Exclusive: Once Upon a Time Makes Michael Raymond-James a Series Regular for Season 3

MichaelRaymondJamesONCEOnce Upon a Time has promoted Michael Raymond-James to series regular status for Season 3, TVLine has learned exclusively.

Series co-creator Adam Horowitz first shared the plan with us at ABC’s Upfront party on May 14, and on June 7, it was confirmed as officially a done deal.

RELATED | Fall TV Schedule 2013 — What’s On When? And Against What?

After making his Once debut as Emma’s ex/Henry’s father Neal Cassidy aka Baelfire in the Emma-centric episode “Tallahassee,” Raymond-James heavily recurred in the last string of Season 2 episodes, as Rumple discovered his son in New York City and circumstances then led them back to Storybrooke.

When last seen, Neal had been shot by Tamara, fallen through a portal and ultimately washed ashore in The Fairytale Land That Is, where he was tended to by Aurora, Mulan and Phillip.

Are you happy Raymond-James’ Once alter ego is sticking around? Hit the comments.

Want more scoop on Once Upon a Time Season 3, 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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  1. Rob says:

    Thank God. Well Eddy and Adam. God probably didn’t have much to do with this. But it’s amazing news.

    • bia says:

      IGNORING + + + + + + + SHIPPERS WAR

      Almost all characters have a connection with Bae. The curse itself was created for Rumpel find Bae.

      Bae is one of the pivotal characters…Since the start

      • Steph says:


      • Rae says:

        As much as I love MRJ, this has all been about Bae, so it isn’t really a surprise that he is staying. Yes, I want to see him with Emma, but he needs to stay for Rumple more

        • fey says:

          Yeah, no surprises since his character is involveed with many of the main ones. But I don’t want to see him with Emma. Just. NO.

      • Rita Coelho says:

        yes…Bae has always been the reason why Rumpel created the curse and involved, all characters.

        I’m so glad that Michael Raymond James will be regular next season…

      • jojo says:

        Ehem… I’m sorry but I’ve got to correct you… Bae’s character was NOT in the plan from the start… not even Rumple was… but they liked Robert so much in the pilot they decided to bring him in immediately… later on, when the show got picked up for a whole first season they decided to make Rumple even more important and so created Bae’s character and used him to explain why Rumple created the curse… PROBLEM: since JenMo knew who was Henry’s father since the pilot – as she stated herself in an interview – how could have been Bae set to be him since he didn’t even exist yet? SOLUTION: he WAS not… but seeing the fans reactions first to Rumple and than to Bae they decided to make him more important too in season 2 ——– oh and I still believe that AUGUST/PINOCCHIO was supposed to be both Henry’s father (the writers are famous for hinting at the characters true identity since the first one or two times they appear on screen and CASUALLY lol the first person Emma sees the boy interact with is Jiminy Cricket aka his shrink, what a coincedence, rigth?) AND Emma’s true love (think about Emma’s superpower) but than they changed idea cause they thought he wasn’t appealing enough for the audience… AND SO THE BROUGHT IN NEAL AND TIED HIM TO EVERY OTHER CHARACTER IGNORING WHAT HAPPENED IN SEASON ONE AND SO MADE HIM ONE OF THE PIVOTAL CHARACTERS…. ..yay -_-
        The fact that they’ll made Neal a series regular is a clear indicator of the fact that they’ll keep on the path of the latest season which I overall disliked so I’m glad for MRJ and his fans but to me the show is more than dead for me and the others disappointed fans of S1.

        • Nina says:

          Wow I wouldn’t like it if they have made Pinocchio as Henry’s father. I can see him as Emma’s lover, yes, but not as Henry’s father. That’ll be just weird.

          • A says:

            Yeah, especially since Pinocchio was made of wood. That would just be weird. “By the way, Henry, your dad used to be a tree!”

        • World-Traveler says:

          Is this your speculation or do you actually have inside information?

    • DaisyDice says:

      Why?! I don’t want to see more of Borefire! He is boring and dull. And if they put him with Emma, they will make her dull too.

      • Alex says:

        THIS! Because it’s already reduced Ema’s character back to that needy 16yo that’s been statutory-raped by a 300yo thieving slacker. I’m sorry, I just can’t see how a beautiful and selfless creature that was Bae, turned into Neil. Emma deserves MUCH better than that. As well as us, we deserve a more interesting plot, and interesting characters. So, with Ruby gone… this is the last drop for me. Bye. Hope your ratings continue to flourish.

        • Marco says:

          Indeed. Emma’s character has just started growing into this self-confident hero, accepting her destiny, and now this. Meh. Not sure if it’s bad writing that makes Bae disconnected from Neal, or just bad choice of actor (you may like MRJ, but he’s just pointless here – a single expression with much mumbling and eyerolling just don’t cut it, for me, sorry) but I’ve used up all my suspension of disbelief in this season. So with already boring Charmings, unrecognizable Emma and now with Ruby gone – not even Regina and Rumpel can make me stick around for S3!

          • OnceFan says:

            So you’re not a big fan of MRJ’s mumbling and eye-rolling?? What about his forehead/eyebrow wrinkles. His acting to me is just fine…I just can’t get past the forehead wrinkles. (what’s that about? Is he channeling his inner Mark Whalburg).

        • Tales says:

          Statutory rape? I guess you must hate each and every teenage vampire themed show in existence then, because that’s standard operational procedure there. Both Buffy (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and Elena (The Vampire Diaries) were around 16 years-old when they had sex with their 100+ years old boyfriend.

          • Anya says:

            Whether someone hates it or not (the only difference being the plausibility of the story itself, Angel was redeeming himself, protecting Buffy, and their love didn’t affect her as badly as a character, in fact – it was gradual and essential to her growth, what with her choosing to kill him to save the world… while Neal is essential to – what, exactly? As it’s been already pointed out, to reducing a 29yo woman on her path to accept her destiny – back to a needy 16yo?) statutory rape is still statutory rape, whether he has redeeming qualities or not. And yes, as this pointless, wishy-washy (“aww, she didn’t love me, she was using me, but it doesn’t matter, I love Emma anyway, despite being a s*it to her!”) slacker of a grown-up (totally different from Bae) he has absolutely none.

