Isaac Heller
Isaac Heller
Portrayed by
Voiced by
First seen
Seen in
First mentioned
Episode count
Centric episodes
Centric episode
Shared centric episodes
Shared centric episode
Notable backstory episodes
Notable backstory episode
Other notable backstory episodes
Other notable backstory episode
Isaac Heller
Date of birth
Manner of death
Episode of death
S1 - S2 - S3 - OW - S4 - S5 - S6 - S7
A lifetime of bad bosses... of people like you, who fancy themselves heroes, pushing around people like me. It was my turn to win. To be the hero.

Isaac Heller is a supporting character on Once Upon a Time. A troubled man with a warped sense of entitlement, Isaac was a struggling writer getting by on television sales, until a meeting with a "publisher" changed his life forever and he became the new Author - the latest in a long line of sacred scribes who were tasked with recording the greatest stories of all time for posterity. However, he abused his power and used it to manipulate stories as he saw fit, preferring it when villains are the ones who win. After teaming up with Rumplestiltskin in Storybrooke, he lost his position by writing his own happy ending, and ended up imprisoned at the hands of the people he set out to punish.


Before the Curse

I think it is time that you find your destiny. Come with me, and all of your questions will be answered.
Sorcerer's Apprentice
421 06
Isaac becomes the Author. ("Operation Mongoose, Part 1")

Isaac Heller is hired by a TV salesman named Hank because he hears he's a writer, and therefore assumes he's good at telling stories. However, one day, Isaac fails to sell a television to a couple because he rambles on about what Hank believes is "weird technical crap", leading him to tell his employee that he doesn't tell the kind of stories people want to hear. Isaac, who's just received an offer from a publisher, begs to differ, proceeding to make his way to Star Publishing where the Sorcerer's Apprentice awaits. He tells Isaac to pick a quill out of the five laid out in front of him, and Isaac goes for the fountain pen in the middle, which glows blue when he picks it up. This confuses him greatly, and the Apprentice explains that he is now the new Author, tasked with recording the greatest tales of all time for posterity. He is given the opportunity to travel across realms and he takes it, excited to prove the people like Hank, who fancy themselves "heroes", wrong. ("Operation Mongoose, Part 1")

418 22
Isaac falls in love. ("Sympathy for the De Vil")

Isaac ends up in the realm of which Cruella De Vil resides, in search of a story to write. He visits, hoping to ask Madeline some questions, but she kicks him out for being rude, and so Cruella beckons him, knowing that he's looking for a great story and offering her own for him to use... but only if he can set her free first. He is successful, and wants to find a private place to talk, but being cooped up for so many years has made Cruella restless, and she wants to find a nice loud club in which to enjoy herself. She tells Isaac that her mother has been killing her husbands, keeping the truth hidden, and the two make a fast connection, going on to dance together and fall in love. Isaac feels so close to her in the end that he reveals himself to be an Author - a sacred recorder of events across many realms, and his magic quill and ink are capable of manipulating people's stories as well. He writes it so that she can control any animal she desires, meaning she can escape her mother and run away with him, but Cruella has other ideas, stealing his quill after he's given her his vintage car and using her newfound magic to make her mother's dogs turn on her and eat her alive. She makes a fabulous coat out of their skins, but Isaac, having learned the truth, comes back for her, wanting his quill back. They fight for it, and the magic ink ends up spilling all over her, warping her appearance evilly. She tries shooting him, but he scribbles something down which means she can't - in fact, she can never again take a human life, much to her dismay. ("Sympathy for the De Vil")

416 41
The Author is trapped inside the storybook. ("Best Laid Plans")

Snow refuses to tell Charming what she saw thanks to the unicorn, insisting that would make it too real. They come across a peddler who asks them for help with his wagon. Charming helps him free the wagon and offers the peddler some brandy. As they head west, the peddler warns that Maleficent has taken up resident there. He says that she transformed into a dragon, laid an egg, and scorched the surrounding territory to drive everyone off. The peddler directs them to the east and says that there's a cabin where a kind old man lives who will help them. Later, The Apprentice confronts the Author in the forest, angry that he forced him to condemn Maleficent's child. He demands the quill, warning that the Author has broken the rules and forsaken his duty. The Apprentice casts a spell, trapping the Author within his storybook. ("Best Laid Plans")

After the Second Curse

Season 4

No, no, that's your world. I like room service and indoor plumbing. You're welcome to a happy ending in your land, I'll take one in mine.
416 42
The Author is set free. ("Best Laid Plans")

