Fall Preview: Once Upon a Time Bosses Tease Big Identity Crises, Snow's Secret & Rumple's Wrath

Magic has come to Storybrooke — and ABC’s Once Upon a Time will conjure up even more fantastical drama as a result.

This Sunday at 8/7c, last year’s highest-rated new drama returns for Season 2, picking up right where it left off, with Mary Margaret, David et all fully aware of their remarkable identities, Emma a full-on believer and both Mr. Gold and Mayor Regina Mills – aka Rumplestiltskin and the Evil Queen — champing at the bit to use the restored magic to their advantage.

Series creators Adam Horowitz and Eddy Kitsis gave TVLine a peek at the show’s wild, new reality and how it will affect everyone, from Emma and the reunited Charmings to Ruby, Belle and seven little guys.

TVLINE | Now that the residents of Storybrooke know their true identities, what will be the first question they have?
EDDY KITSIS | I think their very first question is going to be, “Why are we still here?” Everyone naturally would assume that when the curse is broken, they’d go back to where they were, and that’s not the case. And then it just becomes a free-for-all. All of the questions that you have, they probably have. What happens now? Can we leave the city? Who did this? Why did they do this?

TVLINE | So, everyone is fully cognizant of both their existences. Mary Margaret is now Snow White, but she can also teach grade-schoolers long division.
ADAM HOROWITZ | Exactly, which is to say that the 28 years of the curse remain as real to them as their prior lives in fairytale land. Hopefully that complicates things in an interesting way.

RELATED | We’ve Seen the Once Upon a Time Season Premiere — 13 Quick Observations

TVLINE | If Emma’s now a believer and the curse is lifted, what is your narrative engine for Season 2? What will power you through the first batch of episodes?
HOROWITZ | Part of it’s going to be how Nucky retains power over the boardwalk.
KITSIS | We’re just going to borrow from other shows.
HOROWITZ | But that’s an excellent question, and in many ways the premiere this year is a new pilot, which is to say we take this show that hopefully you enjoyed last season and spin it in a direction that is both familiar and new. The show to us was never about breaking the curse and getting memories back. It was about larger conflicts – some of which were introduced last season, and some of which we’ll introduce very soon. They will center on all of our major players from last year, and yet there are some new people coming aboard. It’s all in service of this larger story we’ve been telling, centered on Snow White, Charming, their daughter Emma and their relationship with the Queen and Rumplestiltskin.

TVLINE | Is anyone in Storybrooke itching to get back to fairytale land more than others?
HOROWITZ | The reactions kind of run the gamut. Everybody is very interested in what their new circumstance means, and they also are very concerned about what the presence of magic will mean for all of their lives.
KITSIS | The seven dwarfs are a perfect example. Leroy realizes he doesn’t just have to be the loser anymore; he had a purpose [as Grumpy], to be a part of the queen’s guard. He is one of the characters who is excited to reclaim who he once was and act on that.
HOROWITZ | We’ve also got some stuff with Ruby that we’re very excited to show the audience.
KITSIS | She’s another example of a character who now realizes what she once was, and how that will affect her in the way she behaves in Storybrooke will be a lot of fun. You will see a different Ruby this year.

PHOTOS | The Once Upon a Time Cast Gets in Character in Fairytale Photo Shoot

TVLINE | As Rumple unleashed the purple smoke, we saw a hint of a smirk on Regina. With magic in play, what does that rivalry look like?
KITSIS | Those two have a very complicated relationship, one that we are excited to get into. In fact, Episode 2 is going to be about how Regina met Rumple. What’s interesting is they have this weird thing where they keep f–king each other over, and yet they still seem to need each other. But Rumple knows that Belle is alive, and that Regina [imprisoned] her — and Regina enters the season not knowing that he has that piece of information. So whatever she was saving Belle for just went away, and now I have a feeling Rumple is gong to want revenge.

TVLINE | What does Belle make of this situation she just stumbled into? She hasn’t really known Storybrooke.
KITSIS | This will probably be a strange land to her. She’s never seen a telephone before, she’s never seen a television…. And her inner nature is still one of goodness. Rumple has this large agenda and whatever it is, it required him bringing magic to this land. He has always been a character who has had to chose between love and power, and he’s always chosen power, so now that Belle, this wild card, comes into his life, into this meticulous plan, how will it affect it? And which path will he now choose because of it?

RELATED | New Once Upon a Time Episode Titles Revealed: Whose Backstories Are Coming?

TVLINE | The storytelling has always had one foot sort of planted in “reality” – Emma bonding with the son she gave up for adoption, Mary Margaret and David’s tortured romance. What is the Season 2 equivalent?
KITSIS | It’s going to be, “How does the real-world conflict with fairytale land? — in the sense that people have two lives in their head, and there may be things about who they once were they no longer want to be. In a weird way, the curse-breaking allows everyone to reevaluate themselves.

