Once Upon a Time Scoop: [Spoiler] Is Returning -- But for What Purpose?

Once Upon a Time McGowan ReturnsABC’s Once Upon a Time is bringing back a familiar evil later this season — but to what end?

RELATED | Once Upon a Time Bombshell: A [Spoiler] Is Coming — Ready, Set, Speculate!

TVLine has confirmed that in Season 3, Episode 18, Rose McGowan will reprise the role of Young Cora.

McGowan first appeared as the onetime miller’s daughter in the March 2013 episode titled… well, “The Miller’s Daughter,” in which it was revealed in flashback that Cora and Rumple once kinda sorta had a “thing.” Until she removed her own heart in the name of pursuing great power, as Prince Henry’s wife. By episode’s end, she had given birth to wittle bitty baby Regina.

RELATED | Once Upon a Time Spoilers — Lumiere Meets Belle, a New Pirate Arrives

Why will Once again revisit Young Cora? Is it to perhaps add a branch to the show’s complicated family tree, which is due to add two spaces by the end of the season? (The Wicked Witch’s backstory will at least have begun to be revealed two episodes prior.) And what if anything might this suggest about the big upcoming [spoiler]? (When we first met Young Cora, her current-day self died in that episode.)

Also, who could be having this flashback — Regina? A possibly returned Rumple?

RELATED | Once Upon a Time Exclusive: Henry’s Family Tree Will Grow Even More

Once Upon a Time resumes Season 3 on March 9, with Episode 12.

Want more scoop on Once Upon a Time, 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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94 Comments
  1. Kay says:

    Urg god please no. I don’t want to see young Cora ever again. Last time was bad enough.

  2. BelleRumpleFan says:

    oh brother

  3. Louise says:

    I’m torn. I’m excited to hear that Rose McGowan will reprise her role as young Cora because she was fantastic in The Miller’s Daughter and we need to see more of her backstory, which is connected to those of Regina and Rumple. So that’s fantastic news. But it also makes the theory that they’re forcing the Wicked Witch into the family tree by making her related to Regina more plausible and I’m not a fan of that. But maybe they’ll surprise us.

  4. Elouise says:

    So happy to hear this! Loved her last appearance.

  5. sara says:

    I expect a torrent of Rumbelle fans in here whining about how terrible it is because they find a dead woman threatening to their ship. (how telling).
    .
    I just really, REALLY hope that it’s not because the Wicked Witch is in any way related to Regina biologically. The show needs to stop every single twist being “surprise blood relative!”

    • Louise says:

      Agreed on both points.

    • Paul5 says:

      i truly hope the WW is not that character’s sister. I hate that all this show’s twists are about blood connections, just stop. After the Peter Pan stunt they pulled, I was this ready to give the show up. Stop.

    • Lee says:

      As a Rumbelle fan I can only speak for myself, but I don’t feel threatened by it more like very frustrated that Cora/Rumple got more romantic/sexual action in one episode than Belle/Rumple got in two Seasons. With her returing and the way EK and AH like to plot it looks like they get more of that in Episode 18, meanwhile rumbelle get seperation after seperation with two minutes of interaction thrown in there and there because the writers can’t be bothered to tell their story or give them a real storyline.

    • K. says:

      I’m a Rumbeller and I’ve never felt threatened by Cora. Don’t generalize. She’s dead and she and Rum were together before he met Belle. Same with Milah. There’s no threat.

    • Ginger Snap says:

      Has to be a flashback for Wicked. She’s got to be the love child between Cora & Rumple.
      How interesting. She’s the half-sister of both Regina and Neal.

    • linda says:

      I love all the blood ties!!!

    • Demelza says:

      I’m a Rumbelle fan, and I’m excited for more Cora backstory. :)

  6. Jus says:

    sooo, Matt, I’m starting to think you were right and The Wicked Witch is [spoiler] sister.
    oh dear, I really don’t like this idea. I guess I just wait and see, but they really need to stop doing that! Henry’s family tree needs to stop growing!

  7. Michu1945 says:

    Yeah, beacuse he had a second daughter with Rumple, Wicked Witch from West.

  8. Kelly says:

    Looks like, despite my wishes, that the Wicked Witch is Cora’s daughter and Regina’s sister after all. *sigh* Just please, if it has to happen, don’t make Rumple the father. Please, Adam and Eddy!

