Every time we are hooked to a drama, film or television series, we eagerly wait for ‘the perfect ending’. It is interesting that we already know what should be the ideal climax yet keep on watching the show to seek authentication for the outcome we have envisioned. However, when the plot takes a turn that completely contrasts with our expectations, we are extremely disappointed.
Same happened with the American television series titled, Once Upon A Time. Since the makers of the show announced the possibility of portraying a LGBT relationship in Season 5, SwanQueen was what everyone looked forward to. However, fans had their hopes shattered to discover that the comments were actually meant to highlight same-sex relationship between characters Dorothy and Ruby.
For those who are wondering what SwanQueen is, it is the name fans have given to the relationship between two characters of the show – Emma Swan (played by Jennifer Morrison) and Regina, the Evil Queen (played by Lanna Parilla).
The television series Once Upon A Time is a rather unique take on fairy tales. With one of the most interesting fantastical plots, it depicts characters from different stories living in a real-world town of Storybrooke. Having no memory of their past magical lives, they continue to live under the curse that was cast upon them by Regina, the Evil Queen.
The first season unfolds with Regina disrupting the wedding of Snow White and Prince Charming, announcing to cast her curse on everyone present. Somehow, the couple’s infant daughter Emma Swan was made to escape to the real-world before the curse could show its repercussions.
Therefore, Emma lives in the real world like an ordinary human being, having no account of her origins.
On her twenty-eighth birthday, Emma is approached by her 10-year-old son Henry whom she had given up for adoption at birth. Henry has doubts about Storybrook being under a curse or spell and believes that Emma is the only one who could help undo it. Initially, finding Henry`s narrative unconvincing, Emma starts finding the missing pieces one by one, after she comes to Storybrooke upon Henry`s insistence. This definitely brings Emma and Regina head-to-head but what connects them is their love and care for Henry. Regina is the adoptive mother of Henry while Emma is his real mom.
Through the seven seasons of this drama, people see the story unfold, some negative characters evolve into become better persons, while new ones are introduced to resume the wickedness, and the bond between Emma and the Evil Queen develop. Therefore, SwanQueen was actually on people’s wish list. However, what they had expected did not happen.
Some viewers claimed that one of the reasons they so keenly looked forward to the formal depiction of SwanQueen was the way writers and the director presented the interaction between these two characters. Just like any 2 main characters of a movie or drama, they became friends from foes who just try to hide their feelings for each other, yet continue to help and make sacrifices for the other.
Consequently, a lot of jokes about SwanQueen started circulating on social media. There were selected replays of emotional scenes, memes and GIFs revolving around two characters. The craze got so huge that one of the actors from the show (Michael Coleman playing the character of Happy) got irritated and tweeted that SwanQueen was not going to happen and even called fans as the most hostile of all. However, he was called out by his own team members for being disrespectful to fans and was made to delete his posts.
Not only is SwanQueen viewers’ self-generated name for the couple but there is an online event held bi-annually on Tumblr to appreciate and promote fans’ entertaining artistic creations highlighting the relationship between the Evil Queen and Emma Swan. The Swan Queen Week is held between the summer and winter gaps between airing of the show`s seasons.
Each of these weeks has a specific theme with separate prompts for 7 days. The content may range from drawings and videos to GIFS and wallpapers. All of the decisions for this event are influenced by public voting.
Even though the phenomenon of SwanQueen is hypothetical and just an unfulfilled wish of the viewers of the TV show, we must give credit to makers of Once Upon A Time for normalizing LGBT and same-sex relationships – whether it be between Emma and Regina, or Dorothy and Ruby. In fact, Season 5 was not the first attempt in this drama to portray the acceptance of the LGBT community. If you remember correctly, Season 3 also hinted a same-sex relationship between Mulan and Aurora but it couldn`t commence because of Mulan`s inability to tell Aurora about her feelings, given the situation.
Executive producers of Once Upon A Time, Adam Horowitz and Eddy Kitsis acknowledged the LGBT community`s fan base and support for their drama series and said it would be a pleasure to narrate a story through their plot that would reflect this marginalized group and their feelings. Accepting the changing times and advocating inclusivity for all, Horowitz said they wanted the show to reflect ‘the world as it is now’.
SwanQueen may not have happened on the show, but what has been portrayed will definitely help to change stereotypical mindsets. Therefore, we must appreciate the writers and producers for their efforts.