          • Holly says:

            HAHAHA! Thank you for making this point! Angel made Buffy weak. Stefan makes Elena boring. One you didn’t mention is Edward and Bella where that whole thing is just messed up! People are huge shippers of these couples but judge Bae and Emma.

          • sunshine says:

            I agree with the 1st poster here, 300+/16yo is only different in regards to the credibility of the story, and has NOTHING to do with shipping. So therefore we can’t compare Buffy with.. *shiver* Twilight, in ANY (it’s insulting, isn’t it?) possible regard. Let alone compare Neil/Emma story with… any of those, really. Because it would turn out even worse for OuAT, since all those vampires (love them or hate them, find them ridiculous or lovable) – loved, protected, fought for those 16-yo-s, while Neal… left Emma in prison for what he did, and then later “couldn’t try to find her because he couldn’t forgive himself”? Emma is NOT (supposed to be?) that 16-yo anymore so I personally find this – weak, forced and fake. So if that is what’s ahead of us in S3, bad storytelling and bad (sorry, I think redneck thing he had in True Blood doesn’t work here) acting – I’m out, too.

        • Neal dint reduced Ema’s character…I always thought Jen Morrison is the actress most weaker of the main cast. And I still think that way…sorry!
          Bae is not boring, his life made him that way…blame Hook and Rumple…Bae/neal just bothers most of Hook’s fans and shippers fans…and we know why.
          This stupid war shippers is actually very boring and and full of childish.

          OUAT focuses on Bae since the pilot. Rumpel created the curse to try to meet his son Bae.
          Even Hook storyline relates to Bae…
          It would be ironic kill Bae / Neal, after all….

          I’m very happy with Michael Raymond-James be regular next season. He deserves it…

        • Lindsey says:

          Wait, how is Neal 300+ years old? I mean, he’s older than Emma but I don’t think he’s quite that old. He was a young(ish) boy when he crossed through the portal ending up in early 1900s London. That puts him at around 100 years old, give or take a decade. He didn’t age because he was in Neverland (I’m assuming that’s why Hook still looks so young). But does that really count towards his age? Though he may have been there for all those years, he never grew up. I don’t think he started to age until he came to our world where Emma and Pinnochio were sent before the curse created Storybrooke.So Neal is older than Emma, but not in a statutory rape way. He started growing up around the time that she did… it’s not like he was an old man in a young body ( a la Twilight). Idk those are just my thoughts.

        • A says:

          Emma was 17, almost 18. She was pretty much an adult.

          • sara says:

            Emma was 17 when she gave birth to Neal. Hopefully they change the show because as it stands right now, Emma would have turned 17 only a few months before Henry was born. Making her 16 when he was conceived. Not very much older than the kid who plays young Bae.

        • ann mc. says:

          Just curious. A few months have gone by. Do some fans still have ill-will toward Neal’s character. I am a Michael Raymond James fan, so I am biased and totally rooting for Neal and Emma, but I do understand some of the criticism toward the adult Bae…he’s nothing, absolutely nothing like dear sweet young Bae. What can the writers do to make Neal more likable so the fans root for him and Emma? Or is MRJ miscast.

    • Kelly says:

      I am so happy. He is so awesome on Once Upon a Time. I really want to see present day Neal’s connections to Rumple and Hook and The Charmings explored.

      • Ashley says:

        I do not like Neal at all! Don’t think he is that great of an actor first of all not with the strong cast of great actors like ouat has. He’s character itself is a weak storyline. They are forcing something that is not even remotely interesting. The only part about it that is interesting is that Henry is now Rumples grandson.

    • tvdiva says:

      I agree that this is fantastic news. So next season probably the first half or all of it will be the search for Neal/Bae and getting Henry out of Neverland. What am most happy about is the entire family is on the quest which means Regina and Rumple will be throwing their full magic powers around killing and destroying anything in their path to reach Henry and Bae/Neal, while the Charmings and Emma try and keep them from destroying realms in Fairy Tale Land a second time. Glad the showrunners are going back to focusing on the main core characters again.

  2. M.d says:

    Shut the front door, this makes me very HAPPY

    • Elly says:

      Couldn’t have said it better myself!!!

      Ok Eddy & Adam, I forgive you for Tamara and Greg.

      To reiterate, YAY!!!! YAY!!!!! YAY!!!!!!!

  3. sasha says:

    AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH FINALLY!!!!!!! Now reunite Neal/Emma

  4. Teag says:

    Awesome. Love this actor.

  5. Mare says:

    YAY! Awesome, really enjoying Neal!

    • To be less glib, I don’t dislike Neal at all, I just don’t particularly love him either, and I just hope this means we won’t see less of characters I like more.

      • Elly says:

        I usually feel the same way (like when the added Sleeping Beauty, Mulan, etc) but I really like what he brings to show (not to mention my huge crush.) And since they were dumb enough to make Ruby a regular but not use her, I’m really hoping they learned not to do the same.

        Does anyone know if Hook is staying on full-time next year? I couldn’t tell if they were trying to create chemistry between him and Regina.

        • J says:

          Well, in hindsight we found out that the whole Ruby upgrade was a weird business decision more about ABC keeping a talent in-house until they could stick her in a pilot of her own.

          Which reminds me, is ABC Studios even the producer of Intelligence, or did they just flat-out lose her in this gamble?

          • francisca says:

            Yes, her new show is from ABC Studios but airs on CBS.

          • A says:

            Just because she’s on a new show doesn’t mean she’s completely gone. She might still appear, just less frequently. It wouldn’t make sense to not show her again, considering how close she and Snow are. Hopefully she’ll still show up sometimes, because she’s one of my favorite characters. So is Belle, which is why I really hope they ave scenes in Storybrooke and not just in FTL and Neverland.

        • kavyn says:

          Hook’s most likely a series regular for season 3 considering they’re in his world.

        • A says:

          I don’t think it’s really chemistry – Hook hits on every woman he sees, whether she’s married or had a kid with the son of his true love. It’s pretty gross. And there’s no way Regina would ever go for that – especially now that he turned her in to Tamara and Greg.

