|“||Shall I get you a step stool so you can look into my eyes when you threaten me?||„|
|~ Cruella De Vil to Rumplestiltskin|
Cruella De Vil is a major antagonist in ABC's Once Upon a Time. She serves as one of the main antagonists of the second half of Season 4 and the secondary antagonist in the second half of Season 5.
A witch with the ability to persuade animals, Cruella joins forces with Ursula, Rumplestiltskin and Maleficent to form the "Queens of Darkness", so that together they may achieve their goal of getting a happy ending for villains.
She was portrayed by Victoria Smurfit.
Before First Curse
|“||Some people struggle not to be drawn in to the darkness. But ever since I was a little girl, I've said... "Why not splash in and have fun?"||„|
|~ -Cruella to Isaac about being evil|
In 1920's England, Cruella is locked up in the attic in her mother's mansion, and her mother, named Madeline, is mean to her, using her two dalmatian dogs to intimidate Cruella to stay inside. After Madeline kicks out a reporter, who is the Author in disguise, Cruella calls from the attic that she has a story for him, but he must get her out of the attic first. He uses is Author powers to transport the attic key to her, then they got to a nightclub to talk. Cruella says that Madeline killed Cruella's father, and two stepfathers. The Author then trusts Cruella enough to reveal his Author magic, and proves it by summoning diamond jewelry for her. He then writes her the ability to control animals. He gives her his car to go visit her mother one last time.
Madeline then visits the Author at his hotel room, and tells him that Cruella sold him a pack of lies and that Cruella was the one to murder her fathers, and that she locked Cruella in the attic, not to be mean, but to protect the world from her, and that she didn't report Cruella because she loved her too much to give her the death sentence. He doesn't believe it until he realizes his magic pen is missing. When Madeline returns home, she tries to use her dalmatians to drive Cruella back to the attic, but Cruella controls the dogs with her new powers and makes them tear apart Madeline.
She then skins the dogs to make a fashionable fur coat. As she finishes sewing it together, the Author comes in, and when he sees the coat, he knows what Madeline said was true. He demands to see Madeline, but Cruella says that, thanks to him, she, and her dogs, are dead now. The Author spots his pen, and he and Cruella dive for it and the magic ink. In the fight, the ink spills on Cruella, making her hair half black, half white, and her eyebrows thick and unrealistic. As Cruella pulls a gun on him, he quickly writes down that Cruella can't kill anymore. He leaves as Cruella shouts that they aren't finished.
Cruella and Ursula are invited by Rumplestiltskin to Maleficent's castle, where he invites them to ally themselves to him in order to get the Dark Curse. They help him get past various obstacles in the Bald Mountain, but Rumple then betrays them and leaves them to die at the hands of the creature Chernabog. As Maleficent fights Chernabog, Cruella and Ursula climb out of the cave and Ursula uses her tentacles to hoist Maleficent out ("Great. It'll take me weeks to get the smell of fish out of this dress."). They decide to be allies from then on. Cruella, Maleficent and Ursula kidnap Belle and hold her ransom for Rumplestiltskin. When he arrives, they demand a magic gauntlet that will reveal their enemies weaknesses and once they have it they leave.
However, later, Rumple manages to regain the Gauntlet from the Queens. The Queens travel to the Charmings' palace. Maleficent uses her expertise in sleeping curses to knock out everyone there before the Charmings arrive from their honeymoon. The Queens make a bargain with the Charmings: the Queens help the Charmings find a way to prevent the Dark Curse, the Queens leave the Charmings alone. The Queens take the Charmings to a magical tree that answers any question to those of pure heart. When it fails, Maleficent realizes that Snow White is pregnant, and the unborn baby's siding, good or bad, is unknown. The Charmings blame the Queens for the failure.
Later, Ursula and Cruella guard the cave where Maleficent keeps her egg, but the two are knocked out when Snow White blows a magic powder onto them. After the Charmings take the egg, Ursula and Cruella rush to try to save it, but they fall into the portal to the real world along with it. After the egg hatches, they leave the baby and use the magic in the eggshell to keep themselves youthful as they go to New York.
