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Once Upon A Time, there was an enchanted forest filled with all the classic characters we know. Or think we know.
One day they found themselves trapped in a place where all their happy endings were stolen. Our World.
This is how it happened...

"Pilot" is the first episode of Season One of ABC's Once Upon a Time. It was written by Edward Kitsis & Adam Horowitz and directed by Mark Mylod. It is the first episode of the series overall, and premiered on October 23, 2011.


And they lived happily ever after...or so everyone was led to believe. Emma Swan knows how to take care of herself. She's a 28-year-old bail bondsperson who's been on her own ever since she was abandoned as a baby. But when Henry—the son she gave up years ago—finds her, everything changes. Henry is now 10 years old and in desperate need of Emma's help. He believes that Emma actually comes from an alternate world and is Snow White and Prince Charming's missing daughter. According to his book of fairytales, they sent her away to protect her from the Evil Queen's curse, which trapped the characters of fairytale world forever, frozen in time, and brought them into our modern world.

Not believing a word of Henry's story, Emma brings him back to Storybrooke, but finds herself drawn to this unusual boy and his strange New England town. Concerned for him, she decides to stay for a while, but soon comes to suspect that Storybrooke is more than it seems. It's a place where magic has been forgotten, but is still powerfully close...where fairytale characters are alive, even though they don't remember who they once were, and where the Evil Queen, known as Regina, is now Henry's foster mother. The epic battle for the future of all worlds is beginning, and for good to win, Emma will have to accept her destiny and fight like hell.[1]


This section is a detailed recap of this episode. There are major spoilers. Click to expand.

In the Enchanted Forest, Prince Charming races his horse along a road and into a forest. As it begins to snow, he meets with the Seven Dwarves. They tell him that he is too late as he looks to the sleeping woman that they have placed in a glass casket. He tells them to open it, but is reminded she is gone. When the Prince asks for the chance to say goodbye to his love, they open the casket and he kisses her. A wave of energy sweeps outward and the woman awakens. The Prince promises that he will always find her and kisses her.

Snow White and the Prince marry in front of their kingdoms as everyone applauds. The Evil Queen comes in and casts aside the guards who try to stop her. Snow White grabs Prince Charming's sword, telling her that she is no longer Queen. Prince Charming reminds her that she has already lost and that he will not let her ruin their happy wedding. The Queen informs them both she has a gift for them and she makes a vow of her own. Soon everything that everyone in their world loves will be ripped away from them, and her victory will arise from their suffering. She promises to destroy their happiness if it is the last thing she does. Before she makes her final exit Prince Charming throws his sword at her but she dissolves into a cloud black and purple smoke and disappears.

In the "real" world, Henry Mills is reading a fairy tale book as he rides the bus to Boston. When he arrives, he hails a cab and pays for it with a credit card.

A man named Ryan sits down at a table with a blond woman and they begin to talk. They are both on a blind date, happy to find the other person is who they say they are. Emma tells Ryan it is her birthday and she has no family to spend it with, so decided to go out with him that night. She then tells Ryan that she knows he embezzled money from his employer and abandoned his wife and children. He realizes that she is a bail bondsman and makes a mad dash for it, but discovers that she has booted his car. When Emma suggests that Ryan should give what money he has to his family, he asks her what she knows about family. Emma knocks him out and says "nothing." She then goes home and lights a cupcake for her birthday. The doorbell rings and Emma finds Henry at her doorstep. She has no idea who he is, but Henry knows her by name. He introduces himself and says that he is her son.

Henry enters the apartment and explains that he is the baby she gave up for adoption ten years ago. Emma asks him to give her a minute and retreats to the bathroom. When she calms down and comes out, Henry asks her to come home with him. When she threatens to call the police, Henry says that he will claim that she kidnapped him. Emma says that she can tell when people are lying and starts to make the call, but Henry says that he needs her to come with him to Storybrooke, Maine. Emma reluctantly agrees.

In the Enchanted Forest, a pregnant Snow White contemplates the Queen's threat. Prince Charming tells her that they were only words. Snow White reminds him that she poisoned her, all because she thought Snow White was prettier than her. Prince Charming asks what he can do to reassure her, Snow White asks to talk to the prisoner who can see the future. The Prince hesitates, but Snow White insists that he can assure that their child will be safe. The Prince reluctantly agrees.

As they drive to Maine, Henry asks to stop for food but Emma refuses, saying they are not on a road trip. He starts reading from his storybook of fairy tales and insists that they are all true. When Emma says they are not, Henry dares her to tell if he is telling the truth. Emma does but points out that just because someone believes something does not make it real. Henry says that is what makes things real, and that he has problems that she's going to fix for him.

The jailer takes Snow White and Prince Charming to see Rumplestiltskin, warning her not to reveal her name. When they arrive at the cell, Rumplestiltskin knows immediately who they are, and the cloaks are pointless. He says that he can reassure them but it will cost them something in return.

Prince Charming refuses, but Snow White insists and asks what he wants. Rumplestiltskin asks for the name of their child and Snow White agrees, and he tells them that they will all soon be imprisoned when time stops, imprisoned somewhere horrible where everything they love will be ripped from them.

When Snow White asks what can stop it, Rumplestiltskin says that her child is their only hope and they should get her to safety. On the child's 28th birthday, she will find them and the final battle will begin. Snow White and Prince Charming walk away and Rumplestiltskin demands the name of the child, saying that it is a girl. Prince Charming insists that it is a boy, but Rumplestiltskin says that Snow White knows the truth. She turns and tells Rumplestiltskin that the child's name is Emma.

