Lana Parrilla Talks Once Upon a Time Twist: 'It's a Victory' for Regina, 'Yet There's a Layer of Guilt'

And just like that, with the spin of a hat, Once Upon a Time‘s Mayor Regina Mills aka the Evil Queen (accidentally!) dispatched the two thorns in her side to “oblivion.” Yet Henry has now charged Regina with bringing back his birth mom Emma and Mary Margaret/Snow White. Easier said than done? During a visit to TVLine’s Times Square offices, Lana Parrilla previewed the obstacles standing in the way of Emma and Snow living happily ever after in Storybrooke again. (ABC’s Once airs Sunday at 8/7c.)

VIDEO Q&A | Once Upon a Time‘s Jennifer Morrison Previews Emma’s Fairytale Nightmare

TVLINE | Coming out of the premiere, what range of emotions is Regina going through after Emma and Snow White fall through the portal?
There are mixed emotions. For one, she somewhat feels guilty, because that wasn’t her intention. Secondly, it’s almost kind of like a tiny, tiny celebration, because she’s been trying to get rid of these two women for so long! But how it happened… was not ideal. So it’s all a bit confusing for Regina because it’s something that is almost like a victory, and yet at the same time, there is a layer of guilt there. I think Regina is a really good person, at the core of her being, but circumstances changed her over the years.

TVLINE | As far as fixing the situation, is the fact that the hat is crushed a first roadblock?
Yes, for sure, because that was the only portal that they had in Storybrooke. Now that it’s destroyed, they don’t know how to get to this other world.

TVLINE | Can’t we just find Jefferson and have him make a new hat?
I think there is something special about this one hat. If we remember in Sebastian Stan’s [first] episode, Jefferson was making all these hats because he was trying to recreate that portal to get back. So there was something very special and unique about this one specific hat. Now they have to find another way to reach this other world, though I’m not quite sure how they’re going to do it.

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TVLINE | We saw Regina come up empty the first time she went to use her magic and yet, after the portal sequence, she easily pinned David against the wall with the vines. What’s the difference there? Is it because Emma touched her? Is this Regina learning the lay of the new land?
That’s kind of left open for questioning… but I think it’s a combination of things. Rumpelstiltskin/Mr. Gold is able to use a bit of magic in Storybrooke, but it doesn’t work the same way for Regina. But Jennifer [Morrison] and I, when we were doing that scene, we did play that [activating the hat] had something to do with her touching Regina, but again, we have this perplexed look on our face like, ‘Who did that?’

TVLINE | Henry has charged Regina with getting back Emma and Mary Margaret, but will Rumple’s vendetta against Regina prove a distraction?
It’s interesting because as we move forward, there isn’t a lot of full-on confrontation, like really getting down to it and saying, “Why did you send the wraith after me? What is this about?” And he doesn’t directly approach her about Belle. So the way I see it, there is so much that is unspoken between these two characters. In the second episode, Regina goes to talk to Mr. Gold — she needs something from him – but she never mentions the wraith. There is no dialogue about it. To me that indicates that either these two can never really kill each other and these are just threats, or they don’t talk about it because they’re just always going to try to trump one another.

TVLINE | Now that everyone in Storybrooke knows who they really are, we see that Ginny [Goodwin] has brought a bit of a regal air to her performance, Josh [Dallas] has a bit more swag. But since Regina has always known who she is, what subtle notes do you as an actress get to put in there?
Regina has always been very good at lying. She wears a mask. She plays a part. And now I don’t think she can anymore. So, you’re going to experience a much more vulnerable, exposed Regina. She starts to become very honest about who she is and the things that she’s afraid of and what she wants. She starts to confront herself and her inner demons in ways I don’t think she ever has.

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TVLINE | How soon do we get to see you in Evil Queen regalia again?
I’m hoping very soon. I do miss it. There are some flashbacks, but what we [thus far] flash back to is young Regina. That’s juxtaposed with the Regina in Storybrooke because in Fairytale Land she’s starting to be come this evil queen, while in Storybrooke she’s softening. I love that contrast. That’s what these writers are so great at.

TVLINE | Have you had a chance to play anything remotely resembling a warm-ish moment with Regina and Henry yet?

TVLINE | Can you tease what brings that about?

TVLINE | Which of Season 2’s new characters do you get to interact with the most?
None. I have yet to act with any of them…. The portal has a lot to do with that.

TVLINE | I was a bit surprised by the fact that everybody in town doesn’t know who Dr. Whale is….
Yeah, David is like, “Who are you?” and they get very confrontational over it. There’s a reason for that. A lot of the fans are guessing, and that’s exactly what we want them to do. There are, I think, one or two characters that know who he is.

TVLINE | I have to think that there will be some new and/or surprising allies for Regina in Storybrooke this season. It can’t just be her against everybody.
There is one, and it is a fairytale character that we do know. So, you’ll have to keep watching!

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  1. prish says:

    Dr. Whale, Peter Pan, perhaps?

