Sophie Lowe, Naveen Andrews (inset)
Once Upon a Time spin-off Wonderland made a splash at its first Comic-Con panel by announcing the introduction of the evil Jafar, with Lost's Naveen Andrews being tapped to play Aladdin's Royal Vizier of Agrabah.
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"We always wanted to have Jafar be a part of this story," executive producer Edward Kitsis told fans at Saturday's Comic-Con panel. "It's going to be a very, very evil villain... When we had this character in mind, we knew we wanted Naveen to play it and when we asked him he said yes."
"I hope it'll be something like you've never seen before," Andrews said when he joined the cast on stage. Reuniting with his Lost bosses, Andrews was welcomed by Kitsis joking, "Welcome back to the island. We've got you again!"
The Wonderland-set spin-off is told through the eyes of Alice (Sophie Lowe), who has a generous heart but carries the scars of a long and hard life, especially after she loses the love of her life, a genie named Cyrus (Peter Gadiot) that she meets in Wonderland. This Alice, however, is not the weak-willed girl from the novel.
"I'm really excited to be part of the show and to play such a strong woman," Lowe said. Added Kitsis: "Was anything cooler than when she took that guy down with her legs and broke his neck? That's the Alice I want to see."
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As opposed to Once, which features many characters across a spectrum of fairy tales, Wonderland will be a contained, closed-ended story. The series will also feature flashbacks like the flagship series, but their present-day will be a post-curse Wonderland.
The premiere episode will introduce Alice and Cyrus, as well Alice's cohort the Knave of Hearts (Michael Socha), the White Rabbit (John Lithgow) and Wonderland's villain, the Red Queen (Emma Rigby), who may have a connection to the Queen of Hearts (Barbara Hershey).
"We're definitely going to focus on Alice and Cyrus," Kitsis says, noting he'd be disappointed if they didn't see the Queen of Hearts at some point. As for Jefferson/The Mad Hatter, the door remains open for Sebastian Stan to appear should his schedule open up after shooting Captain America: Winter Soldier.
Once Upon a Time in Wonderland will premiere Thursday, Oct. 10 at 8/7c on ABC.