    • Meredith says:


    • Grumpy says:

      Same, mate. Least favorite character, least favorite actor in the show. So boring.

    • Rocio Rojas says:

      same i dont really care, i find his character very boring.
      after the final episode i find Hook character waaay more interesting. I love his interaction with the charming and regina

  6. S. from E. now says:

    Yeah. That’s awesome! Michael Raymond-James is a phenomenal actor and I love his character. (=

  7. Tiffany says:

    Thank heavens!

  8. EL says:

    YAY! This is great news! I am very much looking forward to seeing more of Neal/Bae, learn more about him & see his interaction with the other characters. I’m a total sap and am hopeful that he & Emma do have a true, happily-ever-after kind of love & will eventually put their family back together. I know they have somewhat of a Romeo & Juliet relationship, but it does seem as if they could make it work.

    • A says:

      Yes I do hope they are true love.

    • xaverie says:

      I do love a 200 year old man/16 year old girl love story. SEXY

      • Ann says:

        So I guess you will rather have a women beater and Emma. If you are going to start the age argument then lets go with vampires isn’t Elena a teenager and the Salvattores are centuries old? It’s a damn fantasy show age doesn’t matter in MY opinion

        • xaverie says:

          Sure, if you want. I love a good bit of people excusing white men for rape.

          • ej says:

            It’s not rape in Oregon. Just misdemeanor sexual abuse. Ironic that Neal would have spent 11 months in jail for that one role in the motel hay with Emma. Still, leaving aside the 200 year old part (he was 14 the whole time, people!), in many states, including Florida, Arizona, Maine, and Mass, the age of consent is 16 and there are either no age restrictions for adult partners, or Neal falls within the limit. In Florida they actually could have married without Emma needing parental consent.

            Is it a blunder that Adam and Eddy didn’t check state laws when they picked Portland, Oregon instead of Portland, Maine? Darn right, it is, and it has led to all kinds of uneducated felony “statutory rape” comments,but it’s clearly not the first mistake made with the show this season. And I wouldn’t even bet on Neal actually being 23 when he met Emma. After all, if he came to this world at 14, wouldn’t he lie about his age to be older? If you just go by the sad attempt of JMo and MRJ at trying to look 10 years younger, then he surely must have looked old enough to pass for at least 18!

            As Ann said, suspend your disbelief for fantasy. Buffy was 16 when she slept with Angel, a 200 year old vampire who clearly was not 16 when he got turned, and that was a popular ship. Sure, in this world with non-magic people, it’s kind of messed up, but it also kind of happens A LOT, or so many state wouldn’t have close-in-age exemptions. At least Emma didn’t end up doing back door porn and we have yet to see any pictures of Neal chucking rum in Neverland, just because the drinking age is lower there!

          • Holly says:

            It is a television show! Emma lives in a land where her parents are the same age as her. No one is excusing rape! For that matter you could fight any fiction ever written about vampires! And just so you know if the act is consensual and the minor is at least 16 years of age it is not statutory rape. Rape charges can still be pressed by the parents but I don’t think Snow and Charming are rushing to get Bae locked up.

      • Kasey says:

        Half the fandom ships Rumbelle and I never see anyone mention that in this argument. Oh how about the hook/Emma shippers? Same dif. Angel & Buffy, Spike and Buffy, klaroline, delena, stelena. I can keep going.

        • Steph says:

          lol seriously. Do people think this is a new trend for tv romance or something?

        • A says:

          It’s true. Rumpelstiltskin is hundreds of years older than Belle. And just like Emma and Baelfire, it doesn’t matter. It’s about true love, and what’s meant to be. Also, Once Upon A Time is a family show! And fantasy! Stop worrying about laws. Especially stop worrying about laws from our land, because they’re not from our land! If you don’t like family shows, or fantasy, then you’re not really fans, and don’t watch the show! Only watch it if you actually like it! Otherwise, don’t waste our time with your ridiculous complaining comments!

        • sara says:

          Yeah, it’s pretty creepy. It’s creepy there and it’s creepy here.

      • taran63 says:

        You must not like Hook/Emma either, since Hook was an adult when Baelfire was still a boy. Since August is a boy again, that doesn’t really leave any current characters for Emma.

        • lyn says:

          Emma/Jefferson please.

          • ej says:

            How is it better if Emma ends up with a guy who drugged and kidnapped her than a guy who left her, thinking it was for her own good (even if that was wrong)? Shame on Jamie Chung for giving fuel to the Emma/Jefferson ship, just for the lame universe trifecta. While I am happy that Ginny and Josh got together on screen and off, I don’t want to endure another on-screen/off-screen ship-fest. Let JMo have Sebastian and let Emma have a relationship that makes sense. Kudos to Morrison for dodging the shipper question by saying that Henry is Emma’s true love and that she’s nowhere near ready for a romantic relationship. Hallelujah. Amen. If Neal is her true love and the parallels between their relationship and Emma’s parents are meant to indicate that, then fine; if they go another way, but Neal still gets to be Henry’s dad, then that’s what will happen; it’s the creators’ baby, not ours. I just want Emma to be a well-adjusted person before she gets her chance with whomever to live happily ever after. That, and please don’t let them be stuck in Neverland with crappy CGI for a whole season!

      • Disappointed says:


      • me says:

        LOL!! Hook is even older than Neal!! So, I don’t really understand people who judge Emma/Neal because of the age difference and yet ship Emma/Hook! I mean like hello, this makes Emma/Hook a less appropriate couple! Plus, I find it kinda repulsive that Hook is like Emma’s step father-in-law! Moreover, he and Neal shared some sort of father/son relationship, so I wouldn’t really like watching them fight over a girl!!

      • A says:

        She was almost 18!

        • sara says:

          Except she was 16

          • Grace J says:

            As stated in Season one during the episode when she saves the maid (aka) Cinderella. She tells her in the car that she was 18 when she had Henry. I don’t know where all of you are getting this 16 crap. She was 17 when she conceived him and went to an adult prison and not Juville Detention which proves she was not a minor. Get real!

