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This article focuses on the first iteration of the Woodcutter from "Hansel and Gretel".
For the second iteration, see Ivo.
For the Oz character with the same name, see Woodcutter.
For the Season Six character known as the "Woodcutter", see Gabriel.
For the London character, see Michael Darling.
For the Seattle character, see Michael Griffiths.

Because we're a family. And family always finds one another.
—The Woodcutter to the Evil Queen src

The Woodcutter, currently known as Michael Tillman, is a character on ABC's Once Upon a Time. He débuts, with his only appearance, in the ninth episode of the first season and is portrayed by guest star Nicholas Lea.

The Woodcutter is based on a character of the same name from the fairytale, "Hansel and Gretel".


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Reason: Better recap

Before First Curse

One day, while out cutting wood, the Woodcutter is out cutting wood with his children, Hansel and Gretel. Before he sends them to find some more wood, he hands them a compass and tells them that they will always find their way back to him. When they go on their search, he suddenly disappears, and had been kidnapped by the Evil Queen. She tells him that his children refused to live with her, and asks him why. He tells her that they are a family, and family will always find one another. She lets him go, telling him that they can be a family if they can find each other. However, the Evil Queen makes it so no matter how long or hard the Woodcutter searches for his children, he will not find them. ("True North")

During First Curse

Under the Evil Queen's curse, the Woodcutter gains a new life in Storybrooke as a mechanic named Michael Tillman, who owns his own business at Marine Garage. As one of the curse's effects, he receives false memories while being stripped of memories from his prior life. Michael, as far as he can recall, once had a relationship with a woman, Dory. While they are together, he gifts her a compass. Dory, unknown to him, gives birth to his twin children, Ava and Nicholas Zimmer. After Dory passes away, the siblings are left without a parental guardian and resort to shoplifting. The sheriff, Emma, discovers their situation. Though the mayor, Regina, wishes to send them to a children's home in Boston, Emma traces the compass to Mr. Gold's pawnshop, where she learns the name of the children's biological father. Although Mr. Gold gives the information from reading off a purchase receipt, the paper is actually blank, which implies he knows Michael's name from before the curse was cast. When confronted with the truth, Michael doesn't believe the twins are his. Even with the compass as proof, he insists knowing nothing about being a father and cannot provide a good home for the children. Since he will not assume responsibility, Emma has no choice but to take the twins to Boston, but on the way there, her car breaks down. She then phones Michael, and after checking the vehicle, he determines there is nothing wrong with it. Emma persuades him into seeing the children at least once before they are gone, to which he agrees to take them in as his own. ("True North")


Wife †
Dory Zimmer
Michael Tillman
Ava Zimmer
Nicholas Zimmer


  • Solid lines denote blood parent-child relationship
  • Dashed lines denote marriage relationships that result in offspring


Script Notes


See also


  1. ONCE UPON A TIME "Pilot" by Edward Kitsis & Adam Horowitz (PDF) pp. 28. Retrieved on November 19, 2018. “And then the DOOR FLIES OPEN. In walks A WOODCUTTER, accompanied by his two children. HANSEL and GRETEL. They HAUL in a LARGE TREE TRUNK. Plop it on the ground.”

Start a Discussion Discussions about Woodcutter (True North)

  • Curse giving happy endings instead of taking them?

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    • Rubelle wrote:Regina wanted to kill Corra because she said, Corra was her weakness, she is the only person regina loved till then and also ...
    • Rubelle wrote: Regina wanted to kill Corra because she said, Corra was her weakness, she is the only person regina loved till then and also ...
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