Who Is Captain Nemo? The 'Once Upon A Time' Character Is Based On '20,000 Leagues Under The Sea'

Although Once Upon A Time may have first begun as a show bringing fairytale characters to life, the ABC drama has had no qualms about adapting other literary characters — lest fans forget the revelation that Dr. Whale is the show's version of Victor Frankenstein. In fact, the Season 5 finale introduced Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde as well as the Land of Untold Stories, which promises even more non-fairytale characters. But, who is Captain Nemo on Once Upon A Time , and why does that name sound familiar?

Well, before a young clownfish went missing, the name Nemo was likely more often tied to the fictional character from Jules Verne's classic sci-fi novel, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. In the book, Nemo is the captain of a technologically advanced submarine called Nautilus that has been mistaken for a large sea creature. He has exiled himself from civilization aboard the vessel in search of knowledge and, as a result of his self-imposed exile, he keeps the protagonists of the novel hostage so they can't leave to inform the world of his existence. Additionally, Nemo is largely driven by revenge, which causes the protagonists to become wary and fearful of the captain, eventually escaping from the Nautilus. Verne's story was adapted to the classic 1954 sci-fi film, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, produced by Disney.

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As for Once Upon A Time's take on the character, according to Entertainment Weekly the show cast Faran Tahir as Captain Nemo, head of the submarine named the Nautilus. And, as you may be able to guess from the fact that he is a captain as well, Nemo will have some connection to Once Upon A Time's Captain Hook — because of course. Executive producers Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis told EW:

We’re thrilled to give a Once Upon a Time spin to the classic character of Captain Nemo from one of our favorite Disney films, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. We’re excited to see his mythology merge with Storybrooke’s own captain — Hook. If for no other reason than to see the Jolly Roger go up against a submarine.

I won't lie, watching a sea-based battle between the Jolly Roger and the Nautilus does sound epic. But it's unclear how much of the Captain Nemo character will be adapted for Once Upon A Time, or where in the story of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea the show will find him.


Of course, with the entire Land of Untold Stories introducing plenty of new characters to Once Upon A Time, fans may be learning plenty more names (and diving into classic novels to learn about the original characters behind those names). But Captain Nemo is the one I'll be watching out for — mainly to make sure he doesn't harm one single hair on Hook's head. Plus, it will be interesting to see how Once Upon A Time brings 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea to Storybrooke.

Images: Jack Rowand/ABC; Giphy