‘Once Upon a Time’: Sean Maguire sees his Robin Hood as ‘a medieval James Bond’


Sean Maguire’s Robin Hood has become one of many fan favorites on ABC’s “Once Upon a Time,” although his biggest fan may not fully grasp the role’s iconic significance.

“My nephew hasn’t really seen the show cause he’s in England, but he sort of knows I play Robin Hood. He just loves it because it’s cool, with the bows and arrows,” says Maguire.

“It’s what little boys want to do. I wanted to, at least. It’s just shy of playing a Batman or a Bond of a superhero or something for me. “


That enthusiasm for the role has helped endear Maguire to fans, as has his character’s romantic relationship with ultimate-baddie-turned-loving-mother Evil Queen Regina (Lana Parrilla). The actor stepped into a show with a “frightening” fanbase, but has enjoyed his run professionally, including making friends (he counts Colin O’Donoghue among his closest).

In the latest episode Sunday, Robin Hood will go up against the Wicked Witch of the West, and fans will get to see a bit more of his history. Show Tracker caught up with Maguire to ask a few questions about his role on the show and his on-screen relationship with Regina.

How has the season and the role been for you?

I get to play such an iconic role and for any actor it’s a fun challenge. Also, to be part of a show that has such an incredibly passionate fanbase ... I’ve been on a number of shows and I can’t remember anything having a fanbase that is almost religious about it because they’re so invested. On some levels that can be a little bit frightening, but on other levels, it’s so wonderful when families come up and say that kids and grandparents sit together and watch the show. There aren’t that many shows that can do that nowadays. It’s something to be proud of.

What version of Robin Hood informed your role?

You grow up with the old movies, and maybe the Kevin Costner role might’ve influenced me when I was a little bit younger, but for this Disney version I think we’ve just built this amalgam, this picture of somebody that we all like. Someone who says no to the authority for the right reason. Someone who steals from the rich to give to the poor -- there’s something messianic about it. Something that makes all of us go “Yeah!” Playing Robin Hood is like playing a medieval James Bond.

What do you think about the show’s fairy tale mixture of genres?

The way that the guys have mixed old legends and Disney movies and all of these characters that we’re familiar with, and then put a different spin on them, was kind of a genius move and the reason the show has become such a massive hit around the world. They just tapped into something that’s been there for a long time. The themes of hope and love and family are very strong throughout the show, which I think makes the show very relatable, but it’s great escapism cause there’s magic and there’s legends, goodies and baddies, heroes and villains. I think they’re universal themes that when done right are always going to be entertaining.

The way that these guys have learned to take a character and put that slight spin on it -- I mean, Robin Hood is going to have an encounter with the Wicked Witch [on Sunday]. I think as a fan of Robin Hood and Oz, you just think ‘Wow. What a crazy world to have these two face off against each other. What will that be like?’

So, plot-wise ... not much you can say?

I get an embossed email saying ‘Do not say this!’ and ‘Do not reveal that!’ So I just try to be as cryptic as I can.

Understandable. Your Robin’s relationship with Regina ...

To be honest, I was really excited about that. Lana and I got along really well, but I mean, the Evil Queen is probably one of the biggest and most beloved characters on the show, so if you’re going to join a massive franchise -- it’s like joining “Star Wars” and finding out that you’re going to start off with Darth Vader. On a personal level, though, we just get along really well. In the show, the idea that Robin and the Evil Queen would get together is just something you didn’t expect. I’m excited about it. And as a fan of the show, I was rooting for Robin and Regina. I did not know that Marion was coming back. Obviously, mixing again with real life and Lana, I thought “Oh, well, maybe now we won’t have as much stuff together in the future.” But the guys are often very ahead of where the fans are wanting the show to go. I think once they said that Robin and Regina were true loves, they thought that these two were going to have to find their way back to each other at some point.

Do you have much input on how they portray the world and character of of Robin Hood?

Nope. This is not one of those shows where the writers and the actors collaborate. This is very much the writers’ ballpark. I didn’t know much about the future of the character or even how long Robin was going to stay on the show until I recently had a sit down with the guys -- which obviously I can’t reveal.