The premiere of ABC’s Once Upon a Time — to be repeated this Sunday at 7/6c, leading into Episode 2 — not only enchanted viewers, it left them with lots of questions! Who all knows about the curse? Will John Doe ever open those pretty eyes? And what other fun fairytale characters are visiting the show during Season 1?
TVLine found answers to those questions and others during a Vancouver set visit arranged by ABC. Read on to find out what the cast and executive producer Steve Pearlman revealed about Once‘s big mysteries. (P.S. If you’re curious about the handsome Sheriff’s fairytale alter ego, we offer up our theory — and Jennifer Morrison’s! — in our Who’s Who slideshow.)
NOW THAT THE CLOCK IS MOVING, WHAT DOES THAT MEAN FOR STORYBROOKE? | The clock sets events into motion, so things are about to get… interesting. “There is a shift in terms of the energy of the world,” explains Josh Dallas, who plays John Doe/Prince Charming. “There’s something happening now. There’s something in the air.” Which leads us to wonder…
WILL JOHN DOE EVER WAKE UP? | You bet he will. While Dallas can’t reveal when the sleeping charmer will wake from the coma, he does admit that “he’s not in it for long.” And once he does come to, that’s when the real drama begins. “You might find out what his name is,” teases the actor, “who he is, who his family is, and what his maybe real or false memories are.” Having been asleep for a while, it’s understandable that the guy is “very lost” and “confused,” especially since there are “people that are around him that may or may not be saying that they are family members or wives or brothers.” Sadly, the one person he does have a connection to – his fairytale wife – “he probably will not remember,” hints Ginnifer Goodwin (who plays Snow White).
DOES REGINA KNOW ABOUT THE CURSE? | The pilot heavily implied that Regina was aware of her true identity, and her portrayer, Lana Parrilla, agrees that madame mayor “may have an inkling.” Thankfully, this is one mystery that will be solved – and sooner rather than later! “You’ll find out,” promises Parrilla. “Soon. Very soon.”
WHAT OTHER FAIRYTALE CHARACTERS WILL THE SHOW EXPLORE? | A bevy, judging from the list of already announced guest stars: Emma Caulfield (Buffy) as the blind witch from Hansel and Gretel, Jessy Schram (Falling Skies) as Cinderella, Giancarlo Esposito (Breaking Bad) as the Evil Queen’s magic mirror, Alan Dale (Lost) as Prince Charming’s father, and Kristin Bauer van Straten (True Blood) as evil sorceress Maleficent. The last one will make her debut in Episode 2, and she’s got a big beef with her frenemy, the Evil Queen. “You get a very good sense that there’s a history between these two,” previews Pearlman. “Maleficent has something that the Queen wants, and what length will she go to with her dear, old friend to get that?”
Things are much more friendlier between the princesses, who all live inside the Enchanted Forest. “The princesses of the various kingdoms are all girlfriends,” explains Goodwin. That includes Snow and Cinderella, who appears in Episode 4 in the fairytale world and in our world. “Even though we tell her story also in Storybrooke, it really becomes more of a story about Emma,” teases Pearlman.
The real treat of Once, however, is “adding mythology and connecting characters that didn’t connect previously,” says the EP. “We’re doing a Hansel and Gretel story where we bring in the Evil Queen, when she obviously wasn’t in that story originally.”
IS THERE SOMETHING GOING ON BETWEEN REGINA AND THE SHERIFF? | Yes, it’s not uncommon for a mayor and a sheriff to have a close relationship, but Regina seems to rely on the lawman a lot. “He’s a very important character in her life,” says Parrilla, “and also in Henry’s life ’cause he stays there. And she trusts him enough to be there, so that says something, too.”
HOW DID REGINA COME TO ADOPT HENRY? AND WHY DID EMMA GIVE HIM AWAY? | “We will touch on that in some episodes, how she adopted him,” promises Pearlman. Meanwhile, the details of Emma’s pregnancy/Henry’s birth are “going to take a long time” to come out, says Jennifer Morrison (Emma). “It’s definitely going to be a slow burn of revealing information about Henry and what he meant to Emma when he was born.” Morrison meanwhile insists that contrary to Regina’s suspicions, Emma is not up to anything sneaky. “Emma does not have the intentions of taking Henry away,” she says. “And yet Regina feels like that could happen if Emma’s around for too long.” There’s also another very important reason Regina feels threatened by Emma’s presence: “She can break this curse, and Regina/Evil Queen will lose her power,” says Parrilla.
IS REGINA/THE EVIL QUEEN REALLY ALL EVIL? | Depends on who you ask. Pearlman believes Regina is one of the “more complicated characters in the show,” but he also admits that her counterpart is not nice at all. “[Evil] is part of her name,” he points out. “She has the license to go there, and I think the audience will expect that from her.” But Parrilla hints that there’s more going on underneath her costumed surface than one might expect. “You will see a vulnerable side to the Queen, which I don’t think anyone’s ever seen on this level with these iconic Disney characters,” the actress offers. “She sheds tears, which is nice to see.” Just like anybody else, the Evil Queen has feelings, even some worthy of waterworks. “There was a time she did love. Deeply,” Parrilla shares. As for Regina, “She does have an agenda, which we learn more about in one of the early episodes,” teases Pearlman.
DO EMMA AND HENRY HAVE FAIRYTALE COUNTERPARTS? | Right now, the mother and son appear to be strictly in our world, but as the wise, little Jared Gilmore, who plays Henry, says, “It’s just the beginning. You never know!”