Once Upon a Time aired for seven seasons and, during its long run, had a large cast of actors and actresses, some who had worked in other shows, including Lost. While on the surface, the fairytale drama doesn’t seem to have anything in common with Lost – a sci-fi mystery series about a group of survivors stranded in a dangerous island – both shows shared not only actors but storytelling techniques.
Lost was one of the most influential TV shows of the early 2000s, gaining international interest due to its thrills, twists, and mysteries. Like Once Upon a Time, Lost had a relatively large cast, and both shows used flashbacks to flesh out their characters, raising questions about their backstories while elevating the stakes of what was happening in the present timeline of each episode. By utilizing Lost’s ground-breaking style, Once Upon a Time managed to balance out its overarching plot with satisfying character arcs, especially during its first season.
Not only the show’s structure was heavily inspired by Lost, but plenty of survivors from the island hoped over to Storybrooke. Some of them played major roles, while others were minor characters or cameos during Once Upon a Time’s seven seasons. No matter how big their part was in both shows, it’s always nice to see a familiar face and discover another side of an actor or actress as they play villains, heroes, and princesses from famous Disney movies and classic fairy tales.
Before she was the Evil Queen, Lana Parrilla played the role of Greta in season 3 of Lost. Greta was Ben’s loyal soldier who captured and interrogated Charlie in the Looking Glass station on Ben’s orders. After her mission was complete, she was killed so no one would know about his plans. She was only three episodes. Greta might’ve played a minor part in Lost, but she’s certainly Once Upon A Time’s best villain (and later hero). Stylish and fierce, she was in all 155 episodes of the show.
On the island, Emilie de Ravin played Claire Littleton, one of the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815. In season 1, she was pregnant and perhaps shared a few similarities with Belle, the princess de Ravin played in Once Upon a Time. Claire befriended the complicated Charlie, a one-hit-wonder rock star struggling with drug addiction. Their relationship wasn’t as complicated as Belle and Rumpelstiltskin, but it also had its share of lies and tragedy. As characters, Claire and Belle were both sweet and capable of great things when they tried to do good.
Much like the Snow Queen, Elizabeth Mitchell’s character in Lost started off surrounded by mysteries. Introduced in season 4, Juliet Burke was a fertility doctor working with the Others and Ben. However, as her story progressed, she sided with Jack and the rest of the Oceanic 815 survivors. Meanwhile, in Once Upon a Time, Mitchell played the Snow Queen, Elsa and Anna’s lost aunt. After losing control of her ice powers, Ingrid was trapped in an urn by her sister before the events of Frozen. Wanting to reclaim the family she lost, she comes to Storybrooke to make Elsa and Emma Swan her new sisters. But, like Juliet, she ends up helping the heroes after regretting her actions.
Hurley was definitely a major character in Lost. In some ways, he was the heart of the group. Eventually, he became the island’s protector. In Once Upon a Time, Jorge Garcia played the role of Anton, the giant. At first, Anton was curious about humans, but after two of them killed his brother, he swore vengeance and attacked those who climbed his beanstalk. However, he eventually befriended the Charming family. Jorge Garcia guest-starred in three episodes of Once Upon a Time’s season 2.
Rebecca Mader was a late addition to both Once Upon a Time and Lost. While in the first she was the wicked Zelena, or the Wicked Witch of the West, in the later, she was the less-green Charlotte Lewis. Funny enough, both characters were looking for their home. In Zelena’s case, it was a metaphorical home as she envied Regina’s life and family. For Charlotte, her goal was to return to the island of her childhood. They also share an interesting connection to time travel. Zelena wanted to turn back time; meanwhile, Charlotte eventually died because of the effects of time travel on the island.
In Lost, Patrick Fischler played the role of Phil, a loyal security officer of the DHARMA initiative. He was in ten episodes of season 5, ending up brutally dying in the season finale. His fate in Once Upon a Time wasn’t as final. As the Author, Isaac had to tell the stories of all Storybrooke characters, but instead, he abused his powers and ended up imprisoned by the Apprentice. In search of a happy ending, Regina and other villains decide to free him, unleashing another curse. After causing a lot of damage and messing with the storylines of everyone, Isaac was sent back to the world without magic, and Henry became the Author instead. Fischler was in eight episodes of season 4 of Once Upon a Time.
At first glance, Charles Widmore and King George might not seem like similar characters, but Alan Dale’s roles in both Once Upon a Time and Lost share some traits. They are both ruthless and single-minded in their pursuit of power. Widmore was obsessed with the island and willing to risk his daughter’s life for it. King George, on the other hand, had no qualms in taking away children from their parents, even going as far as killing James and David’s biological father.
Eric Lange portrayed Stuart Radzinsky in Lost’s season 5. Although Radzinsky only appeared physically after the survivors time-traveled to 1977, the character was already mentioned in season 2 as one of the workers in the Swan station. Later, Desmond was told that having to push a button every 108 minutes drove him to suicide. Lange’s character in Once Upon a Time had a similar tragic end. As King Leopold and Snow White’s dear father, he died poisoned by Regina’s faithful mirror.
Although he was only in the spin-off, Once Upon A Time in Wonderland, Naveen still is part of the OUAT family as the villain Jafar. In Lost, he played the mysterious Sayid Jarrah. A tragic but heroic figure on Lost, Sayid sacrificed a lot to protect and help the other Oceanic 815 survivors. In this, he has nothing in common with Jafar, who wanted to change the laws of magic at any cost.
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