Lost actor Naveen Andrews has signed on for a high-profile fantasy. ABC’s Once Upon a Time in Wonderland spinoff has been a big deal back at the network ever since it was announced as a pilot this winter. At Comic-Con this weekend, ABC’s Once Upon a Time in Wonderland panel was chock full of news and footage, the biggest news being Andrews’ casting as the character Jafar from Aladdin.
Those of you who are already familiar with the Disney version of the character know he is the Royal Vizier of Agraba, a man full of political ambition and powerful sorcery. According to the Washington Post, Jafar’s storyline in Once Upon a Time in Wonderland will explore “why Jafar is in Wonderland and how the genie got in the bottle.” I'm just hoping they give the actor the same ridiculous facial hair his animated counterpart sported.
Andrews joins a slew of actors already signed on to the series, including Emma Rigby, who will play the Red Queen, Peter Gadiot, who will play Cyrus, Michael Socha, who will play the Knave, and John Lithgow, who is signed on to play the White Rabbit. Sophie Lowe is also set to take on the main role of Alice in ABC’s spinoff series.
Andrews should be a good fit for the network, having appeared in Lost on ABC for six seasons. The actor also recently appeared in the British series Sinbad, which later aired in the U.S. on Syfy. This spring, the actor tried his hand at a new pilot, Reckless at ABC (not to be confused with the CBS pilot of the same name). That show didn’t end up making the lineup for the fall, but luckily Once Upon a Time In Wonderland creators, executive producers, and writers Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz found room for the actor in their latest small screen endeavor. The producers and Andrews also collaborated together on Lost.
TV Blend’s avid Comic-Con team also says the Once Upon a Time in Wonderland panel gave fans a 20-minute sneak peek at the series, which will tell the story of how Alice and the motley crew of storybook characters got into Wonderland. This mystery surrounding Alice’s backstory will be at the heart of the narrative, but it seems the character of Jafar will play a large role, too, with Kitsis also noting the inclusive narrative will also go into detail about why Jafar has found his way into Wonderland (no doubt Wonderland and Agraba are somewhat far apart). With all of the intersecting tales and characters, Once Upon a Time in Wonderland looks to be as complicated as Once Upon a Time, but Kitsis is also promising the season’s storyline will come to a neat conclusion at the end of the season, which may help the series to avoid the twist and turn problems its sister series has.
Once Upon a Time in Wonderland will air 22 episodes next season, with 11 episodes running in the fall and 11 more running in the spring. The series will hit ABC’s schedule on Thursday, October 10 at 8 p.m. ET.