Once Upon a Time: Rebecca Mader Not Returning for Season 7 'Reset'

Here’s some less than bewitching news: Just hours after ABC announced that it renewed for Once Upon a Time, series regular Rebecca Mader has confirmed that she will not return for Season 7.

Mader, who plays Zelena, the Wicked Witch of the West on the long-running fairytale drama, broke the news on Instagram (see below), claiming that her exit was not a personal choice, but a creative decision made by The Powers That Be ahead of a Season 7 “reset.” The news comes just days after it was revealed that Jennifer Morrison has opted to part ways with the series following the end of Season 6.

In the aforementioned social media post, Mader thanked her “darling pretties” for all of their support, and expressed gratitude for ever getting to play “such an iconic role.”

To my Darling Pretties, First of all I would like to start by congratulating Adam, Eddie, Lana, Bobby and Colin on the pick up of Once Upon A Time! I am truly happy for you all and most importantly for the fans that will get to keep tuning in each week to see where they will take us. A lot of you have been asking if I will be joining everyone in Season 7, so I wanted to let you know personally that unfortunately I am not. This wasn't my choice but a creative decision of the shows that I totally respect and understand. The most important thing is that you all know how much you mean to me. I am told frequently both online and in person that by being a part of such a special show I have in some way changed someone's life. This is hugely meaningful to me. I am here to let you know that I am the one who has been changed. Not just by playing such a well written multi-dimensional character but by the fandom itself. I have heard your stories, your pain, your struggles, your achievements and I have truly felt you. I have learned. I have grown. I am a better person because of you, the fans and everyone that blessed me with this opportunity to play such an iconic role. Congrats all and thank you! I look forward to the next. I invite you to come with me on this journey. I am forever changed. And I'm wicked. And Wicked Always Wins. Forever yours, Bex 💚

A post shared by Rebecca Mader (@bexmader) on

Once‘s seventh season is expected to revolve around Regina (played by Lana Parrilla), Rumplestiltskin (Robert Carlyle), newlywed Hook (Colin O’Donoghue) and two new characters to be played Andrew J. West (The Walking Dead) and 11-year-old Alison Fernandez (Jane the Virgin), both of whom appear in Sunday’s two-hour season finale.

Are you saddened by Rebecca Mader’s Once exit? Surprised to learn that Zelena doesn’t factor into Season 7’s narrative reset? Chime in below.

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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  1. AB says:

    Good lord, this sucks. I like Regina but this is far too big of a reboot for a show that’s already marginally rated.

    • Martina says:

      I think that the ratings have gone down because the stories have always been the same basically and there were just too many plotholes and conveniantly placed plot devices. With a reboot, there are plenty of possibilities to make it right again…. If some of the die hard viewers are willing to give it a chance.

      I actually think this is the best news for a long time regarding Once. The first season was so very good, and they now have the possibility to sort of recreate this. Without adding yet another branch to the family tree (which isn’t really a “tree” anymore anyway) or having the Charmings lose against the Evil Queen for the 100th time because the Charmings need Screen Time. Or making Rumpel and Belle fight because he is a coward and needs magic, she disagrees, tries to change him but he doesn’t, she leaves him, but she actually loves him…. etc. Fresh start, fresh ideas, fresh bonds that can be established.

      • ninergrl6 says:

        Do you really think they’re going to write Rumple any differently?

        • Martina says:

          I think the problem was not Rumpel, it was Belle. She always tried to change him and was dissapointed when she realized he could not change. Also we don’t know yet what happens with Belle and Gideon, so never say never I guess.
          And personally, I have no problem with Rumpel as a character and the way he was written. Like I said, imo it was mainly Belle who made his arcs kinda bad because through her we always realized much harder that he fell back into old patterns. If she would not have tried to change him so much, things migh have played out pretty different. But that’s just my opinion, don’t hate on me, Rumpel/Belle shippers ;P.

  2. Boiler says:

    That is too bad. One reason I was thinking of continuing to watch was her scenes with Lana. Too bad. One more in the strike out column

  3. JCPrime1 says:

    I’m sorry, but what is ABC thinking? Why renew this low rated show when half your cast is leaving either by choice or being fired? Let it end with some dignity.

    • diya says:

      How will they explain Emma’s absence next season even though her husband Hook is still around. Will they write in a tragedy for her character like death/curse/kidnapping. And wouldn’t doing so defeat the purpose of a happy ending that Emma is headed towards this season. Her character deserves closure. A proper one. they should have just cancelled this show.

  4. Laurie says:

    I’m just not sure where they are going with this. It seems a really odd move to reboot in such a way.

  5. Phillip says:

    I’m really starting to not want another season.

