Once Upon a Time Creators Address 'Plotty' Past, Preview a Future of Neverland Conflict, Charming Bonding, 'Heat' for Regina and More

Once Upon a Time Season 3 SpoilersTwo Lost boys will serve up plenty of Lost Boys as Once Upon a Time opens Season 3 this Sunday at 8/7c.

When last we tuned into the ABC drama, Emma, the ‘rents, Rumple, Hook and Regina had set sail for Neverland in search of Henry, who had been whisked into a portal by Tamara and Greg. The action picks up — save for a brief detour to 11 years ago — with the unlikely allies splashing down in Peter Pan’s ‘hood, well wary of what awaits them.

Series cocreators Adam Horowitz and Eddy Kitsis gave TVLine a deep dive into the new season, previewing a collision of egos, overdue family bonding, romantic detours and an overall exploration of character that some feel eluded Season 2.

RELATED | Once Upon a Time Season 3: Captain Swan Feelings, ‘Demon’ Pan and 12 More Teases

TVLINE | Do you feel, that if you had any regrets about Season 2, that it was at times quite plot-driven and not as character-driven as you might have liked? Is that anything you were conscious of as you went into Season 3?
ADAM HOROWITZ | We are always conscious of trying to make it character-driven and not plot-driven, and if Season 2 appeared that way to some, that’s certainly something we don’t want to have happen with Season 3. Our intention going into Season 2 was to make it character-driven and to make the plot service the characters, but can we do better? We always try to. With each season, we’ve tried to be ambitious, and I think we’ve succeeded with some things and fallen short with others. We just have to look at the “game tape” of what we’ve done, learn what worked best and build on that.

TVLINE | I’m thinking of, for example, Regina. Last year, she seemed to be doing a lot of stuff to service the plot.
EDDY KITSIS | It’s unfortunate then that it came off that way, because what we tried to do was treat “magic and being good” like the metaphor of an alcoholic. So in the first nine episodes, Regina was staying clean for Henry, resulting in her saving Snow White’s life, which is a cold day in hell for her — and then she’s not invited to dinner. And when she is invited to dinner, she looked across the room and realized these people may tolerate her, but they will never forgive her. So when her mom comes with “the bottle,” she takes the short way out. And in the end when she says, “Everyone thinks I’m the Evil Queen; let me die as Regina,” what we were setting up was a person who kept going back and forth and at the end of the day realized they didn’t want to be remembered for something horrible they did. People might have thought she was flip-flopping, but for us it’s like quitting cigarettes — LANA PARRILLA you go on and off until you can finally put it behind you. But in Season 3, she’s going to embrace who she is a lot more.
HOROWITZ | If anything, the challenge for the show has been and continues to be taking the mythology that involves all of these characters — the stuff that kind of comes out as “plot” — and making it digestible in as smooth a way possible through character, through the moments they share and wherein they reveal themselves.
KITSIS | Regina might have been flip-floppy, but she was not one of the ones we thought was “plotty.”
HOROWITZ | We were trying to take a dive with Regina and we think we got her where she needed to be. Maybe the dive was a little splashier than it should have been, but for where we wanted to go, we now are in a position to do some new things with her in Season 3.

TVLINE | As Season 3 takes shape, how will it differ from 2 in theme, in tone…?
HOROWOTZ | I’ll say one thing: On the character front, something that you brought up and we’re very conscious of, we are really making the effort to peel back the layers on these characters. That’s one of the reasons we’re embarking on this Neverland story. As you’ll see particularly in the first half of this season, a lot of time is spent in Neverland with the six people on that ship, and what they encounter there and what Neverland itself does to them helps shine a new light on them.

TVLINE | What questions or issues are you aiming to raise or explore with this journey?
KITSIS | Neverland, for us, is a place where you don’t grow up, and since you have no future, we feel like Neverland makes you confront your past. There was a certain speed to Season 2, and there were big issues raised that we didn’t catch our breath in enough time to explore — like, Emma questioning why she has magic. And Emma now knows that Mary Margaret and David are her parents, but does she really look at them like parents? And what is it like for them? What does it mean to be a mom as opposed to saying you’re a mom? And Regina was told by Greg Mendel, “You’re a villain, you don’t get a happy ending,” so she wonders if that’s true. We want to take the time to explore these big character things that we set up in Season 2. What I love about Neverland is it’s like you’re in the jungle. It’s magical and yet at the same time dark and sexy.

VIDEO | Once Upon a Time Sneak Peek: Rumple’s Visit to Neverland Comes With a Threat From Peter Pan

TVLINE | As the six search this land that is foreign to at least some of them, will they be splintered into different “camps” a la Lost’s Jack and Locke? Will there be torn allegiances?
HOROWITZ | There will certainly be hurdles to be cleared in order for them to rescue Henry — if they do in fact manage to rescue Henry. We’ll see different alliances, and we’ll see splits occurring… different permutations of things.
KITSIS | You have six people on the boat who all think they’re a leader. At the end of Season 2, they were all united with, “Let’s go get Henry,” but when they face their first obstacle, you can’t have six leaders.

