Zelena (Wicked Witch of the West) is a main character on Once Upon a Time. She first appeared as the main antagonist of the second half of Season 3, and was a recurring villain until her redemption at the end of Season 5. Zelena continued as main character in Season 6 and a recurring character in Season 7.
Young miller’s daughter Cora is desperate to become royalty, and have her future daughter become queen. When she conceives a child with who she thinks is a prince, she realises when he is not that her first child must never be discovered by anyone, and abandons the baby, who is taken by a tornado to the Land of Oz.
The baby is named Zelena by a couple, who adopt her. Zelena displays magic at a young age, something which her adopted father hates, and he views her as wicked. As a pre-teen, Zelena is visited by Cora, who needs Zelena to awaken her second-born Regina from a magical coma. Regina and Zelena become close, but Cora sends Zelena back to Oz afterwards, and erases her daughters memories of the events. After Zelena’s adopted mother dies, she is abused by her adopted father, and eventually leaves to see the infamous Wizard of Oz for help. The Wizard reveals the truth; that Zelena was abandoned because her mother wanted a royal baby to become queen and give their family power. Zelena grows envious of Regina, her younger royal half-sister, and is sent by the Wizard to the Enchanted Forest.
Zelena tries to go after Regina and kill her, but she is stopped by the Dark One, Rumplestiltskin, who is training Regina in magic. At her request, Rumplestiltskin begins teaching Zelena, too. Rumplestiltskin also points out that Zelena is turning green due to her intense jealousy. When Zelena discovers that Rumplestiltskin wants his curse to be cast to be cast by Regina, Zelena is furious and returns to Oz and asks the Wizard to change the past. When he refuses, she exposes him and turns him into her flying monkey slave, and becomes entirely green, dedicating her life to try and go back in time and take Regina’s place. Later, Glinda approaches Zelena, saying that Zelena matches the description of the prophesised savior of Oz, a woman who arrived by tornado, who will defeat a great evil. However, another girl arrives via tornado, Dorothy Gale, and Zelena becomes convinced that she (Zelena) is the great evil and Dorothy will be the savior. Zelena tries and fails to kill Dorothy, who is then offered by Glinda to take Zelena’s place. Dorothy declines, wishing to return to her home in Kansas. Zelena disguises herself as the Wizard and sends Dorothy back to Kansas, then reveals herself to Glinda and banishes her to the Enchanted Forest.
Zelena works on banishing all Oz witches so she can become the only one, and gains the title Wicked Witch of the West. She goes to banish the Blind Witch, who has imprisoned Hansel and Gretel, but Zelena refuses to free them. Thanks to the Blind Witch, Zelena’s magic is neutralised and she escapes, being rescued by a blind woodcutter, Ivo. Zelena grows to like Ivo, and discovers that he is the father of the missing Hansel and Gretel. Zelena goes to rescue them from the Blind Witch’s gingerbread house, but find that they have already escaped and killed the Blind Witch. Zelena returns to Ivo, to find that Hansel and Gretel and there and they expose Zelena as the Wicked Witch who refused to help them. Zelena, angry, attacks Hansel before leaving.
Zelena begins collecting ingredients for a time travel spell, and fails to obtain the Scarecrow’s brain when Dorothy returns and saves him. Zelena attempts to force the Munchkins into giving Dorothy and the Scarecrow’s location, but she is interrupted by Hades. Hades and Zelena bond over their shared resent for an older sibling who gets everything they ever wanted, and Hades helps Zelena find the Scarecrow. She rips his brain out and taunts Dorothy. After returning to the Emerald Castle, Hades has prepared dinner for her, and they prepare to kiss, but Zelena realises that Hades wants a kiss so that his heart can start beating again and he can go after his brother Zeus. Hades insists that he really does love Zelena, but she rejects him and warns him to leave and never return.