    • Stacy says:

      I love this. Neal and Emma are so perfect for each other. I love MRJ and Neal/Bae. Now if the writers would just work to get Emma/Neal back together so that they could have the family they have always wanted.

  9. HeatherC says:

    YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I was hoping to hear this news but figured we wouldn’t hear anything until the summer. This is a fantastic surprise for me today! Thank you for sharing it early Adam and congrats to Michael!!! =) <3

  10. lene says:

    EMMA and NEAL!!!!! YAY! So happy.

  11. don says:

    well i dont get my hopes up on this.. :)
    belle and red was supposedly regular for season 2…
    but they hardly got any screen time or story arcs….

    • Mike says:

      I agree, regular positions don’t necessarily guarantee that you’ll have anymore screentime than recurring cast. Red had less screentime than Greg and tamara.

      • Jake says:

        And yet Tamara (specifically) got very little character development in all of her screen time, or did I just miss something…I for one hope they really do something to flesh out her seriously one dimensional character. As far as Greg is concerned I kinda feel the same way. Although I kinda understand where he was coming from with his search for his dad.

        However, I just got finished watching the last two episodes of this season, and those scenes with him torturing Regina were hard to watch (even if, and probably because I had been watching Game of Thrones where Theon is constantly getting tortured this season).

        Also…Peter Pan as a bad guy…interested to see where they take that.

    • Nina says:

      Red has a new series next year so I’m sure she’ll only be in a recurring capacity in Once. Regulars don’t mean they’ll have a heavy plot lines, it just means that they have to be available anytime the show runners want them in certain episodes.

    • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

      If you read Meghan’s Ory’s interview with Will Keck, you’ll see that the plan was for Ruby to have a larger presence/role during the first half of Season 2, hanging with David, but they brought Emma and Mary Margaret back to Storybrooke sooner than originally planned.

    • Zachary Flye says:

      I totally agree, I feel like they use the “series regular” label to let fans know that these characters won’t be leaving the show this season as well as keeping them available so that if they do need them they can call them in.

      • Fan says:

        :( Well this is upsetting and does not make me happy at all. I wanted less of him. A lot less. Love little Bae but I am not a fan and can’t stand Neal at all… Not to mention the lack of chemistry with Emma. Too bad I was really looking forward to season 3, since ep 22 was so amazing with the core 5.

  12. M says:

    He’ll yeah, I love Emma & Neal. I just hope they don’t keep them apart for too long.

  13. Mark says:

    Upsetting. I was so pleased that he went missing. I find his character irritating (although love him as a boy) and don’t think he has any chemistry with Emma. I would much rather Emma and Hook.

    • Nelly says:

      Emma and Hook are one of the most forced pairing ever and even if you take out the Bae/Emma romance, Bae is still a very important character because he is Henry’s father and Rumpel’s son. He is the reason why Rumpel created the curse and he spent two centuries in Neverland so he’s very important for next season.

      • Kerry says:

        Yeah, because those ‘I love yous’ didn’t feel random, forced, and inconsistant with Emma’s character at all….

        Neal, though I don’t dislike him, is a prop for everyone else’s story. He’s there to explain Emma’s hesitancy to trust/love, Rumpelstiltskin’s reason for the curse, and Hook’s impetus to let go of revenge (at least partially). He’s no more a character unto himself than Belle.

        • Joe says:

          To me Neal felt more like a character just to push other characters and thats it, coz as a whole he does nothing
          Can you believe Little Bae become this guy Neal – he certainly is no fighter, just weak and cowardy in a way

        • K says:

          So I guess Emma calling her parents “Mom and Dad” when they were all on the brink of death was also forced and inconsistent with her character? It was completely in character for her. Emma is not going to lose people she loves without saying it. Whether Neal deserves her love is another question entirely.

      • Samantha says:

        Seriously Emma and Hook are paired up??? I must have missed that because that would truly be EPIC!

        • meg says:

          none yet more than flirting and OBVIOUS AND MEGA-CONNECTION THAT CAN’T BE IGNORED. But yeah, they would be epic. Actually, they’re already in the beginning stages of epic :)

      • mia says:

        I don’t think Emma + Hook is forced. Its no great true-love story, but they *do* like to flirt with each other. I think they are really similar people and can relate to each other. I hope they don’t do the OTP stuff with them, but some sexytimes would not be unwanted lol.

        • K says:

          You know, I see very little if any flirting coming FROM Emma in their interactions. She’s usually very dismissive of him. She has flirted with Graham, August, Neal in flashbacks, and even Gold more than Hook. It’s very odd to me that “For dead guy of the year I’d pick you” is supposed to be a grand declaration of love from her.

      • fey says:

        Hook and Emma can’t be called forced if they’re not even a thing yet. Their interactions have so far been true to their character’s journeys. What’s forced is Emma/Neal especially their final interaction. When Emma said she loved her, I was at a total loss from where that came from. I thought she was moving on and then that? What a way to revert Emma’s character development.

    • Aimee says:

      Same. I love the flashbacks with little Baelfire, but Neal is just so flat and unlikable for me. If he is going to be around, then I hope it has more to do with his relationship with Gold than anything with Emma. I despised the way he belittled Emma since his return. The only time I really cared for him was when he was interacting with Gold.

      • xaverie says:

        I’m glad I wasn’t the only one who loves young Bae so much more than Neal. It also doesn’t help that there is absolutely zero of Bae in MRJ’s performance.

      • aaaa says:

        I hated the way he treated Emma, and laughed in her face, and shouted at her!

        • lucy says:

          And I hate how Hook tried to kill her, threatened to rape her, laughed in her face, left her for dead and helped her son get kidnapped.

          • francisca says:


          • Christine says:

            Rape her – WTH? Grow up little girl that isn’t rape not even remotely close .Spewing such crap is an INSULT to anyone who ever has been raped!!!

          • Megan says:

            I like MRJ as an actor but [so far] he doesn’t really remind me of young Bae at all. Despite that, I’m glad he’ll be around for Season 3. Hopefully he can change my mind ;)

          • A says:

            Well I guess it was kind of a rape threat when they were fighting over the portal and Hook said, “normally there’d be more enjoyable things I’d to with a woman on her back”, but he says things like that to everyone.