Emma and Henry arrive at Storybrooke. He refuses to give her an address and Emma pulls over. She notices that the town clock is frozen and Henry explains that the Evil Queen sent everyone there and trapped them, frozen in time. When Emma asks why they don't leave, Henry warns that bad things happen when they try. A man, Archie Hopper, comes over, and Henry greets him.

He tells Emma that Henry is the mayor's son and gives Emma the address. When Henry claims he was on a field trip, Archie tells him not to lie because it means giving in to the dark side. As Archie leaves, Henry explains that Archie is actually Jiminy Cricket, but he does not know it and that none of the townspeople remember who they really are. They have all been frozen in time, and nothing ever changes.

Prince Charming meets with the council and insists that they need to fight. Jiminy Cricket warns that fighting means giving into one's dark side. Snow White says that there is nothing they can do because the future is ordained, but Prince Charming says that if Rumplestiltskin says the truth, then their child will be their savior.

The Blue Fairy arrives with a squad of soldiers bearing a mystic tree and says that the wood can be used to ward off any curse. She asks Geppetto if he can make the enchantment they need. He agrees, but the Blue Fairy warns that the tree can only protect one.

Henry asks Emma not to take him back to the mayor, explaining that his adopted mother is evil and only pretends to love him. The mayor, Regina Mills (the Evil Queen), runs out and embraces him, but he insists that he has found his real mother and runs inside. Sheriff Graham is with her and goes inside to check on Henry, Regina invites Emma in for a glass of apple cider. She explains that she didn't know who Henry's parents were and that the records of the parents were sealed.

Emma assures Regina that she has nothing to worry about, and that the father does not even know that Henry exists. The mayor explains that she is strict with Henry but she wants him to excel in life. When Emma comments on Henry's claims about fairy tales, Regina says that she has no idea what she is talking about. She invites Emma to leave and the bail bondsman goes out to her car.

As she turns back, she sees Henry in his bedroom window, watching her. As Emma drives out of town, she realizes that Henry left his book on the car seat. She looks up and sees a wolf on the road ahead of her. She swerves to avoid it and hits the town marker, knocking Emma unconscious. The book opens to the pages of Geppetto at work.

Geppetto and his son Pinocchio are hard at work carving the enchanted tree into a magic wardrobe. In her chambers, Snow White insists that she cannot leave Prince Charming, but he insists that she has to be safe from the curse. As they embrace, Snow White realizes that the baby is coming. On the battlements, the dwarves stand guard and see a vast evil cloud approaching. Grumpy sounds the alarm as the curse approaches.

Emma wakes up and finds herself in a cell. Leroy is locked up in the cell next to her, and the handyman, Marco, tells him not to give Emma grief. Marco comments that he does not have any children. Sheriff Graham releases Leroy and suggests that Emma was drunk on the mayor's cider.

Regina arrives and is surprised to see Emma in the jail cell, and tells Graham that Henry has run away again. Emma offers to help and they take her to Henry's bedroom. She checks the computer and confirms that he made a credit card payment to a birth-mother tracking site using a credit card belonging to Mary Margaret Blanchard, his teacher. Mary Margaret is just dismissing her class when Regina and Emma arrive.

The teacher insists that she knew nothing about Henry's actions and claims that he stole her credit card. Angry, Regina realizes that Mary Margaret gave Henry the fairy tale book, and the teacher defends herself, saying that he is a special child. The mayor storms off and Emma talks to Mary Margaret, who says that Henry needed the book so that he could have hope of a happy ending. Emma realizes that the teacher knows where Henry is, and Mary Margaret suggests that she check Henry's castle.

As Snow White is in labor, Prince Charming assures her that the wardrobe is almost finished. Geppetto enters and says that it is finished, but Doc the dwarf warns that they cannot move Snow White because it is too close to the baby's delivery.

In the forest, the Evil Queen and her retinue of black knights ride toward the castle.

Snow White gives birth to her daughter and remembers that the wardrobe will only work for one person. The Prince realizes that their plan has failed and hears the invading force attacking the castle. Snow White tells him to take the baby to the wardrobe and hopes that Emma will come back for them. She says goodbye to her daughter, and the Prince takes her and a sword with him. He fights his way past two of the black knights but is wounded in the process. Finally, he gets to the wardrobe and places Emma inside. As he seals the door, more knights arrive and wound him severely. They open the wardrobe doors, but discover that the baby is gone. Badly wounded, the Prince sees that his daughter escaped to safety.

Emma tracks Henry to a playground castle structure and returns his book to him. He admits that he hoped that when he brought Emma there, things would change and the final battle would begin. Henry figures that she is pushing him away because she feels guilty, and that he knows Emma gave him away to give him his best chance.

Emma insists that she is a real person and no savior, but admits that she wanted him to have his best chance. Henry asks her to stay for one week to prove that he is not crazy, saying that his life sucks with Regina. Emma tells him that his life is nothing compared to hers, and her parents abandoned her on a freeway and her foster family sent her back when she was 3. Henry insists that she went through the wardrobe and appeared on the freeway, and her real parents tried to save her from the curse, but Emma does not believe him.

Snow White finds Prince Charming and pleads with him to come back to her. She kisses him but he does not move. The Evil Queen enters and says that in a few minutes, Snow White will remember nothing and that it is her personal happy ending.

The Queen's knights tell her that the baby is gone and Snow White smiles, saying that the Evil Queen will lose and good will always win. The Evil Queen laughs as the roof shatters as a vast vortex sucks everything up, and says that they are going to somewhere absolutely horrible, where the only happy ending will be hers.