  9. hello says:

    So Cora is the Wicked Witch of the East or something?

  10. Cyrax86 says:

    Amazing news! Most likely in a flashback of The Wicked Witch.

  11. Monica4185 says:

    She is coming because they’re finally going to reveal that Rumple is Regina’s biological father. That’s why she is coming back.

    • Michu1945 says:

      Rumple is not a biological father of Regina. Henry Senior/Valet/Prince Henry is her father.

      • Monica4185 says:

        How do we know that? Cora was doing both Henry and Rumple at the same time.

        • sara says:

          Because it’s been confirmed by showrunners and also, Regina’s parentage matches Lana Parrilla’s real parentage to avoid whitewashing.

        • Zach says:

          Cora confirmed it (if she was lying her deal with Rumple wouldn’t have been broken) and the writers have confirmed it countless times.

    • K. says:

      Sorry but Adam and Eddy did interviews after The Miller’s Daughter and said Rumple is NOT Regina’s father. They had to shoot it down because after the episode people still thought that was the case.

  12. tracy says:

    I’m very excited that Rose will be back because I loved her as young Cora. But it looks like that confirms that the Wicked Witch is Cora’s daughter and Regina’s sister. Sigh. I was hoping that wasn’t true. I hate that everyone is related.

  13. Monica4185 says:

    Whoa everybody guess is related to the Wicked Witch. I didn’t even think of that. I don’t think the Wicked Witch is blood related to Regina at all. I think both Cora and the Wicked Witch were Rumple’s student and they both fell for him but Rumple prefered Cora and had an affair with her, which resulted in a child, Regina. Now the Wicked Witch is back for payback and wil be taking it out on Regina by revealing who her biological father since Cora is dead. Just a thought.

    • tracy says:

      Rumple is not Regina’s father, that was obvious from The Miller’s Daughter ep and the writers confirmed it too.

      • Monica4185 says:

        Well that’s lame. Regina being Rumple’s would’ve way better than everything else they have done.

      • heather says:

        Um, whether they revisit the idea again or not, I do not think TMD episode made anything obvious. Otherwise the creators|writers would not have needed to confirm anything. They did so because people were still confused and thinking it. Cora made a statement, that was all. It hardly proves she never had his child. For instance, she might not have had the choice anymore if she was already pregnant by him while telling him that? Now it might just be a question of whether or not it is WW. In that case, if the writers were going to do something like this I prefer the Regina route.

  14. AnnieM says:

    If there HAS to be blood relatives, would it not make more sense for the WW to be Rumple’s daughter? I mean, with the green skin and all.

  15. AnneK says:

    I can’t stand Cora, don’t trust Horowitz and Kitsis with this, and would rather see pretty much any character again over Cora. I had really hoped TMD would be the last we had to see of her and now this. This is turning me off the second half of the season.

  16. HookedonHook says:

    I don’t really understand why everyone is so upset about these characters being related. The enchanted forest does not have a huge population(so close relations make sense) plus it makes the stories more dramatic.

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  18. Liz says:

    Fabulous! Rose McGowan was perfect! I was sad we only saw her that once.

  19. J says:

    Anyone sick of everyone being related? Especially Rumple. I hate that Peter Pan was his father. Watch the Wicked Witch be his daughter. They got major backlash for the Peter Pan reveal.

  20. Leslie says:

    I’m feeling sick now. Not looking forward to this at all, in fact I’m dreading it. I always thought spoilers were supposed to make you excited about a show, not making you not wanting to watch. Not watching this her episode until i know for sure it won’t be as bad as the last fb. nearly stopped watching the show after that stupid Rumple and Cora were lovers! twist.

  21. Ava says:

    So, yay for Rose! She’s great, i love her as actress… But, yeah, stop making everyone related to another. It’s pretty obvious, she will be the sister of Regina, the daughter of Rumple and so, here we are, what a shocking family tree.

    Nope. I don’t like this at all, but what can i say ? Happy to see a great actress in the show. ( Although Cora will always remain Barbara, for me. )

  22. Ray says:

    So they *are* going there…the whole sister route. Very lame. I was hoping the new villain would redeem the show from the whole Neverland arc, but it looks like the OUAT writers can’t help themselves with the incessant family drama. At this point it’s far more expected than surprising.