      • Christine says:

        Not particularly happy about this news. I love young Baelfire, I don’t like who he grew up to be. Neal didn’t look for Emma when the curse was lifted because he was ‘afraid’. He didn’t put his engagement with Tamara on hold once Emma found him. He didn’t believe Emma’s concerns over Tamara. He was sexing up Tamara the morning of the portal drop. Even after he found out the truth about Tamara he was whining to her about how she never loved him. The I love you’s made zero sense as there was no indication up to that point, so they had to tell us. We’ll see what happens it can obviously go two ways one being they are true love – which would be the most chemistry challenged case of true love ever! Or they will put the relationshop to the test and both realize that it wasn’t meant to be. I love Gold and Neal is his son but so far I have found him extremely unlikeable and boring.

        • ej says:

          I want to want to like the Emma/Neal relationship. Just from the “stolen money” comment in the scene where they put Henry to bed, it’s pretty obvious that a lot of conversations were had between the characters that got edited out (only 40 of the filmed 60 minutes ever airs) and as a result, it was hard to get a feeling for where they stand with each other. The writers messed up here, just as they did with Regina’s redemption plotline and Cora. Too much focus on action and CGI (did we really need so much of lame CGI ash Maleficent?) and not enough character-driven storylines. Bad form, Adam and Eddy. Hope they get back to what made Season 1 good in Season 3 and actually write for Neal what MRJ can deliver as an actor. Also, would be nice if they didn’t continue the “lots more of…” lies. How is 5 seconds in the finale “lots”? Maybe they were going by how time works in Neverland. It’s subjective…. It will interesting to see how/when Neal reunites with the rest of the rescue party, since both Jamie and Sarah are regulars on other series now.

        • Rocki says:

          The arguement can be made that Emma and Neil thought Neil was going to die. They were literally looking at the parent to their child and thinking “I’m never going to see them again.”
          Many people would express their love at that point, cause even if you’re not IN love, you HAVE love for the mother/father of your child-no matter the things they’ve done wrong or right.

    • Steph says:

      Good thing you’re not one of the writers, then.

      • xaverie says:

        Yes, ’cause we know that has zero to do with how the show gets written *cough*Archie*cough*Belle*cough*Ruby*cough*

        • Nina says:

          I don’t understand why people are so bothered about the fact that Archie & Red aren’t heavily featured in season 2 (Imo, Belle are quite important when Gold is concerned). Red even has her own *cough* filler *cough* episodes. They’re just some people from Enchanted Forest, they’re not core characters (except for Belle).

          • Disappointed says:

            Belle is only important when Belle is concerned. She doesn’t get anything else. Now she has to run off like a child and mind the shop and town.

          • sara says:

            I think what’s being referred to is that belle wasn’t intended to be a regular, that was based on audience reaction. But when she began to test really poorly, she was scaled back as a character. Archie was the same from season 1; he tested poorly so he was scaled back even though his character made more sense as a regular than Belle.

    • Jo says:

      Irritating and douchy esp towards Emma, in the way he treats her and has done!!!!!!!!!

    • Ronnie says:

      I wouldn’t worry too much about this. I see Emma and Hook on a journey IMO they are the fairytale couple with the chemistry and the connection. If emma and neal are ‘true love’ I would be very surprised because teen mom/baby daddy is far too cliche for this show. That being said they have been talking triangle for eons now and of course they have to explore emma and neal as a grownup couple. neal and emma have a buddy vibe not romantic chemistry – after some time together they will both realize what they thought they had as teens wasn’t what they want as adults. I hope in the meantime Hook gets to have some fun too.

      • A says:

        Agreed! I don’t see a romantic connection between Emma and Neal at all. They seem more like friends and two people who share a kid. There is chemistry between the actors but I don’t think in the romantic sense. The “I love you” they exchanged seemed so forced and inorganic and was not believable at all.
        Hook and Emma on the other hand, there’s a lot of chemistry there between the characters and the actors and there’s a lot of room for romantic development between the two down the line especially while on their journey together to find Henry.

      • Ella says:

        Hook has always been a ladies man, but I’m not sure that now he knows that Emma’s son is Baelfire’s son he would even try to flirt with Emma. Hook considers Bae as his son (remember he told Bae that he and Milah was planning to get Bae after Bae was a bit older) and probably his feelings for Emma is more platonic now more than ever. It was quite funny though to see Hook and Rumple in competition to save their ‘grandson’.

        • Megan says:

          Fair reasoning, but how Hook feels about grown-up Bae is unclear. Agreeing with Milah to go get her son does not mean that he currently views Bae as his son–Bae even rejected him. It’s possible that Hook values Bae as a surviving link to Mila–she lives on in a way as long as Bae is around.

  14. Lynn says:

    I’d much rather have Meghan Ory aka Ruby still be on the show rather than Neal.

    • A says:

      Well she has a new show and looks like she won’t be back for a while

    • Steph says:

      As much as I will miss Meghan, I don’t think her character (nor any of the other Storybrooke residents) fit well into the story I think the writers are planning to tell in Season 3. She seems really excited about her show, too, which is awesome.

    • As much as I like Ruby, they provided little for her to do other than babysit Henry, so I’m glad Meghan got her own show and a chance to shine like the wonderful actress she is. I do hope for plenty of Ruby in the season though…. I’m holding onto faith that Adam and Eddy will make it happen!

    • A says:

      Ruby is honestly not that big of a character. Sure she’s beautiful and fit well with the first season and the beginning of the second season but there is absolutely no purpose for her in Neverland. Maybe if they show Storybrooke, her presence would be more important there.

    • Ronnie says:

      More Ruby and More Whale more Grumpy More Robin Hood, any of these characters would have been more exciting than Neal.

    • Rocio Rojas says:


  15. Nelly says:

    YESSS. He’s my favorite character so I couldn’t be more happy.

  16. CTR says:

    SO happy!! Nealfire and Swanfire feels!! Michael is an amazing actor, and an incredible addition to the show!! Also the story of Neal/Bae is the most interesting!! It connects everyone on the show!! GOOD call Eddy and Adam, and THANK YOU!!!