TVLINE | What is Emma’s journey now?
HOROWITZ | After experiencing the initial joy of finding her parents, Emma struggles as she learns how to be parented. She’s also going to have to come to grips with what it means to be the savior post-curse. She’ll have to reconcile what she thought she knew about the people in her life with who they’ve become, and then navigate a world turned on its head.
KITSIS | We’re also excited to finally get a good look at some of Emma’s backstory before she had Henry. We may even see the origins of her beloved yellow bug.

RELATED | Matt’s Inside Line: Get Scoop on Once Upon a Time‘s Pinocchio and More

TVLINE | Characters such as Sebastian Stan’s Jefferson are set to return for an episode or more. Are they there just for a head count, or do they serve a larger purpose?
HOROWITZ | We’re trying to give everybody a pivotal role in the larger story. So Jefferson doesn’t just show up to say, “Hey, I’m still here.” He’s got a part in this story.
KITSIS | And he has his own story. He’s got a daughter out there. Look, people like Sebastian we would love to have in every episode, but that is not possible because of their schedule. But he is in three episodes in the first batch, and we’re excited for those because they’re not just a “head count.”

TVLINE | Can you tease the circumstances under which we’ll meet one of the new characters?
KITSIS | Once of the new characters we’re going to be meeting is Lancelot (Teen Wolf‘s Sinqua Walls), who has a, uh, very…
HOROWITZ | … “complicated” relationship with Snow and Charming. We’re going to explore how that happened, and what it means for the past and for the future.
KITSIS | He and Snow have a secret that I’m not sure Charming knows.

VIDEO | Which Once Upon a Time Newcomer has Ginnifer Goodwin Snow Excited?

TVLINE | Which existing character would will surprise us most this season?
KITSIS | I would say Regina. Last year, all we ever showed her was making the wrong decision. Her father said, “Once you go down the revenge path you’ll never go back,” and she did it anyway, and she killed her father. She was told the curse will create a hole in her heart that can’t be filled, and she says voids can always be filled. And yet in the finale, she is faced with saving her son Henry or saving the curse, and she chose Henry and lost everything. So what happens now to Regina? Will this be a second chance? Will she redeem herself? Or will she revert to being the Evil Queen? And now, by the way, she doesn’t have to keep lying — I’m the Evil Queen, that’s right. And this is how it goes. The audience will be surprised by how she handles all this.

TVLINE | In closing, any message to the show’s fans?
KITSIS | Please watch.
HOROWITZ | We want to say “thank you” for all the support that we got, and we hope you join us for Season 2. We really are aware we’re only coming back because you watched, and we really want to continue to try to raise the bar.

TVLINE | And,  Nucky’s not as bad a guy as we think.
HOROWITZ | Nucky is complicated, you know… He’s a product of this time.
KITSIS | You’re both missing the point, which is regardless of what Nucky does, he runs that city well. In today’s world of bad government, at least the trains are running on time in Atlantic City, as far as I can see.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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62 Comments
  1. yut says:

    I like this:
    ” It’s all in service of this larger story we’ve been telling, centered on Snow White, Charming, their daughter Emma and their relationship with the Queen and Rumplestiltskin.”
    Yes, please, the show is about THEM, dont forget it

    • Bigby says:

      I guess that’s true, the show is about them but there are most certainly other new (and old) characters coming that are worth exploring and how their own personal stories and experiences affect the whole story and town as a whole.

      Contrary to what it seems by most fans of the show, I’m excited to see the Charming family reunion and their story but am also equally as excited to see the introduction of the new characters and their stories too!

      • Templar says:

        I’m most interested in learning about Henry’s father, Rumpel finding Baelfire, and whether the Queen in Wonderland is Cora, Regina’s mother. But, I’ll be happy with whatever.

        • moobear says:

          We all know that Henry’s father is Baelfire, right?

          Any which way, I can’t believe they finished off the season like they did, I really thought they would pull off the Emma doesn’t believe in fairy tales for at the very least 2 season…at least.

          Finally, ***girly squeal*** Rumple and Belle! Though, can someone tell me why I find Robert Carlyle so darn attractive??? And no, it’s not just from this show, I’ve liked him in Trainspotting, James Bond, and all the random British films he was in, like Full Monty, etc,. and for the record he’s not exactly my type or I would think many women’s type :)

          • Jennifer says:

            Me too! Rumple/Gold is my absolute favorite! He’s just so charming, adorable and devilishly fun! And the chemistry between him and Belle is way better then Snow/Charming. I think it’s same thing that made me adore T-Bag on Prison Break! I always thought that if Carlyle wasn’t playing Rumple/Gold that Robert Knepper would have been just as outstanding.

