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You look familiar. Have we met?

—Eric to Ariel src

Prince Eric is a character on ABC's Once Upon a Time. He débuts in the sixth episode of the third season and is portrayed by guest star Gil McKinney.

Prince Eric is based on the prince from the fairytale, "The Little Mermaid"; and the character of the same name from the Disney film, The Little Mermaid.


Before First Curse
In the Enchanted Forest, Eric is a prince of the Maritime Kingdom who meets the misfortune of a shipwreck and almost drowns, but is miraculously saved by a mermaid named Ariel, however, he remains unaware of who she is. Since then, he's been plagued with dreams of his rescuer's face. A year later, Prince Eric attends the year's Under the Sea Celebration paying tribute to the sea goddess Ursula. As he walks in, his attention is piqued by a red-haired woman from across the room. He smiles at her and she shyly begins making her way over to him, but in the process, stumbles clumsily to the floor. Prince Eric goes to her side to lend a helping hand up. After learning her name is Ariel, he begins to suspect she looks familiar and remembers her as the person who saved him from the shipwreck. Ariel refutes this claim; stating she is new in town. To this, Eric suggests perhaps Ursula saved him instead and sent Ariel. When she shows interest in seeing the world, he invites her to an adventurous expedition to Agrabah, which is setting sail tomorrow. He promises to wait for an answer from her and is hopeful she will say yes. The next morning, he waits on the balcony for Ariel, but she never arrives, or so he is led to believe. Ariel, in her mermaid form, surfaces in the water below the balcony but is unable to call for his attention after having her voice taken by the Evil Queen. ("Ariel", "The Jolly Roger")

After First Curse

In Storybrooke, after Emma breaks the Dark Curse, Eric, like the other many citizens of the town, try to resume normal life. He works regularly as a fisherman at the dock dicing up sea produce. Eric is surprised to see someone he hasn't seen a while, Ariel. Though it's been a long time since either of them saw each other, he shows his true feelings for her with a passionate kiss. They reunite just as a flying ship descends from the sky carrying various townspeople. As Mary Margaret comes down from the ship, she is pleased to see Eric and Ariel are now together after such a long separation. ("The New Neverland")

The residents of Storybrooke face another threat in the form of Peter Pan, who intends on re-cursing everyone and ruling the town on his whims. Regina, as the original caster of the Dark Curse, is able to undo Pan's curse before it takes full effect. As a magical price, Storybrooke's inhabitants return to their former lives in the Enchanted Forest, except for Emma and Henry, who cross out of the town line. Since Eric is a native of the Enchanted Forest, he too is taken back to his homeworld. ("Going Home")

Before Second Curse
After Regina takes preventive measures to undo Pan's curse, all the inhabitants of Storybrooke pay the price by returning to the Enchanted Forest. Prince Eric is kidnapped by the pirate Black Beard and put on Hangman's Island as a ransom. Ariel attempts to bargain for her beloved's whereabouts, and Black Beard promises to do so when Hook gives up on trying to reclaim the Jolly Roger. Hook refuses, and he pushes Black Beard into the water to his death. However, Ariel manages to save Black Beard, and as thanks, he tells her where Eric is. She eventually reunites with him there and live together there happily. Due to the island being outside the boundaries of the Dark Curse at the time Snow White cast it, Eric and Ariel are left unaffected by the curse. ("The Jolly Roger", "Fall")


Character Notes

His Royal Highness
Prince Eric
cordially invites you to
the Annual
Under the Sea Celebration

At the Royal Castle.
Commencing at
seven of the clock

  • His stand at the Storybrooke docks is called Eric's Bait.[3] Its symbol is a hauriant seahorse (in a vertical position with its head up); the same as his royal crest[4] back in the Enchanted Forest. In heraldry, the seahorse is a hybrid with the fore quarters of a horse with webbed paws, and the hind part of a fish or dolphin. A scalloped fin runs down the neck and back in place of a mane.[5] ("Ariel", "The New Neverland")

Production Notes

  • The casting call name for Prince Eric was "Prince". When Gil McKinney auditioned for the character, he had no idea which part he was going to get.[6]

Other Notes


Note: "Archive" denotes archive footage.


  1. In "A Wondrous Place", Prince Eric appears as the disguised form of Jafar.
  2. File:306TheresABall.png
    Concept art: File:306ConceptArt4.png
  3. File:310FamiliarFace.png
  4. File:306WasAPrincess.png
  5. Fictitious and Symbolic Creatures in Art, by John Vinycomb, [1909], at Internet Sacred Texts Archive. Retrieved on October 6, 2018.
  6. #OUATCHI 2016. le Revasseur. Retrieved on October 6, 2018. “He had auditioned for the part of "Prince," so he had no idea who he was going to get.”
  7. Good Morning Storybrooke (Nova & Grumpy / Dr Whale / Belle / Ruby). YouTube (August 13, 2013).
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