TVLINE | Right. Like, if you ask me to choose between Charming, who you know has the right priorities, and Hook, who might have a tactical advantage, I’m in a pickle.
KITSIS | Exactly. And if you’re Regina, who thinks she’s smarter than both of them… [Laughs] For us, that’s the fun.

TVLINE | Is Peter Pan someone they will meet right away? And will he quickly live up to the ominous billing Rumple gave him?
KITSIS | We think so, but you know Twitter….
HOROWITZ | We’ll meet Peter Pan rather quickly, and we think that he lives up to Rumple’s warning, which was, “That’s who you need to be afraid of.” And if The Dark One is afraid of someone, you should probably listen to him.

RELATED | Once Upon a Time First Look: Dark Neverland Sets Stage for Season 3 Cast Photo

TVLINE | What are you going to do with Snow and DavidCOLIN O'DONOGHUE (BACKGROUND), JOSH DALLAS, GINNIFER GOODWIN amidst all this? I mean, Henry is Emma’s son, he is Regina’s son….
KITSIS | I would say that Emma is their daughter, and in Neverland, a place where there are no parents, they’re going to wonder what that means. And how do you parent a 28-year-old who has the same life experience you do?
HOROWITZ | On a certain storytelling level, what the beginning of this season provides us, that we weren’t able to do in Season 2, is: The family is together. We have the chance to really play these moments of what it means for David and Mary Margaret to come to terms with their daughter Emma, and how being her parents is going to be difficult for Emma and difficult for them. How do they forge this unique familial relationship?
KITSIS | Also, if you remember in the finale Emma wanted to throw the bean and get the hell out of there, and Mary Margaret said, “Let’s do it the hard way” — and the hard way got Henry kidnapped. Last year, David and Mary Margaret were, “We are both.” This year it’s, “We need Snow and Charming,” that’s what this mission requires. In a lot of ways, Mary Margaret may not be able to bond with Emma, but Bandit Snow and Emma have a lot in common. She needs to return the light to her daughter. And in the same respect, David is more a man of action than words, and he realizes that while he barely knows his daughter, he can show her what a hero is.

TVLINE | Are there answers to be had on the Home office mystery, as we get to Neverland?
KITSIS | Very quickly. Within the first two acts of the premiere you will see what the Home Office is.

TVLINE | And what about Pan’s specific want for Henry? Is that visited early on?
KITSIS | It is teased early on, but that is the mystery of the first 11 [episodes].
HOROWITZ | You understand very quickly what Peter Pan is doing and what he’s up to, but what’s really behind it is unfurled as we go along.

CLICK TO PAGE 2 FOR SCOOP ON ROMANCE, BELLE IN STORYBROOKE, NEAL’S DILEMMA AND [SPOILER]’S RETURN

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116 Comments
  1. iMember says:

    Looking forward to an improved new season and glad they want to be better, though I’m not really hyped about it. Whereas I’m SUPER thrilled to get back into Revenge on Sunday. But can’t wait!

  2. Len84 says:

    Thanks Matt :)

    All looks very excited for each character…

    I think Belle needs to shine on her own. I dont exactly ship Rumbelle… but i do get why that works, coz the story and narrative/scenes have told me that.

    I am glad we getting Hook and his backstory on becoming a pirate and hopefully more… we’re in Neverland so him being associated to Neverland and Pan in the movies/books so i hope to see more of Hook. I also feel like he was a Lost Boy.

    I am intrigued to see Ariel… and her backstory with Eric.

    Cant wait to see meet Regina’s love interest…

    This is what i loved about Hook last year as he is my fave that he realised and is self aware that revenge and feel still empty is not all that and he let it go finally when he turned out around and came back to be part of something and to Emma. It was a lead up to that moment, Though yes anyone would love to punch Rumpel at times, atleast we know now his focus is not Rumpel and it derailed when he saw Rumpel moved on and with love in his life.

    Very much interested in Emma and Hook development because of what we saw last season and the immediate connectedness on the beanstalk when they both find out little things about each other and more. Hook is opening his heart. Emma deserves a fighter and never gives up on her, chooses her, comes back to her, puts her first.

    • Abby says:

      Agreed. The part about him thinking about a future with Emma made me so glad!

      I love Rumbelle but I have to agree s2 was not best for them. Belle does need to shine on her own which we get to see since she’s in charge of SB so that is great!

      • Len84 says:

        Belle is so much more – cant say i am invested in her as i am about my fave female Emma, but what i have seen and know from Belle… she is so much more beyond Rumbelle. Even if Rumbelle is the core.

        I know why ABC doesnt promote the other main cast… because priority is the main 6 on the Jolly Roger and who they are and will in Neverland… promotion that works IMO if looking at the bigger picture.

