ABC’s Once Upon a Time dropped anchor in Neverland this Sunday night, and with the arrival of Emma, Hook et al in this lush realm ruled by Lost Boys came at least one big reveal plus many new questions.
For one, as unveiled in the Season 3 premiere’s final moments, the kindly lad who rescued Henry from a pack of Lost Boys is, in fact, Peter Pan himself – and in Henry he has found a prize greater than any: the heart of the truest believer.
Discussing their version of Pan, who is here envisioned as a ruthless rascal, Once cocreator Eddy Kitsis told TVLine, “What we’re excited about is you’ve got a 15-year-old [character] who may actually be 200 years old, so he has that wisdom, but he’s also got the spunk of that kid who’s still going to taunt you in the locker room.
“[Pan] is a twisted little s—t,” Kitsis adds.
Meanwhile, the show’s creators consider themselves “very lucky” in casting Robbie Kay (of the international miniseries Pinocchio) in this pivotal role. “When you see him, especially in the second episode, you’re going to be like, ‘Uh, uh, ohhhhh,'” Kitsis promises. Adds cocreator Adam Horowitz: “Robbie has been able to hold his own, with everyone from Jennifer Morrison to Ginny Goodwin to Robert Carlyle – and that’s not easy.”
At a separate press event for Once Season 3, Kitsis and Horowitz also weighed in on these burning questions born of the premiere:
DOES RUMPLESTILTSKIN HAVE DADDY ISSUES? | And how, as indicated when Lost Boy Felix whipped out a straw doll that obviously had great meaning to The Dark One, leaving him in tears. “We’ve hinted in the past that his father was a coward, and that his father’s name was something that haunted him,” Kitsis reminds. “This is a many who wants to break the cycle of his past and be a good father, but you know the quote: ‘I can resist everything but temptation.'” Episode 4, “Nasty Habits,” will explore this further.
IS EMMA EVEN THINKING ABOUT ROMANCE? | Captain Hook may be flirty and rather charming to some, but fresh off Neal’s “death” and with son Henry missing, Emma’s not looking for a Hook-up. Just yet. “Right now, Emma is focused on getting Henry,” says Kitsis. Besides, “She’s not someone who lets her walls down – her heart’s been broken too many times to be worried about ‘dating’ right now.”
UH-OH — IS ARIEL A MEAN MERMAID, TOO?! | Not to worry, “She’s going to be different from what you saw in the premiere,” Horowitz assures. Adds Kitsis, “The spirit of Ariel is somebody who wants to see the world and experience [new] things… and that is definitely similar to our Ariel” (played by JoAnna Garcia Swisher in Episode 6).
WITH PAN COMES RUFIO, RIGHT…? | Not so fast. Though one of this summer’s casting calls used that name from Robin Williams’ Hook movie, “I don’t think we can show him, because he’s the property of Columbia and Sony Pictures,” Kitsis explains. However, Tinker Bell will show up in Episode 3, while the Darling kids – first seen in Season 2’s “Second Star to the Right” – “are integral to the Peter Pan story, and we have not forgotten about them,” says Horowitz. “There is a tie into what we’re doing with them as well.”
IS ROBIN HOOD A KEEPER? | As previously reported, Sean Maguire will play the Prince of Thieves in multiple episodes – and not just during this 11-episode Neverland arc. “We’re definitely going to get a lot of him in the second half” of this season, says Kitsis.
WILL NEAL REVEAL TO MULAN WHAT HAPPENS IN HER BIG-SCREEN, ANIMATED ADVENTURE? | Even assuming he can eventually explain to her what a “movie” is, there will be no opportunity for him to “spoil” his Fairytale Land cohort’s destiny. “She’s just going to have to wait,” says Kitsis, “and maybe one day get the DVD.”
WILL NEAL FIND A WAY TO RETURN TO EMMA? | “Come hell or high water” – and presumably with the help of Robin Hood, Mulan et al – “Neal is going to get back to Neverland,” Kitsis attests. But first, Horowitz warns, “There’s a bit more of a wrinkle to their story that we’ll delve into in Episode 3.”
WE’VE SEEN HENRY BORN. NOW WHAT ABOUT HIS ADOPTION? | Echoing that which TVLine previously scooped, Kitsis says, “If I were betting, it would be around Episode 9″ that we see Regina being gifted with a son, via flashback.
WHEN WILL WE RETURN TO STORYBROOKE? | Meaning we the audience, not the characters navigating Neverland. “It’s going to be a little while,” Horowitz shares — though that won’t preclude an appearance by Belle beforehand.