Photos by Larry/@bastardsonvan.
“It’s fairy-tale Avengers on Captain Hook’s boat going to Neverland to rescue a kid from Peter Pan.” — co-showrunner Adam Horowitz’s description of the Neverland arc to Entertainment Weekly magazine.
Once Upon a Time has been filming its Neverland arc in Vancouver shrouded in secrecy for a little more than two months. That secrecy should be good for a show that was overexposed in its second season but it’s been tough on local and visiting fans, used to seeing core cast every couple of weeks shooting on Moncton Street in Steveston. What do we know? The “Jolly Roger gang” — Emma (Jennifer Morrison), Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin), Prince Charming (Josh Dallas), Rumplestiltskin (Robert Carlyle), Regina (Lana Parrilla) and Captain Hook (Colin O’Donoghue) — set sail through a portal to Neverland on Hook’s ship, the Jolly Roger, with a mission to save Henry (Jared Gilmore) from the clutches of Peter Pan (Robbie Kay).
We are familiar with the Jolly Roger. It’s played by the Lady Washington and all of Once Upon a Time’s studio sets and its floating set boat on a barge are modelled on this tall ship from Washington state.When the real Lady Washington came to Steveston this summer for the Richmond Maritime Festival, Larry visited it and the set boat next to it on the dock at the Britannia Heritage Shipyard Park.
But we’re not familiar with Once Upon a Time’s Neverland yet. Most scenes have been filmed on studio sets with few public shoots. Larry and other fans did find a couple of temporary sets in public parks around Vancouver but filming happened after dark. For example, Once Upon a Time filmed for two nights on this Lost Boys set in Robert Burnaby Park.
And weeks later, in this quarry in North Vancouver’s Greenwood Park, where one of the ‘”gang” is held captive. The logs are lightweight props.
And then in Belcarra Park in Port Moody after nightfall.
At best, these are glimpses of this new magical world. So Vancouver will set sail for Neverland at the same time as other Once Upon a Time watchers — next Sunday, September 29th, when season 3 premieres.
Here’s the Jolly Roger gang at San Diego Comic-con near the start of their Neverland adventure. Are they still smiling?
Follow Larry on Twitter/@bastardsonvan.