  23. Amanda says:

    So excited about this!!! Rose was great as young Cora, as was Barbra. I can’t wait to see how she ties into the WWoW too. I do like the idea that she studied under Rumple with Cora or she and Cora were sisters. I’ve even seen good theories that Malecifent was the WWoW’s sister too. And I don’t have a problem with everyone being related either. If you look at most stories especially mythology they were all realted. LOL Plus I think we’ll eventually get to see Hook is realted to other characters like Ariel as well but they’re saying it for season 4.

  24. Robert says:

    (Standing in a circle of salt to ask my question) Why does everyone take such offense to so many characters relating back to and further expanding this family tree? Most of the comments on here address this loathing even if as a quick FYI in the midst of their actual point. Who cares? Does it really change the story all that much? Why is this small catch a reason for anyone to hate or stop watching a show? From the beginning the writers have said that the core theme throughout the show is family. To be honest I would think more people would love and view it as a little unfolding puzzle. At this point it’s safe to say that major characters will in a lot if not most cases tie back to and connect from this family tree. It is what it is. I’d much rather hear interesting takes on how everyone thinks it will be done.

    • Mari says:

      Personally, because there are so many times you can “Surprise! It’s a relative of Henry’s!” before it’s not a surprise any longer. It stops being interesting for a lot of people when you can too easily predict what’s going to happen. They did it with Neal, Rumple, Cora, Pan, and even–if you squint really hard–sort of with Hook. When so many of your audience stops asking “Who is this? What’s their motive? This is so mysterious!” and starts sighing and saying “So, who wants to draw the pool chart on how this character is related?” You’ve maybe hit that button too many times in a row.

      Plus, several members of Henry’s family should have a pretty hefty enemy call list. Rumple and Regina have to have created a swath of revenge-ready people in their past, just getting to the curse, and that’s not including what the curse did to people’s lives, or Cora’s serious heart-count.

      If they _didn’t_ go the relative of the Rumple/Charming/Regina clan, but an enemy of Rumple/Regina/Cora out for revenge–and it could easily be an enemy of more than one of the three–there would be plenty of motivation to attack the whole group, or even try and splinter off factions of the group to help.

      And doing that would not make the storyline _not_ about family. They could focus on the changing relationships within the family, because of their new dangerous chickens coming home to damage not just the Rumple/Regina lives, but those they care about–caused by their own actions in the past.

    • Ray says:

      The family connection is getting trite. How many more scorned relatives are going to come out of the woodwork? This little plot device has become predictable almost to the point of parody.

  25. Robert says:

    I love the the idea of the Wicked Witch being Cora’s daughter, during her time with Rumple. Regina need someone new to have a complicated relationship with to keep her inner bad girl alive. I am glad to see Rose is coming back, I loved her portrayal of young Cora and I have no doubt they are bring her back for a major! reason.

  26. Nana says:

    So much do not want! First the death spoiler and now effing Cora is coming back, probably for more ooc and cringeworthy flashbacks with Rumple. It’s like they don’t want me to watch. I want to love the show again, I really do but the writers are making it hard with their weird decisions.

  27. lilyyy85 says:

    Pleaseeee be Malificent….

  28. kristiwalker says:

    More Rumple and make him BAD!!! I’m ready for him to actually break bad and kick butt…stop with the whining and softie junk. There’s enough of that in the show (and it’s great), but let’s keep the “evil” characters evil except with their “one true love”, which keeps them interesting. Please!

  29. Cory says:

    Perhaps we’ll get Rumple in this flashback as well? I mean there was the mentioning of some epic battle between Rumple and Cora that almost neither one walked away from. Perhaps Rumple returned for Baby Regina anyways and Cora unleashed a mother’s fury on him?

  30. DayWalker says:

    Well my day just got ruined. I was so glad when TMD episode was over and done with and now she’s coming back? Please no. :(

  31. Ginger Snap says:

    Most of you are only thinking of the connection between Regina and Wicked. but if Cora is the mom & Rumple is the dad, then Neal also has a half-sister.
    I love it.

    • abz says:

      Wouldn’t that mean that Henry would not only be Neal’s son, but he would also be his nephew and that would also mean than Snow would be his step-niece. lol this family tree is too confusing to think about

  32. abz says:

    So many people jumping to conclusions. Geez just wait to see how it turns out and then comment.

