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‘Once Upon a Time’ Cast Then and Now: See What the ‘Dearies’ Are Up To Today!

Magic always comes with a price, but that doesn’t mean you can’t catch up with the actors of this magical show


Reality collides with a world of fairy tales in the television series Once Upon a Time. With quotes from the Once Upon a Time cast like “I will always find you,” this 2011 to 2018 ABC drama is the perfect choice for any Disney fan. Through the show, creators Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz give audiences revamped versions of classic characters like Snow White and the Evil Queen, offering an insight into the lives of these fairy tale favorites.

Emma, a modern-day bail bonds collector, is content with her life — until the son she gave up for adoption 10 years earlier shows up on her doorstep. He rambles on about how she has to save a world of fairy tale characters who have forgotten who they are due to the Dark Curse. He also shares that Emma is the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming.

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Woman and son sitting at table
Jennifer Morrison and Jared Gilmore in Once Upon a Time (2011)

Reluctantly, Emma joins her son, Henry, back in a fictional town called Storybrooke. There, she indulges in his unbelievable fantasies and meets her supposed family. The Once Upon a Time cast, which makes up a very complicated family tree on-screen, is actually full of amazing actors.

And for anyone wondering if this is the show for you, Ginnifer Goodwin, star of Big Love, says it is an important one, offering, “I read Once Upon a Time, and there was no question for me that it was something I had to do — it was a story I had to tell.”

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Cast of Once Upon a Time
Cast of Once Upon a Time (2016)

Her on-screen daughter, played by Jennifer Morrison, agrees that the series is special, commenting, “It’s a show about hope and a show about positivity and about connectivity and I think there aren’t a lot of shows like that.”

Catch up with the Once Upon a Time cast to see where they’ve been since the series finale.

Jennifer Morrison as Emma Swan: Once Upon a Time cast

Jennifer Morrison: Once Upon a Time cast
2011/2023 Jason LaVeris / Contributor / Getty // Amy Sussman / Staff / Getty

Known as the Savior throughout the series, which she initially resents, Emma Swan is the main hero in the Once Upon a Time cast. When her son shows up and tells her that she is meant to save an entire town of people, she doesn’t believe it. As far as Emma knows, she is an orphan and has been alone her whole life with no connection to anyone else — little does she know, her parents gave her up to save her life and their kingdom from the curse.

Formerly a star on House (2012) and a recurring character on How I Met Your Mother (2010), Jennifer Morrison has made her mark on the television industry. But it wasn’t until she joined the Once Upon a Time cast that she had a leading role. Morrison was with the series until the end of season 6, and, despite appearing in a few episodes in the final year, she felt her story had concluded after her wedding to Captain Hook (Colin O’Donoghue).

Woman staring
Jennifer Morrison in This is Us (2019)

Since her time on the show, Morrison has taken less of a leading role in other projects. She has been in films such as SuperFly (2018), All Creatures Here Below (2018) and Bombshell (2019). She then joined the cast of This is Us as the recurring character, Cassidy.

Morrison has more recently taken on directing, snagging episodes of Euphoria (2019), One of Us Is Lying (2021) and Dr. Death (2021), which stars her former Dawson’s Creek costar, Joshua Jackson, as well as This Is Us costar, Mandy Moore. Morrison recently married fellow actor, Gerardo Celasco in 2022.

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Ginnifer Goodwin as Snow White/Mary Margaret

Ginnifer Goodwin
2011/2021 Tiffany Rose / Contributor / Getty // LISA O’CONNOR / Contributor / Getty

The fairest of them all, Snow White, is the target of the Evil Queen. Although audiences get much more background on the reasons for the Evil Queen offering Snow a poisonous apple, the story remains fairly similar to the original 1937 film. And, as it turns out, there is no one better to play the princess than Ginnifer Goodwin.

Accused by the Queen of murdering her fiancé, Snow White goes on the run, where she meets Prince Charming, and incurs the wrath of the Queen via the Dark Curse. Once in the real world, Snow becomes her alternate self, Mary Margaret, and is separated from her husband. Unbeknownst to her, everyone around her is a member of her kingdom, lost to reality.

Woman with a horse: Once Upon a Time cast
Ginnifer Goodwin in Once Upon a Time (2011)

Goodwin is best known for her time on He’s Just Not That Into You (2009), Something Borrowed (2011) and Big Love (201). Making waves in the Oscar-winning animated movie Zootopia (2016), Goodwin is a widely recognized actress.

Since being a part of the Once Upon a Time cast, Goodwin has starred in the series Why Women Kill (2021), which, unfortunately, was canceled after two seasons. She moved on to the comedy series Pivoting in 2022, but that, too, turned out to be a single-season show. Her most recent role was in Buddy Games: Spring Awakening (2023) and she is currently working on Zootopia 2, scheduled to be released in 2025.

Man and woman
Josh Dallas and Ginnifer Goodwin in Once Upon a Time (2011)

Goodwin has also been a part of her own personal fairytale as she married her on-screen Prince Charming, Josh Dallas, in 2014, after meeting on the set of Once. The couple has two sons, Oliver and Hugo.  

