“Be careful what you wish for” applies to unexpected and improbable reunions, Once Upon a Time‘s Regina comes to learn this Sunday (ABC, 8/7c).
Having met the Wish Realm’s alive-and-well Robin of Locksley, and then convinced him to travel to Storybrooke with her, Regina’s hopes perhaps eclipse the reality of the surreal situation.
“I think she has high expectations. She really wants him to be her Robin Hood,” Lana Parrilla shared with TVLine during our visit to the set this week (where the musical episode was being filmed). “The big issue is he looks exactly like him, because he is a version of him, but he’s not real. And he isn’t Robin Hood. He’s Robin of Locksley, so Regina doesn’t even really know who this person is.”
What she does know, from spending a bit of time with him in the Wish Realm, is that this Robin is more of a scalawag. “He really is,” Parrilla notes with a laugh, before serving up an impression: “‘Give to the poor? Why would I do that?!'” But as he settles into Storybrooke, other, more obvious differences come to the fore. “He doesn’t know how to turn a light switch on!” laughs Parrilla. “But I think it’s charming, and I think she has high hopes.”
Said hopes may be fated to be dashed, however. “It’s quite confusing for Regina, because every time she looks at him, she actually puts him in Robin’s clothes, and that just like melts her heart,” Parrilla previews. “She feels like sh’es reliving that relationship all over again, but not — so it’s quite heartbreaking.”
Adding to Regina’s near-future angst, the Purely Evil Queen is set for a comeback, and that reunion sounds like a real humdinger.
Surveying the status of Regina’s doppelganger, Parrilla says, “Right now she’s a snake, but she’s not a snake for long. She comes back, and Episode 14 (airing March 26) is a big Evil Queen/Regina episode. There’s a big standoff between them, and there are a lot of words exchanged. A lot of words are exchanged! It was quite challenging, and also a lot of fun.”
For the dual role, Parrilla made sure that actresses, not just stand-ins, were hired to play opposite her, to best bring both characters to life even when all we see is their backs.
“I basically prep everything in advance — and I don’t mean memorization, I mean the physicality of it all. What I want Regina to do when I’m playing the Evil Queen, and vice versa,” she explains. “I’m very expressive with my arms, especially as the Evil Queen, so I wanted girls I could actually work opposite of and act with, and they were both really wonderful.”
As for how the duo’s next showdown plays out, Parrilla shared this: “It gets really heated, very quickly. And both of their lives are threatened.”