In 1920's England, Cruella poisons her father and her mother's later husbands. Scared of Cruella's murderous behavior, her mother Madeline keeps her locked away in an attic until Cruella meets Isaac who sets her free. However, Madeline confronts Isaac and tells her of Cruella's murderous past. Isaac discovers that Cruella has stolen his pen, and goes back to her house to find out that Cruella used her ability to control animals to make her mother's pet Dalmatians turn against her and rip her to shreds, before Cruella herself slaughtered the Dalmatians and made a fur coat out of them. Horrified, Isaac makes a dash for the pen to stop her, but during a struggle the magic ink is spilled onto Cruella. She accidentally ingests some and the ink shows her true colors. Isaac then writes that Cruella cannot kill anyone ever again. Cruella later goes to the Enchanted Forest.
Cruella, along with Maleficent and Ursula, are recruited by Rumplestiltskin to help him obtain the Dark Curse, which is guarded by Chernabog. When Rumplestiltskin obtains the Dark Curse, he leaves the trio to die, but they manage to escape. Later, they kidnap Rumplestiltskin's maid Belle and hold her at ransom, demanding a magic gauntlet that will reveal their enemies' weakness. However, Rumplestiltskin gets Belle and the gauntlet, leaving the three of them with nothing. With the threat of the Dark Curse in the hands of Queen Regina Mills, Cruella and the others manage to guide Snow White and Prince David to the Tree of Wisdom in order to find a way to stop Regina. However, the royal couple fail to unlock its secrets, as Snow's unborn child has potential for great darkness. When Snow, David and the Sorcerer's Apprentice have the potential darkness from Snow's unborn child transferred to Maleficent's child, who they stole, the Apprentice creates a portal to banish the child. Cruella and Ursula track Snow and David down, although they end up getting taken by the portal, where they are transported to Earth. Cruella and Ursula use the remnants of the dragon egg to keep themselves young.
Rumplestiltskin and Ursula find Cruella, and convince her to join them in their pursuit of the mysterious Author who can give them the happy endings they desire. Using ancient scrolls, they break through the protective barrier around Storybrooke and infiltrate the town. After resurrecting Maleficent, who was killed in Storybrooke at the hands of Snow and David's daughter Emma Swan, they kidnap Pinocchio, but while Cruella is guarding him, she is knocked unconscious with a frying pan by Snow. When the Author, who is actually Isaac, is found by Rumplestiltskin, Cruella tries to persuade Isaac to take back what he did to her. When he is unhelpful, Cruella becomes desperate and kidnaps Henry, Emma and Regina's son. Emma finds them, and Cruella holds Henry at gunpoint. Emma threatens to use her magic, and when Cruella states that she is bluffing, Emma uses magic to blast Cruella off the cliff, killing her. Cruella is given a small funeral, attended only by Rumplestiltskin and Isaac.
Following her demise, Cruella finds herself in the Underworld with her car. Upon becoming the new mayor of the Underworld, Cruella eventually manages to have a private meeting of sorts with Henry, claiming that when he broke the quill, its power travelled to the Underworld, and since he's the current Author, he can use it to resurrect Cruella. Henry asks why he would do that, to which Cruella responds that if she came back to life, it would mean that Emma would no longer be a murderer. Cruella later tells Regina the three tombstone "settings". After Cruella's efforts to persuade Henry fail, she goes to the sheriff's station to seduce David's twin brother James, but finds David instead and pretends that she thinks he is James until David has had enough of her.
Under Hades' instructions, Cruella orders Claude to dismantle the haunting booths, before Cruella and James take Emma, Robin Hood and Robin's infant daughter with intentions to push Emma and Robin into the River of Lost Souls and use the baby as leverage over Hades so he will resurrect them. However, a brawl between David and James results in James falling into the hellish depths. As payback, Cruella and the Blind Witch trap the heroes in the library, with Cruella becoming the new ruler of the Underworld when Hades departs. Later, at the Blind Witch's Diner, Cruella makes a blunt flirtatious comment about King Arthur, before revealing to Arthur and Hook that she put the storybook pages in the River of Souls, prompting the pair to venture there. Eventually, Arthur overthrows Cruella as ruler of the underworld. Fifty years later, Cruella meets Sir Mordred at a tavern.
Cruella was a very limited sorceress, and has only been known to accomplish a few specific spells.
- Animal Control: Cruella has the ability to control any animal, whether it be a Dalmatian or a Dragon.
- Telekinesis: According to Maleficent, Cruella was able to enchant her car to drive itself around.
- Blood Magic: Cruella was able to magically resurrect Maleficent with a blood sacrifice.
- Madeline De Vil (deceased mother)
- Mr. De Vil (deceased father)
- Unknown male (deceased first stepfather)
- Unknown male (deceased second stepfather)
- Mr. Feinberg (widower)
- James (ex-lover)
Cruella appears in Storybrooke Live, and her statuses and blogs are available here.
- She is based on Cruella De Vil from the story The Hundred and One Dalmatians.
- Cruella also alludes to the goddess Hela from Norse Mythology, as both ruled the underworld and have half-black half-white hair.
- Rumplestiltskin snarkily remarks that he recognized Cruella's scent as "desperation and gin", somewhat suggesting or implying that Cruella is an alcoholic of sorts. Cruella later confirms this, having blamed her misfortunes on "bad judgment and gin".
Behind the Scenes
- Cruella has been created in the Steam Workshop for the game Scribblenauts Unlimited, by a user called "Geoffrey Leonard".
- S4, E11: "Heroes and Villains" (flashback)
- S4, E12: "Darkness On The Edge Of Town"
- S4, E13: "Unforgiven"
- S4, E14: "Enter The Dragon"
- S4, E15: "Poor Unfortunate Soul"
- S4, E16: "Best Laid Plans"
- S4, E18: "Sympathy For The De Vil"
- S5, E12: "Souls of the Departed"
- S5, E13: "Labor of Love"
- S5, E14: "Devil's Due"
- S5, E15: "The Brothers Jones"
- S5, E18: "Ruby Slippers"
- S5, E19: "Sisters"
- S5, E20: "Firebird"
- S5, E21: "Last Rites"
- S5, DVD: "A Knight With Cruella"