There is a big change coming to Once Upon a Time
. ABC is eyeing a potential spinoff centered on the Mad Hatter, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed.
, who has played the Mad Hatter since 2012, will not be reprising his role later this season when the character returns, and the network has begun looking for a replacement. ABC and the producers hoped that Stan could have continued, but he was unavailable for long-term work. (he is going for the Captain America: The Winter Soldier.)
Though the spinoff project is in the very early stages, ABC is pondering whether a short presentation will be filmed or a backdoor pilot will air later this season. It would be a late addition to ABC’s pilot pool and would be competing for a fall 2013 slot.
Once Upon a Time executive producers Adam Horowitz
and Eddy Kitsis
are overseeing the spinoff idea and would act as showrunners on both series, if the Mad Hatter project gets a green light.
This is a big move on ABC’s part to expand the Once Upon a Time franchise at a time when networks are relying on established franchises to kick-start new series, but Once Upon a Time has proven to be a consistent performer opening ABC’s Sunday night block so I’m thinking it just might work with the spin-off.