In Storybrooke, Emma brings Henry back to Regina and he runs inside. The mayor thanks her and notes that Henry seems to like Emma. Emma admits that when she blew out the candle on her birthday cupcake, she made a wish that she would not be alone on her birthday.

Regina says that Emma should not try to come back into Henry's life, because she has raised the boy and he is her son now. She says that Emma has no legal right to Henry because she insisted on a closed adoption, and tells her to leave town or she will destroy her.

As Regina turns to go, Emma asks if she loves Henry. Regina says that she does and closes the door, and then goes to see Henry in his room. She takes his fairy tale book with her and goes to a mirror, studying it intently.

Mary Margaret is serving at the hospital as a volunteer, and goes to see a male patient, a John Doe. She places flowers at his bed side and leaves the man to slumber in his enclosed room of glass.

Henry looks out his window toward the town clock.

Emma goes to a bed and breakfast run by Granny. She is complaining to her granddaughter, but is surprised when Emma wants to take a room. Granny eagerly agrees to give her a room. As Emma gives her name for the register, Mr. Gold comes in and comments on her lovely name. He takes a money vial from Granny and wishes Emma a lovely stay, and then leaves. Granny and her granddaughter explain that Mr. Gold owns the entire town, and then Granny gives Emma her key.

As Henry watches the clock, the hands move for the first time; meaning that Emma's arrival has started to weaken the curse.

Deleted Scenes

These scenes are included on Once Upon a Time: The Complete First Season.

"Meet Rumplestiltskin" (Scene 1)

This was the original opening scene of the episode.[3]

A guard enters the mines with a tray of food. In the distance, laughter can be heard. The guard walks forward and is stopped by another guard who pulls a small twig out of the food; warning him what "he" could do with it. The laughter continues making the guard curious the other one tells him he has been doing it for two days. The guard places the food in the cell and before he leaves, Rumplestiltskin grabs him and tells him, "It has begun."

"Cradle" (Scene 9)

An extended version of the scene where Snow White and Prince Charming talk about Rumplestiltskin. Grumpy and Dopey are arguing in Emma's nursery. Prince Charming enters and asks them to leave so he can be with Snow White. As he approaches her, the scene proceeds as it does in the actual episode, with a blue bird flying from her hand, and him asking her what is wrong, but she replies, "Nothing."

"Regina's Sheriff" (Scene 22)

Emma leaves Regina's house and is surprised to see Sheriff Graham outside leaning on her car. Graham thinks she should stay at Granny's for the night due to Regina's drinks being strong. Emma disagrees and believes she is fine to drive and would pass a breathalyzer test. He agrees to let her go and she drives off.



Guest Starring



  • Cinder as Pongo
  • Unknown baby as Emma



  • This is the only episode to not include a title card. Instead, it features four slides that set the premise for the series.

Production Notes

  • Some shots of the opening scene were filmed from a helicopter, even though Mark Mylod, the director, was afraid of flying.[4]
  • As the kiss scene was being filmed, real snow began to fall.[4][5] That scene was filmed on April 7.[6]
  • The opening scene features the ending of the fairytale, "Snow White and the Seven Dwarves", to show that there is more that goes on beyond the happy ending.[4]
  • The wedding scene was filmed during the spring of 2011, with 200-plus fairytale costumed extras.[7] More costumed extras were added with visual effects.[8]
  • Emma's introduction scene was written to subvert expectations and make her look like a woman who is looking for love, and then twist the story into what is to come, as Emma has a lot more going on.[4]
  • The birds that Snow White and her Storybrooke counterpart set free were green birds that were CGIed blue in post production.[4] These birds are actually lovebirds.
  • OBSERVATIONS: Snow White claims the Evil Queen poisoned an apple because she was "prettier than her". However, in "An Apple Red as Blood", this is revealed to be untrue, and that the actual reason why the queen fed her the poisoned apple was because she blamed Snow White for the death of her fiance.
  • One of the people in Henry's e-mail inbox is Damon.[15] a reference to Damon Lindelof.[4] Although his name is not on the show, he was one of the people involved in the conception of Once Upon a Time.[16]
  • The first scene that was filmed for the show, was Mary Margaret teaching at school.[4]
  • Prince Charming was originally supposed to die in this episode,[17] but the writers decided that it would be really difficult to continue with the show without him since they wanted Snow White to get her happy ending after all.[4]
    • According to Edward Kitsis, ABC president of entertainment Channing Dungey, who was ABC head of drama during the show's development, is at the origin of this change. She sent a note to Kitsis and Horowitz saying that for a series about hope, there is not a lot of hope in killing Charming.[18]
  • Originally, real exploding glass was going to be used for the scene where the curse transports the Evil Queen and Snow White to Storybrooke, but the crew experienced a slight hitch during the shooting of this scene and forgot to film it.[4]
  • Mr. Gold regains his Enchanted Forest memories upon hearing Emma's name when he first meets her at the inn.[19]
  • ABANDONED IDEAS: The hospital scene with John Doe was originally the idea for the ending of episode two, but the show creators wanted to give the audience a sense of hope that Snow White and Prince Charming would be reunited.[4]
  • OBSERVATIONS: "The Stranger" and the Season Two episode "Selfless, Brave and True" establish that time starts moving in Storybrooke on October 23, 2011, the same day that the show premiered. As seen in "Selfless, Brave and True"; this is proven when August's wooden state is triggered in Phuket at 8:15 A.M.[25] on October 24[26] – the very same moment that Emma accepts the room key at 8:15 P.M. (the time zone in Phuket is 12 hours ahead of Maine's timezone).