          • Patti says:

            some blogger mentioned the opening scene is of a man we havent seen before. i am betting its baelfire.

          • Jan says:

            Still hope Bae’s not the father. Too predictable, too soap operaish.

          • Templar says:

            IMO What draws you to Robert Carlyle is charisma. The biggest part of star power. You can’t buy it or learn it, either one has it or they don’t. RC has it.

      • yut says:

        For me no. Mulan Aurora Philips story seems….so disgusting (Mulan with Aurora?). Mulas was a real person, not a fairy tale character or fantasy character.
        I wanna see more about charming family, more about snow and charming romance, more about emma with henry and her parents, more about Regina hating snow…you know.
        New characters as Hansel and gretel in one episode or Ruby with snow, or Jiminny story with August and Marco….yes.
        But many new charaters with much time…no.

        • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

          Keep an open mind, I will say. The Mulan/Aurora/Phillip story is quite (and surprisingly) pivotal to the season premiere.

        • anna says:

          I agree with you about learning more about last season characters…ESPECIALLY I’m curious to know what will happen between Marco August and Archie now that the curse is broken…I wanna know how they’ll interact knowing the story they share…that situation has a great drama non-romantical potential IMO…and I’d like to see more of both August’s past in the real world and Geppetto’s in fairytale land too…
          Though about the new ones I guess I’ll simply wait and see…
          ps : about Mulan I think she feels something for Philip, not Aurora ( there’s a sneak peek featuring Mulan and Aurora and it seems to me that Mulan is more concerned about Philip )

        • Kelly says:

          I am not too excited for new characters. I want more of season one regular and recurrings. I hope all the newbies does not mean less archie,grumpy,belle,granny,august,etc.

          • Patti says:

            I know emma,snow,regina,charming and gold wouldn’t suffer for storylines with mulan,sleeping beauty,hook and all the newbies coming but yeah I worry my fav recurring,supporting players from season one will get less and remain just sidekicks.

  2. sara says:

    So is Belle not going to have seen a telephone or not know how to use a telephone? Because if everyone else came with personalities and an understanding of the modern world currently made why wouldn’t she? Shouldn’t she have the same sort of memories everyone else does, where they have memories of parents and growing up in this world?

    • Matt Webb Mitovich, Editor-at-Large TVLine.com says:

      She’s been in that cell for 28 years, seems like Regina stuffed here there the instant they all got plopped in Storybrooke.

      • sara says:

        Yeah, but presumably everyone else didn’t just plop into Storybrooke with no knowledge of cars and telephones. They all have backstories to make their current lives believable. So even if Belle has been in a cell for 28 years and hasn’t actually seen a telephone within that context, she should still have a memory of how things work. She might not know about cell phones or computers but the memories implanted in her should at least give her knowledge of television and telephones. Unless it’s another plothole that they just attribute to The Curse as a catchall.

        • Mynameis... says:

          People appear to only have the memories necessary to function as their lives require (e.g. Kathryn doesn’t “remember” her husband until Regina contacts her). Given that Belle was locked in a Psych Ward, it’s entirely plausible that she has no memories of any technology.

          • sara says:

            That’s a huge assumption. There’s no way of knowing if Kathryn thought he was missing indefinitely before that, considering that people didn’t notice that Ashley had been 9 months pregnant for 28 years so it doesn’t seem like a huge leap to assume that Kathryn just didn’t know he was there legitimately.

        • foofoo says:

          Belle was locked up by Regina well before the curse — so we can assume that the curse prepared everyone for the circumstances in which they found themselves — and since she was in a cell before, she was prepared for living in a cell.

          • sara says:

            So thousands and thousands of people were given lives and backstories necessary to live the same few days over and over again but Belle wasn’t? That’s…incredibly plot convenient.

        • Kelly says:

          so far it seems like belle doesn’t have a storybrooke identity. just locked away with no memory of anything.

        • Josh says:

          Sara, we don’t know what purpose Belle was to serve for the queen, so perhaps some of that unknown may answer your questions. Regardless, it seems like such a tiny aspect to focus on. I’m pretty sure these guys have it under control.

          • Jan says:

            I’m not too bothered by it either. But I do hope they’ll explain the way the curse worked a little more as the series goes on. There are some holes in what we know about the curse so far.

  3. tim says:

    i stopped watching after four or five episodes cause the actor who plays the little boy is wretched. have they cut down his scenes?

    • Templar says:

      From reading these blogs throughout last season, my impression is that viewers overwhelmingly love Jared Gilmore who plays Henry. I’m very pleased with him, as well.

      • Marie says:

        Really? Because the sites I go to think he is a horrible actor and ruins every single scene he is in.

        • linda says:

          Which sites?

        • Patti says:

          the sites i go to love him and he won some award for his work right around the time of the paley festival.