  17. I am SO happy!! Yay Mikey!! And more Nealfire!!

  18. xaverie says:

    Not surprising. The show is very dedicated to having awkward actors and forced pairings on the show, plus does have that heavy biology slant.

  19. Mike says:

    I don’t feel strongly one way or another about this decision if this was announced this after Manhattan, I’d probably be thrilled, but Neal was not as awesome following that episode. I don’t want Emma with Hook, but I don’t know if I want Emma with Neal either. I’m just thankful Tamara cannot become a regular, as she is one on TWD next year, I just hope Greg doesn’t become one either.

    • Luke89 says:

      Same. I’m a bit indifferent toward these characters. id rather see the focus on the old originals, like Ruby, and of course the core 5. The last episodes were all about Hook, Neal, Tamara and Greg, it was frankly a bit boring for me!

  20. Rita says:

    I couldn’t care less to be honest. I love Bea, but adult Neal was such a disappointment, I think Michael is a good actor, loved his previous work, but here on OUAT he is kinda miscasted. I don’t even root for Neal/Emma, he’s boring. Meh.

  21. xaverie says:

    It’s too bad that they had to introduce Neal as Henry’s father because not only is it cliche but Dylan Schmid is far superior in performance to MRJ

  22. francisca says:

    This are FANTASTIC news. It was the right thing to do. Neal is a very important character to the story, Rumple’s son, Henry’s father, Hook’s kind of step son (I really dislike Hook but I really loved his and Bae’s scenes in the finale), and just last week him and Emma confessed they still love each other. A lot of stories that can be told around these topics, plus what we still don’t know. Can’t wait to see more of him.

  23. ari says:

    Yay! now belle isn’t the only main character not on the boat!!!!!

  24. AFG says:

    I really dislike Neal and what he is and his overall attitude, his character does not make sense to be all! No way do i root for him and Emma, she deserves WAY better. Someone to fight for her and have faith in her.

    • Samantha says:

      They had to kill off Graham in order to force this smuck back into Emma’s life. Graham was far superior as a mate for Emma than this guy who couldn’t even be bothered to come looking for her and upon finding out the curse was lifted immediately hooked up with Tamara.

      • A says:

        He started dating Tamara before the curse broke, when August said he was going to Storybrooke to push Emma to break the curse.

  25. kath says:

    I don’t care because Neal is just another in the over-filled show, unless they make Neal Emma’s True Love and then I’m going to HATE it.

    Values have got screwed up in season 2 and Kitsis and Horowitz love their villains far more than they like their good characters. Belle had to become Lacey before they paid any attention to her, and Mary Margaret was barely there (as was Charming and Emma) before she got her dark heart. (Also a WTH? storyline because if there was anyone who should have been killed to protect Storyville, it was Cora.)

    Graham was the last man decent enough to be Emma’s love, and they killed him off. Maybe they can redeem Hook next season enough to be a contender but after what he did to Emma and then made it all about his pain, no way should Neal be with her.

    • Sarah7 says:

      Couldn’t agree more. Well said.

    • xaverie says:

      Graham was a cursed personality tho. The Huntsman was murderer so maybe not all that decent.

    • Nicky says:

      Graham was the boyfriend of the adoptive mother of Emma’s biological son.
      Hook was the boyfriend of the mother of Emma’s baby daddy.
      Yeah, I guess they’re perfect candidates for your son’s step dad.

    • Samantha says:

      ITA after just stating they were focusing on the core group and not adding anymore characters to detract from them – they go and add Neal a character that has been so poorly written from the get go…writers you had a weak 2nd season with far too many characters and now with Peter Pan the lost boys, neal, tamara and greg you are spreading it even thinner. Not tempting me to tune into season 3 for long if that continues.

    • Disappointed says:

      Gee, aren’t you a special flower? “Values have got screwed up in season 2.”

      Since when is a tv show about values? The whole show, the entire show, was created on the idea of telling a different story – the villains’ story, especially the queen. They asked themselves “What happened if the Queen got a happy ending?”

      Storyville? You aren’t even watching the show, are you?

  26. A says:

    Very excited by this. Of course being a regular is no guarantee of screen time (*cough*Red*cough*) but I’m cautiously optimistic. I really like Neal.

  27. jerrired says:

    Yay! I’m so glad he’s going to be a series regular. I’ve loved Michael Raymond James since True Blood days, so nice to know he’ll be on my screen more. :D

  28. mia says:

    Not surprising, he’s become a rather integral character.
    Still waiting for more of “series regular” Meghan Ory though

  29. Tara says:

    Love him. So happy about this. Neal is now one of my favorite characters. I can’t wait until he’s reunited with Emma.

  30. This news makes me incredibly happy! Love Nealfire!

  31. Cynde says:

    Awesome news!!! Very happy to know that he will remain a part of the show. Season Three can’t get here fast enough!

  32. A pretty awful decision, MRJ is a handy symbol for where this show went badly off-track in s2, and the crappy way they just abandoned Meghan Ory and her storyline is where the show most people loved in s1 seems to have been killed off. All for a bunch of Neverland crap that’s already been done better elsewhere.
    Between this and Wonderland – i.e. a spinoff literally no one was asking for, given that there’s no Sebastian Stan and likely no Lana or Barbara, it seems OUAT is determined to keep focusing on what the fanbase is least energized about, ensuring their ratings keep tanking.

    • Joey says:

      I wasn’t aware that what /you/ wanted was what the fanbase wanted.

      • xaverie says:

        Considering so much of the ‘fanbase’ seems to have disappeared over Season 2…

        • Joey says:

          Oh, yes, and I’m sure that this all has to do with MRJ? Yes, that’s all because of him. *sigh* I guess Neal haters will find any reason they possibly can…

    • Mike says:

      To be fair, I am looking forward to Wonderland now, I wasn’t asking for it, but I might actually enjoy it.

  33. Alice says:

    Yay! I’m probably one of the few on the CS ship that loves Neal. I think he and Emma have great banter. He’s kind of funny and MRJ seems like a cool dude. Also, I’m LIVING for a Hook and adult Neal reunion.