Event Chronology

Episode Connections




Fairytales and Folklore

  • 🍎 APPLES: Snow White (erroneously) claims the Evil Queen poisoned an apple because she was prettier than her, a reference to the "Snow White" fairytale.
  • HIDDEN DETAILS: This is the first episode to feature Emma's unicorn mobile, which is hanging over her baby crib.[33] The unicorn is a legendary creature from worldwide mythology.[34]
  • HIDDEN DETAILS: A small doll plushie of Red Riding Hood sits on the shelf of Emma's nursery.[33]
  • Rumplestiltskin demands to know the name of Snow White and Prince Charming's unborn daughter. This is a reference to the "Rumplestiltskin" fairytale, where the titular character consents to give up his claim on the miller's daughter's unborn child if she can guess his name within three days.
  • Geppetto is tasked with building the magic wardrobe, a reference to The Adventures of Pinocchio, where the character is a woodcarver. Similarly, Geppetto's cursed persona, Marco, is a carpenter, another reference to the novel.
  • STORYBOOK CONTENT: When Emma's car crashes into the "Welcome to Storybrooke" sign, pages from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz[28] and Alice's Adventures in Wonderland[27] stories in the storybook turn in the breeze.

"The princess was angry, and she knew, of course, who
did it. She had all the Winged Monkeys brought before her,
and she said at first that their wings should be tied and they
should be treated as they had treated Quelala, and dropped
in the river. But my grandfather pleaded hard, for he knew
the Monkeys would drown in the river with their wings tied,
and Quelala said a kind word for them also; so that
Gayelette finally spared them, on condition that the Winged
Monkeys should ever after do three times the bidding of the
owner of the Golden Cap. This Cap had been made for a
wedding present to Quelala, and it is said to have cost the
princess half her kingdom. Of course my grandfather and all
the other Monkeys at once agreed to the condition, and that
is how it happens that we are three times the slaves of the
owner of the Golden Cap, whosoever he may be."
"And what became of them?" asked Dorothy, who had
been greatly interested in the story.
"Quelala being the first owner of the Golden Cap,"
replied the Monkey, "he was the first to lay his wishes upon
us. As his bride could not bear the sight of us, he called us all
to him in the forest after he had married her and ordered us
always to keep where she could never again set eyes on a
Winged Monkey, which we were glad to do, for we were all

And yet what a dear little puppy it was!' said Alice, as
she leant against a buttercup to rest herself, and fanned
herself with one of the leaves: `I should have liked teaching
it tricks very much, if--if I'd only been the right size to do it!
Oh dear! I'd nearly forgotten that I've got to grow up again!
Let me see--how is it to be managed? I suppose I ought to
eat or drink something or other; but the great question is,
The great question certainly was, what? Alice looked
all round her at the flowers and the blades of grass, but she
did not see anything that looked like the right thing to eat or
drink under the circumstances. There was a large mushroom
growing near her, about the same height as herself; and
when she had looked under it, and on both sides of it, and
behind it, it occurred to her that she might as well look and
see what was on the top of it.
She stretched herself up on tiptoe, and peeped over
the edge of the mushroom, and her eyes immediately met
those of a large caterpillar, that was sitting on the top with
its arms folded, quietly smoking a long hookah, and taking
not the smallest notice of her or of anything else.
The Caterpillar and Alice looked at each other for
some time in silence: at last the Caterpillar took the hookah

out of its mouth, and addressed her in a languid, sleepy voice.
'Who are YOU?' said the Caterpillar.

  • STORYBOOK CONTENT: Excerpts from the fairytale of "The Golden Bird" can be seen in Henry's storybook, next to the illustration of Snow White and Prince Charming,[35] and on the pages opposite the excerpts from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz[28] and Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.[27] A short excerpt from the story also appears underneath an illustration as the pages of the book turn in the breeze.[36]
  • The same excerpt appears in dozens of episodes; read the trivia section in the article for Henry's storybook for more information and a transcript.
  • When the Dark Curse approaches the Royal Castle, a dragon flies past the guard tower.[37] The dragon is a mythological creature famous from European, Asian and Middle Eastern folklore.[38]
  • Regina stands before a mirror in her home and looks into it,[39] a reference to the magic mirror from the "Snow White" fairytale.
  • Granny runs a bed and breakfast, a reference to the fairytale of "Little Red Riding Hood", where the titular character's ailing grandmother is lying in bed and the titular character brings her food.
  • Ruby drapes a red shawl around her head in a way reminiscent of a hood;[40] a reference to the fairytale of "Little Red Riding Hood".

Popular Culture

  • During her date with Ryan, Emma says that images found on online dating sites could be "Stolen from the Victoria's Secret catalogue"; a reference to the popular lingerie retailer.
  • ♫ MUSIC: During the chase scene between Emma and Ryan, "Howlin' For You" by The Black Keys plays in the background.
  • PAUSE AND READ: The subject of one of the e-mails in Henry's inbox is "Zod",[43] a reference to General Zod from the Superman comics.[4]

Props Notes

  • The glass coffin was carved out of a log that Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz found in the forest.[4]
  • HIDDEN DETAILS: On the door to Emma's apartment, it says "Cast a Spell",[45] but it wasn't made for the show, it was already there when they came to the set. Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz were going to paint the door, but decided to keep it after reading that line.[4]
  • HIDDEN DETAILS: Emma's baby blanket is draped over a chair in her apartment.[46]
  • HIDDEN DETAILS: Henry's desktop wallpaper is a green forest,[49] a reference to the place where his family is from.
  • Ginnifer Goodwin, who portrays Snow White, owns a replica of the key used to lock baby Emma in the wardrobe.[51]
  • HIDDEN DETAILS: The inn room key Granny hands Emma has an ornament with an engraving of a swan.[52]

