Exclusive: Once Upon a Time Makes Michael Raymond-James a Series Regular for Season 3

MichaelRaymondJamesONCEOnce Upon a Time has promoted Michael Raymond-James to series regular status for Season 3, TVLine has learned exclusively.

Series co-creator Adam Horowitz first shared the plan with us at ABC’s Upfront party on May 14, and on June 7, it was confirmed as officially a done deal.

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After making his Once debut as Emma’s ex/Henry’s father Neal Cassidy aka Baelfire in the Emma-centric episode “Tallahassee,” Raymond-James heavily recurred in the last string of Season 2 episodes, as Rumple discovered his son in New York City and circumstances then led them back to Storybrooke.

When last seen, Neal had been shot by Tamara, fallen through a portal and ultimately washed ashore in The Fairytale Land That Is, where he was tended to by Aurora, Mulan and Phillip.

Are you happy Raymond-James’ Once alter ego is sticking around? Hit the comments.

Want more scoop on Once Upon a Time Season 3, or for any other show? Email insideline@tvline.com and your question may be answered via Matt’s Inside Line.

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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  1. Susi says:

    I’m delighted… and infinitely amused at the shipping battle spilling out over these pages. The seethe is hilarious! :D

  2. Gizmo says:

    I think the show just hasn’t given us enough of Bae the adult as a character in his own right for us to learn to appreciate him. I did think he was being developed a bit more towards the end of the season. And, I liked him more as the season went on. That said, I’ll be glad to see how his life changed from young Bae to adult Bae.

    What really frustrates me is Belle having to stay in Storybrooke! I hope, like most of the hard core fans, that there will be less hopping around and more character development this season. They need to use the excellent actors on the show to their fullest!

  3. Si says:

    Fantastic news! Great actor and great character!

  4. Balbiro says:

    Great news! Love MRJ and of course, Robert Carlyle!

  5. Kat says:

    So excited for Season 3 now!!!!! Love, love, love MRJ!!!!! Can’t understand why anyone is still on the Emma/Hook ship… He’s practically her baby daddy’s step-father. Btw… Her “I love you” to Neal was not random. She was still holding a torch.. Check her facial expression after he tells her Tamara is his fiancé. #manhattan #tallahassee

  6. Darla says:

    This is the best news! I think MRJ is a fantastic actor and Neal has been a welcome and much needed addition to the series. I’m not a shipper by any means, so if he ends up with Emma great, and if he doesn’t that’s fine too. I’m just happy to see the father/son story-lines of Rumple/Bae, Hook/Bae, and Neal/Henry will be followed through with. They are far more fascinating then any romantic entanglement.

  7. Bailey says:

    Best News Ever.

  8. salvatore says:

    difficile trovare persone competenti su questo argomento, ma sembra che voi sappiate di cosa state parlando! Grazie

  9. jojo says:

    Well…congrats for MRJ… (unless he becomes a spot on the wall like Archie in S1 or Belle and Ruby in S2) …. though I keep wishing that S2 never happened cause it was totally disconnected from S1… they kept adding chracters upon charcters and even if they were amazing this didn’t left much space to a decent development… I keep wondering how much of that was caused by the writers’ decision to not bring August back… since ,that way, they kind of put in the backside a lot of Emma’s character growth… many of the things that happened in the first half felt like A FILLER… like if they didn’t know what do, considering that they ignored all of the many logical ways to prosecute the story after 1×22… for example where did the thing of “HAVING TWO CONFLICTING REALITIES IN YOUR MIND” end up? and the redemption theme of the WHOLE season? BAH! Can I ask whose redemption? Only Regina’s – even if I loved it -*through out* S2 and only a few more stuffed at the end of it -_- … so despite that I liked many of the new characters… I realized that OUAT isn’t OUAT anymore… same people writing it (actually worst than last year) but totally different story… I do not trust the writers anymore… and I’m tired of getting attached to characters that will get screwed not even in a decent and well-written way at any time! Like, I was upset but ok with killing Graham cause it was part of the plan but August??? And all those subplots like Lacey??? Oh come on! Is this a soap opera or what ???(lol it might actually be since now everyone seems to be related to everyone!) Plus Emma and Neal or Emma and Hook are two type of love stories that couldn’t be more boring and lame to me .THEY DO NOT FIT EMMA’S CHARACTER AT ALL since she’s not some Bella Swan/Elena that has to save her own man from his dark side and not even some damsel in distress that needs a perect hero who always does the right thing for everyone’s sake next to her … her character should be paired with someone who – like her isn’t perfect – but that is strong and willing to fight for what she loves! So I’d rather see EMMA and REGINA cause from their relationship (as people not as lovers) they have both learned something and in some ways caused each other to grow (WHICH IS WHY I SHIP/SHIPPED HER WITH AUGUST!!!) Anyway the massive use of clichés and the boring but foremost predictable plotlines got me finally out of the building… OUAT ,THIS IS A GOODBYE…I AM finally FREE. Good luck Kistowitz with keeping the show floating especially since you keep letting being brainwashed by Jane Espenson and her crazy ideas.

