David Nolan (Once Upon a Time)
|Prince "Charming" David|
Promotional photograph of Josh Dallas as Prince Charming/David Nolan.
|Once Upon a Time character|
Josh Dallas (adult)|
Luke Roessler (child)
|Last appearance||"Leaving Storybrooke"|
Shadow of the Queen|
Out of the Past
King David (alternate reality)
Prince Farming [d]
|Home||Land Without Magic|
David Nolan, also known as Prince Charming, is a fictional character in ABC's television series Once Upon a Time. He is portrayed by Josh Dallas, who also happens to be married to series co-star Ginnifer Goodwin, who plays David's wife Snow White/Mary Margaret Blanchard.
The leader of the Enchanted Forest's War Council who is comatose in Storybrooke. While initially he is known simply as "John Doe" in Storybrooke because of his comatose state, he is eventually revealed to be called David Nolan, after waking up. The creators also mixed Charming's history with that of The Prince and the Pauper, with Dallas portraying both the original Prince and the Pauper who replaced his brother after he was killed. Because of this history, Dallas tried to bring a "rural" feel to the character to make him more accessible to viewers. On what makes his portrayal of Prince Charming different to those before, Dallas explained that "Prince Charming just happens to be a name. He's still a man with the same emotions as any other man. He's a Prince, but he's a Prince of the people. He gets his hands dirty. He's got a kingdom to run. He has a family to protect. He has an epic, epic love for Snow White. He's like everybody else. He's human."
Season 1 and 2
In the Enchanted Forest, David was originally a poor shepherd whose twin brother James was given to King George as an heir in a deal with Rumplestiltskin. From an internal story chronology we first encounter him when he meets Anna of Arendelle, whom he tells he is a friend of Kristof, and we find him being terrorized by the evil Little Bo Peep.
When James, his twin brother, is killed in battle, David takes his brother's name in exchange for the prosperity of his mother's farm. King Midas declares David fit to marry his daughter Abigail and unite the kingdoms. However, David wants to marry for love, but George vows to kill his mother if he declines. He falls in love with Snow White, who nicknames him Charming, later inviting her to run away. After continuous interceptions by George, the Evil Queen Regina captures him to convince Snow to willingly eat an apple containing a sleeping curse. He later awakens her and the pair marry, before Regina announces that she will cast a curse to destroy their happiness. Rumplestiltskin informs them that their child will break the curse in 28 years. Emma is born before the curse takes hold, and Charming places her in a magical wardrobe to protect her from the curse, before being wounded by the Queen's knights.
In Storybrooke, as a result of his wounds, he first appears as a John Doe, who has gone unidentified for years. He awakens after Mary Margaret (Snow White) reads him their story. He reunites with his wife Kathryn (Princess Abigail), and is identified as David Nolan. David suffers from amnesia and cannot remember his fake life with Kathryn. He falls in love with Mary Margaret and begins an affair with her, ending his marriage to Kathryn, who is soon reported as being murdered, a plan arranged between Regina Mills and Mr. Gold. David becomes a suspect in her disappearance, until evidence against Mary Margaret is found. Kathryn is found alive, though David's relationship with Mary Margaret becomes strained, as he did not believe her innocence. He decides to move to Boston, though the curse is broken shortly after, and he reunites with Snow and Emma. David agrees to send a wraith released into Storybrooke through a portal, though Emma and Mary Margaret are dragged with it. David looks after Henry while Emma and Mary Margaret are absent. After failing attempts of transportation, David falls under a sleeping curse to communicate with Mary Margaret. He is awoken by true love's kiss when the two return. When Henry is kidnapped to Neverland, David travels with his family and friends to rescue him from Peter Pan.
Season 3 and 4
In Neverland, David is poisoned by Dreamshade, though Hook partially cures him and the group successfully return to Storybrooke where Mr. Gold fully heals him. After Pan enacts the original curse once more, David is returned to his original world with the remaining inhabitants, while Emma and Henry escape to New York City.
