To demonstrate, let’s look at ABC’s (aka: the Disney broadcast network’s) Once Upon a Time.
This show alone is nothing more than a mash-up of every single fairy-tale they could get their hands on, and even a stretching of the definition of fairy-tale in order to get source material/characters for the ongoing storylines.
I never considered King Arthur a fairy tale, but whatever. All of that stuff is public domain, so it’s not like they have to pay anyone to use those characters, from Snow White to Lancelot: free, baby!
Anyway, this past week’s episode featured an exploration of Once Upon a Time‘s signature villain: the Dark One. Currently embodied in the form of she-who-was-the-savior, Emma Swan, the Dark One is the embodiment of all that is evil, and is positioned in the Once Upon a Time ‘verse as the antithesis to Merlin, who, we have learned, obtained his powers after drinking from the Holy Grail while lost in the desert.
Anyway, Merlin convinces Emma (the current Dark One) to help him obtain the last spark of Prometheus’ original fire in order to craft a magical blah, blah, blah….
Major plot point, but not the one we’re discussing at the moment. The important part of this is that the spark lies within the heart(-ish) of the Dark One, therefore, Emma needs to face all of the previous Dark Ones in order to get it? Keeping up, so far? Good, because here’s where Disney goes too far, in my opinion.
Merlin tells Emma that the Dark One can kill him, just as it killed his wife, Nimue, before he could strip himself of his immortality and magic in order to spend his life–his mortal life–with her.
Emma is able to summon all of the previous Dark Ones, until the first, the original, Dark One appears, and we learn that it is none other than Nimue.
When Emma does the crazy-white-girl equivalent of “whaaaaaaat?” Merlin explains that Nimue became the Dark One by drinking from the Grail in order to acquire the power to bring vengeance against Vortigern, who destroyed her entire village before she met Merlin (Merlin knew this story, of course, but it’s not really important, except to note that even Merlin can be blinded to the strength of vengeance by his own emotions.).
What is important is that Merlin basically Obi-Wan Kenobi’s his answer, which of course is nothing more than: Anakin Skywalker/Nimue died when he/she became Darth Vader/the Dark One, so “What I told you is true, from a certain point of view.”
Shameless. Really, really, shameless, Disney.
I almost changed the channel.
So, I’m sure that in a couple of weeks we’ll have a Once Upon a Time version of Thor (probably Lady Thor, because: Disney/Marvel) fly in and talk in cryptic tones about the dangers facing her world: not just Asgard, but Midgard (Earth), as well. But not Emma’s Earth; it will be the Earth where heroes of all kinds come together to avenge (little ‘A‘) the wrongs of blah, blah, blah….
We may even get a reclaimed villain (Black Widow) to come and give Regina hope of finally, truly, overcoming her past and blah, blah, blah.
Sometimes, it feels like I should be writing for the show, since I figure I can call about 70-80% of the dialogue/story before it happens while it’s on. And I don’t have a team of writers/story consultants behind me.
In fact, call me, ABC/Disney. I’d like a job on staff.
I used to love watching Once Upon a Time, but now it seems like I’m just tolerating it.
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