        She might just be better for SB then Regina if any residents have a issue, they would be comfortable approaching her lol

        Lastly again Emma-Hook <3

    • ej says:

      Ignore all the times Hook betrayed her, physically assaulted her and her friends, that just before he “came back for her” he left her and an entire town to die. Gimme a break. I am sick of people turning Hook into a hero (or Regina or Rumple) until they have actually proven that their good deeds are more than merely cleaning up the messes they started or were party to. Stop reading your fanon (immediate connectedness? I wouldn’t take a vague chat about love and loss that deep when Emma ditched him) into the show and then gushing about it.

      Hook is no hero. Can he become one? I would like him to redeem himself (simply because he sucks 7 ways from Sunday as a villain, getting his butt kicked all the time by little girls). But giving him a free pass just because he’s eye candy is bad form. And your implied vilifying of Neal is lame and a complete misreading of the character as explained by A&E just to satisfy your head canon.

      Emma does deserve a fighter who chooses her and puts her first. At present, no one has stepped up to that plate, least of all Hook who has to do a lot more than show up to late to prevent what he helped cause and give Emma a sword and some rum. For one thing, he needs to show that he’s gotten over his suicidal tendency… along with Snow who keeps trying to sacrifice herself because of her dead mommy issues. What is up with THAT?

      If Hook does put the moves on Emma, I can’t wait to see how Neal takes that. Seriously, the dude banged his mom and then 5 minutes after Bae kicks it, he’s trying to shag his baby momma while his quasi-step-grandson is being held hostage by Evil Pan? Talk about bad form and violating the Bro Code!

      I know the writers want to drum up ratings by teasing the most vocal part of the fanbase, but given how NONE of the romantic teases in the past have come to fruition, I wouldn’t get too attached to the idea. After all, it’s a well-known TV trope that once romances are consummated in a committed happily-ever-after way, it totally ruins the show. I don’t think A&E want to do that for OUAT or Emma until the end of the series (particularly since she has so many other more pressing issues to become well-adjusted), so Hook will probably be one more guy who falls victim to bad karma that is having the hots for Emma Swan. I feel a bit bad for him. Just a little. Getting his hopes up like that.

      I’m going to try not to get my hopes up in general for season 3 after the disappointment of season 2. It’s good to know the creators want to try to do better, but it doesn’t sound like they fully appreciate how badly they dropped the ball on the character front. Plus, I imagine there will be lots more CGI this season. Ugh.

      • abz says:

        Geez, no one is saying the guy is a hero or a saint. The story is still DEVELOPING!!!
        My God, some people have no patience whatsoever.

      • Cass says:

        I agree with almost all of this, but especially that last bit about the CGI. I hope they can manage something this year that’s an improvement on early 2000s video games. The jungle won’t be very sexy if it looks like Gilligan and the Skipper should be showing up any moment.

      • Rev says:

        You really are off your head… i dont understand why one has to bash anothers post… just write your own if your looking forward to the show and why and if not. By the way it seems your not so what say anything at all lol

        And give the Hook some credit for coming back at the time – he made a choice, and is going Neverland

    • Tessa says:

      Totally agree with all you’ve said especially that Emma deserves a fighter like Hook who isn’t ‘afraid’ to fight for the woman he loves. I’m thrilled that Adam said it would be more character driven than plot driven, I really hated the plot driven aspect of season two.
      Hook and Emma interaction = always passionate.

  3. Ari says:

    Thanks for asking about Belle. I’m pretty sure ABC forgets she’s on the show.

  4. Kayley says:

    Regina hates all of them? SHE hates THEM? When she did try to kill every single one of them. Sigh. I like her but I hate her.

    • Mary says:

      She has tried to kill them all. I could list all of them but that takes a lot of time and space, so I’ll stick to the last time she tried – the “fail safe.” That was meant to destroy all of Storybrooke and kill everyone in it. She created it. She retrieved it and would have used it if Tamara and Greg hadn’t captured her.

      • Courts says:

        Yeah that plot hole. One of the biggest mistakes of s2, mostly because it made absolutely zero sense. Regina creating the fail safe is lolworthy

  5. Abby says:

    “Feelings between MANY of these characters.” Well, I know Hook and Emma is one couple. Robin Hood and Regina perhaps is another one but he’s in the Enchanted Forest. Unless Regina’s new love is Tinkerbell. Neal and Mulan look cute in the spoiler photos, maybe there will be something there while he finds a way to go home?

    These are great spoilers! Happy about Rumbelle! Happy about Captain Swan! Excited to see Neverland!

  6. JoRo says:

    Thx Matt

    Very exciting things happen

    Neverland experience is something i am intrigued about lol

    CAPTAIN SWAN <3

  7. Maggie says:

    Love the captain swan scoop.

  8. Louise says:

    Regina came off flip-floppy mostly in the episodes after Archie’s ‘death’. Up until then it was well-written and made sense. I don’t think anyone expected Regina NOT to fall off the wagon at least once because otherwise it would have been just boring and unrealistic too. That in itself wasn’t the problem. Using her mother to make her give up on trying to better was technically a good idea because their relationship is so messed up and Cora has such a hold over Regina. But it’s still the Frankenstein episode and the two scenes Cora and Regina had in that episode and the complete lack of follow-up to that in episode 13 (Cora was not in that one at all – maybe B. Hershey wasn’t available?) that just felt… off and it was hard to shake that feeling until like the final two episodes of the season.