Set Dressing

  • HIDDEN DETAILS: A cookie jar in the shape of a red apple is sitting on Emma's kitchen counter.[57]
  • REUSED PROPS: A hot air balloon toy is sitting on a shelf in Emma's nursery,[61] which is meant to allude to other stories.[4] The same toy is at the market that Jefferson and his daughter visit in "Hat Trick"[62] and is also hanging over one of the beds in the Darling family nursery room in the Season Two episode "Second Star to the Right".[63]
  • IT KEEPS MOVING: The same picture appears next to Regina's bedroom window when she wakes up in Storybrooke for the first time in the Season Two episode "Welcome to Storybrooke".[65]
  • IT KEEPS MOVING: Apocynum seu Fritillaria crassa monstrosa can also be seen in Regina's kitchen in "An Apple Red as Blood"[71] and in Regina's dining room in the Season Six episode "Murder Most Foul".[72]

Costume Notes

  • BRAND INFO: Henry's coat[81] is a J.Crew Boys City Peacoat[82] (currently unavailable). The costume department altered the coat for the show.[83]
  • USE IT AGAIN: Henry continues to wear this coat for many other episodes of the show.
  • BRAND INFO: Graham's jacket,[91] which he wears in every episode where he appears, is known as a B34/Sheriff leather jacket and was custom made by Vancouver's Ocean Drive Leather. It is available for purchase on the company's website, at a hefty sum:[92]

Filming Locations


  • During Emma's date with Ryan, her left wrist has a flower tattoo[115] (briefly glimpsed in this episode, but more visible in other episodes[116]). When she opens the door for Henry, the tattoo is gone.[117]
  • When Emma and Henry arrive in Storybrooke, Steveston Village, which doubles as the town of Storybrooke on the show, has not been redressed for some of the shots. The following real-life Steveston business names appear on-screen: Pacific Net & Twine,[118] Romania Country Bread[118] Serenity,[119] Nikaido[119] and Splash.[119] In addition, the prop sign on the building that doubles as Mr. Gold's pawnshop for exterior scenes has not been put up.[120] However, in a different shot, the sign on Serenity is gone (but not replaced) and Nikaido has been transformed into Standard Clocks.[121] In "The Thing You Love Most", the local businesses have been redressed and transformed. Pacific Net & Twine has become Atlantic Twine & Net,[122] Romania Country Bread has become Storybrooke Country Bread,[123] Serenity has become Modern Fashions[123] and Splash has become Neighbors.[124]
  • After meeting Archie, Emma opens the car door to get back in and drive Henry home. On the door screen, a camera man's reflection is noticeable. A reflection of a curtain on the car window is also visible.

Original Script

  • Originally, Mr. Gold wasn't going to appear in the first episode, but the show creators included him in the episode after they fell in love with the character's counterpart, Rumplestiltskin.[4]
  • Emma's first name was Anna. The name was changed to Emma after the legal department told the show creators that the name did not "clear" – according to Adam Horowitz, it probably meant that someone named Anna Swan lived in the Boston area.[125]
  • Emma's arrival in Storybrooke took place after the Enchanted Forest council meeting.[4] The scenes were later switched, with the arrival being shown first.
  • When the war council is debating how to stop the Evil Queen's curse, the Woodcutter and his two children, Hansel and Gretel, were supposed to walk in with the enchanted tree along with the Blue Fairy.[126]
  • Sheriff Graham is an avid fan of eating pixie sticks. He also states he grew up in Maine, but picked up his accent from his parents.[126]
  • Emma is convinced by Sheriff Graham to not drive out of town after drinking Regina's apple cider and heads straight to the inn and checks into a room. Instead of realizing she still has Henry's storybook while driving out of town as it occurred in the actual episode, she sees the book in her gym bag after setting it down in her guest room and begins to flip through it.[126]
  • The Caterpillar makes a short cameo as Henry's computer screen saver.[126]
  • The Dark Curse is not black smoke, but a green mist.[126]
  • The Storybrooke Elementary School is a Catholic school. Mary Margaret is both a nun and a school teacher.[126]

Reawakened: A Once Upon a Time Tale

  • Ryan's surname is Marlow. He was also originally based in New York with his wife and three children but then fled to Boston after his embezzlement charges.[127]
  • The castle is referred to as the "Royal Castle".[128]
  • Emma recalls the last days before the childbirth and being "holed up in a dusty jail cell" with "not a soul to help her".[129]
  • Emma recalls after she gave birth to Henry, she was only allowed to hold him for a moment ("a warm, soft, crying thing who'd looked up at her with cloudy eyes") before the nurse pulled him away from her.[130]