After Second Curse
Back in present time, Rumple travels to New York to find Cruella and Ursula so that they may once again form the Queens of Darkness. Cruella drives the three to Storybrooke in her car. At the town line, they find that Gold has already created a problem in Storybrooke that requires the help of Ursula and Cruella, in exchange for them being let into the city. The two witches do a series of tricks to get Snow White and Prince Charming to go to the cave beneath the library, Maleficent's resting place. Ursula knocks them out and Cruella gets some of their blood and pours it on Maleficent's ashes, which resurrects her. Cruella and the other queens are tricked by Regina to think that she still wants to be evil with them, but it is only to be an inside woman.
After Ursula is reunited with her father and voice and abandons the villains' cause, Cruella mistakenly identifies Ursula as the inside woman. After the Author is released from the book, Cruella kidnaps Henry and orders Regina and Emma to kill the Author or she'll kill the boy. Not knowing that Cruella is unable to kill, Emma blasts Cruella off a cliff to her death. Cruella is buried in the Storybrooke Cemetery.
After Third Curse
Cruella is sent to the Underworld after her death, and is forced into servitude by the rule of the Underworld Hades. She eventually develops a sexual relationship with Prince Charming's twin brother, "Sheriff" James. She possess an exact replica of her car from the real world, and can be seen driving down the Storybrooke-resembling Underworld's streets when Emma, her killer, arrives in the Underworld in search of Captain Hook's soul. Later on, she appears in the Underworld Storybrooke's mayor's office, where she tells Henry that he, as the Author, can take her back to the world of the living. He doesn't seem to want to, as she was evil back in the world of the living, but upon hearing mention of how bringing her back would make Emma not be the one who kills her, he agrees to find the Author's power, which is in the Underworld somewhere with its purpose unfulfilled.
Cruella would later explain to Regina how a tombstone in the Underworld would function if the person on it were to have "moved on"; if a stone is untouched, they are in the Underworld, and if it's tipped-over, the person has moved on. But if it's cracked, the person has been sentenced to a fate worse then the Underworld. Shortly after this, she takes Henry and hopes to use his Author powers to get herself out of the Underworld; she takes him to the "Underbrooke" version of Merlin's mansion, where Henry finds the quill of the Author. She later returns to the Sheriff's station and hoped to unwind with Sheriff James, Prince Charming's deceased twin-brother; instead, she ends up seducing Charming, pretending to be James. When he resists making out with her, she realizes that this isn't James, and explains to him how James loathes him for actually having a mother who loved him; James had been forced to be raised by King George. David gets riled up over being blamed for something out of his control, to which Cruella quips that his temper is more like James than he knows, and the day they meet will be one hell of a reunion.
After Hades orders the haunting booths to be destroyed, Cruella oversees their destruction. When David attempts to contact his son back in Storybrooke, he comes upon Cruella at the booth, and she informs him about what is going on. Henry asks her if she's doing this because he refused to revive her, but she states that she is simply following Hades' orders. However, she offers David a deal; allow Henry to revive her with the quill and she will look the other way as David makes one last call. David rejects her offer, to which she promptly instructs Claude to rip the phone out of the booth. Now, no-one could communicate into the real world, thus ensuring that all hope brought by Emma Swan and her compadraes was squashed like a fly on a windshield.
Some time later, she arrives with James to gain leverage over Hades; if she and James can't return to the mortal world through Henry, then they'll force Hades to resurrect them by kidnapping the child of his "girlfriend" Zelena, who is brought there by accident. James poses as Charming until Cruella arrives in the woods, as they hold Emma and Robin Hood at gunpoint, warning them to not cause problems or else they will be forced to stay in the Underworld forever. When Robin fires an arrow at James, he simply pulls it out of his chest and drops it, no blood or anything, since he's already dead. The two later go to the docks with Emma and Robin, hoping to make them suffer in the River of Lost Souls, the water of which flows through to the docks; however, Charming and Hook come to the rescue. In the resulting struggle, Charming ends up throwing his brother into the water, banishing him to forever remain in the River of Lost Souls, the most-terrible damnation one can receive down there. Cruella is horrified to see that her "boyfriend" has been condemned to eternal suffering.