    But the same is actually true for Cora’s story in the second half of season 2, too. There was a lot of potential left unexplored there and her death then just felt rushed.

    I’m curious how Regina is going to develop as a character this season. This whole idea of self-discovery, facing your past and fears that is promoted with the Neverland story sounds good and could be an important step for her. She’s a very layered character and although I wasn’t always 100% with the writing for her last season her journey doesn’t end there and as long as they don’t make her go back to being the Evil Queen in present day, but keep her layered and complex I’m happy.

    • Courts says:

      Treating something that comes to her naturally as an addiction then forcing her off the wagon when it suits certain characters is just bad writing.

    • Zylice says:

      @Louise: I absoloutley agree with you! I want to see her eventual “full” redemption! {Not without tears, fears, confusion & temptation first!} ;D <3 *^_^*

  9. L3nn13 says:

    Question is why the hell does Pan want Henry centuries ago… weirdly when Bae was a little kid

    I am Team Charming Clan – so i am excited to see family moments and bonding between them

    Team Hook/Emma – I guess that says it all. I am excited and anxious to see what the build up is for them knowing that they understand each other and see past each other’s walls. They are in a timeless land literally – and romance in that. Timeless Love (woah ;) )

    I am one of those people that also thinks Hook was a lost boy and then he became a pirate – look forward to his backstory

    I hope someone is out there for Regina…

  10. Choco says:

    Not really excited about this season. Hope the first few episodes are awesome, or I might quit.

  11. Amy says:

    Great OUAT scoop as always Matt, so thanks (especially on the Hook and Emma front) ! Really looking forward to this season and the dynamics between the crew of the Jolly, holy awkward family vacation. Am I the only one wondering if Pan has some family ties with Rumple and that, combined with the facts that Henry is the ultimate believer and his mother is the embodiment of True Love (I mean some of that magic must have been passed down) is the reason that Pan wants Rumps?

  12. Rev says:

    Captain Swan <3 – Progression and build up pls :)

    I like Regina, but the things she has done… is something that needs to be hold accountable its not like she had to do it to gain something, its coz she wanted to do it. But i so hope we see Regina well the old spark of Regina when she was young comes back, but i know and i would assume everyone knows that Evil Queen will always be there… i think she needs someone who accepts her as both… so yeah looking forward to that. And more Henry-Regina scenes – i do like them but her warped way of wanting Henry and killing everyone wasnt right.

    Charmings and Snowing <3 . I want to see Emma be both her parents.. she has so much of Charming in her.

    I like the idea of Peter Pan being dark… and flipped it around so he is bad and Hook isnt as such if you get what i mean.

  13. ratinhos60 says:

    I want Adam and Eddy, explain why in Season 2, blue ray DVD (for sale in all countries who watch OUAT) about Family Tree, say Hook and Milah married. What makes Hook be Bae stepfather and also be Henry’s stepgrandfather . Because if it is an error/mistake in DVD, it is very serious. cause they are cheating the fans who bought the DVD
    Then Emma does not have a glimmer of hope that Bae could have been saved or have survived is bizarre. For all the people, even desperate hope is the last to die. Even more ridiculous is Adam and Eddy say that Once Upon a Time relates to HOPE or is about HOPE. Something that Emma does not seem to have…lol

    I will make an effort only to see Ginnifer Goodwin, Robert Calyle and Michael Raymond-James (my favorite actors, full of talent). But I wonder if hold until the end… because the story itself no longer of interest or maturity

    • Louise says:

      Mistakes like that are made all the time. Remember when ABC released a promo video last season that claimed that Maleficent is Regina’s sister? Yeah. ;) It shouldn’t happen of course. But there’s no point in clinging to things like that. They’re mistakes and they have happened in the past and will probably happen again whenever someone who’s not writing for the show has a hand in putting things like that together.
      I agree about Neal, though. It seemed pretty convenient to me too how quick they were all to believe (Rumple too!) that Neal is dead. Yeah Tamara shot him, but he wasn’t dead or comatose when he fell through the portal and you’d think they’d have at least a tiny glimmer of hope that he would land somewhere he could find help or someone would find him.

    • Lynn says:

      Not trying to start an argument at all but the dvd seemed to be trying to make things as mixed up as possible and it even said that Katherine was Henry’s stepmom too …etc thanks to the curse…also in ‘ASOTM’ Hook tells Bae all about his father killing Milah and how they were in love and wanted to get Bae and be a family …I think if they had been married that he wouldn’t have hesitated to tell Bae that and they would have already ‘been’ family …either way it doesn’t matter to me…at the end of the day I want Emma to be happy…and I suppose since you ship her with Neal you’re upset not just that she doesn’t have hope…but that like her parents she doesn’t sense Neal is okay out there? I mean Emma is the embodiment of true love…you’d expect her true love to be just as epic as her parents…I mean as much as I love the dynamic between Hook and Emma, spoilers have already said that Emma has no hope because she was raised without it….she’s been abandoned by everyone in her life (good reasons or not) One thing I don’t understand is that if Emma isn’t one of your favorites how you can ship her with anyone?