International Titles



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 LISTINGS: ONCE UPON A TIME. The Futon Critic. “Air Date: Sunday, October 23, 2011. Time Slot: 8:00 PM-9:00 PM EST on ABC. Episode Title: (#101) "Pilot"”
  2. 2.0 2.1 TV Ratings Broadcast Top 25: ‘Sunday Night Football’ Beaten By ‘Modern Family’ & ‘Two and a Half Men’ In Week #5 Among Adults 18-49. TV by the Numbers (October 25, 2011). “ONCE UPON A TIME. P. ABC. 12,935.”
  3. TwitterLogo.svg @AdamHorowitzLA (Adam Horowitz) on Twitter (February 1, 2015). "Originally the #OnceUponATime pilot began with a Rumple scene. Hope to see ya March 1 for our return!" (screenshot) (screenshot 2)
  4. 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 4.12 4.13 4.14 4.15 4.16 4.17 4.18 4.19 4.20 4.21 4.22 4.23 Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis on Season One Blu-ray/DVD Commentary for "Pilot"
  5. "Wicked is Coming"
  6. Cullen, Ian (May 25, 2015). Faustino Di Bauda Chats With Us About His 'Once Upon A Time' Journey. Scifi Pulse. “Then when we shot our final scene, which was the casket scene where Snow White dies and Prince Charming comes to her rescue by kissing her and bringing her back to life with a true love kiss. The day that we shot that, which was four years back it was April 7th.”
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Gittins, Susan (August 5, 2011). #YVRShoots – Once Upon A Time in Steveston Village. Vancouver Is Awesome. Archived from the original on October 13, 2019. “The magical story of Once Upon a Time apparently begins in the pilot with the grand wedding of Prince Charming, played by Josh Dallas (Thor), and Snow White, played by Ginnifer Goodwin (Big Love), in a distant fairy tale world — filmed this spring in Vancouver with greenscreens and 200-plus fairy tale costumed extras. (...) No one outside of production caught a glimpse of Once Upon a Time filming the fairy tale world scenes of the pilot, but a small crowd of people did watch Jennifer Morrison do a yellow-VW-bug-driving-scene on Seymour Street downtown in late March and then in early April, a smaller crowd watched her yellow-VW-bug arrival in Steveston as Storybrooke.”
  8. Gittins, Susan (December 9, 2011). YVRShoots – Once Upon a Time is Fall TV’s Biggest New Hit. Vancouver Is Awesome. Archived from the original on October 27, 2019. “I wrote about the filming of the Once Upon a Time pilot and Evil Queen-centric second episode for my YVRShoots series in the summer. I've since learned more about how the fairy tale world scenes are created using revolutionary Z.E.U.S. visual effects technology. If you looked through the camera lense or on the director/producer monitors during filming of the wedding of Prince Charming to Snow White in the pilot, you’d have seen a detailed ballroom wedding scene rendered in real time while elaborately-costumed Josh Dallas and Ginnifer Goodwin performed on a mostly empty green screen stage with costumed extras. Z.E.U.S. apparently lengthened the white columns and added stained glass windows and more costumed wedding guests as well. This is just one example of how big a show Once Upon a Time is, with long hours for every department from makeup to costumes to locations to stunts.”
  9. TwitterLogo.svg @Wolfwriter (Megan) on Twitter (February 22, 2012). "@robertcarlyle_ Whose idea was it for Rumplestiltskin to drop down from the ceiling in the pilot? It was creepy-amazing!" (screenshot)
    TwitterLogo.svg @robertcarlyle_ (Robert Carlyle) on Twitter (February 22, 2012). "@WolfWriter mine" (screenshot)
  10. Caitlin ffrench. Ravelry. Retrieved on June 7, 2018. “I am a fibre artist living in East Vancouver.”
  11. 11.0 11.1 002 OUAT MiniSode – Interview with Caitlin Ffrench who knitted Emma's baby blanket. Once Upon a Time Podcast (January 10, 2012). Archived from the original on March 30, 2014. “Welcome to the a Mini Episode (002) of the Once Upon a Time Fan Podcast interview with Caitlin Ffrench who actually knitted Emma’s baby blanket for ABC's Once Upon a Time. (...) We discuss; (...) What it was like being on the set as the "Knitting Tech" person for Beverley Elliott (Granny)” (Note: The original web page has been taken offline (along with the website which published it); the page included a podcast which was the main source for this trivia, but unfortunately, there is no back-up copy of the audio file online.)
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  16. Gonzalez, Sandra (August 7, 2011). 'Once Upon a Time': EPs say Damon Lindelof is 'godfather' of the series. Entertainment Weekly. “"His name isn't on the show, but his DNA is in it," Kitsis continued. "He's been like a godfather, helping us realize our vision of the show. He wants it to be our own show, but he helps when he can and sometimes he gives us tough love."”
  17. Rose, Lacey (May 13, 2013). TV Upfronts: Showrunners Reveal How They'd Run a Broadcast Network. Hollywood Reporter. “Kitsis: When ABC greenlighted the pilot for Once Upon a Time, their biggest note — and it was dead-on — was that Prince Charming should live. Yeah, in the pilot we killed off Prince Charming.”
  18. Debra Birnbaum and Cynthia Littleton (February 24, 2016). ABC Changes Gears (and Leadership) in Bid to Reverse Decline. Variety. “"Once Upon a Time" producers Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz credit Dungey with giving them one of the best notes they ever received: saving Prince Charming, who’d been slated for death in the pilot. "Channing pointed out that for a series about hope, there's not a lot of hope in killing him," Kitsis said.”