As Henry is helping those who still have unfinished business, Cruella confronts the heroes, revealing that with Hades going to Storybrooke, she plans to name herself the new ruler of the Underworld. Rather than just lording over the Underbrooke citizens, Cruella vows to trap the heroes in this world forever as well. With the Blind Witch's magic on her side, the heroes become trapped in the library. After Regina fails to break open the library door with a fireball, the Blind Witch relishes over having finally given Regina her comeuppance for killing her. Cruella tells the witch that they'll have a nice eternity in the Underworld after all, and then, the two walk away in satisfaction. Following the heroes' escape back to Storybrooke, Hook teams up with a deceased King Arthur to locate the storybook so they can tell Emma how to defeat Hades. They go to find Cruella at the diner, where she reacts with disdain towards seeing Hook, but she coyly regards Arthur with keen interest because of his good looks. When questioned about the haunting booth, Cruella admits she destroyed it for good, since she doesn't want anyone moving on if it means she has to be stuck in the Underworld too. Hook then presses her about the book's whereabouts, which Cruella is surprisingly forthcoming about. She knows they will eventually figure out the truth even if she lies, and then tells them that she put the book in the River of Souls.
- Cruella's animal control magic is in the form of green smoke from her mouth. This is based on the cartoon, when Cruella breathed green smoke because of her cigarette.
- Cruella's iPhone case is white with black spots.
- While waiting for Emma and Regina to kill the Author, Cruella is seen playing Angry Birds, saying "blasted birds; I'll show YOU angry."
- In her 1920's England backstory, her favorite song is actually the song "Cruella de Vil", but with a 20's jazz remix.
- Cruella is in the Queens of Darkness for the longest amount of episodes. She joins in Darkness on the Edge of Town and lasts until Sympathy for the De Vil, totaling in at six episodes. Maleficent doesn't join until Unforgiven and leaves in Lily, though she doesn't do anything with the team in Sympathy for the De Vil, leaving her at five episodes. Ursula joins in Heroes and Villains and leaves in Poor Unfortunate Soul, tying her with Maleficent at five episodes.
- However, Maleficent lasts longer in the season than Cruella, who dies in Sympathy for the De Vil, while Maleficent leaves the season unharmed in Mother, two episodes later.
- This is the darkest version of Cruella ever shown. She murdered her father by poisoned him, killed her 2 stepfathers and had her mother mauled by her dogs, all because she sees them as amusing. Plus her happy ending was to regain the ability to kill for pleasure.
- Cruella is the most evil of the Queens of Darkness (at first thought to be Maleficient, but is diminished due to love for her daughter) and one of the most evil villains of Once Upon a Time in general, alongside Peter Pan, Jafar, pre-death Cora, the Black Fairy, Nimue, Hades, Mother Gothel, and the Wish Realm Rumplestiltskin. Unlike her two associates and other villains, she doesn't genuinely love anyone, familial or romantically, because her Happy Ending (according to Rumple, first believed reconciling with her mother) is to kill for her twisted amusement again, while most of the villains (with the exception of Peter Pan and Hades) had noble parts in their goals (such as finding/regaining/protecting/acquiring a family member or loved one, true love or even redeemed).
- In both of her seasons, Cruella appears to be nearing redemption before her true colors show:
- In the last half of Season 4, her episode backstory made it seem she has it similar to Maleficent and Ursula and presented as sympathetic. However, it is revealed that her mother locked her away from the outside world because of her twisted sadism and murderous nature.
- In the last half of Season 5, she is first presented as an unlikely ally to the heroes, who isn't really an enemy to them but not their friend either. However, she then becomes the secondary antagonist (possibly with the Blind Witch and Peter Pan) of the season's second half; being one of the things standing in the heroes' way due to her desire to return to the living and even trying to outright send to them to the worst place in death.