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|Once Upon a Future King|
The time-lost King Arthur and Queen Mab view Excalibur
|Series||Hercules: The Legendary Journeys|
|In-Universe Date||Year 4|
(with flash forward to 500 CE)
|Filming Dates||10 February to 19 February 1999|
|Original Air-Date||26 April 1999|
|Written By||Gene O'Neill & Noreen Tobin|
|Directed By||Mark Beesley|
|Order in Series||100 of 111|
|Order in Season||19 of 22|
|Order in Franchise||239 of 304|
|Previous Episode in Series||"Love on the Rocks"|
|Next Episode in Series||"Fade Out"|
|Previous Episode in Franchise||"The Convert"|
|Next Episode in Franchise||"Takes One to Know One"|
In 500 A.D., Merlin sends tyrannical Arthur of Camelot back to Hercules' time for the half God to set him straight. Younger Merlin leads Hercules to Britannia to team up with Morrigan and stop Arthur and his sorceress accomplice.
After taking Excalibur by force, Merlin hurled the vicious warlord Arthur of Camelot and his sorceress advisor Mab a thousand years back in time to Hercules' world. Mab coaches Arthur on how to get Excalibur from the Lady of the Lake and while there in the past Mab helped Arthur conquer Britannia.
Later she wanted to go back to her own time, and to do that she needed to kill young Merlin with the sword of Excaliber. To this end Mab takes Merlin back to the castle and subsequently discovers he hasn't learned to be a sorcerer yet.
Hercules and Morrigan have also captured Arthur and the sword. A fierce battle ensued, during which Hercules dispatched a giant knight. On the way back to the castle Arthur discovers Mab was just using him to get Excalibur
A reformed Arthur displayed newfound heroism. Merlin smote Mab, and Arthur returned to his own time as a proponent hero of peace.
- Many Giant Steps were taken during the production of this motion picture. However, none for mankind.
- Michael Hurst does not appear in this episode.
- This was the one hundredth episode of the series.
- This episode marks the final appearance of Morrigan.
- Mab is a faerie queen mentioned briefly in Romeo and Juliet, a work which deals neither with Arthurian legend nor Greek mythology.
- The title of this episode is a portmanteau of "Once Upon A Time", the traditional opening line of a fairy tale, and "The Once and Future King", a popular epithet of King Arthur.
- Merlin offers to introduce Hercules to tea, which at this point is already the Brits' beverage of choice. Tea was not introduced to Europe until the 1500s CE, long after any of the proposed dates for King Arthur's reign.
- According to the episode, Arthur and Mab travel one thousand winters back in time. If they originated around 500 AD, this would mean that H:TLJ (and by extension, YH and X:WP) is set around 500 BC. If the events of X:WP take place in the late 1st century BC (as most of the characters featured would suggest), Arthur and Mab originate in the 10th century AD. The original myth of Heracles takes place earlier than either of those centuries, around the 13th century BC.
- Aside from the expected anachronisms, there is an internal timeline inconsistency with this episode: In the Xena: Warrior Princess episode Gabrielle's Hope, Xena, Gabrielle and newborn Hope hid in the "round table room" where Excalibur is stuck in the stone; Xena pulls it out, admires it, and puts it back, much to the astonishment of the present Warriors of the Pierced Heart. Since this episode obviously features a good Morrigan, it must be consistent with the timeline of the rest of season, and therefore, Gabrielle's Hope occurs at least a year before this episode. Yet prior to the events seen here, Excalibur was held by the Lady of the Lake and Hercules had not yet destroyed the throne to create the stone, meaning that Xena cannot have pulled the sword from the stone in a throwaway gag a year earlier.
"Today, I step into history."
"You've no idea how right you are."
(grabs Excalibur and is affected by the spell) "In the name of God, what have you done to me?!"
"I can't stop you, so I'm sending you to someone who can."
- –Arthur and Merlin
"Hercules seems to think there's good in your heart, so how 'bout we cut it out and see for ourselves, shall we? Nothin' personal."
- –Morrigan to Arthur
Links and References
- Norman Forsey as Old Merlin
- Asa Lindh as Lady of the Lake
- Michael Garnet-Holt as General Gwain
- Wayne Peters as Albion
- Emlyn Williams as Trevin
- Graham Smith as Baker
- Andrea Bruce as Teacher
- Steve Isherwood as Soldier #1
- Wayne England as Soldier #2
- David Holton as Knight #1
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|#01||Faith||#09||For Those of You Just Joining Us||#17||The Academy|
|#02||Descent||#10||Let There Be Light||#18||Love on the Rocks|
|#03||Resurrection||#11||Redemption||#19||Once Upon a Future King|
|#04||Genies and Grecians and Geeks, Oh My||#12||Sky High||#20||Fade Out|
|#05||Render Unto Caesar||#13||Stranger and Stranger||#21||My Best Girl's Wedding|
|#06||Norse By Norsevest||#14||Just Passing Through||#22||Revelations|
|#07||Somewhere Over the Rainbow Bridge||#15||Greece is Burning|
|#08||Darkness Rising||#16||We'll Always Have Cyprus|