      • Cass says:

        Rumple also believed that Belle was dead when she wasn’t. Are they not true love? Charming can afford to believe; things have a way of working out for him. Emma and Rumple have seen what they love crumble to dust so many times–so, no, they didn’t believe in miracles. And as for “epic”–I don’t ship Swanfire, but I’m not sure what more you can ask for than a love that reached across space and time to begin with. That love survived eleven years apart. And now Neal is literally trying to move universes to get back to his famiy. Good grief, Odysseus and Penelope had it easy in comparison to these two.

        • Mel says:

          Rumple is not the embodiment of True Love. Emma is. And did their love survive? I’m not so sure it did. I think Emma is in love with what it felt like to be loved. Probably the only time in her life until Henry came along, where she felt like she belonged. Because Emma by rights should not have spent the last 11 years pining over some guy that she thought was responsible for sending her to jail and didn’t love her. Emma by rights should not just be happy to go back to a man that told her “If I had known who you were, I wouldn’t have come near you” or “You thought you had a thing with lies. I never bought it” A guy that seemed to be happy, that she was jealous. IMO it just shows you how screwed up emotionally Emma is that she tolerated that. And after Neal returned she seemed to revert back into that 17 year old girl again. She certainly wasn’t the sassy, tough Emma from the beginning of the season.

          • Cass says:

            Charming is not the embodiment of true love either. Rumple is only the most powerful sorcerer in at least two worlds; he believed the worst had happened, according to the ep’s writer, because that’s the way he’s used to his life going. Emma’s the same. As for whether Emma and Neal still love each other, well, the writers have been saying so all summer, and you seem to take their word as gospel when it comes to Hook and Emma “understanding” each other, so how is that in question? In the two minutes we saw of Emma in the second half of the season, she was plenty tough and sassy, as well as being vulnerable, just as she was in the first half (in her old nursery with Snow) and for that matter during all of S1. Emma Swan’s personality does not depend on the man she’s with, or not with, for Pete’s sake.

        • Moonshine says:

          for someone who doesn’t ship swanfire you do sound like one, lol.

          wish i could see the point in neal and emma getting back together but love is more than saying i love you to each other.

          i wanna see emma happy and fought for. hook’s willing to do those so i’ll give him a chance.

          • Louise says:

            The funny thing is, I don’t like Neal or the idea of Emma and him getting back together either. But the OUAT fandom often makes me defend him because even though he did treat her very poorly and has some major growing up to do the shipper war thing between his fans and those who like Hook is not always fair.
            Comments from the writers and actors are deliberately ignored, Hook’s character and the supposed “unique” (I really don’t think it is) connection between him and Emma is often very much idealized by E/H shippers while Neal is given absolutey no chance at all and definitely not the same chance to grow as a character over time that fans always claim we should give Hook.
            (Although I have no doubts that the same is true the other way around too and some Neal fans treat Hook the same way. But the Hook fans are often the “louder” ones in fandom.)

          • Cass says:

            I know! The problem is that the CS boilerplate about Neal/SF is usually such a strrrreeeetttttttttttch of interpretation or outright inaccurate based on what we’ve seen onscreen that I feel I have to defend the guy. And it does seem to me that Swanfire has the “epic” “endgame” writing. It always surprises me to see that people think CS would be “epic” based on…dunno, beats me? “He will always fight for her”? (Based on what evidence to date?) Fight who?

    • Mel says:

      Someone asked Adam about it on twitter and he seemed surprised about the whole Hook and Milah being married thing. So you would have to assume they weren’t. And Colin also said Hook and Milah were not married.

  14. Christina says:

    Personally, I’m just super excited for the Charming Family moments. Particularly the Snow/Emma scenes, because I love those. They need to stop calling her Mary Margaret too, I feel like the real Snow wouldn’t appreciate being associated with her qualities. (Wouldn’t it serve as a reminder that she gave up her child?)

  15. lee says:

    ummm.. //She is still a series regular, and she is still very much involved in the story.// anhdbgshjfggk! do they watch their own show? belle was barely in s2 and wasn’t involved in the main story AT ALL. so she STILL is exactly like she was in s2? A FURNITURE? that’s why they don’t promote nor her nor rumbelle? great I’m done.

  16. Lauren Mosby says:

    I’m really annoyed with the whole “They may tolerate her, but they’ll never forgive her” crap. Regina did a lot of crap stuff to these people. She fricking ENSLAVED them so they could be as miserable as she was. It’s going to take more than bringing lasagna to a dinner that you were surprise invited to to in order to start working on forgiveness. And the heroes aren’t wrong if they don’t want to forgive her either. She hasn’t done a single thing worth forgiving. Everything she’s done is either guilt driven by Henry or cleaning up her own mess. You don’t get points for dismantling the bomb you set once you get trapped in there too.