  6. ninergrl6 says:

    Is it just me or did her IG post have a “For Good” from Wicked tone? I wonder if that was intentional or coincidence. While I adore Bex, Zelena has been superfluous for a long time. The show could easily survive without her. Jen, on the other hand, is a devastating loss.

  7. JR says:

    I was surprised she was back for this season. I figured she would be like peter pan or the snow queen. There for the purposes of the arc and then gone. They’ve really not made very good use of her (the actress or the character).

  8. Josh says:

    Can’t believe they renewed this show Im not watching Without Emma and Her Parents it’s such a shame Jennifer Morrison was essentially pushed out of her lead role cause the writers are obsessed with Regina and Rumple.

    • Martina says:

      Not true though. Jennifer was asked to come back for season 7 but decided not to renew her contract. It was her own choice. She was not pushed out.

      • jj says:

        You’re missing Josh’s point. He’s not saying she was pushed out of the show. He’s saying that her character got pushed out as lead character. There has been far more Regina this season than Emma.

        • SamofSherwood says:

          I’d have to agree, that Evil Queen separation cr– rubbish was just boring & her & Rumple made me gag.

          • Val says:

            I am just fed of constant Regina and Rumple woes where they get easy way out handed to them, hey lets split yourself, hey lets make you a past savior, it makes you a good person ummm no it does not.

          • SamofSherwood says:

            Let’s face it, three left are all murderers but then Emma killed Cruella, though I don’t think that counts.
            I think with Once you have to check your morality at the door somewhat.

  9. DaveM says:

    two words: thank god. one of the most annoying characters in television history.

  10. Dick Moss says:

    We love you Rebecca and you will be missed.

  11. ErikK says:

    huge loss – not. as long as they still have Rumple, I might watch. on the other hand Regina is just as annoying as her sister.

  12. Mark says:

    This is starting to look Dead on arrival already

  13. wgsecretary says:

    I love OUAT. But, I wish they had just decided to end it and not renew it. I’m afraid it’s going to just get run into the ground in season 7 and it will go out with a whimper instead of a bang. It’s going to focus on newlywed Hook…without his bride. No thanks! It really takes the wind out of the big “Happy Beginning” music number last week to know that they are not going to be together next season. I don’t know, or care, how it will happen. But, one way or another, they will not be together on the show anymore.

    • And that’s the big problem… No matter how much they love the actor, without Emma there is no reason to Hook stay. Is he gonna try skin the crocodile again? Be trow around as Lanas new love interest? It just doesn’t work. I have this weird feeling that the kids will be Hook and Emma’s kids… Which I think is just silly. Anyway, if they will go to reboot the series, really reboot the series.
      Is like when Red went away but Granny stayed, and they tried to act like she was still living in the town, when there was no sign of them. Now Red is living in OZ and Granny never thought about visiting… Or Red never thought about getting back to help her friends… Makes no sense.

  14. Drew says:

    So in the re-branded OUAT, seems almost certain we’ll have Regina, Rumple, an adult Henry… An offer was made to Hook’s portrayer to return, but without Emma that will take some explaining. I supposed some of the supporting players will pop up occasionally (Blue, Granny, the Dwarves), but this really does sound like a completely new show. I’m ready for it.

  15. This is very dissapointing.I live Zelena.Going to miss her.

  16. SamofSherwood says:

    Not to be that person but, this broke hours ago, never much cared for Zelena until this season actually, sooo grating.
    I’m hopefully optimistic we are looking at a pre-quel here, that seems to make the most sense though, goodness knows when adult Henry & this little girl fit in..?
    I like Regina & Lana but what is left to tell there? I’m not interested in Once Upon A Evil Queen..
    Same with Rumple, we know their backstory, how many times can Rumple double cross someone?
    I really feel for Colin O’Donoghue because even if he had misgivings about this plan, he’s locked in by contract, can’t imagine how much it would cost to take on Disney, this is seems such a shame.

  17. Eran says:

    Makes me very sad to say this as I have always loved the character and resented how grossly underused she was, but my gut is telling me Zelena is going the same way of Anya in the Buffy series finale.

  18. Once Upon a Time has written itself into a corner. Rebecca Mader is great, especially with Lana Parilla. Just cancel the show ABC, and let it have its happy ending. Hook a newlywed without his new wife? Stupid. No Charmings? No Selena? More new characters that no one cares about. What happened to Henry? Is he gone too? No Emma? Let’s do another stupid story arc that drives more viewers away. It will be a shortened season anyways – American Idol claims its timeslot in January .

  19. Butch says:

    They could have called the reset a spin off like they did with After MASH. Would that make fans feel better? OUAT ends on Sunday and a new series starts in the fall with some of the same characters. The difference here is that the characters continuing are most of the stars and not supporting players.