  10. Delena forever says:

    This is a comment I think I’ve posted over a thousand times although I like Neal and Emma together it shouldn’t be as easy as ” hay I love u lets get together” I think while in never land emma should fall in love with someone else and then when they find Neal he should fight for emma because he can’t just break her heart and then be forgiven just like that

    • Stacy says:

      Selena forever- I also want them together but don’t want it to be easy for either one of them. I don’t want them to “fall in love” with other people, but they can date other people and lie to themselves that they are not in love with each other. I love that Rumple and Snow both see through their child’s words. I would love to see Emma “date” maybe Jefferson and have Neal be jealous, kind of like Emma was. I don’t want Emma with Henrys step-grandfather (hook) that’s just gross on so many levels. I would love to see Neal fight for Emma and win her heart all over again. They belong together, they are meant for each other. Jennifer Morrison and Michael Raymond-James are just fantastic on screen, they sparkle together.

  11. Jap says:

    Well I think that BEFORE, people SAY “whaaaaa I am out because S3 will suck” watch it first and then complain about how bad it WAS!! Maybe Neal was sent to the Fairyland that is because he will remember who he was before. And yes I agree that Jen M. has been the weakest of them all.

  12. Itza Sekret says:

    Is it wrong I want to see Emma with Hook? I think those two have the fire and the passion to be a regular super couple!

    • meg says:

      No honey, it’s not wrong. You have seen the light :) Emma and Hook gon’ be epic.

    • Micah says:

      No!!! Emma and Hook will not be together because Hook is still in love with Milah ( even though she is dead ) and Emma is in love with Neal aka older Bea plus Hook wanted to be like a father figure to Bea not Henry ( Who knows if Hook still wants to be a father figure to Bae now that he is older) if so Hook will be sorta Henry’s grandfather figure.

  13. Geo says:

    Here’s the thing, Bae is awesome but somehow Neal just makes me want to hurl something at the screen whenever he’s on. I like MRJ but goddamit, I can’t stand Neal/Emma. If they’re keeping him to be a future love interest for Regina (think about it, same issue with parents, other hates magic, other hides behind it, rumbelle parallels) then by all means, I welcome this news. But if they’re gonna shove more of Emma and Neal down our throats then that would just suck big time because EMMA/HOOK has some majorly epic potential. And no, I don’t want a triangle. I want Emma moving on from Neal. She deserves to be happy. Neal found home with someone else (Tamara being an evil bitch aside)

  14. Susan says:

    Totally!!! He is a great actor and the character is very likable! Can’t wait for Season 3!

  15. Done says:

    What? Ok now I´m done for real. Thank you Kitsis&Horowitz, you made it so easy for me to quit watching your show.

  16. Micah says:

    Well…..yeah I’m 10/10 glad that Micheal being on once upon a time it will show more flashbacks of him as Baelfire………I hope

  17. Patti says:

    Neal is awesome. So glad he is back for good.

  18. Amy says:

    It’s weird that I Iike Bae so much, but find almost nothing to like about Neal. He’s treated Emma so badly I hope they find someone else to pair her with.

  19. Kari says:

    Yay! He was my favorite thing about season 2.

  20. The best news of recent days. I love Neal / Bae for his complexity.
    Lately it’s hard to put up with the childishness that certain fans attack the characters.
    I do not see a tv-show because of the futility of the ‘hot’ ‘chemical’ ‘clothes’ ​​and blah blah blah. I see the story, the plot, etc..
    The TV nowadays is full of crap, cheap soap operas. It’s hard to find a story with interest, without falling into vulgarity of loving triangles, swapping partners, promiscuity
    The most unfortunate of all, is that these shows have an audience inexplicable, and other amazing tv-shows are canceled because of fans attraction for stories and plots without quality.
    Finally. I hope Adam and Eddy do not fall into ridiculous appeal of certain fans.

    Some fans have even threatened and insulted, actor Michael Raymond-James because they do not want his character, come between Hook / Emma. This is shameful. Even some reviews I read here in this article, and other articles, which included MRJ.

    I hope these shameful comments, begin to disappear, because the beginning ashamed to belong to this fandom

  21. 4theloveoffilm says:

    Yay Yay Yay Yay Yay ! ! ! ! !

    Ever since TERRIERS met an untimely, unnecessary end, I get gleeful when MRJ appears in anything! Such a talent. And I happen to love his character, Neal. And this show. Icing on the cake.

  22. AM says:

    I guess I am totally late on this. I like MRJ the actor and I am rooting for his success on the show, so I am biased when it comes to Emma and Neal. I like them together.

    With that said I understand why some fans of the show aren’t happy or do not like the adult Baelfire. There is a huge disconnect between adolescent Bae and adult Bae. Again, I LOVE MRJ and hope the creators and writers figure out a way to make Neal more likable to the fan base.

  23. Ana says:

    MRJ is hugely unlikeable as Neal (and this aside from the fact that his unwashed, drunk-slob looks are a turn-off). Emma and Neal share zero chemistry, and while there are some amazing sparks between Hook and her, he also is a rotten character who I find very hard to forgive. I hope there’s a new love interest for Emma, or that Hook somehow reforms through a sacrifice.
    Seriously, the perfect choice would have Graham/Huntsman and Emma – they were fabulous together. He was an honourable man and had this awesome tortured thing going on, and their relationship seemed so promising – was so sad when he was killed!