    • Kayley says:

      right. and she’s the one who hates everybody? please

    • Christina says:

      Couldn’t agree more. As much as they want to take it back and make Regina good, she’s the freaking Evil Queen. Did no one else pay attention to the episode where she had her guards murder and ENTIRE village just because they didn’t rat out Snow? C’mon now. You can’t come back from mass murder.

    • Steph says:

      I agree. Redemption has to be earned, and one has to WANT to earn it. I love Regina’s character, but I don’ t see her trying to better herself, and nor do I feel the Charmings have to forgive her for anything because of it.

      • Rev says:

        Thing with Regina is she has not come to the point where she believes or even understands that she is in the wrong because she feels like she is a victim and feels well they all got what is coming to them.

        This is why she didnt even try tounderstand what Hook said to her, who was thinking out aloud that Revenge is not the answer, however much you want it and you get – you are still empty and thats why we dont have ppl who care for her and love in our lives… This scene basically told us that Hook has deep thoughts and came to a realization about his revenge because he is self aware of himself and who he has become for his revenge (its not someone he likes, but for revenge he had to do things to get closer to it but then again he hasnt slaughtered millions just wanted one man) and also someone who isnt tied and wants magic and power. Regina couldnt care less about what he said or even try to see the pov of it…. all she wanted was to get what she came for, destory everyone, take Henry and live happy after… she really didnt care.

        Such a difference.

        I do hope she comes to some realization, maybe someone making her realize it – a new love, who well accepts her as Regina and Evil Queen as well.

        Charming family dynamic is another thing i am excited about. More family feels. And Hook/Emma dynamic also to see how they build that on

        • Louise says:

          The reason (or at least part of it) why their reactions were different is based on how different their situations are, though. Hook literally has no one and had nothing other than his revenge. He has no family in Storybrooke that we know of and if he deals with the Charmings or Rumple now it’s because he chooses to. Regina, on the other hand, has a son whom she has raised for all of his life. Someone she’s constantly afraid to loose and now also has to share with every single other major fairytale character on that show other than Hook. And all of those people also have the advantage of being related to Henry by blood while she’s the only who’s not. That’s a lot of stuff to mess with your head. Until Hook is a at least slightly similar messed up situation with Rumple (or someone else he’s not especially fond of from his past) and someone he loves, I think it’s hard to compare.

          • kath says:

            If Regina had treated Henry better, he wouldn’t have gone looking for his birth mother. Instead, she lied to him about meetings and left him alone while she went on on a booty call (to her slave) and she tried to make him think he was crazy when he found out the truth about the fairy tale book.

            Regina was the one who screwed everything up wrt her relationship with Henry, including hurting Owen so that he tried to get revenge by taking Henry.

            Hook, Regina and Rumple have all done back things but the difference is that Hook has developed an awareness of the ramifications of his actions whereas Regina still has a clue and continues to make the same mistakes over and over. Rumple is delightfully unrepentant.

          • Louise says:

            @Kath: And where exactly do you think I said that Regina did not make mistakes? Of course she did. That wasn’t my point, though. Hook has done exactly two good things so far: He said that he feels revenge doesn’t lead him anywhere and he changed his mind and came back (although technically too late since everyone would have been dead if Regina and Emma hadn’t stopped the diamond) after he stole the bean and took off, leaving everyone to die in the season finale. Looking at Rumple and Regina, I could come up with at the very least 2-4 scenes for each of them that are very, very similar in nature.
            To stay with Regina: She has realized before (especially when talking to or about Henry) that what she’s done was wrong and she needs to change her ways. But realizing that and saying you want to change is not the same as actually going through with and sticking with it for good. Rumple has experienced it, we’ve seen it with Regina, and I have absolutely zero doubt that we’ll see it with Hook too.
            In fact the writers confirmed that people shouldn’t think just because he’s said he wants to start anew and has tried to clean up some of his own mess in the season finale he’s suddenly a changed man in an interview with TVGuide that was published yesterday. Change is hard and it’s especially hard for characters who have their past following them around in the form of other characters on the show every step of the way.

    • courts says:

      The same can be said for pretty much every character on the show though

  17. Addie says:

    Great interview, I’m excited for this season and I think I’ll enjoy it a lot more than last year.Especially if there really are significant Charming family moments. Also, I always appreciate how you guys focus more on character stuff in these interviews as opposed to other media sites who are all “WHO WILL EMMA CHOOSE!!!” Because that’s the only thing Emma should be thinking about. Can’t wait for Sunday!

  18. Ian says:

    Personally I don’t think Emma’s all that, but my God is Colin O’Donaghue attractive. I wish they’d just stick to her and Neal (which is endgame anyway) and give Hook someone really special of his own.
    It’s also a shame about Tamara. I’d hoped for a great black character that could really be a part of the show, but it wasn’t to be I guess. I’m still in mourning about them squandering Ruby/Meghan Ory.

    So I guess I’m just looking forward to Hook’s and Regina’s journeys this season. I hope they’re good.

    • Sam says:

      Why are people so sure Emma ends up with Neal? I mean, I’m really curious..Because I myself and not convinced. It just seems too predictable.