  34. aaaa says:

    I dont know if its just me, but i cant seem to realise why ppl root Neal for Emma, he has done nothing for her except burn her and left her. from what i have figured out in this show is that you fight for love, you find your love, you choose your love, faith in your love
    Which Neal has NOT done at all – not even ONCE.
    So to me i still cannot understand what exactly ppl root for him and Emma. I really do not want to hear the argument he is Henry’s daddy and they need to be family – coz thats not enough. These two are not even on the same level at all, she is fighter and he is NOT.

    • A.B. says:

      Because they are both messed up. Look at both their childhoods, nothing good there. He is the son of a coward. And what’s the problem with the female beign the strong one in a relationship? Don’t forget that in this show the females are the ones with the stronger personalities. Evil queen, kick ass Snow White( instead a sweet innocent girl signing to animals waiting for her prince) and take charge Emma.

    • Katie says:

      It’s a hell of a statement to say Neal isn’t a fighter. He only fought nonstop for his father’s goodness, went to the Blue Fairy and convinced her to help them. It was wrong of him to leave her to take the fall for the jewelry theft, but we shouldn’t forget that he didn’t do it because he was irresponsible or cruel – he was genuinely trying to do the right thing, and he’s expressed regret about the whole thing. Actually, considering how overall ludicrous Emma’s claims about Tamara were (regardless of whether or not they were right), he handled it with patience and good humor. He caught her spying in his girlfriend’s room, and said nothing ruder than his amused/frustrated Give me a break, I taught her that. None of the characters are perfect with absolutely no blemishes on their record, so I definitely think he is perfect for Emma. If they don’t turn out to be endgame I’m going to be stunned.

    • Samantha says:

      Neal couldn’t even make an effort to go to emma when the curse lifted, instead he got engaged to Tamara. The actor ws great on true blood but the character has been a major disappointment to me on this show.

  35. D says:

    Emma and Hook have more chemistry on screen than the pairing with Neil. And even more so with the original sherif. Too bad they can’t bring him back. His scene in the first season is what caught my attention in this show and then they go and squeeze all the life out of him.

  36. Joey says:

    No you don’t understand how much this has made my night.

  37. Amanda says:

    Yay! I’ve loved MRJ since Terriers. He’s a great actor, and I think he and Jennifer have great chemistry!

  38. Josh says:

    The people bashing Neal for treatment of Emma did you not see him apoligze to her? Sorry hes not hot like Hook who is worse!! Hes a homewrecker stood by while Cora massacred A town held Archie hostage and Tortured him and has repeatly attacked Belle but Neal is Worse? GTFO!

    • xaverie says:

      Whoa, a homewrecker? WOW.

    • Tyr says:

      He said sorry abit too late, and he said sorry to make him better and move ahead with still marrying Tamara, so he was no way choosing Emma anywhere lol

      • Katie says:

        Yeah, because it would be so much more honorable for him to ditch the woman he’s engaged to and, theoretically, loves just because he ran into an ex-girlfriend. Sorry, Tyr, your reasoning is faulty.

      • Samantha says:

        Tyr ITA with you, the man is no match for Emma and the omg so long overdue appology was laughable.. And I think eventually after they try to make a go of it Emma will see it too.

    • A says:

      I don’t hate Neal (and prefer young Bae), but I’ll take Hook the homewrecker over Neal any day!!

      • Josh says:

        Good to know you prefer a man who let someone massacre a villiage not to mention a woman abuser who tried to kill Emma once not to mention Belle over Neal who hasn’t done those things. Those things are excused cause hes hot i bet it is amazing how scum gets aways with thing’s cause he is hot t women

        • A says:

          Like Hook could have really done anything to stop Cora from her mission and what she wanted to do. He really couldn’t have done anything to stop her even if he wanted to. She would have crushed him like a bug or ripped his heart out.

          • K says:

            Always an excellent reason to stand by during a massacre. I’m sure Emma would do the same.

        • Nessa says:

          I agree with you. Is sad that in a show about fairy tales, that we should believe that everything is possible, people choose to like or dislike caracters becuase they are cute or not, i don’t know about you but i my guide in life is that the interior is what counts and not the exterior of a person, take a look on the tale beauty and the beast . I wonder of MRJ was hook and Colin was neal, how many persons would want emma with hook and with neal.
          Also , i think MRJ is a great actor that doesn’t deserve hate just becuase some people want emma with other persons.

      • K says:

        How about Hook, the guy who punches tiny women in the face and then tries to gut them?

        • Sami says:

          well you know when one considers how many people ship Belle with Rumpel who has done massively horrendous murders (and in a jealous fit of rage ripped out his wife and the mother of his son heart just because she didn’t love him), and just in the last epi tried to murder his own grandson! Then it shouldn’t even remotely be a surprise to you that there are a huge amount of Hook fans. Hook’s transgressions don’t even come remotely close to what other characters on this show have done. At least Hook and Rumpel are entertaining characters.

          • K says:

            In all honesty, Rumpel had more reason to kill Milah (who cuckolded him, abandoned him and their son, and didn’t even have the guts to tell him to his face) than Hook did Belle (who was a harmless woman half his size who was chained up at the time). And I think what Rumpel did was inexcusable. Thus making what Hook did even more inexcusable.

          • Sami says:

            “K” If a woman leaves her husband and cheats on him its okay for a rage filled jealous husband to brutally slaughter her – that’s makes it more excusable in your eyes than Hook’s attempt to kill the woman protecting the monster who murdered the woman he loved and who maimed him. BOTH actions are equally inexcusable – both women would be dead. The only difference is Hook was stopped but no-one could stop Rumpel.

          • K says:

            Sami, where did you get the idea that “inexcusable” means “okay”? Hook wasn’t going to kill Belle because she was protecting Rumple (that was why he shot her and tortured Archie); he was going to kill her because she was “useless.” Yes, even beyond the moral event horizon there are degrees.

        • A says:

          Who exactly did Hook punch again? I see people saying woman abuser but I honestly don’t remember who he punched? I remember the incident at the town line with Belle. Is that what you are referring to?

