Once Upon a Time creators Adam Horowitz and Eddy Kitsis, along with series star Jennifer Morrison, held court at New York Comic-Con on Saturday afternoon, in a panel discussion moderated by yours truly.
After screening for the crowd the first act from tonight’s episode (ABC, 8/7c) — during which Hook’s mention of Tinker Bell raises Regina’s eyebrows — the trio answered questions about these topics:
PACKING FOR NEVERLAND | Having spent a chunk of Season 2 in Fairytale Land in the same outfit, Morrison (among others) tried to “smuggle” wardrobe changes onto the Jolly Roger in last May’s finale. “If you watch,” Kitsis said, “every actor gets on the ship with, like, a backpack, because they were trying to outsmart us. So we were like, ‘Well then, we’ll just send a pack of mermaids to destroy them. We’ll see who wins this.” (That said, a black sweater of Emma’s will make a cameo, if only because the Vancouver temps during an upcoming scene were so frigid.)
RETURN TO STORYBROOKE! | As hinted by Emilie de Ravin during our visit to the set last week, in Episode 7, “We will be going back and showing the moment the ship went through the portal… and then [Belle] enacting the curse to protect the town,” Kitsis confirmed. Added Horowitz: “We will fill in all the blanks with what’s been going on with our characters back there” during the five days that will thus far have been spent in Neverland.
PAN-TASTIC | Sizing up teenage Robbie Kay, who’s playing the puckish Peter Pan, “He’s awesome. He’s a really, really smart kid,” Morrison raved. Kitsis meanwhile said that in this week’s episode, we will see why Pan hasn’t just plucked out Henry’s heart and dispatched with the lad, giving a sense of his grander game. “Peter Pan may be one of our nastiest … and most complicated villains,” he avowed. “By the end of [the 11-episode Neverland arc], you will understand why I just made that comment.”
OH, DEER | I presented the panel with this screen grab from last week’s episode, during which a deer rather conspicuously crossed a Snow White flashback scene. Could it be… Bambi?! The boys played along with that theory, then explained that it was just location shooting “magic.” “We cannot afford that shot, to get a trained deer to walk into a scene,” Kitsis laughed. So when the animal broached the set, “The director was like, ‘Shoot it!'” (The moment, not the deer.) On the topic of actually introducing other familiar characters, Horowitz said that during Ariel’s imminent visit, “You will see Ursula and our twist on that,” while Rapunzel and Cruella [DeVille] are on their short list of characters to visit, eventually.
BUSS STOP IN NEVERLAND?! | When asked if she has a favorite Season 3 episode to date, Morrison teased: “Well, it’s always fun when you get to kiss someone….” [Cue hoots and hollers.] I followed up with talk of Hook’s flirtatious ways, and if they’ll ever chink Emma’s armow. “It’s complicated…,” the actress observed. “Hook has definitely been surprising Emma…. She’s really not wanting to be distracted [from the search for Henry], so there’s a lot coming at her that she’s not paying very close attention to.” As for Neal’s eventual arrival in Neverland, Kitsis said it won’t be “as simple as running into each others’ arms” for a lovey-dovey reunion. “There are the things you say to somebody as they’re about to die and fall into a portal, and then there are the things you say when things calm down and you have a chance to talk.” Added Morrison: “It doesn’t eliminate 10 years of her being heartbroken…. She has to sort of re-understand her own history a bit.”
REGINA’S NEW ROMANCE | In tonight’s episode, Tinker Bell will urge a young Regina to move on from mourning Daniel and ultimately reveal — at least to us, the audience — what other fella “is right for Regina,” Kitsis shared.
SIZING UP ‘SWANQUEEN’ | Discussing Once‘s many romantic ‘ships, actual and potential – Emma/Regina included – Morrison noted, “We’re doing a show about fairy tales, which is about self discovery, it’s about identity. And if you guys are watching the show and seeing yourself in it, then great, that’s awesome. It warms my heart and it makes me so happy.” But will Once ever “go there” with, if not SwanQueen, any other same-sex match-up? “What I can say to you genuinely is: I think you should keep watching,” Morrison teased, “because I think you will see what you want to see.”
BONUS BUZZ FROM BACKSTAGE | Perhaps related to one of the above topics (…or not), I am hearing that a theory held by some fans will (possibly) be proven true by the end of tonight’s episode.