  2. RRK says:

    I think Dr. Whale is King Arthur. New kingdom, new rules! :)

  3. Ella says:

    I think Peter Pan is Henry. Or his father? I’m stumped at who Dr. Wale really is.

  4. Frivolouswhim says:

    Oh, young FTL Regina becomes the EQ while she is softening in SB? Oh man that is bound to be an awesome contrast, especially given how amazing Lana is in the role(s). I’m loving all this.

  5. I think it likely that Captain Hook is her new Ally as he has just been promoted to series regular and he is a “bad guy”. As for who doctor Whale is…. no freaking clue. He is a jerk whoever he is so I’m guessing some sort of villain.

  6. Alexxiie says:

    Definitely want to see some scenes between Regina and Captain Hook!! That’d be such an interesting and fiery combo/attraction! :D

  7. fifitrixbell says:

    This all sounds amazing. Particularly interested in Henry/Regina and how their relationship is salvaged this year. Also the contrast between Regina in Storybrooke and EQ in FTL should be really great. Can’t wait.

  8. ncisfan1985 says:

    Thanks for the interview! As bad as she is, Regina is one of my favorite characters and I’m really excited to see her redemption story play out (though I do think she needs to retain some of her dark side lol).

  9. yut says:

    Regina good person? Are you kidding me? I love Lana and her character but she is evil. And I want her evil

    • Louise says:

      She said Regina is good at the core. We know this is true since we saw The Stable Boy episode. Whether that good, sweet side of her can take over again after she’s been the Evil Queen for so long remains to be seen. But I like that she (and Rumple too) is not all evil. It keeps the characters interesting and relatable. Evil for evil’s sake in Disney cartoon fashion gets boring very quickly. One of the best things about this show is how they made the “villains” so human and relatable. Their popularity among fans is a great testament of what a great job the writers and the actors have done with these characters.

  10. Louise says:

    Looking forward to that moment between Regina and Henry. I hope their relationship is the focus for the Regina character this season. It got neglected last season after the first couple of episodes and only picked up again towards the very end with that great scene in the hospital. I also hope we will see her with Daniel again this year and her mother will come to Storybrooke.

    • fifitrixbell says:

      They really did neglect the Regina/Henry relationship last year especially in the later half of the season. I would really like them to show a lot more scenes this year. Hopefully we will get this. As for Daniel I would definitely love to see him again and Cora too.

    • NW0621 says:

      Yes, yes and yes! Top 5 things I want for Regina in s2:
      – progress in her relationship with Henry
      – Regina ♥ Daniel flashbacks or Daniel is resurrected
      – Regina and Emma work together again
      – more episodes with Barbara Hershey (Cora)
      – more scenes and more backstory with Regina and Snow

      • fifitrixbell says:

        Ugh this list is perfect. And I agree with every single one of them completely. Hoping Emma and Snow come back soon.

      • Frivolouswhim says:

        I love this list. I also hope the last one, Regina and Snow, will get more focus at one point. I think their conflict/relationship is one of the most intriguing things about the show, but now that they are in two different lands, I don’t think we’ll get much interaction between them. I’d love to see more scenes of Ginny and Lana, I feel the few they had last season were all awesome – especially in Stable Boy.

        • Mary says:

          Yes to more scenes with Ginny and Lana. Loved their scenes in Stable Boy, but I also loved their scene in The Stranger.

      • Karen says:

        Some cool ideas! I like point #5 best. Evil Queen/Regina and Snow White/Mary Margaret is a very important relationship for OUAT. I hope OUAT can get Noah Bean back, too. He and Lana Parrilla were cute together and they have great chemistry.

      • Mike says:

        As much as i want Regina to be happy, I don’t want daniel to be resurrected unless it makes sense, and it makes the death have less impact if he can just come back to life, and it also makes any other deaths in the series meaningless, so unless they can bring him back in a smart way to make any other deaths still sad(and maybe even permanent), I’d rather them not bring him back at all.

      • Zylice says:

        YES!!!!! :-DDDDD So EXCITED!!!!!

  11. Its definitely Captain Hook as her new ally!

  12. Mellie says:

    “But Jennifer [Morrison] and I, when we were dong that scene”

    Although a part of me would like to think that she actually did say dong.

    I’ve given up trying to guess who Whale is after all the empty theories from last year… I think I’m ready to sit back and allow them to tell me. I’m more excited about guessing who are mysterious not-Desmond was from the season opener…

  13. Mike says:

    Am I the only one that thought Henry was a bit out of character in the first episode, he seemed to almost care for Regina(maybe even Mother-son love), but in season 1, he basically hated her guts and I don’t remember any motherly moments between the two, but now in season 2 he called regina Mom, and wanted her to live, and it wasn’t until she accidently sent Emma and Snow back to FTL, that he hated her again. Did I miss something in season 1, or is it just because he kind of thought it was cool to have the evil queen as his adoptee Mom?

