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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 src

Cruella De Vil, also known as Cruella Feinberg, is a character on ABC's Once Upon a Time. She débuts in the eleventh episode of the fourth season. She is portrayed by guest star Victoria Smurfit and co-star Milli Wilkinson.

Cruella De Vil is based on the character of the same name from the novel The Hundred and One Dalmatians, and the Disney film One Hundred and One Dalmatians.

History

Before First Curse

As a young girl, Cruella murders her father with poisonous flowers. One day, she attempts to flee from home, but her mother Madeline's trained dalmatians stop her, and from then on, she is locked in the attic. Madeline marries again, but her daughter kills him, and the same thing happens with her third husband. Years later, Cruella secretly gains a radio, listening to the device in her spare time, until her mother confronts her about stealing it. As the argument escalates, Madeline goes to answer the door. Cruella overhears a man, Isaac, asking her mother for a good story, but eventually, Madeline kicks him out. From her window, Cruella promises him a story, but only if he helps her escape. Later, she finds a key that the man left on her windowsill and sneaks out of the house. Having spent her life in an attic, she asks him to take her somewhere loud, so he brings her to a party. There, Cruella lies about her mother killing her three husbands, and keeping her locked up so she can't reveal the truth. By the night's end, Isaac is smitten with her, and he tells her about his quill and ink, which give him the power to write anything into reality. After proving it's real by granting her a necklace and diamond earrings, Issac asks her to run away with him. Since she is afraid her mother will catch her, he gives her the power to control animals. Before she can leave with him, Cruella insists on facing her mother one last time. Isaac hands her his car keys and then promises to wait for her at the hotel. Sometime during this, Cruella steals his quill, returning home, where she forces her mother's dogs to kill Madeline. Later, she butchers the dogs and sews a fur coat out of them, just as Isaac walks in on her. Realizing that she used him, Isaac grabs the quill and fights with Cruella for the ink pot before Cruella accidentally spills it on herself, turning her hair black and white and changing her appearance. Before she can fire her gun at him, Issac cancels this out by writing that she can never kill another person again. As he leaves, she yells that they aren't finished yet. ("Sympathy for the De Vil")

At some point in time, Cruella travels to the Enchanted Forest. Receiving a mysterious invitation to the Forbidden Fortress, Cruella De Vil arrives with her two dog companions, using her magical ability of persuasion on them, to which they react with hostility towards two strangers, Maleficent and Ursula. Cruella and Ursula assume Maleficent sent for them, although Rumplestiltskin reveals he did. Desiring help from all three women to retrieve a curse, he promises it will give them as well as himself the happy endings they otherwise would not get as villains. After agreeing, they travel with him to the Bald Mountain, where each woman uses their powers to defeat an obstacle. For Cruella, she magically persuades a horde of venomous blood scarabs to part aside for them. Once Ursula grabs the orb containing the curse, it triggers the Chernabog into attacking. Admitting that he used them, Rumplestiltskin advises the women about the Chernabog, which detects the heart with the greatest evil and devours it. He then leaves, with the curse's orb, while the trio faces the beast. The Chernabog attacks Maleficent, who distracts it as Cruella and Ursula climb up a crack in the ceiling. Just before the Chernabog can kill Maleficent, Ursula hoists her to safety. ("Darkness on the Edge of Town")

Later on, with Maleficent and Ursula, Cruella schemes to gain Camelot's magic gauntlet, an item used for locating one's greatest weakness, so they as villains can win against heroes. Knowing Rumplestiltskin possesses the gauntlet, Cruella kidnaps his maid, Belle, as ransom. With an enchanted sand dollar, they coerce Belle into speaking a message to ask Rumplestiltskin to save her by showing up at Demon's Bluff with the gauntlet. The message is then sent to the Dark One via raven. Upon Rumplestiltskin's arrival, Maleficent confronts him, and when he attacks her, both Ursula and then Cruella step out to pressure him into honoring their agreement. He doesn't, so Cruella orders Ursula to crush Belle's heart. As Belle is almost suffocated to death, only then, he gives up the gauntlet and releases Maleficent from his grip. With the terms satisfied, the trio reveals their main motivation for having the gauntlet is to know their enemies' weaknesses. Maleficent transports herself and her allies away, but Rumplestiltskin later seeks them out to retrieve the gauntlet. Although Maleficent insists they had a deal, the Dark One contends asking a ransom from him is a death wish and a fool's errand as he swiftly steals back the gauntlet. Cruella then suggests he join them to change the game so they, the villains, can win for once. Rumplestiltskin declares he always wins and doesn't need to team up with them to do it. ("Heroes and Villains")

