Once Upon a Time fans will get to explore a whole new world with Aladdin and Princess Jasmine when the fairy tale series returns to ABC this fall.
The actress who has been cast as Princess Jasmine is already ABC royalty. As Entertainment Weekly reports, Karen David played Princess Isabella Maria Lucia Elizabetta of Valencia in the network’s musical comedy, Galavant, which was about a knight who set out on a quest to “rescue” the woman he loved from an evil king. Karen David’s character was a princess who joined him in hopes of saving her kingdom. Loves were lost, evil characters were redeemed, magic was used, and heroes got a second shot at getting happy endings. In other words, Karen David should feel right at home on Once Upon a Time.
Galavant was cancelled after two seasons, but this was more than long enough for fans to fall in love with Karen David. Last year, she expressed an interest in playing a Disney princess on Once Upon a Time, and her fans responded by starting a Twitter campaign to make her dream come true.
“I would love to be on the show! If they ever want Esmerelda, or Pocahontas, or Jasmine from Aladdin to come on, I’d LOVE to do it! xo,” David wrote in response to a fan’s Reddit AMA question about whether she’d ever audition for a role on OUAT.
Aladdin, the suave street urchin who steals Princess Jasmine’s heart, will be played by South Beach star Deniz Akdeniz. In the OUAT fairytale universe, Prince Ali has an interesting connection to Emma Swan (Jennifer Morrison). As the Los Angeles Times reports, he’s also a “savior.”
Naveen Andrews played evil sorcerer Jafar in the spin-off series Once Upon a Time in Wonderland. However, according to TVLine, he was unable to reprise his role as the Royal Vizier of Agrabah due to his Sense8 filming schedule. Instead, Jafar will be played by Covert Affairs star Oded Fehr.
— Once Upon A Time (@OnceABC) July 24, 2016
Jafar and Aladdin appear together in a Once Upon a Time sneak peek that was shown at San Diego Comic-Con, and the absence of Karen David’s Princess Jasmine should give fans of the Disney royal cause for concern. Aladdin is obviously not living the life of a content prince in the clip; he’s hiding in the middle of nowhere, and he’s suffering from a mysterious ailment that’s causing him great pain and making him shake uncontrollably.
Jafar doesn’t inflict any physical harm on Aladdin during their encounter, but he does show his power by killing a man with his magic serpent staff. He also has some ominous words for Aladdin that should make Once Upon a Time fans worry about the future of Emma Swan.
“That’s what always happens to saviors, isn’t it?” Jafar says in the clip below. “It’s the fate of saviors. You give and give and give. And for what? They pick the fruits. They cut the branches, and all that’s left is this shaky stump. Always. That’s why you never ever hear these words about a savior: they lived happily ever after.”
The Comic-Con teaser clip reportedly shows the first three minutes of the Once Upon a Time Season 6 premiere, but the entire episode likely won’t be set in Agrabah. According to the Los Angeles Daily News, OUAT co-creators/executive producers Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz revealed that the Aladdin characters’ story will eventually converge with that of the main characters in Storybrooke, but it will take some time for this to happen. In other words, fans may just see occasional flashbacks featuring the Aladdin characters during the first half of the season.
“We left a lot of threads dangling last year: Jekyll and Hyde, the Evil Queen,” Kitsis said. “So we’re not in a rush to get to Aladdin and Jafar because we have other things to take care of. We’re going to do much more of a season one, season two stay in Storybrooke kind of vibe.”
According to TVLine, Aladdin won’t be the only character from One Thousand and One Nights that appears in Season 6 of Once Upon a Time; the stories of Sinbad the sailor and Scheherazade the storyteller will also be explored. Sinbad was one of the many residents of the Land of Untold Stories who Mr. Hyde brought with him when he departed for Storybrooke at the end of last season.
Season 6 of Once Upon a Time will premiere September 25 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.
[Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images]