Saturday, November 17, 2012

Will "Once Upon a Time" tackle "Snow White and Rose Red"?

So far ABC's hit show has stuck mainly to fairy tale kindergarten - i.e. the Disney classics we all grew up with. And then they deviated a bit this season by throwing in literary and legendary characters, like Lancelot, Captain Hook and Dr. Frankenstein.

But apparently they've talked about wanting to use more obscure fairy tales, news that is sure to delight any fairy tale fan. And 'obscure' doesn't mean unknown, not by far. In the last decade fairy tales and fairy tale retellings have been enormously popular, from big screen remakes, to hundreds of novels, and even comic books. So what fairy tales are popular enough to still have audience draw, but still fit the 'obscure' label? I think "Snow White and Rose Red" is a good contender.

They've already paid a pretty overt homage to it with Snow and Red's friendship. The two girls are like sisters already, and they go around in symbolic white and red cloaks. In the most recent episode we heard them planning to find a cabin in the woods together - exactly the setting for "Snow White and Rose Red." All we need is a dwarf to enchant a prince...

Think about it! Rumplestiltskin could easily cast an enchantment on Charming, perhaps at the bidding of King George?

Or it could be a totally new prince, one who will win the affections of Red. (And then die. Because all attractive single men die on OUAT. It's like a law or something.)

And, although it has never been made into a Disney film (or any film, for that matter, if you're not counting my independant film "The Shadow of the Bear"), it is still fairly well-known among young female readers - and guys know it too, as is apparent by the fact that Bill Willingham chose those titular sisters to play the heroines in his popular comic, "Fables."

Actually, "Fables" is the one reason why we might not get this particular fairy tale retold. Several years ago, ABC was in talks to produce a show based on Fables. That deal never worked out, but some people accused OUAT as being a rip-off to avoid rights fees. Willingham himself has gone on record as saying that this is completely untrue, and the show writers have also made it clear that they developed the idea independently  Still, there is good reason for them to wish to distance themselves from "Fables". They've already said that they had to change the original identity of Sheriff Graham to avoid rights issues, and since fairy tales aren't copyrighted, it's my private theory that they wanted him to be the Big Bad Wolf - which would have been very close to infringing on the copyright of "Fables" (which stars the Big Bad Wolf as the sheriff.)

So... will "Once Upon a Time" tackle "Snow White and Rose Red?" I think it very much depends on how long the show continues. The longer it goes, the more space they have to cover more stories. While I could see them holding off on this particular story for awhile to distance themselves from" Fables", I think it would be a real shame if they didn't incorporated it eventually, especially since they already have the perfect set-up.

7 comments:

Antoinette said...

Perhaps they could do this when everyone eventually returns to fairytale land? I mean, it's obvious that OUAT will get at least another season, and probably more. I can see this happening back in the fairy tale land.

Or, they were mentioning a Red and Snow living in a cabin in the woods together last episode...

Elenatintil said...

Yeah, the "cabin" comment really has me hoping they'll do this story...

Victoria said...

It's seemed to me like they were "setting up" for a Snow White and Rose Red story, but perhaps, like you said, it was just their compromise with copyright laws. It's a pity that wrench had to be thrown in there....

I wonder if they'd possibly do East o' the Sun & West o' the Moon or The 12 Dancing Princesses, both of which are favorites of mine. :) I'm excited for whatever they come up with.

Elenatintil said...

Glad I'm not the only one who saw that set-up!

I would dearly love to see those two fairy tales done as well... I fear that East of the Sun, West of the Moon would be hard to tell in a 40 minute episode without seeming too much like Beauty and the Beast... unless it became an extension of the Rumbelle story.

Valia said...

I'm behind on OUaT, so I won't comment on the Snow White Rose Red aspect (though that would be a fun one for them to retell!), but Entertainment Weekly ran a few articles on the show several weeks ago, I think, and they mentioned characters they wanted on the show and the rights issue with the Sheriff. The creators said they had wanted him to be Sherlock Holmes (stuck in a town with no mystery), but they couldn't work it out. They also said they've since seen Sherlock, and couldn't imagine putting Holmes in now unless he was played by Benedict Cumberbatch. :D

Elenatintil said...

That is fascinating, Valia! Do you have a link to that article?

I'm curious about what the rights issues would be though... Sherlock is in the public domain, isn't he?

Valia said...

I actually read the article in the magazine, not online, but this appears to be the same one: http://insidetv.ew.com/2012/10/21/once-upon-jack-sparrow/ (It actually looks like an expanded version, too!)

I'm not sure what the rights issue was---maybe with Sherlock and Elementary, it was just too complicated to get the rights for another show, especially since it wouldn't have been a show mainly about Sherlock himself. They do mention in this article that other shows have overcome the rights issue.