Back in the Enchanted Forest, David learns that Snow is pregnant but also discovers that Zelena, the Wicked Witch of the West wants their baby. The two enact a new curse to return to Storybrooke and make Emma stop Zelena. David insists Snow crush his heart, though she later asks Regina to split her heart in two to give to both of them. Zelena adds a forgetting potion to the curse, removing their memories of the past year. A year later, Emma returns to Storybrooke, and David and Mary Margaret reveal they are having a baby. Zelena poses as the couple's mid-wife, stealing a symbol of David's courage from him. Zelena is ultimately defeated and Mary Margaret gives birth to a son, whom she names after Henry's father and Rumplestiltkin's son, Neal. Following the Queens of Darkness's arrival in Storybrooke, Mary Margaret and David battle to keep their secret (being the reason Maleficent lost her child) from Emma. However, they eventually tell Emma the truth, who finds it hard to forgive them. After Mary Margaret is almost killed by Maleficent's daughter Lily, Emma reunites with her parents, although this is short lived when Emma sacrifices herself to become the new Dark One. With the other residents, Mary Margaret transports to the Enchanted Forest, taking Emma to Camelot in order to find Merlin and remove her darkness. However, weeks later, they return to Storybrooke with missing memories as to how they failed. In "Siege Perilous", David is knighted by King Arthur (Liam Garrigan) and bestowed the Siege Perilous seat at the Round Table. He later gives this up when he learned of Arthur's deception, which would later result in David having Arthur arrested in Storybrooke.
After Emma restored his memory, David followed his daughter to the Underworld to help rescue Hook, only to learn that his late twin brother James is the Sheriff in this realm and discovered from Cruella de Vil that James has resentment against David over being raised by their mother and having a family that James envies. When the two finally meet for the first time, David attempted to explain to James (who still believed he was the "Prince") over what happened back in the Enchanted Forest, but James cut to the chase and used a stun gun on David, and pretended to play "Shepherd" in a scheme to help him and Cruella escape the Underworld by tricking Emma into finding the location of where Robin Hood was keeping Zelena's baby. When James attempted to send Emma and Robin to the River of Lost Souls at the harbor, David stopped James and tried to convince him that he can be at peace and move on, but James continued to believe that killing David was his unfinished business. James attempted to pull a knife to kill David but he missed and is sent into the water, where he was consumed by the lost souls. As David watched this unfold, Emma told her father that despite his effort to save him, it was too late for James anyway.
Once the Evil Queen return to Storybrooke chaos erupted but David and his family tried to continue to have a normal life but this is short lived when the Evil Queen threatens the town with water from the River of Lost Souls unless Snow and David give up their hearts which they do. However, instead of killing them the Evil Queen puts a sleeping curse on their shared heart so when one is awake, the other will remain asleep so now Snow and David cannot be together but they try to adjust to life without each other. It was revealed that while David believed his father was a drunk who died because of his behavior, David's father Robert rescued James after James ran away from King George. When Robert asked to take James back because James was unhappy, King George ordered the father killed causing David to almost kill King George but is later stopped by Hook. Hook after given permission by David to marry Emma finds out he killed the men who were supposed to kill the father, and he killed Robert because "dead men tell no tales."
Character development and reception
Prior to landing the role on the series, Dallas was cast in 2011 as Fandral in Thor after Irish actor Stuart Townsend withdrew from the role days before filming was to begin. However, Dallas did not reprise his role in the sequel to Thor due to his commitments in Once Upon a Time. Zachary Levi replaced him in the film.
The creators also mixed Charming's history with that of The Prince and the Pauper, with Dallas portraying both the original Prince and the Pauper who replaced his brother after he was killed. Because of this history, Dallas tried to bring a "rural" feel to the character to make him more accessible to viewers. On what makes his portrayal of Prince Charming different to those before, Dallas explained that "Prince Charming just happens to be a name. He's still a man with the same emotions as any other man. He's a Prince, but he's a Prince of the people. He gets his hands dirty. He's got a kingdom to run. He has a family to protect. He has an epic, epic love for Snow White. He's like everybody else. He's human."
Dallas subsequently began dating his Once Upon a Time co-star Goodwin in fall 2011. Dallas and Goodwin became engaged in October 2013, and married on April 12, 2014 in California. They have one child, a son, born in May 2014.
- As described in "The Shepherd," Charming took on his brother's identity after his death.
- As a comatose patient in Storybrooke during the curse, David was referred as this until he awoke and his cursed memories sunk in.
- David has been referred to as Dave by characters Gene, Hook, and Prince James.
- The Evil Queen refers to David by this nickname as a disdainful reference to his rural background.
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