        • Tyler says:

          I looked around for any reviews that were complaining about Jared as an actor. I would love to find some of these sites to find out what they have against him.
          They have toned down his appearances a bit (compared to the first few episodes). Some of the later episodes he wasn’t in at all, or just had a few seconds on the screen with maybe a line or two.

    • Lauren says:

      Even fairy tale land has trolls, I see!

      • Marie says:

        Sigh. It’s not trolling if it’s true. And by the way saying something negative about an actor or a show is not trolling. It’s just an opinion that is different from yours. And maybe you need to get over yourself and remember that some people don’t think exactly like you.

        • linda says:

          He can have his opinion but If his only answer/comment to this pretty interesting interview is to share his dislike of Henry or the actor, a child btw, then it is called trolling, no more no less. Get over yourself, “Ave” Marie.

    • Meg says:

      Yes, actually. But he has been working so the scenes he is in are slowly getting progressively better.

    • Kelly says:

      i really like the character of henry and the actor who plays him. I look forward to seeing more of henry and emma’s bond and with his grandpop charming.

  4. BelleRumpleFan says:

    It sounds exciting! So glad to have my favorite show back. I just love all the characters.

    I love that Rumple is going to be torn between Belle and his need for revenge. Rumple vs Regina, it’s too good!

  5. cherry says:

    I can’t for the life of me remember a character name “Nucky”. Is this a new character or one that got by me last season?

  6. Linda says:

    Lol,Fairytale-land has a trollbridge so it is not surprising. :)
    I like henry and the actor too. I´m rooting for the entire Charming family and hope they will kick some asses this season :)

  7. Brenna says:

    Rumbelle goodness :)

  8. Aoife says:

    Very excited for the premiere and for Charming-family-centric stories!

  9. Addie says:

    I’m glad that the writers’ seem focused on the core five. I love some of the other characters we’ve met and am excited to meet the new ones, but it should always be about Snow, Charming, Emma, Regina and Rumple.

  10. kate says:

    I’m curious, why every time they talk about season 2, they never mention august! graham, jefferson, archie, geppeto but never august, are they trolling us again or august have another secret those two don’t want us to know?

  11. Jesse says:

    Yeah, sounds pretty good. One more day though… ;)

  12. Kelly says:

    I am glad they will continue to focus on the charming family. The focus on the five, with Regina being stepmom and one of henry’s two moms, makes me think even more rumple’s apart of the family by being henry’s grandpop too. It’s good that the focus remains on that group but I hope their focus and the new characters doesn’t mean red,belle,archie, gepato, august, granny, grumpy and the other six dwarfs getting even less. We haven’t heard anything about august or archie, the other dwarfs we really don’t know and I love Belle but the only mentions of her are more about rumple than her. So I hope they get storylines of their own over the newbies coming on. Cause I’m getting Lost tallies flashbacks with all the new characters coming on for season 2.

  13. Jan says:

    Very excited for Regina’s story this season. I have a feelings she will try to change for Henry, but after all these years of being the Evil Queen change won’t come easy. And her feud with Rumplestiltskin will continue to tempt her to give in to her dark side again. I also want to find out if the Queen of Hearts in Wonderland is Cora, her mother, and what it means that she is the miller’s daughter’s child. It would be nice to see more of her backstory as a young woman too and maybe see Daniel again. They were cute together and I would like to know how they met and maybe how they feel in love.

  14. Jennifer says:

    If everyone remembers I’m curious to see how Paige reacts to remembering her dad. And just who are the people who raised her? Seems she has alot in common with Henry, Emma, Snow and Charming.

  15. yut says:

    And more snow&charming! (sorry I disliked so much Rumpel&Belle story… :( )

  16. Kelly says:

    I love Snow&Charming and Rumple&Belle.

  17. Patti says:

    I’m guess the opening is Baelfire and the ending is one of the dwarves vanishing/dying after trying to leave town.

  18. Not ONE person mentioned Ruby. I for one, love her the most. She’s been my favorite character from the start, and I can’t wait to see what’s in story for her. I hope someone’s brought her hood! <3 I'm glad she's a regular now, and that they have new stories for her!

  19. Jason says:

    Ugh. Don’t tell me this show is “all about” Snow, Charming and Emma, the three most boring characters in Storybrook or Fairyland. Good lord, who are you kidding? The Queen and Rumple are 100x more interesting, and give me Prince Philip over Charming ANY DAY of the freakin’ week. Mulan’s hot, too. I’m more interested in Henry’s story, Pinochio’s fate, Ruby’s predicament, Dr. Whale’s mystery, what’s going on in the FairyLand that “doesn’t exist anymore,” the Mad Hatter, what’s behind all those doors the Hatter showed Regina….geez….puh-leeze don’t get bogged down in Snow and Charming. And frankly, Emma’s demeanor is verrry off-putting.

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