Josh Dallas as Prince Charming/David Nolan: Once Upon a Time cast

Josh Dallas: Once Upon a Time cast
2011/2019 Frank Trapper / Contributor / Getty // Jim Spellman / Stringer / Getty

Josh Dallas portrays the other half of the truest love, Prince Charming, although the character has had something of a triple life. He started out as a poor shepherd and then played the part of the King’s son, James (who was also his twin). On top of that, Dallas then had his alter ego of David Nolan in the modern world.

Since the end of Once Upon a Time, Dallas’ only subsequent role has been as the main star of the sci-fi show Manifest alongside Melissa Roxburgh, that show running from 2018 to 2023.

Man concerned on phone
Josh Dallas in “Manifest” (2020) Entertainment

Manifest had some pretty similar themes to Once Upon a Time, which hasn’t escaped his notice: “I really started leaning into it and thinking, ‘Oh, my god, am I in The Truman Show? Is this some sort of warped sequel to Prince Charming?’ There were definitely some overlapping ideas and themes, which I wholly welcomed, because they’re great ideas and they’re great themes. I fully embraced it. The Oncers and the Manifesters became one.”

Lana Parilla as The Evil Queen/Regina Mills

Lana Parilla: Once Upon a Time cast
2011/2024 Jason Merritt / Staff / Getty // Lionel Hahn / Contributor / Getty

The Evil Queen, known best — appropriately enough — for her evilness, is Snow White’s stepmother and Henry Mills’ adoptive mother. The Queen is responsible for casting the Dark Curse and ruining the lives of the residents of Storybrooke.

In the new reality, Lana Parilla portrays Regina Mills, mayor of Storybrooke, who makes everyone nervous, except for Emma. Regina tries to push Emma away, threatened by her relationship with Henry, but Emma doesn’t budge.

Woman smiling
Lana Padilla in The Lincoln Lawyer (2023) Studios

Since her years as part of the Once Upon a Time cast, Parilla has held multiple roles, including in The Tax Collector (2020) and Scrap (2022). She then spent a period of time on her costar’s series, Why Women Kill (2021), and most recently starred on the Netflix series, The Lincoln Lawyer (2023). Away from the camera, she’s created her own clothing line, Keep it Regal, inspired by her regal role on Once Upon a Time.

Jared Gilmore as Henry Mills: Once Upon a Time cast

Jared Gilmore
2011/2023Michael Buckner / Staff / Getty

The lovable 10-year-old son of Emma, who was convinced his world was full of lost fairy tale characters, was portrayed by Jared Gilmore. Henry never lost faith in reuniting his family, even though his character wasn’t believed by anyone, though he would be revealed to be the Truest Believer.

Gilmore has discussed growing up on a TV show, explaining how his time as Henry Mills helped to shape him. “It’s funny, at the beginning of the show I don’t think I ever really related to Henry,” Gilmore said. “Henry has the heart of the Truest Believer, he always believes and he never gives up hope and that’s something as Jared I needed to do. I’ve gotten that from Henry.”

Since the series came to an end in 2018, Gilmore has taken a break from the acting world. Beyond voicing a character in 2019’s Code Geass: Lelouch of the Re;Surrection, he’s shifted his focus to becoming a video game streamer under the game handle Nightingale_Styx. Gilmore recently proposed to his girlfriend, Jessica.

Colin O’Donoghue as Captain Hook/Killian Jones

Colin O’Donoghue: Once Upon a Time cast
2011/2022 Alberto E. Rodriguez / Staff / Getty // LISA O’CONNOR / Contributor / Getty

The infamous Captain Hook has a bad rap from the 1953 film Peter Pan, but on Once Upon a Time audiences couldn’t help but love Captain Killian Jones “Hook.” Portrayed by Colin O’Donoghue, Hook made his debut in season two and remained until the end of the series.

The character, though considered evil at first, reveals his soft side after falling for Emma. Their love story develops throughout the course of the show and was tested multiple times. Hook also has a long-standing feud with Rumplestiltskin, who took his hand and his former true love.

Man with hook
Colin O’Donoghue in Once Upon a Time (2012)

Colin O’Donoghue has since starred in What Still Remains (2018) and the limited series, The Right Stuff (2020). He then did voice work in the mini-series Wizards (2020), Luck (2022) and The Great North (2022). O’Donoghue has been married to his wife, Helen, since 2009 and they have two children.

Robert Carlyle as Rumplestiltskin/Mr. Gold: Once Upon a Time cast

Robert Carlyle: Once Upon a Time cast
2011/2023 Michael Buckner / Staff / Getty // Jeff Spicer / Stringer / Getty

The man who seems to know all and have ties to everything going on in the series is Rumplestiltskin. He is also the Dark One, a power that keeps him alive and gives him magical abilities. In the alternate reality, his name is Mr. Gold, he owns a pawn shop and often refers to people as “dearie.”

Since Once Upon a Time, Robert Carlyle has starred in North of Normal (2022) and The Performance (2023). Additionally, he was featured in the mini-series’ The War of the Worlds (2019) and The Full Monty (2023). His most recent role is as Robert Sutherland on Cobra, which he has had since 2022.

Keep reading for more on your favorite TV shows!

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