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The Queens of Darkness are the primary antagonists of the second half of the fourth season of ABC's "Once Upon a Time".
Consisting of Maleficent, Cruella, and Ursula, created, and later directed by Rumplestiltskin, the Queens of Darkness is a team of evil, devoted to changing the rules so that villains can get a Happy Ending like heroes.
The Queens first appear in "Heroes and Villains", when Maleficent, Ursula and Cruella ambush Rumple and hold Belle ransom for a magical Gauntlet.
In "Darkness on the Edge of Town", it is revealed that Rumple is the one who assembled the team in the first place, and in present time New York, he reassembles the band of evil as their director and planner. Collecting Ursula and Cruella, Rumple manages to get them back into Storybrooke where they eventually resurrect Maleficent as Rumple's Co-Leader, as she was originally the de facto head.
In "Enter the Dragon", The Evil Queen joins the team as an undercover agent and Maleficent has Regina do work for her before revealing that the Queens are working with Gold.
In "Poor Unfortunate Soul", Ursula betrays their plan to Hook, who gets her back her Happy Ending, and leaves the group to be with her father.
In "Best Laid Plans", Maleficent assures Rumple that he needs her for the plan, claiming Cruella and Ursula to have only been a means to an end to revive her and tells him that she is most useful for the group and his greatest ally, reminding him that he needs to give her what she wants in return, showing that she wants the alliance to be equal-sided. Regina delivers Rumple a page from the story book that supposedly contains the Author, but he quickly recognizes it as a fake and has Maleficent put her to sleep, with the three of them realizing that they've had an undercover agent. Ursula leaves the group after receiving her happy ending.
In "Heart of Gold", it is revealed that Zelena is allied with them as well.
In "Sympathy for the De Vil", The Author, whose name is Isaac, joins the team, while the original group (Rumple, Cruella and Maleficent) begins to break up, with Maleficent and Cruella at odds with each other, after Maleficent discovers she and Ursula had left her daughter Lily to die in the woods. Rumple also discovers that Cruella and the Author knew one another, while she goes off on her own and kidnaps Henry, and eventually dies at the hands of Emma Swan.
In "Lily", Maleficent announces to the heroes that she has left Rumple's side, after sensing that he will betray her in the same way he did Cruella. Now the group consists only of Rumple, Isaac and ally Zelena, with the core group all gone, however Maleficent is still very dangerous and vengeful, even when she provides assistance in exchange for Emma and Regina assisting her in retrieving Lily, as she clearly still hates the Charmings.
In "Mother", Maleficent has reunited with her daughter, meaning she no longer requires the assistance of the other team members, and no longer wants revenge. Zelena is imprisoned and Isaac starts writing his new story for Rumple.
In "Operation Mongoose", Isaac's story is reversed by Henry, Regina, and Emma, leaving Rumple's heart dying. Isaac is locked up and Rumple's body shuts down after The Darkness nearly consumes his heart. Emma absorbs it and disappears, while Rumple, still alive, is preserved by magic in the hopes that he and his heart will recover.
Maleficent is the last remaining member still active, although only a former one, and has seemingly found solace in her daughter.
Rumple is revived and redeemed in Season 5, while Maleficent continues to work with Lily in the background for their future plans together, unseen, and Zelena has escaped.
- Rumplestiltskin (former leader)
- Maleficent (former leader; defected)
- Cruella De Vil (deceased)
- Ursula (defected)
- The Evil Queen (undercover for the heroes)
- The name refers to Maleficent, Cruella and Ursula, however Rumple is also a member and Regina briefly joined as a double agent.
- Maleficent was the leader back in the Enchanted Forest but co-leads with Rumple now, all in all following the plan he devised.
- Zelena is considered more of an ally than an actual member, as she never gets involved in any of the missions, nor does she interact with the rest of the group.
- Oddly, the Disney movie counterparts, Maleficent and Ursula died in their movies, and Cruella De Vil lived in her movies, and in Once Upon a Time, it was reversed.