After two seasons of wishing she was a part of our Once Upon a Time world, Ariel is finally swimming into our TV screens!
In this Sunday's all-new episode, fans will be introduced to the fin-tastic new character when she saves our dear friend Snow (Ginnfer Goodwin) from a near-death experience. (She sure does seem have to have a lot of those, huh?) And here's a little fairytale fun-fact for you: Did you know that mermaids can swim in between realms? That's right! In addition to seeing our Ariel in flashback form, we will also be graced with her fiery presence in Neverland as a part of the quest to save Henry.
We recently chatted with our magical new mermaid JoAnna Garcia to snag all the whozits and whatzits galore from her time on spell-binding hit drama.
Part of Our World: We're so excited to see Ariel flipping her fins into our favorite fairytale drama that we've practically lost our voices from squealing so loudly. And we're not the only ones who were thrilled by the news! Garcia exclusively tells us she is just as excited for fans to see her splashing debut.
"It was everything that I could have hoped for!" she exclaims. "I'm a huge fan of the show and I have been since the beginning and I just feel like it's really been a blast and it has not disappointed. To be able to play a Disney princess, it just really doesn't happen too often in real life." Um, isn't that pretty much every girl's dream?!
In Sunday's outing, fans will quickly see that OUAT's Ariel truly honors the little mermaid that we've all come to know and love, as the actress explains, "I imagine her to be incredibly true to who Ariel was, I just think she has a little extra spunk. Anything with Once Upon a Time there has that cloud of mystery and magic and I think she fits in very well with the show and the tone of the series. There is still so much of that beloved Ariel that is just so sweet and eager, optimistic and romantic. I just love everything about her."
Under the Sea: Like the animated character, Ariel is a little bit of a kleptomaniac. Our under the seas songstress is particularly astounded by one mysterious and magical object: A fork! But of course any true mermaid fan know the correct Scuttle terminology.
"You do see a dinglehopper!" Garcia laughs. "I don't know that I can tell you how it plays into it, but just know that this version of Ariel finds a dinglehopper to be equally as fascinating as the animated version did. And a little bit more useful—I don't just brush my hair with it!" Alright ladies, admit it. Who else has tried to detangle their luscious locks at the dinner table?
Garcia admits that swimming into those iconic fins was a little bit daunting—especially being a new mom. "Well I just had a baby. I just took a deep breath and I said this is the little mermaid and she's a little voluptuous right now and I'm going to go with it." She continues, "It was a dream, and of course I had Ginny to hold my hand when I realized, "Oh my god, I'm half naked!'" Way to rock those purple seashells, girl!
Disney, JOE SCHILDHORN/PatrickMcMullan.com
Poor Unfortunate Soul: When we had our first encounter with mermaids in the season three premiere, many fans were shocked to so see that merpeople can be quite a vicious species. However, Garcia was quick to stress that Ariel doesn't have a bad bone—Uh, we mean fin?—in her body.
"Ariel could never be bad. Ariel is so quirky and just kind of marches to the beat of her own drum and just lives in this really sweet world of hopefulness and optimism." The actress explains. "I think that's why she doesn't join forces with these evil mermaids. And I think she would probably be really offended at the thought of someone putting her in that category."
However, there is one character in this episode who wears evil like a badge of honor. Why hello there Ursula—or should we say Regina (Lana Parrilla)?! Dun-dun-dun! Regina is yet again our big bad and it seems like she is single-handedly trying to put all other fairytale villains out of a job.
Kiss the Girl: And of course with every Disney princess, there is always a handsome prince nearby. Garcia happily tells us that Ariel is head over tail for Prince Eric (Gil McKinney), and so will do practically anything to be his girl. She says, "Eric is everything to Ariel and I think that there is no limit to how far she will go to be with him. She would pretty much do anything if you dangle him in front of her." Oh yes, she's definitely hooked. (Ugh, so sorry. We know that pun was bad but we just couldn't help it.)
Luckily, Snow is so grateful to Ariel for saving her lie that she offers to give our new land-walker some lessons on how to be the most perfect princess. Garcia explains that she and Ginnifer Goodwin quickly developed a friendship both on an off-screen. "I think there is that instant kindred spirit between the two girls," she says. "Snow obviously is grateful to Ariel for having saved her life but Snow wants to return the favor in that perfect kind Snow White form and they definitely have an instant connection."
So get excited OUAT shippers because it looks like we'll be witnessing another epic fairytale love. The actress gushes, "In our version of this story is the idea of that instant love at first sight incredible magical Disney fairytale moment of two people locking eyes and falling very much in love." Aw, we can't wait to see how their love unfolds!
Don't miss Sunday's splashing new episode of Once Upon a Time Sunday at 8 p.m. on ABC!