“Once Upon A Time” producers Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz unveiled Merida, of “Brave” fame, as the ABC drama’s newest princess at the 2015 Comic Con in San Diego. The teaser clip featured a hooded archer hitting a bull’s-eye, and then shooting a Robin Hood with her second arrow.
But Merida isn’t the first “Once” character to wield a bow and arrow. Merida joins bull’s-eye-hitting Snow White, Robin Hood and the once-evil-now-good “Evil Queen,” affectionately known as Regina.
Wait, what?! Here’s your crash course on “Once Upon a Time.”
This is the Evil Queen, also known as Regina.
She cursed the Enchanted Forest and sent all the fairytale characters – including Elsa, Hook, Rumplestiltskin, Snow White, Prince Charming, Cruella De Vil and more – through a magic portal, trapping them in Storybrooke, Maine. (Puny, right?) And none of the characters remember who they are.
Why? It’s a long story, but something in her young adulthood made her bitter and turned her heart black with evil. In her younger days, however, she was an expert markswoman.
This is Emma Swan.
Again, it’s a long story, but she’s the “savior” sent to break Regina’s curse. She’s not really into archery. She likes leather jackets, instead. She’s worth mentioning because she’s vital to the storyline. And you’ll never guess who her mother and father are…
This is Snow White, or “Mary Margaret,” if you’re in Storybrooke.
She shoots a bow and arrow in several seasons.
In Season 2, she jumps through a magic portal. Because it’s a heroic, spur-of-the-moment effort, she arrives in the Enchanted Forest weaponless. She eventually finds a bow and arrow and rescues herself and Emma from a band of ogres. Think “Shrek,” but much more dangerous.
When prepping for Season 3 in Neverland, actress Ginnifer Goodwin requested her character have a backpack. One viewer noted the pack was filled with camping supplies. Ginnifer addressed her character’s resourcefulness in an interview with ABC:
“Last season I was so cold all the time ’cause I was in that horrid fuchsia sweater for nine episodes in the woods and I was like, ‘Why didn’t I bring anything with me when I jumped into the portal?’” she added.
“So, when I knew we were going into a portal at the end of last season, I begged costumes for a backpack and I didn’t exactly ask permission from anybody else, but I made sure that I packed the backpack in the back of a scene just so nobody could nail me on having not packed the thing.”
A girl with a plan AND a bow and arrow? We approve. I wonder if she followed these tips for archery packing.
This is Robin Hood.
Per fairytale tradition, he shoots archery. And he’s also the Evil Queen’s love interest. But she had a long, bad history with his wife, Maid Marian, back in the Enchanted Forest. In present-day Storybrooke, Regina’s evil half-sister Zelena, unbeknownst to her, uses a cloaking spell to secretly take Maid Marian’s form. Needless to say, “it’s complicated.”
And this is Merida.
We’re not yet sure of her role, but we know she’s an excellent shot. Could Season 5 feature a shoot-off between Merida and Robin Hood? Perhaps that’s how the term “Robin Hood,” arrowing an arrow with an arrow, is coined.
Season 5 takes place in Camelot. And according to Entertainment Weekly’s interview with the “Once” producers, we get our first glimpse at Merida early on. How does her story continue after Pixar’s 2012 box-office hit?
“In the world of Once, we’ll meet Merida “some time after the events of the movie,” executive producer Adam Horowitz said. “We’re going to give you a little taste of where she’s been since then, what’s happened to her since the end of that movie, and then we’re going to see that that somehow crosses with our people and with our “Once Upon a Time” mythology.”
Basically, “Once Upon a Time” is the ultimate fairytale. It weaves together your favorite fairytale characters from books and movies into one storyline. It pits good against evil, magic against skill, and fairytales against reality with a modern twist. And it includes plenty of archery along the way.
Watch the Season 5 teaser below, then catch Merida in archery action in the “Once Upon a Time” season premiere Sept. 27 at 8 p.m. EST on ABC.