      • kath says:

        i thought Emma would end up with Neal, but then we met him and I’ve been hoping she gives him his walking papers. Not only did he encourage her life of crime, he promised he would love her and be there for her, and then he dumps her because after 200 years he still has Daddy issues. And he dumps her in jail where she is pregnant and alone. And when he meets up with her again, having moved on to be engaged to Tamara, and finds out about Henry and what a hard time she’s had, there is no word of apology or remorse until the last minute because the writers need something to justify her ‘I love you’.

        I will be disappointed if Emma ends up with Neal because she deserves so much better.

    • Cass says:

      I think in the long run (the dreaded end game) Hook and Regina may well end up together.

      • Twin says:

        Oh gosh, I hope not. I don’t like him with Emma, but Hook and Regina may even be worse. Robin Hood’s going to be good for her. Regina, I mean. That’s a pairing I can see.

        • Cass says:

          Since we’ve met Robin for a total of about three minutes, all of which were dedicated to saving his wife (of six hundred years, lol) and unborn child, I think it’s too soon to say whether he could be good for Regina. :-)

      • utd12 says:

        God, hope not. That makes me uncomfortable.

        Besides, it’s the ship that convenitently arose to not make Swan Queen and Captain Swan possible. Which are two ships I prefer more that Emma and Neal. I want to see where Captain Swan goes now but if they don’t end up together, I still can’t like Neal for Emma. I’d rather she end up alone. Same for Hook.

        Regina seems to be getting a love interest so I know she won’t end up alone. Will have to see if Robin Hood is great for her.

        • Cass says:

          Since Hook and Regina have had actual conversations (at least one of them deeper than anything that’s been between Hook and Emma, or Emma and Regina for that matter), and demonstrated onscreen chemistry, I don’t think it’s a ship of convenience the way, say, Neal/Mulan or Neal/Regina is.

      • Steph says:

        I hate that they’re trying to put Regina with anyone period. She’s a great character but they need to focus on her and only her development. So tired of the whole”everyone needs a true love!” Angle. No, they don’t.

  19. suzi says:

    Is Regina’s problem not that she does not know who she really is? Really wants to be? That she needs to discover it first before she can embrace it? I still hope she &Robin Hood will have a story together.

  20. ugh these people says:

    belle NEVER was involved in the story. she always was or locked up or left behind. watch your show, creators.

  21. Chris says:

    Emma is 28 years for three seasons? :D

    • Addie says:

      Season 1 was only a few months I think and who knows with season 2. But yeah, I would think she should be 29/turning 29 fairly soon. Especially since Henry apparently turned 11 at some point last season.

      • Cass says:

        Season 2 covered about six weeks. Emma won’t hit 29 until season 7 at this pace. (And Henry won’t turn 12 until about season 10, when Jared Gilmore will be 22.)

    • Courts says:

      Only six months max has passed since the pilot.

    • Name That Tune says:

      IDK, but it seems like Henry had a birthday somewhere. So she has to be 29 going on 30.

    • Lysh says:

      Adam has actually said on Twitter that it’s been at least a year, even though it doesn’t seem that way on the show. Especially in season two, the story seems to be pretty continuous for any large amount of time to have passed. I kind of wanted them to show Emma have another birthday again.

  22. Name That Tune says:

    God I missed this show over the summer. I am re watching the last 8 episodes from season 2. The acting was terrific! Can’t wait for the return this weekend! Season 3 is full of hope for a great year.

    And Wonderland looks promising too.

  23. Steph says:

    I see those two still aren’t admitting how they effed up the latter part of Season 2. Oh well, what’s done is done, I suppose, I only hoped they learned their lesson and have a better grip on their characters. I’m excited for seeing Emma hoist her sword and go after Henry! I love both Emma/Neal AND Emma/Hook, so however they play it, as long as the relationships are done well, I’m happy as long as Emma is! I’m also excited for Nealfire and Hook scenes this season! The Bad/Hook scenes were my favorite parts of the finale, and its clear Michael and Colin adore each other, so their scene s will be phenomenal. I’m excited!

  24. HeatherC says:

    I still wonder how much Colin breaking his leg messed up some of the stuff they were going to do in the second half of last season. That had to have changed some things. At any rate it sounds like season three is going to be pretty awesome and I’m glad they realized we want more character development this year. Bring on the Charming family bonding, Nealfire’s journey back to his family, Ariel and Tinkerbell’s intros, and some dastardly Peter Pan/Neverland adventures! I’m way more than ready for the season premiere this weekend! =)

  25. Tom hazel says:

    My wife and I aren’t that excited for the new season. While the costume team for the show gets our top marks, the writing has left a lot to be desired. Their use if magic is inconsistent and used when the plot suits it. Last season we were hoping for an all out war between those who wanted to destroy magic and the people of storybook. However, it turned into a sad let down. It has just had a drag on feel to it for us. In the finale, rumple could have used magic to resolve a lot but didn’t – then he leaves Belle behind ? After the loss if his son, you’d think he would learn not to get seperated if they start having some consistency and improve the writing, we’ ll probably watch a couple episodes.