In a secret chamber of the manor, Henry is studying the page when a light shines beneath the door in the picture. It shines on the drawer of a nearby desk, and Henry finds a key inside. Regina leads Cruella and Maleficent in, and Maleficent says that Regina won't have to do anything if Henry cooperates. When Regina orders him to hand over the page, Henry hesitates and then gives it to them. Satisfied, the trio leaves. However, it was the false page and the Charmings bring it to Emma, after they decide to tell her the truth. Later, Emma goes to see August and finds him with her parents. He assures her that he's fine and she realizes that something is going on. Emma shows him the key and the door, and says that it's time to let the Author out. Mary Margaret warns that Gold wants the Author released, but Emma says that she has questions and the Author can answer them. August warns that there have been many Authors through time, and the one trapped in the book was the last one tasked with the great responsibility. The responsibility was to witness the greatest stories of all time and transcribe them, but the last Author decided to manipulate rather than record. August explains that the Sorcerer and the Apprentice chose the Author, and made good on their mistake. Emma realizes that the Author can still alter the course of things, and uses the key on the door. It opens and the Author emerges: the peddler. He shows them the bottle of brandy and David and Mary Margaret realize who he is. Emma says that they have a lot of questions, and the Author yanks a curtain down on them and runs. By the time Emma gets outside after him, he's disappeared. ("Best Laid Plans")

Author 417
The Author makes a deal with Rumplestiltskin. ("Heart of Gold")

Following his escape, the Author is chased out into the woods by Emma, David and Mary Margaret, who later call in the likes of Hook and Henry to help. He stops at a tree and snaps a branch off of it, using a carving knife to try and create himself a new magic quill with which to write stories. However, Mr. Gold appears behind him and assures him that that will never work, for to make a magic quill one must carve the wood of an enchanted tree, the kind that Storybrooke is sorely lacking. The Dark One wants the Author's help, and the Author wonders why he would help him, pointing out that he's probably the biggest pain in the ass he's ever had the displeasure of writing for, but Rumple reveals that he has an enchanted quill of his own, and he offers it to the Author in exchange for him writing him a whole bunch of new happy endings. With Emma and the others closing in, the Author makes his deal with Rumplestiltskin, who promptly teleports the two of them out of there. ("Heart of Gold")

418 11
Cruella wants the Author dead. ("Sympathy for the De Vil")

Gold takes Isaac to his cabin. Gold says that he plans to turn the Savior dark, and then everything he needs will fall into place. However, Gold abruptly says that something has come up and teleports away. Later, Isaac is reading when Cruella comes in. She demands that he give back what she took. Isaac says that he can't, and Cruella grabs him by the throat and promises to kill him. He says that she doesn't have enough power to hurt him, and Cruella releases him. She takes a gentler approach but Isaac refuses and Cruella promises to make him suffer for his making her what she is. Isaac points out that Gold doesn't know that they know each other, and figures that Cruella lied to him. He says that Cruella should leave before Gold returns, which she does. Later, Gold returns to the cabin and tells Isaac that he knows he lied about his knowing Cruella. He says that Cruella has kidnapped the Savior's son and it's essential to his plans. Gold explains Cruella's threat, and notes that if Isaac dies then the mantle of Author would pass on to someone potentially less cooperative. He can manipulate Cruella and asks why Cruella wants Isaac dead. Isaac takes a letter from his pocket and tells Gold to read it. Once he does, Gold chuckles. Later, David and Mary Margaret arrive at the cabin and David grabs him. Isaac admits that he had no idea how Gold would end Cruella, and he didn't see the end of the story. He adds that the story ends with the Savior turning dark. He hands David a piece of paper and says that it's a truth that he wrote. Mary Margaret and David read the note, which says that Cruella can no longer take the life of another. Isaac says that Henry is in no danger, and Mary Margaret and David realize that Cruella is defenseless... and Gold wants Emma to kill her. ("Sympathy for the De Vil")

Isaac 419
Isaac mourns Cruella. ("Lily")

Following the death of Cruella De Vil at the hands of the savior, the chic diva is laid to rest, and Gold and Isaac watch as her coffin is lowered down into the ground. The Author, staring down at the napkin Cruella kissed all those years ago in the club they attended, comments that he'll miss her - furs and all - for he realizes that in her own special way she cared for him. The napkin is placed onto the grave, and Rumple says that someone had to die for the progress of his plans. Isaac questions this, and they proceed to discuss the state of Emma's heart. Emma, meanwhile, watches them from nearby. Isaac and Gold are next seen in the latter's car, again discussing plans, when Rumple sees Belle and Will strolling nearby. He excuses himself from the Author, saying that he has business to attend to. ("Lily")

Isaac 420
It's time to change the book. It's time for villains to get their happy endings. ("Mother")

