it, so the Queen battles her for it. During the dispute, the Queen prepares to attack the unicorn as a means to make Maleficent drop her guard. Once she has bound up her opponent, the Queen grasps the staff handle, smashing the orb to pieces, before collecting the curse scroll hidden among the broken shards. ("The Thing You Love Most")

After giving birth to an egg, Maleficent transforms into dragon form and guards her child in a cave. When Snow White and Prince Charming steal the egg, she reverts to human form and begs them to be merciful. Instead, Snow White vows to return the egg after everything is settled. As the pair run out of the cave, Maleficent uses her staff to blast them, but after they flee through the exit, the magic hits the wall, causing a cave-in. ("Best Laid Plans")

When the Evil Queen eventually casts the Dark Curse, her mother, Cora, brings Hook to a deserted island, where she hits a wooden staff into the ground. A magical shield springs up from the staff and forms around a segment of the land as protection from the curse, allowing the people within the barrier, including Cora and Hook, to not be taken away by the curse. ("Queen of Hearts")

After First Curse

Despite sending a bandersnatch after Alice to lure her into using her second wish, Jafar suspects the beast's death was not from magic. He and the Red Queen pay a visit to Grendel's home in the Whispering Woods, where the bandersnatch died. They question Grendel about who killed the bandersnatch, and when they promise to restore his deceased wife to him, Grendel confesses a young woman accompanied by a man named Knave killed the beast. Having obtained the necessary information from Grendel, Jafar then murders him with his staff. ("Forget Me Not")

On the hunt to discover what is Alice's weakness, Jafar has Tweedledee kidnap and bring the White Rabbit to him for interrogation. He exhibits a willingness to help clear the White Rabbit's debts to the Red Queen in exchange for any and all details about Alice. Nervously, the White Rabbit lists off countless facts about Alice, except they are all things Jafar already has knowledge of. He snaps at him to stop stalling and wants to know exactly who else in Wonderland matters the most to Alice that she might wish for their survival, but the White Rabbit begins backing out of the conversation. Impatiently, Jafar uses his staff to slice off the White Rabbit's right foot. ("Heart of Stone")

After Alice and Cyrus have obtained a box containing Will's heart and returned to Wonderland with it, Jafar corners them and uses the serpent staff to send them flying backward; allowing him to steal the box. Jafar attempts to kill Cyrus with the staff's power, but Amara recognizes Cyrus as her son and instead deflects the magic to hit the sorcerer instead. The fallen staff is then picked up by Cyrus, and though Jafar tries to magically repossess it, Amara resists him, leaving the villain no choice but to flee. Afterwards, Cyrus confusedly examines the serpent staff and tests his magic compass on it. Amazingly, the compass, which he and Alice have been using to locate Cyrus' mother, continually points at the staff. Cyrus realizes the weapon is indeed his mother, and they set out to free her. ("Heart of the Matter")

Will, desperate to break the laws of magic so his lover can be resurrected, steals the staff for Jafar. Eventually, he is convinced otherwise by Alice. Continuing on with the journey, the trio is ambushed by Jafar's ally, the Jabberwocky, who admits she cares little for the sorcerer and only wishes for her own freedom. Alice desires help to revive Knave's true love, Anastasia, but the Jabberwocky doesn't have that kind of power. Rather, the Jabberwocky states she can help them, gesturing at the staff, whose serpent eyes begin giving a bright glow. In some way, Amara regains her human form and confronts Jafar in the castle. ("To Catch a Thief")

After Second Curse
Intent on stealing the door illustration from the heroes, which has the Author inside, Maleficent casts a spell with her staff, which puts everyone to sleep, so she, Cruella, Mr. Gold and Regina can search the apartment. After finding nothing there, they eventually procure the door page from Henry, who is forced by Regina to forfeit it. However, with one glance, Mr. Gold assesses that the illustration is a forgery, making him suspect Regina is secretly working for the heroes. Mr. Gold commands Maleficent to put her to sleep, and as Regina begins protesting, Maleficent puts her out with one wave from her staff. ("Best Laid Plans")

After Third Curse
After Emma, a Savior like Aladdin, experiences uncontrollable hand tremors and sees visions of the future, she seeks out the Oracle for help. The Oracle summons a bird staff to her hand and uses its magic to show Emma the entirety of the vision, in which Emma battles a cloaked figure and is stabbed in the chest. ("The Savior")

Known Staves

Trivia

On-Screen Notes

Appearances

Note: "Archive" denotes archive footage.

References

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