At some point, the curse ends up in the Queen's hands, and she trades it to Maleficent for the sleeping curse to use on Snow White. When this curse is broken by Prince Charming, the Queen steals the curse she previously gave to Maleficent. Fearing that the Queen will cast the curse and doom them all, Cruella goes with Maleficent and Ursula to gain Snow White and Prince Charming's help. The trio wants the royal couple to ask the Tree of Wisdom how to defeat the curse since the being will only answer questions from two of the most valiant heroes. The pair eventually agree to make the journey with the trio, but at a bridge crossing, the guards deem Cruella, Maleficent and Ursula untrustworthy and deny the group passage. Impatient, Maleficent morphs into a dragon, killing the soldiers with fire breath, as the bridge is left unguarded. After camping out at night, the villains realize too late that Snow White and Prince Charming left earlier without them. Tracking them down, they arrive just after the pair are denied an answer from the tree. On closer inspection of Snow White's overall physique, Maleficent recognizes the early signs of pregnancy. She suggests that although their child is born from true love, it also means he or she has potential to become evil, which is why the tree denied them. Departing, the three women decide to find another way to stop the curse. ("Unforgiven")

After a pregnant Maleficent stakes her claim on a cave and gives birth by laying an egg, she deploys Cruella and Ursula to guard the den entrance. While they are complaining about how cold it is outside, the two are knocked unconscious by Snow White and Prince Charming's poppy dust. The pair then ventures into the cavern, stealing Maleficent's egg, and later allow the Apprentice to cast a spell to infuse it with darkness so their own unborn child will not become evil. However, when Snow White and Prince Charming realize the spell has opened a portal and will condemn the child to another world, they try to save the baby, as Cruella and Ursula rush up to berate them for what they've done. In the midst of arguing, the portal sucks in not only the child but Cruella and Ursula as well. ("Best Laid Plans")

Arriving in Minnesota[1] in the Land Without Magic, Cruella and Ursula choose to leave Maleficent's child in the woods to die, but they use the dragon egg to prevent them from aging for thirty years. At a later time, the two women go their separate ways. Cruella begins living in Great Neck, Long Island and marries a man with the last name Feinberg. ("Sympathy for the De Vil")

Some time after this, Cruella also manages to buy a replica of the car that Isaac gave her.[2]

After Second Curse

One day, Cruella's husband is arrested as their possessions are taken by the FBI, but she still stubbornly snatches back her coat. At Mr. Gold and Ursula's arrival, she expresses little interest in joining them and instead shows off her car. However, convinced by his claims that he knows where to find magic, Cruella drives them to a road near Storybrooke. Upon learning the town is invisible and cannot be entered, Cruella angrily aims her pistol at him, but Mr. Gold contends that they cannot get into Storybrooke without his help. In Mr. Gold's plan, Cruella and Ursula use his phone to call Regina. Claiming to have met Mr. Gold in New York City and learning about Storybrooke from him, they desire to enter the town and prove they've changed from their old ways. During the conversation, the pair hears the Chernabog's roar in the background and advises Regina on the beast's attributes. After the Chernabog is defeated, thanks to their suggestions, Regina tosses a scroll over the town line, which Cruella opens to unveil Storybrooke. That night, in the final part of the plan, the villainous twosome return to the town line and help Mr. Gold cross into Storybrooke with the scroll. As they walk down the street, he instructs them to continue playing nice with the residents. When Ursula complains they are doing all the work, Mr. Gold reveals having managed to get the Chernabog released from the hat as the "Oxford professor" that Belle consulted for the spell to release those trapped in it. That night, Cruella and Ursula meet with David and Mary Margaret, who swear the twosome into never revealing their past dealings in the Enchanted Forest. Ominously, Mary Margaret promises to tear out their hearts herself if they don't comply. ("Darkness on the Edge of Town")