Isaac is at the diner with Gold when Hook comes in to announce that Emma is returning and she didn't turn evil after all, which means that the Dark One's plans have failed. Isaac doesn't take too kindly to the news, knowing that his magic ink needs the blood of a darkened savior in order to work in this land, and Rumple teleports them back to his shop. His heart is very weak now; he takes it out and sees that it's almost entirely black, at which point Regina walks in to take the Author for herself, pointing out that it was her idea to use him before Gold stole it. She then sees how dreadful Gold looks and realizes that his heart is catching up with him; however, she refuses to believe that the Dark One could die in such a manner, recalling that all he'd lose is his capacity to love. Mr. Gold confirms that the Dark One can't... but Rumplestiltskin can, and no one wants to face the Dark One when there's "no one else at home". Regina proceeds to leave with Isaac as Mr. Gold collapses onto the floor, and Isaac reveals what a fan of hers he is, having enjoyed her as a character. She reveals that she has a page from some of his extra works, and he is astounded, promising to write for her anything she wants. However, when the former Evil Queen refuses to let the Author write anything new for her half-sister Zelena, he returns to the Dark One, using his now-empowered (thanks to Lily's blood, taken by the Queen) ink to start writing a new story for everyone in town... ("Mother")

421 16
Isaac's happy ending. ("Operation Mongoose, Part 1")

Isaac believes that it's time for a new world where up is down, and so he continues to write in the new book entitled "Heroes and Villains". After hashing out the issue of Baelfire with Rumple, agreeing to change the latter's memories of his son so that he remembers doing all he could to save him, Isaac marks the story with an ending, thus working his magic across the entirety of Storybrooke. His book becomes a bestseller and he gains legions of fans. At a signing, Henry Mills approaches and threatens to trap him inside the page again using the key if he doesn't return his family from the book they're trapped in... but Isaac can't. The cardinal rule of the Authors is "don't write your own happy ending", and he broke it. As such, Henry uses the key to enter the new book and inadvertently traps Isaac inside as well. Isaac knocks the boy out and leaves him to die at the hands of an ogre, forgetting that he wrote it so that Rumplestiltskin the Ogre Slayer rides along and kills it. Wandering through the forest, Isaac becomes trapped in a net and is captured by the seven dwarfs, who take him to the Evil Queen Snow White. Not wanting Henry to change the books ending by allowing Regina to find her happiness, Isaac tells Snow the whereabouts of the bandit, requesting that she kill both her and Henry. Snow agrees to do so - gladly - but ultimately fails. ("Operation Mongoose, Part 1")

Isaac 422
Isaac is brought down by the real heroes. ("Operation Mongoose, Part 2")

Isaac goes to Rumplestiltskin in order to convince him to preserve his happiness, telling him the truth about his son's death, and then goes to the wedding of Robin Hood and Zelena to make sure that Regina doesn't crash it and thus ruin the ending of the book and destroy Isaac's own exterior happy ending. Outside the church, Regina shows up with Henry and Emma, the latter of which has retained her memories, but Rumple shows up also in order to fend them off. Regina thinks about crashing her true love's ceremony, but is ultimately unable to do so because Henry is in danger. She steps in the way of Rumple's sword and makes it so that she receives a fatal blow to the gut, and the "Light One" proceeds to teleport away. Isaac is happy to see this, claiming it to be too late to stop anything now, and Emma punches him, making it so that the book and his quill come flying from his satchel. Henry picks up the quill and becomes the new Author, able to use Regina's sacrificial blood to write everyone back home. Isaac attempts driving out of town after his return, but the Charmings cut him off, proceeding to arrest him. Mary Margaret wishes to know why he put them on the path to hurting Maleficent all those years ago, and he explains that it has nothing to do with them, but what they represent. For too long he was pushed around by people who fancy themselves heroes, and he felt like punishing them. Mary Margaret points out that that makes him a villain, because he pursued his own happiness at the expense of others. She knows what it is to have her heart go dark, and it isn't something to idolize... it's something to pity. The former Author is carted away. ("Operation Mongoose, Part 2")

After the Third Curse

Season 6

How about I drive the sports car of your choice over your miserable little head until it squishes like a pumpkin?
Regina Mills
Isaac 616
Having bargained his freedom, Isaac spills some info. ("Mother's Little Helper")

When Henry begins to jot down a list of magical ingredients needed by Regina, his Author power goes haywire and he ends up in a trance, scribbling down nonsense symbols. When he wakes up after passing out, he is unable to decipher them, and so Regina decides to take him to the prison cells under the hospital in order to pay Isaac a little visit. In exchange for information, he wants his freedom, as well as a sports car to take him to New York. He even tries pushing for Hamilton tickets, though recognizes later that no one's magic's that powerful. Regina almost dismisses him until he warns that Henry's trances will only intensify, and so she procures him a suitable enough vehicle - which he despises, but figures will do - for him to leave town in. He suggests that, given what's happening to Henry, she might want to follow, then explaining that the answer to what's going on lies in the book. Henry then looks to see that they've reached the final chapter - the end of the story - where the savior fights the final battle. Before leaving, Isaac warns that no one wants to be around when she does. ("Mother's Little Helper")


Gallery of photographic stills released to promote the character.

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