The New Big Bad of Once Upon a Time Is Gentrification

Image: ABC
Image: ABC

You might not expect that a show where Anna from Frozen once taught Prince Charming how to sword fight would attempt to handle complex issues like urban development and gentrification. Well dammit, Once Upon a Time just isn’t afraid to go there.


Executive producers Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis recently dished with Entertainment Weekly about season seven of Once Upon a Time—a soft reboot of the show, since most of the original cast high-tailed it out of there after their contracts were up. One of the bigger surprises to come out of the conversation, other than the fact that non-Rumple will still miraculously be the Dark One, was the main conflict of the rebooted series. It won’t be true love overcoming obstacles, it’ll be the HUD department.

The series has traditionally taken place in the quiet seaside village of Storybrooke, but now, the characters have been moved to a new, cursed location called Hyperion Heights. Instead of being a timeless small-town paradise, this one is the “Brooklyn of Seattle,” full of both fairy tale characters and normal people. And the villain, Cinderella’s stepmother (who’s a real estate developer in this universe), is looking to gentrify the crap out of that neighborhood. Specifically, pushing out the fairy tale characters in favor of non-magic folks.

“We’re going to see that Lady Tremaine wants to push everybody away, wants to gentrify the neighborhood, so that all these characters are separated forever,” Horowitz said.

“Push them the hell out. You push them the hell out and you gentrify the neighborhood and you bring in a cold press juicer and they can’t afford it anymore,” Kitsis added.

I will admit it’ll be nice for Once Upon a Time to finally leave Storybrooke for a new location (even if it means Adult Henry has to be a fucking Uber driver there). That said, I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that changing from a small town to a quasi-New York borough takes away the only thing that set the show apart from Fables, the comic book series Once Upon a Time heavily borrows from. But did Fables ever take on class conflict in an urban setting? (Wait... it did.) Well, I’ll bet it didn’t have King Arthur ordering people to commit suicide, because oh yeah, Once Upon a Time totally went there, too.

[Entertainment Weekly]


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I always wanted the real big bad of the series to be Disney itself, using their knowledge of magic and fairy tails to make profit. They could have even been the evil cabal that kind of showed up in S3 (or was it 4) from the outside that prevented things for resolving and was then forgotten. Though Disney being evil might be a bit too on the nose for a show that was born of corporate synergy.