  19. 19.0 19.1 Martin, Rebecca (March 19, 2013). Once Upon a Time: When Did Rumplestiltskin Regain His Memories?. Wetpaint. “As you can see in the video below, Adam and Edward say explicitly that Gold got his Fairytale Land memories back after Emma (Jennifer Morrison) came to town. Specifically, it happened "when he heard her name in the pilot," which is why he asked Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin) and Prince Charming (Josh Dallas) for her name in the first place.”
    Once Upon A Time - Live Facebook Interview With Adam Horowitz & Eddie Kitsis (May 9th 2012) - Part 3. YouTube (May 9, 2012).
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  23. File:412Clock.png
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  25. File:218Clock.png
  26. File:218BareLeg.png
  27. 27.0 27.1 27.2 27.3 27.4 File:101Caterpillar.png
  28. 28.0 28.1 28.2 28.3 28.4 File:101FlyingMonkeys.png
  29. File:101OkayKid.png
  30. File:101Clock.png
  31. Dove, Steve (October 24, 2011). Storybrooke Secrets: Pilot. ABC. “Before Emma decides to stay in Storybrooke, the town's clocktower is stuck at 8:15. Show creators Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz both worked on ABC's LOST, which followed the survivors of the crash of Oceanic flight 815.”
  32. File:101ImagineHaving.png
  33. 33.0 33.1 File:101TalkToHim.png
  34. Unicorn. Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved on November 17, 2021. “The unicorn appeared in early Mesopotamian artworks, and it also was referred to in the ancient myths of India and China. (…) As a biblical animal, the unicorn was interpreted allegorically in the early Christian church. One of the earliest such interpretations appears in the ancient Greek bestiary known as the Physiologus, which states that the unicorn is a strong, fierce animal that can be caught only if a virgin maiden is placed before it. The unicorn leaps into the virgin's lap, and she suckles it and leads it to the king's palace. Medieval writers thus likened the unicorn to Christ, who raised up a horn of salvation for mankind and dwelt in the womb of the Virgin Mary. (…) Many fine representations of the hunt of the unicorn survive in medieval art, not only in Europe but also in the Islamic world and in China.”
  35. File:101SnowCharmingStorybook2.png
  36. 36.0 36.1 36.2 File:101Wardrobe.png
  37. File:101CurseArrival.png
  38. Dragon. Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved on October 13, 2021. “Dragon, in the mythologies, legends, and folktales of various cultures, a large lizard- or serpent-like creature, conceived in some traditions as evil and in others as beneficent. In medieval Europe, dragons were usually depicted with wings and a barbed tail and as breathing fire. (...) In general, in the Middle Eastern world, where snakes are large and deadly, the serpent or dragon was symbolic of the principle of evil. (...) In East Asian mythologies the dragon retains its prestige and is conceived as a beneficent creature. (...) Both Chinese and Japanese dragons, though regarded as powers of the air, are usually wingless. They are among the deified forces of nature in Daoism. Dragons also figure in the ancient mythologies of other Asian cultures, including those of Korea, India, and Vietnam.”
  39. File:101Unsure.png
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  43. File:101HenrysEmails.png
  44. File:101SadFlipped.png (flipped screenshot)
    File:101Sad.png (original screenshot)
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  46. File:101LetsGo.png
  47. File:404AliceAndTheWhiteRabbit.png
  48. File:101Turning.png
  49. File:101SmartKid.png
  50. File:101WhyThankYou.png
  51. Ginnifer Goodwin (@ginnygoodwin) (March 9, 2014). One director gave me a replica of the key used to lock baby Emma in the wardrobe/portal.. Twitter. Archived from the original on March 11, 2014. (screenshot)
  52. File:101WelcomeToStorybrooke.png
  53. File:508Frozen.png
  54. File:101IDontHaveASon.png
  55. File:104HenrysRoom.png
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  59. File:117Come.png
  60. File:120YouDoThis2.png
  61. File:101OnlyWords.png
  62. File:117ThankYou.png
  63. File:221Preparations.png
  64. File:101NoIdea.png
  65. File:217WalkingToWindow.png
  66. 66.0 66.1 File:101MadamMayor.png
  67. File:318MyQuestions.png
  68. File:601HomeToUs.png
  69. File:612RobinTheresSomething.png
  70. Carrion Ecology, Evolution, and Their Applications, edited by M. Eric Benbow, Jeffery K. Tomberlin, Aaron M. Tarone, CRC Press, 2016, p. 363. Facsimile by Google Books.
  71. File:121ALittleSomething.png
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  75. File:101TheChild.png
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  77. File:202NeedTheBook.png
  78. File:605MyNewCastle.png
  79. File:101Mirror.png
  80. File:511SleepingBelle.png
  81. File:101MyLifeSucks.png
  82. BOYS' CITY PEACOAT. J.Crew. Retrieved on June 7, 2018.
  83. InstagramIcon.png succubus_studios (Succubus Studios). June 5, 2018. "Growing up with OUAT I was still on mat leave when I got the call from @janaraynemac to make a kids Peacoat for a character named Henry, for a designer that she just loved, @eduardocastro51 @onceabcofficial One of the things I'm most grateful for over the last 7 years is the fact that my daughter grew up around such magic. Explaining to a teacher that yes we do have Prince Charming's jacket at our house and yes she did meet Rumplestiltskin, that was not just her fabulous imagination. She has seen that people can bring their incredible visions to life in glorious detail with great teams, hard work and on schedule." (archive copy)