  33. Jennifer says:

    I love Cora, I love Rose as Cora so I’m happy to see her return however it plays out. I don’t mind the Witch being related to Regina but I do hope Rumple doesn’t get dragged into it as well. Not because I didn’t love Rumple and Cora together but just because one more familial tie, I can handle but two is pushing it. What I’m really hoping for is that we find out how/why Cora and Henry lost their royal standing.

    • h67r7r437t says:

      They didn’t lose any standing. Cora mentioned that they were a ways down the line from having the throne. They were just nobility.

  34. Jerry says:

    I don’t necessarily like Neverland, but I can appreciate the producers and writers trying to take the show in different directions and try different game changers for each half-season. I think it is a lot better than sticking to formulaic procedural style for 10+ seasons (though that works for others, so to each his own I guess)

  35. Patty says:

    Rose was awesome as young Cora. Can’t wait to see her again.

  36. Phil says:

    Those news suck. Yet another reason NOT to return after the hiatus. I’m so angry right now.

  37. Mikael says:

    Was Regina’s father a prince? I didn’t think Regina was a royal until she married Snow’s father.

  38. Choc says:

    Honestly though, I have no faith in the show for anything. The show puts such an emphasis on blood relations and being a blood related family.

    If they do end up making the Wicked Witch related to Cora/Rumple/Charmings, I wish they’d at least keep Regina an only child. Otherwise it just retcons Cora using any means to get Regina on the throne; she could have had another child then to marry into royalty when Regina didn’t work out (moreso if there is indeed an abandoned older half-sibling out there, popular theory being WW).

    I’m only looking forward to Cora, young or old, coming back even for only a flashback.

  39. heather says:

    I am happy with the news. I liked Cora, both Barbara and Rose’s portrayal, and it will not bother me if the WW is related to both Cora and Regina. It’s not like Regina currently has any living blood ties right now. Yes, the show already has alot of messy family ties but it does not freak me out. I can take it or leave it, as long as the story going along with it is good. But if Cora is WW’s mom, I guess the only question is who the daddy is. Rumple? Prince Henry? Someone else?

    Personally, if they go the Rumple route, I would prefer the revisited twist that it was Regina all along. I think that works better than WW, it could tie back to TMD episode. All we had was Cora’s statement that she would not have Rumple’s child. Hardly 100% concrete evidence that there isn’t more to the story. Obviously, or they wouldn’t be bothering to bring Rose back.

    Blah, blah, the creators|writers denied it already, yes, I know. But how much of the general audience actually knows that? Not to mention, the show can can always change it’s mind. Sorry, but I go by the motto that nothing is final until a show is over and done with. I have had the experience of the writing on shows doing exactly what was claimed would never happen. And if the writing did revisit it with Regina, all they would claim was they did not lie. That as of TMD he was not the father. That was then but this is the revelation now. Not saying this will definitely happen. But I prepare myself for anything. I read a theory where someone thought the fair, light-eyed baby at the end of TMD might have really been the WW, not our Regina.

  40. Erica says:

    Hooray; I love the Cora character both young & old. Can’t wait to see Rose again. I’m most excited to see Regina & Robin meet though.

  41. emsytraut says:

    “Possibly returning Rumple?”
    Okay get real.
    Rumples’ DEFINITELY coming back. (And I couldn’t be happier btw 😃)
    I’ve seen sources and things and he’s not going anywhere. I called it btw! No way would they get rid of him. It would kill the show. Literally! Rumplestiltskin basically IS the show.
    Best character ever! And Rumbelle is my ultimate ship!

    😄/✨+🌹=❤

    Never heard of Robert Carlyle before OUAT but…
    Wow!
    The resulting reality of Rumplestiltskin/Mr. Gold is UNBELIEVEABLE
    (PEOPLE SERIOUSLY! GIVE THIS MAN AN EMMY^
    IT’S TIME)
    I do not look forward to seeing Cora again (blegh 😠)
    But as long as Rumples’ returning I look forward to the shows return with great anticipation 😃
    Can’t wait!

  42. nattttasha says:

    i just want Henry to get his memmory back….

  43. nattttasha says:

    can someone tell me why Cora is coming back…. young?????

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