  26. John says:

    Looking forward to more “Bandit Snow”, Emma’s reaction to her mom in that incarnation is quite amusing as well. I expect she’ll have some surprises in store for Pan or anyone else who makes the mistake of only seeing Mary Margaret.

  27. liz says:

    I must be in the minority, but I LOVED season two. I thought it vastly improved over the first season (I was getting tired of the ‘true love’ story of the week setup they had goin’ on).

  28. Cass says:

    Thank you for asking some of the tough questions, but were parts of this interview published previously? Or are Kitsis and Horowitz repeating the same teases word-for-word robotically?

  29. Henry is Rumple’s “undoing” right? that’s why Pan wants him … IMO, OFC. I don’t know if someone else put it, I was too lazy to read :P

    • Name That Tune says:

      No no no. “The boy will lead you to him. He will be your undoing.” Henry has led Rumple to him and him is Peter Pan.

  30. JR1 says:

    Season 2 wasnt bad… the first half was excellent, Hook coming in and his set up to the crocodile and why he became Hook, and i did like Emma/Snow in the Enchanted Forest because Emma got to see with her own eyes her nursery and yes her parents did give her up for a good reason… she understood more. Such a fantastic moment between Snow and Emma there was. Also Emma and Hook meeting and the whole beanstalk thing… and seeing that connection to her centric episode etc. I am all for Emma & Hook bonding/bantering/fighting whatever is coming between them… love their stares they last a moment then they should ;)

    I wonder if Henry is Rumpel’s undoing or is Pan his undoing, but whatever it is – Henry is special. I find it very weird that Pan has a pic of Henry when Bae was a kid… its like Pan seem to have pre planned Henry and who his parents will be.

    I want to see more Snowing as well, Charming family moments etc. Hook’s backstory.

  31. It is nice that they have a rationale for why Regina’s character behaved the way she did, but the fact they are having to explain it now means either they didn’t write her character well, or it is a rationalization after the fact.

    • kath says:

      I think the problem is that they have fallen in love with Regina and can’t bear to see her be the Evil Queen. So they’ve retconned her to be a poor victim. It’s never her fault — her teenage love was killed by her mother, her husband didn’t really love her, nobody understands her — she can murder a whole village out of spite or try to destroy all of Storybrook and kill everyone Henry loves but it’s just because she’s looking for love. Poor, poor Regina.

      (I really think their passion for Regina and need to whitewash her hurts the show.0

      • Howl says:

        Daniel wasn’t just some teenage love. He and Regina were fairytale true love. Losing that in a world where you allegedly only got this one is a big deal.
        It doesn’t justify anything. But: In my experience, when viewers downplay even such details when talking about characters they don’t like it’s obvious they’re not even attempting to be objective.

      • courts says:

        Um, what? You can be a victim and a villain and the same time, which Regina clear is/has been.

  32. kath says:

    If we didn’t see how Emma felt about her parents, or how they reacted to her, it was because season 2 was all about Regina and Cora, Regina and Hook, Regina and Henry, Regina and Snow, Regina and Rumple, Regina and Owen, with some Bae/Neal and Lacey thrown in there. You are so right, Matt, it was all about the plot and not about character development.

    If they wanted me to care about Neal, they shouldn’t have made him such a douche to Emma, both when she was 17 and also when they met up again. Bae, I like, Neal can stay in Neverland.

    • utd12 says:

      yes. would like to see more of the others not just regina regina regina

    • courts says:

      They were trying to play to their strengths. And with Emma being hugely unpopular after Season 1, they didn’t focus very much on her and her popularity skyrocketed in testing

      • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

        Wow. You know, like, everything.

        • courts says:

          Oh come on. ABC’s character and episode questioning is available online and done several times a season. Emma was lowrated in Season 1 and on pretty much every single “Worst character/worst actor” list after Season 1, including big name websites like TWOP. Regina was consistently popular. It’s pretty obvious the writers of the show basically just cater to whatever is popular, we’ve seen the trainwreck that was Emilie de Ravin being added as a ‘regular’ because of the popularity of Rumbelle.

  33. lizz says:

    I just wasn’t to know more about Henry s back story.

  34. mel says:

    Sounds like a good season…lots of action and hopefully a relationship with Hook and Emma.

  35. rk535 says:

    SO THRILLED ONCE IS COMING BACK! Especially looking forward to the Emma/Hook interaction. Would love to see them get together. They deserve fighters who want to be together! I definitely miss Snow/Charming too! Can’t wait for the show to return!

  36. Lysh says:

    I always love TVLine’s Once scoops the most. Y’all seem to really be genuine fans of the show while not being afraid to ask A&E the tough questions. Hearing that they’re trying to make the third season better gives me a lot of hope. Thanks again!

  37. Mel says:

    I think Henry was pre planned too. Which means that Emma and Neal meeting wasn’t destiny or fate. Neal kind of hinted to it in 2×14 when he said “There are no coincidences. Everything that happens, happens by design. And there is nothing we can do about it. Forces greater than us conspire to make it happen”