Ordering drinks at the diner, Cruella and Ursula receive a cold reception from Granny, who deliberately delays their orders. When Regina walks in with her son, Henry, the women casually cajole the former Queen about having once ripped out hearts from an entire region. Upset, Regina sends Henry out, and after he is gone, she warns the ladies from ever mentioning her past again in front of her son. Taking their leave, Ursula and Cruella depart as Hook and Emma arrive. At the pawnshop, the women distract Belle as Ursula steals a wooden box to mislead David into believing they will use it to revive Maleficent. When David does a patrol search of their car, he steals the totem inside the box. After he and Mary Margaret venture unto Maleficent's cavern to destroy her ashes, Ursula knocks them out. Cruella then sacrifices some of the couple's blood to the ashes and resurrects Maleficent, who promises to make Mary Margaret suffer for as long as possible for what she did to her. The female trio later stands on a hilltop overlooking the town as Maleficent teleports the totem to her, connecting it with a bottom half to form a baby rattle, and shakes it as a pained look crosses her face. ("Unforgiven")

As the villains have a get-together at the diner, Regina enters and persuades Maleficent that she wants to join their inner circle. Still skeptical, the ladies test their newest addition, in which Cruella drives her car onto railroad tracks while a train approaches. With everyone still seated in the vehicle, Regina must prove she is not heroic by not using magic to save them. Waiting until the train almost crashes into the car, only then, she teleports them out of harm's way. Cruella, having previously bet that Regina would save them, collects a necklace from Maleficent, who lost the bet. While the women think she's gone soft, Regina then suggests they stir up trouble elsewhere, and the foursome spends the night drinking and damaging public property. The next morning, Ursula, Cruella and Maleficent report to a cabin in the woods, where they tell Mr. Gold about Regina. He considers her a possible asset for their scheme since she's just as desperate as them to find the Author, which convinces the women to trust her. That night, Cruella lets Maleficent borrow her car, which is enchanted to drive on its own. Meeting up with Regina alone, Maleficent instructs her to kidnap Pinocchio, who they need to interrogate about the Author. The plan goes smoothly, and they bring the boy to the cabin, where Regina is shocked to see Mr. Gold has returned. When Cruella and Ursula arrive, Mr. Gold reveals Pinocchio is no use to them, but the man he used to be remembers everything. Using his dagger, he reverts the boy into August, who they'll torture for information about the Author. ("Enter the Dragon")

Under Mr. Gold's questioning, August claims to have information on the Author hidden in his old trailer. While he is gone, Cruella and the others guard the captive, and then Ursula excuses herself outside. Mr. Gold returns, having stolen magic from the nuns, and uses it on August to make his nose to grow every time he lies. Finally, August admits the Sorcerer trapped the Author behind a door, but he claims to not know where it is, though there is a storybook page illustrating the door. While Regina and Maleficent go with Mr. Gold to check the Sorcerer's mansion, Cruella stays to guard August. When Emma and her parents storm the cabin, she counters with her gun, but Mary Margaret knocks her out. Later, she wakes up to see the heroes helping Ursula regain her singing voice and reconciling with her father. Believing Ursula has been a double agent this whole time, Cruella slips away unnoticed and notifies her allies about the development. Later, Regina is ordered to steal the door illustration from the heroes. ("Poor Unfortunate Soul")

At the cabin, the trio awaits Regina, who returns with a snapshot of the door page since she wasn't able to steal the illustration. Cruella scoffs at the light glare on the photo, which makes the door difficult to see, though Mr. Gold realizes it's magic. He deducts the Author is actually trapped in the door within the illustration after being imprisoned by the Sorcerer. With the page more vital to them than before, Maleficent puts everyone in town to sleep, although those already once affected by a sleeping curse remain immune, before she and the others arrive at the apartment to search. Seeing an asleep Emma on the couch, Cruella toys with the idea of strangulating her, though Regina strongly advises against it. When they find nothing at the apartment, Mr. Gold figures Henry must have disappeared to the mansion with the storybook. After he leaves to conduct other business, the women head to the mansion, and with Regina's persuasion, Henry forfeits a forgery of the door illustration. Regrouping outside the pawnshop, Mr. Gold examines the page, realizing it's fake, and then has Maleficent put Regina to sleep. Believing she is culpable, the trio hauls her to the vault. ("Best Laid Plans")