    • Louise says:

      Always took thought that he hated the Evil Queen and what Regina did as the Evil Queen. But she’s not only the Evil Queen. She adopted him, loved him, raised him into the boy he is now. She is his mother, the only mother he has ever known. I think it would be unrealistic if he felt nothing for her or even wanted her to die. He wanted the Evil Queen’s curse broken, but I don’t think he thought much about what would happen afterwards.

    • I also think that Henry was extremely conflicted in the first season. In the first season everyone, EVERYONE was telling him he was crazy and that he was wrong about what was happening in the town. Even Regina. I think a lot of his anger came from being condescended too and told to grow up, wake up, stop pretending…etc. After the curse is broken he is totally vindicated, Emma believes and he is a hero. It’s only natural that he be happier and more willing to forgive. It’s hard when you’re young to separate your feelings for a person as a whole and your feelings about something that they are doing. Henry probably loved Regina but when she started forcing him to go to therapy and told him he was crazy it created animosity and resentment.

  14. beckstle says:

    Looking forward to this season! Dr. Whale…isn’t there a woodsman in Red Riding Hood that cuts the wolf open to save grandma? Grandma pops out of the wolf’s belly, the Woodsman fills the wolf’s belly up with stones and then sews him back up. Maybe that’s Dr. Whale? It would work with his fancination with Red, and the cutting & stitching people works with the wolf bit. Just a thought…

  15. Karen says:

    “That’s juxtaposed with the Regina in Storybrooke because in Fairytale Land she’s starting to be come this evil queen, while in Storybrooke she’s softening” — I love this. It sounds very exciting and I am sure it will be just as exciting to watch. OUAT’s writers and Lana Parrilla’s fab acting chops = match made in heaven. Thanks for the great interview, Matt!

  16. Great interview! *thumbs up* :D

  17. JORDAN T. says:

    I got a theory about Jefferson and his hat, remember emma touched regina and regina got her magic back well Emma made a hat for Jefferson and that was the same hat that was used in the first episode of season 2, so i believe that emma gave that hat magic, emma dosent realize she could give others and objects magic. Emma is the key.

    • Stormy says:

      OK, you could be on to something, but where would Emma get magic? Neither Snow nor Charming have magical abilities. I attributed the boost to the symbiosis of good and evil working together.

      • The way I understand fairy tale land, magic is an inherent ability that everyone that is born in the land has but in different degrees. Obviously August still had magic in him because in our world people don’t just turn into wood. So even if Emma doesn’t have any active powers the fact that she was born in Fairy tale land and escaped before the curse hit would make her one of three people (August and Bae) who still have their inborn magic intact. I’m assuming that the curse stripped all magic from everyone else when sending them to our world (otherwise the nuns would be fairy sized and Ruby would be running wild). That would be a good reason why contact with Emma could reawaken the gift of magic inside people. That is how Graham got his memory back. Snow and Charming didn’t have strong magic so they wouldn’t notice anything different. Emma isn’t really a hugger so no one else would have reason to notice. Also when Emma touched Jefferson’s new hat it worked so Jefferson should have something with magic he could use to fix the broken hat.

      • Kelly says:

        I thought the magic unleashed in storybrooke is snow&charming’s true love and who better to be able to access it than emma, the product of their true love.

    • caro says:

      but the hat they used to get rid of the wraith was the hat regina took from the madhatter, not the one emma made
      regina took it with her from the fairytale land and she asked jefferson to use it in order to get the poisonous apple back
      at least that’s what i remember

  18. A says:

    Bring back Graham!

  19. anasof says:

    “That’s juxtaposed with the Regina in Storybrooke because in Fairytale Land she’s starting to be come this evil queen, while in Storybrooke she’s softening.” …. I’m glad they chose Lana for this character (or characters) being the terrific actress she is, I’m sure it will be so much fun and interesting to watch.
    What an amazing season we are gonna have this year!! And I do hope her relationship with Henry improves, at least just a little :)

  20. Kelly says:

    I hope to see Regina interact more with Snow. I wish she’d take her anger out on the one who deserves it her mom. Hope Regina interacts with Jefferson more. They had great chemistry. I like Regina as evil though. Lana is so good at it.

  21. Cory says:

    I really hope some great things come about for Regina and Henry… Regina really does love Henry and Henry does love her… He even acknowledged that when he begged Emma to save her. “She’s still my mom.”

    As for Dr. Whale… I hope he’s the Whale, but then again I hope he’s something more… never know, he could become a bigger big bad than Regina and Mr. Gold…

    and all I can say about Captain Hook is… can I be his Peter Pan?! rawr!

  22. Patti says:

    I hope Whale surprises us and is not a villain.

    I don’t think Regina and Gold would need to have the wraith discussion. It was pretty clear in the jail scene. He promised belle he wouldn’t kill her but what she did to belle couldn’t stand so he used a loophole in his promise and sent the wraith to do it.