ABC’s fairy tale television series Once Upon A Time, based on the Walt Disney Company’s intellectual properties, will come to a close after the current 18-episode season, the series’ seventh season, ends.
Although parts of the series were filmed inside a studio in Metro Vancouver, much of the show was filmed on location in Richmond’s historic Steveston Village – including inside many small businesses – or in a naturalized setting along the Sea-to-Sky Corridor, which doubled as the ‘Enchanted Forest’.
The show began filming in the region in 2011, and was an instant hit with an average viewership of 11.71 million during its first season.
But ratings have gradually declined over the years, reaching a series average low of 4.39 million last season, and a series low of 2.95 million for the series finale, which prompted ABC to move the show from the coveted Sunday slot to the slow Friday slot.
“Seven years ago, we set out to create a show about hope, where even in the darkest of times, a happy ending would always be possible. But we never imagined the happy ending that was actually in store for all of us – years and years of adventure, romance, magic and hope,” said Adam Horovitz, a co-creator of the series, in a tweet.
“We’re so grateful to our brilliant collaborators – the cast, crew, and writers – as well as our partners at the studio and network for making this journey possible. But most of all, we want to thank the fans. Their fierce loyalty and devotion was the real magic behind ONCE UPON A TIME. We hope they join us for these last few hours as we journey to the Enchanted Forest for one more adventure.”
Steveston Village is central to the series, as it doubled as Storybrooke, Maine – the fictional town where the series is set. The series’ plot initially revolved on residents of the magical universe (think Snow White, Rapunzel, characters of Frozen, etc.) who were forced into the ‘real world’ and erased of their original memories and identities by Evil Queen Regina, played by Lana Parrilla.
The series is known for starring Jennifer Morrison (Emma Swan), Ginnifer Goodwin (Snow White), Josh Dallas (Prince Charming), Colin O’Donoghue (Captain Hook), and Robert Carlyle (Rumplestiltskin), but in season seven only Parrilla remained on the cast as the contracts for the rest of the series regulars expired.
Once Upon A Time provided a major boost to BC’s economy in 2011 when the local film production industry experienced a slowdown.
According to the Motion Picture Association of Canada, Once Upon A Time generated 5,500 local jobs and $276 million in direct spending in BC during the first five seasons of filming.
But the industry’s fortunes changed in 2014, and businesses in the local industry are now struggling to keep up with the booming demand for crews and production space.
The void left by Once Upon A Time, which usually begins filming each spring, will likely be filled quickly.
In the 2016-17 fiscal year, film and television productions spent about $2.6 billion in BC, marking a record high for the local industry. This is up by 35% over the previous fiscal year.
Once Upon A Time will air its series finale, the 151st episode, on April 20, 2018. The show airs on CTV in Canada and is available on Netflix.
Here is how cast members reacted to the cancellation:
What an amazing life changing journey of magic and hope! Thank you to Adam Horowitz and Eddy Kitsis for trusting me with Emma Swan. Thank you to the incredible cast and mostly, thank you to the creative team and crew of ONCE UPON A TIME. The endless hours of hard work and devotion that every crew member contributed to the show is what made magic possible every week for 7 years. I am eternally grateful to everyone. And a massive shout out, big hug, and giant thank you to all of the fans. You made ONCE what it is. You all inspired us every day. Thank you for all of the love and support for the show over the years. The #oncers made dreams come true. You are all heroes in my book!
I’ll never forget the day I walked in to audition as Evil Queen Regina for Eddy and Adam. I was wearing all black (of course) and had this crazy, dreadlock looking wrap draped over my shoulders. I had no idea where this pilot was going to go but I knew it was something special. I walked out of the audition room and down the hall was an old photograph of the OG Evil Queen herself. I knew then, something magical was about to begin. It’s been 7 years now and I couldn’t be prouder of what we all have created. Adam and Eddy had this crazy idea in their minds years ago and it turned into a fantastical phenomenon. This show has touched so many people’s lives, changed them for the better, has inspired us to grow in ways we never could’ve imagined. It’s brought hope, joy, friendships and love to so many. I am lucky and blessed to have been a part of it for 7 years. I want to thank the cast, our incredibly, hard working crew and the writers for your dedication and hard work over the years. Thank you to the studio and network for believing in us, supporting us and giving us a home to tell our stories. But most importantly, I want to thank our fans. We honestly wouldn’t be here without your love, support and loyalty to ONCE. Thank you for standing by us all of these years. We hope we’ve made you proud and that the magic this show has brought in to your lives never dies. Thank you for all you’ve given back to us in return and always remember to keep that magic alive. Signed with love, respect, gratitude and honor, Lana ❤ #OUAT 🙏
Thank you @adamhorowitzLA and Eddy Kitsis for their incredible talent and imagination. You have the ability to make nonbelievers believers by simply allowing us to enter your mind through your scripts. Thank you for allowing me to come play in your magical kingdom! I will never forget my time on @onceuponatime and I will forever be grateful to you both and @abcnetwork @abccasting for having such an open mind in your diverse casting choices and allowing me the opportunity to be your #latina #cinderella. It is such a joy to bring her to life and I am honored to be a part of such an amazing cast. To all the cast and crew members of season 7, I have loved every moment we have shared on screen and most importantly off. You are all one of the most talented group I have had the pleasure of working with and one of the most fun and genuine group I’ve spend time with. Finally to the fans, please know that we have the 2nd half of the season to share with you and we look forward to being back on your screens March 2nd! Thank you for your continued support and loyalty to a show that has been yours for 7 seasons. Many thanks to you all for sharing this time with me respectfully. I feel so blessed to have my children, family and friends live this life knowing as a latina woman I got to play a #badass #cinderella for @disney #womenrock @adamhorwitz and #EddyKitsis You have changed my life forever. #happyendingsarereal #theamericandream
Thank you to the fans of Once Upon A Time. You graciously welcomed me into the OUAT family as a new version of a character that you have loved for many years, and for this I am forever grateful. I also love this character, and I’m so excited for you to see where this journey will take him and his family over the final twelve episodes. So happy to have been a part of such an epic and long-lived tale. See ya in a few weeks. #march2nd #onceuponatime
From my first day on this magical set 7yrs ago (pics) I fell in love with this incredible cast & crew, & shortly after with our incredibly devoted & loving fans #oncers. Thank you to everyone for having me along for the ride of a lifetime, & to @adamhorowitzla & @jollychan4 for creating this special version of Belle for me. So much love, Em xoxo #Belles #rumbelle #onceuponatime @onceabcofficial #robertcarlyle #firstbelleselfie #firstrumbellepic @robcarlyle_