Driving along a road, Cruella slams her brakes after seeing Maleficent standing in her way. Maleficent angrily confronts her about lying about her child's fate, to which Cruella admits she and Ursula left the baby to die and then used the magic of the dragon egg to stay youthful. Furious at her unremorseful confession, Maleficent threatens her with a death that will last days, before transforming into dragon form. Cruella quickly subdues her with persuasion magic and compels Maleficent into taking a nap. Unable to kill the Author herself, since he took that power away from her long ago, Cruella decides she'll make Emma murder him instead. To force the savior into choosing, Cruella manipulates a dalmatian, Pongo, into luring Henry to her, and then sends a video message to Emma and Regina, in which she threatens to kill the boy if they don't kill the Author. At one point, Henry escapes from Cruella after undoing his binds, but she corners him at a cliff just before Emma find them. Meanwhile, David and Mary Margaret track down the Author, who reveals Cruella cannot kill anyone anymore after he canceled it out with his quill, and the situation is merely a ploy in Mr. Gold's plan to turn Emma dark. Cruella, pulling Henry to the edge of the cliff, holds a gun at the boy while calling Emma's bluff about killing her because she's a hero. Before David and Snow White can reach their daughter, Emma uses magic to blast Cruella backward and off the cliff, where she falls to her death. ("Sympathy for the De Vil")

At Cruella's burial, Isaac and Mr. Gold show up to pay their respects. The Author places a card imprinted with Cruella's lipstick, from the night he and she went to the party, onto her casket. He reminisces about how she was good to him in her own way and that she made him the man he is today. Mr. Gold bluntly remarks that Cruella had to die at the savior's hands, and this is a fresh start to turn Emma towards darkness. ("Lily")

After Third Curse

After her death, Cruella ends up in the Underworld, unable to move on because of unfinished business. In this realm, she possesses an exact replica of her old car and drives it around Underbrooke. At some point after coming to the Underworld, she begins a relationship with the sheriff, James. She comes to believe that he hates his twin brother, David, for being the son that their birth parents decided to keep, while he was given away to be King George's heir. ("Souls of the Departed", "The Brothers Jones", "Sisters")

Once Cora is forced to vacate her position as mayor of Underbrooke, the job is passed onto Cruella. ("Devil's Due")

When Henry arrives to search the mayoral office for maps, Cruella is already waiting for him inside. After questioning him about Emma, who she begrudges for killing her, she talks about the two ways someone can leave the Underworld, whether for a better or worse place. Knowing she is likely destined for the latter, she orders Henry to use the Author's quill to bring her back to the land of the living. She explains that news travels fast in the Underworld, as everyone heard about Henry becoming the new Author, including the fact he broke the quill. Cruella reveals one thing Henry doesn't know - that the quill is a magical, living entity, and by breaking it, he sent it to the Underworld because the quill's purpose is left unfulfilled. As such, she wants him to retrieve the quill and give her what she desires. Henry doesn't see what he gets out of it, but Cruella reasons if he brings her back to life, Emma will no longer be a murderer. Once Henry returns to Robin Hood, he claims he found nothing in the office. ("Labor of Love")

On another day, Cruella is approached by Regina at the diner for help because her magic no longer works in the Underworld. After getting seated at a table booth, Regina asks about looking for someone and wanting to know whether this person already moved on, but she won't name who it is. Cruella explains the three "settings" on the Underworld's headstones that show the current state of the deceased person. If the headstone is standing, it means the person is only passing through. If it is tipped off, the person has already moved on to a better place, and if the headstone has cracks, the person has gone to a worse place. ("Devil's Due")

Taking Henry along for a ride in her car, Cruella instructs him to be on the lookout for the quill, which he is able to sense since he's the current Author. Spotting something moving in the woods, Henry makes her stop the car to conduct a search. Cruella accompanies him there at first, but after she refuses to go in any further, she pushes Henry to continue on his own. Henry meets the Apprentice, who chides him for trying to help Cruella, however, he directs the boy to the quill in the Sorcerer's mansion, trusting that he will use it for the right reasons. Presumably, Cruella remains in the dark about Henry's encounter, and after this supposedly fruitless search, she returns to the sheriff's office, hoping to unwind for the day with James. Instead, she finds David pretending to be James, but she plays along. Showering him with a kiss, she then plops down on his lap, seductively asking if he wants to try the champagne or her first, before popping open the champagne bottle. When she begins making out with him, he tries to deter her, explaining that he has an early patrol shift. Not getting much from him, Cruella suggests using handcuffs to spice things up. David, having had enough, dumps her on the table, expressing disgust at her act. She reveals knowing the whole time he wasn't James, and that his brother loathes David for being the son their mother chose to keep. 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. ("The Brothers Jones")

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. ("Ruby Slippers")