  84. File:101WhosThis.png
  85. File:102HowAboutThat.png
  86. TwitterLogo.svg @RaphaelSbarge (Raphael Sbarge) on Twitter (November 28, 2011). "the green scarf archie [sic] wears is actually my daughters [sic]. she is 9. I wear it to say hi to her."
    Raphael Sbarge. Once Upon A Time Fan Blog/Podcast Site. “The following transcript is from @RaphaelSbarge’s live twitter chat from November 27th, 2011 episode of “Once Upon a Time,” Season 1, Episode 5: That Still Small Voice (...) @RaphaelSbarge the green scarf archie [sic] wears is actually my daughters [sic]. she is 9. I wear it to say hi to her.”
  87. File:101RunsIntoHouse.png
  88. FRYE Women's Melissa Tall Lace Boot. Amazon. Retrieved on June 7, 2018.
  89. File:102LookingAtFiles.png
  90. File:103ByTheCar.png
  91. File:101HenryIsFine.png
  92. B34/Sheriff. Oceandrive Leather. Retrieved on June 7, 2018.
  93. File:101ForThemNotUs.png
  94. Club Monaco Gray Cashmere Cardigan. Lyst. Archived from the original on March 13, 2013.
  95. Club Monaco Morgan Lace Tank. Shopbop. Retrieved on June 7, 2018.
  96. File:217MissMills.png
  97. File:101Hey!.png
  98. File:102SameAge.png
  99. File:107BlackSuitsMe.png
  100. File:117YourHat.png
  101. File:602MommysBack.png
  102. File:610Surrender.png
  103. File:712RememberThis.png
  104. File:101SayGoodbye.png
  105. File:722SomeoneToLead.png
  106. File:122MyMothersRing.png
  107. Robinson, Amy (November 16, 2011). Where have all the TV pets gone. Charleston Gazette-Mail. “I forgot to mention this last week, but after I pondered the location of the beautiful fairy tale setting in ABC's "Once Upon a Time" in my Nov. 3 column, I got an email from Christopher Pinhey, who did makeup for the show's early episodes. He said the show films in and around Vancouver and that, while there is of course green screen magic involved in the fairy tale land, the beautiful opening sequence I cited is real: it's Alouette Lake in Golden Ears Provincial Park, about 30 miles outside of Vancouver.”
  108. Movies Filmed at Waterfront Station. MovieMaps. Retrieved on June 7, 2018. “Once Upon a Time. Bus Station. Henry gets off the bus from Storybrooke here and gets into a cab to visit Emma in pilot episode.”
  109. TV PILOTS: ONCE UPON A TIME, ALCATRAZ and other TV Pilots Await Their Fate. Hollywood North Buzz (March 17, 2012). “At ABC, drama pilot Once Upon a Time is vying for a slot at a network with a lot of drama openings and a long list of strong contenders. It focuses on a town where fairy tales appear real and stars a blonde Jennifer Morrison (House) as the grownup child of two fairy tale characters. I spotted Morrison in late March coming out of a scene inside the Shore Club and heading towards a driving scene in a yellow VW bug on Seymour Street, where she apparently starts the journey to her new home.”
    Gittins, Susan (April 21, 2011). #YVRShoots – Alcatraz and other TV Pilots Await Their Fate. Vancouver Is Awesome. Archived from the original on October 13, 2019. “Other new series presenting at Comic-Con (ones that didn’t make the Top 50) are ABC’s modern fairy tale Once Upon a Time and The CW’s coven-of-witches show The Secret Circle, both of which started filming their first seasons here on Tuesday (Once Upon a Time at Kerrisdale School). Their lead female faces Jennifer Morrison of Once Upon a Time (shown above signing autographs at The Shore Club during the filming of the pilot) and Britt Roberson of The Secret Circle, along with the multiple-character-playing Anna Torv of Fringe (shown above as her alternate universe character Fauxlivia), are featured in The Hollywood Reporter’s “Comic-Con: TV’s 6 Most Wanted Women”.”
  110. File:101HereComesEmma.png
  111. Korstrom, Greg (March 25, 2012). Shore Club to become The Keg. Business in Vancouver.
  112. Movies Filmed at Gotham Steakhouse. MovieMaps. Retrieved on June 7, 2018. “Once Upon a Time. Restaurant Entrance. A man runs from Emma at the restaurant only to find she has booted his car in pilot episode.”
  113. TwitterLogo.svg @canadagraphs (CanadaGraphs) on Twitter (March 25, 2011). "Wayching [sic] scenes getting shot for Once Upon A Time, on Seymour right now"
  114. TwitterLogo.svg @AdamHorowitzLA (Adam Horowitz) on Twitter (April 22, 2017). "#OnceUponATime Trivia: Henry's classroom is filmed in the same classroom as Neverending Story." (screenshot)
  115. File:101LetMeGuess.png
  116. File:115YouCanDoThis.png
  117. File:101WhoAreYou.png
  118. 118.0 118.1 File:101Arrival.png
  119. 119.0 119.1 119.2 File:101InTown.png
  120. File:101OffTheyGo.png
  121. File:101StandardClocks.png
  122. File:102DinerOpens.png
  123. 123.0 123.1 File:102DarnCar.png
  124. File:102HowAboutThat.png
  125. TwitterLogo.svg @AdamHorowitzLA (Adam Horowitz) on Twitter (August 18, 2018). "Legal department told us the name did not "clear" -- probably meaning someone named Anna Swan lived in the Boston area. Glad that happened. Emma Swan is a better name." (screenshot)
  126. 126.0 126.1 126.2 126.3 126.4 126.5 ONCE UPON A TIME "Pilot" by Edward Kitsis & Adam Horowitz (PDF). Retrieved on June 7, 2018.
  127. Beane, Odette (2013). Reawakened: A Once Upon a Time Tale, New York: Hyperion, p. 1.
  128. Beane, Odette (2013). Reawakened: A Once Upon a Time Tale, New York: Hyperion, p. 4
  129. Beane, Odette (2013). Reawakened: A Once Upon a Time Tale, New York: Hyperion, p. 9
  130. Beane, Odette (2013). Reawakened: A Once Upon a Time Tale, New York: Hyperion, p. 19