- Emma – “Like friends travel?”
- Regina – “Oh, if that's what you want to call it.”
- Emma – “I'm fine, Regina. I don't need a babysitter.”
- Regina – “But maybe I need you.”
Regina Mills, formerly known as the Evil Queen, is the adoptive mother to Henry Mills, the biological son of Emma Swan, daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming. Regina and Emma meet through Henry who went looking for his "real mom". Antagonism runs a muck between these two, particularly on Regina's side as she hated that Henry went out and found his birth mother. When Regina learns that Emma is the "Savior", meant to break Regina's curse, she hates Emma even more so.
Emma and Regina continue to fight once the curse is lifted. However, because Henry asked her to, Emma repeatedly saves Regina from the vengeful mob of newly-woken fairytale characters out for her head. In her efforts to save Regina from getting her soul eaten by a Wraith, Emma accidentally triggered Regina's own magic by laying a hand on her arm, and then subsequently fell through a portal to the Enchanted Forest (aka Fairy Tale Land or FTL). Emma's absence gave Regina an opportunity to have Henry to herself forever, but because she made a promise to their son that she would be "better" and earn his love, she absorbed a death curse to save Emma and let her return to Storybrooke.
There were quite a few subsequent issues involving the return of Regina's abusive mother, Cora, a trip to Neverland, evil Peter Pan, the Wicked Witch of the West aka Regina's older sister Zelena, and although they still don't always get along, Emma and Regina now more often than not join forces to protect their family and the town.
Henry is Emma's biological son of son and Regina's adopted son. Emma gave Henry up for adoption after he was born and ends up being raised by Regina, who wants Henry to love her. When Henry found Emma and brought her to Storybrooke to brake the curse that was cast by the Evil Queen, Regina was worried that she'll end up taking Henry away from her. In the end, Emma and Regina become friends and came up with away for them to share Henry as co-moms.
The ship came to be when viewers started to notice the evident subtext between these two characters and when they started paralleling many canon true love couples on the show. This ship rivals the Captain Swan and Outlaw Queen pairings, which are both canon.
The pairing quickly gained traction in fandom, drawing femslashers from far and wide. However, as the series went on, fans of the pairing developed a somewhat tense relationship with the show's production team as SwanQueen has several times been cited as an example of queerbaiting, one of very few noted femslash examples of the same. Cranz notes in their History of Femslash:
- “Once Upon a Time’s premise is a little gay. A kid has two moms, and those moms like to argue passionately with one another while looking at each other’s lips. It spawned the major pairing, SwanQueen [...] But the showrunners of Once Upon a Time were not even a little okay with the queer focus of fandom, or the demands hinged on “social justice,” and they went out of their ways to assert the hetero nature of the leads. First by calling any flirtation “unintentional,” and then by trucking out male love interests for both characters, who just happened to be identical to the supposed female love interests apart from how they identify gender-wise”
- — History of Femslash
- SwanQueen appears several times in AO3 'ships stats':
- In 2013, SwanQueen ranked 78th among ships with the most fanfics on AO3; having 1005 fanfics.
- In 2014, SwanQueen ranked 51st on the ships with the most fanfics on AO3. And first in the "Overall Top 20 Femslash"; having from 2359 to 2366 fanfics.
- In 2015, SwanQueen came in 40th place on the ships with the most fanfics on AO3. And in the "Overall Top 20 Femslash" it took first place; having 4602 fanfics.
- In 2016, SwanQueen was ranked 27th in the ships with the most fanfics. And in 1st place in the "Overall Top 20 Femslash"; having 7249 fanfics.
- In 2017, SwanQueen was ranked 27th in the ships with the most fanfics. And was in 1st place in the "Overall Top 20 Femslash"; having 9071 fanfics.
- In 2019, SwanQueen ranked 35th on the ships with the most fanfics. On the ships that had the most fanfics throughout the year, SwanQueen came in 86th place. SwanQueen took first place in the "Overall Top 20 Femslash"; having 11388 fanfics.
- In 2020, SwanQueen came in 41st place on the ships with the most fanfics on AO3. SwanQueen came in 2nd place in the "Overall Top 20 Femslash"; having 12286 fanfics.
- SwanQueen has participated several times on "Zimbio TV Couples March Madness":
- In 2014, SwanQueen participated in "Zimbio 2014 TV Couples March Madness" arriving in the 4th round, where he lost to Destiel.
- In 2015, SwanQueen participated in "Zimbio 2015 TV Couples March Madness", and reached the 4th round, where he lost to Shoot.
- In 2016, SwanQueen participated in the "Zimbio 2016 TV Couples March Madness", and reached the 4th round, where he lost to Clexa.
- In 2017, SwanQueen participated in the "Zimbio 2017 TV Couples March Madness". SwanQueen arrived in the 5th round, where he lost the prize to Clexa.
- SwanQueen won the "Zimbio 2018 TV Couples March Madness" ship battle..
- Lana Parrilla said she supports SwanQueen.
- DragonSwanQueen refers to the ship between Maleficent, Emma and Regina
- Morrilla refers to the ship between their actresses Jennifer Morrison and Lana Parrilla
- RedSwanQueen refers to the ship between Red, Emma and Regina
- Swan Mills Family refers to the ship between Henry Mills, Emma, and Regina
- History of Femslash
- 2017 TV Couples March Madness
- 2018 TV Couples March Madness
|SHIPS||femslash||Bellanna • Belsa • Brave Warrior • Desert Mermaid • Frozen Swan • Frozen Warrior • MadArcher • Mermaid Beauty • Mermaid Snow • Red Warrior • Ruby Slippers • Sleeping Warrior • Swan Queen • Warrior Beauty
|het||Arwen • Captain Swan • Cindercharming • Darling Fire • Darling Pan • Eriel • Evilfire • Glass Believer • Gwencelot • Hanna • Helsa • Henvy • Hercugara • Jaladdin • Kristanna • Kristelsa • Mad Swan • Millian • Outlaw Queen • Philora • Snowing • Stable Queen • SwanFire • Tianaveen • VioletBeliever|
|CHARACTERS||female||Anna • Ariel • Belle • Cinderella • Elsa • Emma Swan • Fa Mulan • Jasmine • Merida DunBroch|
|male||Hans • Kristoff Bjorgman|