Once James disables Emma's magic by pretending to be David, Cruella drives up in her car to join him. After praising James for his efforts and promising to give him a private show of thanks later, she punches Emma as payback for killing her. When Emma questions what she wants, Cruella explains that since Henry won't revive her, she'll force Hades to do it, by kidnapping Zelena's daughter, since she knows Zelena is precious to him. Robin resists, shooting an arrow into James' chest, but it has no effect since he is already dead. At the docks, Cruella and James attempt to send Emma and Robin into the River of Lost Souls, but David arrives to subdue his brother, causing James to drop his gun. Cruella tries to grab the gun, only for Hook to take it, as he remarks that she is unable to use it anyway. She then scurries to the sidelines while David and James have it out in a physical fight. Cruella urges James to retreat with her, but instead, he pulls a knife on David, who blocks the hit and hurls him into the river. ("Sisters")

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. ("Firebird")

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. ("Last Rites")

Arthur eventually takes over the Underworld, dethroning Cruella. Fifty years later, Cruella wakes up a bar. Seeing the bartender behind the counter, she begins throwing peanuts at him to get his attention. Once he turns around, he notes that he thought he kicked her out the night before, prompting her to ask what time it is. He informs her that it is 11:00 AM. She orders a mimosa and questions him on who he was before he died and he tells her that he was Sir Mordred, one of the Knights of the Round Table who served King Arthur. Cruella complains about the hierarchy present everywhere, including in the Underworld now that Arthur is in charge while she is left as a lush at the local bar. When Mordred doesn't disagree with her assessment of herself, she orders him to lie promptly as it's all she asks of him. Mordred changes the subject, noting that he also dislikes having Arthur in charge of the Underworld. Cruella becomes momentarily distracted by how soft his skin is, requesting that she be allowed to skin him and turn him into a coat, though Mordred refuses. Disappointed, she requests a whiskey, only to learn that there is none left. She over-dramatically wonders how she is supposed to carry on under these conditions, so Mordred suggests that they try to usurp Arthur's throne, adding that he tried it while he was alive. Cruella asks how that worked out and he responds that Arthur killed him, which is why he's in the Underworld. Cruella decides that this is not a good plan and tells him to come up with something else. Mordred suggests that they try to redeem themselves and go to Mount Olympus but Cruella disagrees, as she cannot see herself doing the right thing and solving crimes any more than she can see herself petting puppies with their skins still on. Mordred notes that, with her heinousness, Cruella makes the rest of the villains in the Underworld look good by comparison and suggests that she stay in the Underworld. Cruella misunderstands, seeing herself as the darkness that makes goodness possible and therefore the true hero of the story. Mordred follows her previous request and promptly agrees with her. Cruella once again asks for champagne and this time Mordred agrees, though he still refuses to let her skin him. Suddenly remembering how her conversation with Mordred started, Cruella asks where she is and what she's doing there. Mordred informs her that she was celebrating fifty years since Arthur took over the Underworld. She wishes Mordred a happy anniversary but he walks away before she can clink their glasses together, leaving her to drink alone. ("Tales From The Underworld: A Knight With Cruella")


Magical Abilities

  • Persuasion - Ability to compel animals to do one's biding.

Family

Father
 
 
 
Madeline
 
 
First StepfatherSecond Stepfather
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Mr. Feinberg
 
Cruella De Vil
 

Notes:

  • Solid lines denote parent-child blood relationships
  • Dashed lines denote marriage relationships that result in offspring
  • denotes the deceased
  • Madeline has been married three times

Trivia

Production Notes

Disney

Lost

Popular Culture

Props Notes

  • Her car is a modified Zimmer Golden Spirit from the 1980s.[3]
  • Cruella's phone case has dalmatian spot patterns.[7] ("Unforgiven")

Set Dressing

  • The room where Cruella is locked up in 1920s England is filled with her mother's dog statuettes and dog show trophies.[8] ("Sympathy for the De Vil")
  • A dictionary from University of Oxford in 1920s England is lying on a table in adult Cruella's room in her homeworld.[9] ("Sympathy for the De Vil")
  • When Pongo leads Henry into Cruella's trap, the peeled-off paint on the container in the alley forms a star pattern around a vertical silhouette of a running dog.[10] ("Sympathy for the De Vil")
  • The room where Henry and Cruella meet again is decorated with a white greyhound statue and dalmatian-like spotted cushions and curtains.[11] ("Labor of Love")

Costume Notes

Appearances

Note: "Archive" denotes archive footage.

References

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