PRESS TOUR: 'Once Upon a Time' spins off into 'Wonderland'

Sunday, 04 August 2013 03:00 PM Written by 

Read Friday's TV Q&A and more coverage from the Television Critics Association summer 2013 press tour by clicking here. 

OUATIWBEVERLY HILLS, Calif. -- ABC's "Once Upon a Time" gets a spin-off this fall with "Once Upon a Time in Wonderland" (8 p.m. Oct. 10), following the adventures of Alice (Sophie Lowe) in Wonderland.

Originally developed as a limited series to air in the winter while "Once Upon a Time" is on hiatus, "Wonderland" is now airing its 13 episodes in the fall, and, in success, could return for more episodes in the spring.

"We were looking to build a block of power women to drive through Thursday," said ABC Entertainment president Paul Lee. "She is a truly kick-ass Alice. They have created a very, very interesting story and as we started to go down that rabbit hole it was a rabbit hole we wanted to go down for the fall season."

Read more after the jump. ...

The "Wonderland" producers, who also produce the original "Once Upon a Time," said "Wonderland" will have no barriers to entry for viewers who haven't been watching "Once Upon a Time."

"'Wonderland' exists concurrently with 'Once' in the 'Once' universe but stands on its own," said executive producer Adam Horowitz. "If you're not familiar with the mythology of 'Once,' hopefully you can come right in."

The goal is to tell one story over the first season and return with a new Alice story in season two.

Naveen Andrews from "Lost" will play Jafar in "Wonderland." John Lithgow will play the White Rabbit. Peter Gadiot plays a genie named Cyrus (pictured above with Alice), MIchael Socha (the British "Being Human") is the Knave of Hearts and Emma Rigby will play The Red Queen.

Actor Sebastian Stan, who played the Mad Hatter in a "Once" episode, is too busy with other roles (the new "Captain America" movie), won't be back right away but producers are hoping he will have time to film a "Wonderland" episode at some point and are not recasting his role in their new telling of the Alice tale.

"We're honoring what came before and trying to have our own spin," Horowitz said.

"But of course we're telling our own story because Alice was never in a love with a genie before," added executive producer Edward Kitsis.

Kitsis said the mash-up aspect of "Wonderland" is inspired by their childhoold play.

"We're still 12-year-old kids in our backyards playing with 'Star Wars' figures and mashing them up with G.I Joes," Kitsis said, pretending to play: "'Darth Vader will kill you, Spock!' And we bring that into what we do."

"Darth Vader would not kill Spock," Horowitz replied.

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