  20. Makes me sad. Feel like there could’ve still been more stories for Zelena, but hope the S6 finale still wraps up her development neatly enough.

  21. iHeart says:

    well so much for Regina’s escape plan for Henry

  22. lana says:

    Can’t believe ABC renewed this show. without Emma and Snow and Charming the heart of the show is gone.
    Couple are gone too. no #CaptainSwan, no #Snowing, #rumbelle….no zelena.
    seriously what are they gong to do. ABC should have them end now on a high note after the musical.

    IMO this is gonna be a failure. The rating are already bad. #speecless

  23. fernando933 says:

    I love Regina but ABC was dumb to renew it. The only way this show can work if they do a time jump with a older Henry

  24. sunshine says:

    Radar and Parilla are the two best actresses on the show. Without the sisters we lose quite a lot. The actress playing Snow has never had the skill of either of these two. They never learn do they, take a show that’s really working well and mess it up.

  25. Jennifer says:

    What a shame. Rebecca has been an asset onscreen and off. She’s one of the few cast members who still actively engages with fans on social media and she is by far the most enthusiastic. Her passion for the role has been one of the bright spots in the fandom the past couple of years. Too bad the show-runners chose not to embrace that and keep her on. She’s made a fan out of me and I wish her all the best.

  26. Susan says:

    I loved the Wicked Witch-red hair, green make-up, wicked, wicked attitude! Not so much the Storybrooke counterpart of Zelena. What she did to Robin Hood…YUK!! Rebecca played the part well! Thank you for a great role and good bye to another character😥

  27. Saif says:

    I have a bad feeling season 7 will somehow be a prequel to the last 6 seasons in a way!

  28. Pat says:

    First, the major character of Emma which was a real shocker and now, Zelena. I am not even sure you can Reset Season 7. As far as I am concerned, Emma was the heart of this series and they should have ended it with the season finale.

  29. Mark says:

    I’m not surprised she won’t be back since it sounded like they were planning to write her out all along. But I have a huge respect for her and the class with which she announced it.

  30. Morgan Osborne says:

    This truly sucks I have followed the show from the get go and zelena by far is one of my favorite characters.. I love Regina but the evil queen rocks… Without the evilness of The queen and the wickedness of the witch the reboot surely will fail.. I wish them all the best of luck in their future endeavors… I’ll check out the premiere of season 7 see what its about… But Rebecca Madar you will be missed by me. You’re beautiful talented and no one plays wicked as you have xoxo

  31. Val says:

    Good post Bex. But hardly Bex and Zelena did much anyhow and i say this from a narrative point and episodes.
    I am gonna miss Emma and Charmings more. (no idea how Hook is back and without his Emma, and her family too)

  32. Vas says:

    She was one of my favourite characters. Such a gorgeous actress, such an interesting character, sadly she was often underused. I wish they gave her more screen time and more to work with.

  33. Mrs. Hudson says:

    Selena was amazing & have such a wider dimension to Regina. Will she come back for cameos?

  34. Gaby says:

    It’s gonna turn into a completely different show with less of the original characters love this show but probably won’t watch it next season gonna miss most of the cast

  35. Rose says:

    Why did the writers and directors write Rebecca Mader out of once upon a time , a show is the same show when you get involved with all the characters , once you start removing characters the show doesn’t have the same meaning …. it’s like the characters and fans bond over the seasons to the series , but when you start taking characters away or exchanging them you break that bond we have with the show , the characters and fans , ratings will go down with Jennifer Morrison and Rebecca Mader leaving it’s going to hurt ratings ……

  36. Robert K. Yonce says:

    Not surprising and not the first BIG mistake ABC has made. But then again, I will not be watching as I am a proud member of the ABC Boycott due to the Brain Dead decission to drop Next Man Standing. Congrats ABC – you just keep things going and going – just in the wrong direction.

  37. Gina says:

    Yeesss Im totally sad!! I really wish rebecca was on season 7 😔 it wont be the same without her!!! She will be missed!.. even though the show must go on! I still reallyyyy hope she makes a guest appearence in the future.. This show is #1 in my book.. by far the best!!

    Next is the originals..
    And walking dead is 3rd.. so im really excited n cant wait for it to start up again lol..

  38. tom says:

    there was a show called martial law years ago first season they won an Emmy the next year they changed the characters it went off the next year abc needs to remember these words don’t mess with success

  39. Kayla says:

    I really want you to playva role in season 7. I am really sad 😢. You inspired me so much. I love you.😉☺.

  40. Kayla says:

    I really love u and I really want you to be in a role for season 7. I love sooooo much😊☺😉. I wish you luck and I hust love u, it won’t be the same😔😢😭. Love u .