          • K says:

            Hook broke into the tower where Regina was holding Belle in FTL. He pretended he was freeing her and tried to get her to give him dirt on how to kill Rumpel. She said she didn’t know and wouldn’t tell him if she did. So he punched her unconscious and was getting ready to rip her open when Regina stopped him and recruited him to assassinate her mom. (Who, for all he knew, was another helpless woman. Unluckily for him she was instead Cora….) Hook didn’t try to hurt Belle because he knew she was Rumple’s girlfriend; he was just going to gut her for the lulz.

      • Samantha says:

        Hook is a far more exciting passionate fascinating character. I choose him as well. He looks like a prince, he actually has romantic chemistry with Emma, he has a spark, he’s funny, he’s what makes this fairytale show watchable for me along with Emma, Snow, Charming, Regina, Rumpel. Hook is on a journey – I love the bad and good in him and everything in between.

        • A says:

          Exactly, I am not saying he’s perfect. He is after all SUPPOSED TO BE A VILLAIN, but there is more to him and his back story hasn’t been fully told. There is good and bad there and there is more to explore with his character. We see a bit of his goodness when he decided to return Aurora’s heart back, when he left Regina because he didn’t want to watch her being tortured and when he did change his mind and give Emma the bean in the end. He did try to start a connection with Bae. He just doesn’t do it in a matter that is convenient for everyone. Sure him stealing the bean eventually led to Henry’s kidnapping but he did ultimately decide to do the right thing and help out.
          I like Hook and that’s my choice. I typically enjoy villains of shows/movies often times way more than the actual heroes/heroins (because they are often very boring – take Snow and Charming in Storybrooke lately as an example) which is why I said I’d take Hook over Neal any day. I find him way more interesting than characters like Charming will ever be! (ugh, I hate Charming!). He’s witty, funny, sleazy, sexy and has chemistry with the leading lady and has a back story that I would much rather be explored than any of let’s say Charming’s history.
          People talk about all the bad things Hook has ever done and how he’s so awful yet they are completely okay with Rumple “trying” to be good and be with Belle. Rumple is the most evil of them all. He has committed so many heinous acts that are incomparable to anything Hook has ever done. Did they not just see him beat that guy a little while ago. Yet I don’t hear anyone bashing Rumple/Rumbelle pairing as much as they do Hook.

          • Ronnie says:

            Want to bet that those who adore Rumple/Belle are those cheering on neal/emma? Rumple’s son getting the fairytale princess? I adore Rumple as well but I do not adore his son. He’s been written so poorly but the choices he has made make him a far less exciting character than his father. I’m not excited by this news at all but I’m also not surprised. After all the mundane neal overexposure in the 2nd half of the show with basically nothing of note happening, seems even more waste of the already stretched out airtime when you consider all the new characters being added.

          • A says:

            Yes! I enjoy Rumple too but I know that he still has evil in him. Despite this, I am still willing to see him grow and try to be good. Same thing with Regina. She is the “Evil” Queen, yet she is a main part of this show and even though we have seen her do so many awful things (most recently in this episode by trying to destroy Storybrooke and everyone in it) we still support her and a lot of fans root for her on her quest to change. Why shouldn’t Hook be given that chance? Why is it that only his actions are brought out in the open and constantly bashed while the others are given a free pass to commit their evil but allowed the opportunity to redeem themselves by trying to be good.
            Also I agree with you on Neal. He is no saint either. And the fact that he not once brought up to Rumple, the murder of his own mother is just so wrong!

      • Sam says:

        LOL me too. Hook is way more fun to watch.

    • Disappointed says:

      Milah ran off with him. He didnt steal her. He didn’t wreck her home. She made a choice.

      • tp says:

        Exactly. I hate when people call the third party a homewrecker. The person that cheats on their spouse is the homewrecker.

  39. ERRR says:

    What exactly has Neal done to make him he is my fave etc, he is the best etc – the man is tactless and i saw more of Bae in scenes with the actor, this actor MRJ doing nothing much then be smug at Emma

  40. Angela says:

    Great news!!!!! MRJ is a great actor such a awesome addition to the cast. Been a fan of his since true blood loved him in terriers and finally there will b a chance to see more of him on the show

  41. Isabella says:

    I couldn’t be happier than I’m right now! I agree that making a actor a regular on this show doesn’t mean more screen time. But either way. Mikey deserved it! Not only because I’m a huge Neal/Emma shipper, but because his character has so many more to improve and show. I’d love to see more of his relationship with Rumple, and now with the previously storyline that we had with the season finale, I want to watch more Hook and Nealfire. Really hoping season three will focus on the emotions.

  42. Up says:

    Shipping aside, but what exactly has Neal done then just bring Emma down and not choose her at all, and fight for her
    How the heck am i suppose to want him with Emma and root for him
    NO WAY!!! This guy is just wrong for Emma.
    And he always chose his daddy before Emma, chances upon chances – he chose his dad, dad again, then Henry and then Tamara

  43. Jo says:

    Awesome. This is great news. I love the actor and the character and can’t wait to see him again is Season 3.

  44. Min says:

    Not happy with this news. Apparently the producers and writers didn’t learn from their absolute tanking in ratings this season, continuing to do this kind of stuff and abandoning the good from season 1. They make plots and stories then abandon them leaving me constantly going WTF! Ridiculous. The writing has turned atrocious.-.- I used to beyond love this show first season. Now it’s like a thorn in my side, especially when they pull this kind of crap.

    • bia says:

      Before Neal appear as Bae many episodes with Hook were the lowest of season lol
      Dont Blame MRJ…maybe Hook…

      • Tessa says:

        I loved most of season one, didn’t like the end of it didn’t tune into season two until january when a friend showed me a scene with Hook. I became interested again because of Hook. We’ll see what happens with the writing in season 3 but for the most part season 2 with over abundance of tamara and greg and neal was a major downer. I might just have to stop again and just watch the good stuff on youtube until they get their act together.

    • bia says:

      Hook was promoted by the media almost as a savior God of OUAT. Even before the series start it was regular.

      This did not increase the ratings. I know many people who gave up, with such flattery about Hook character.

  45. Himymfan says:

    This is one cliffhanger I’m glad we got a spoiler for! I figured he would live…but it’s nice to be sure.

  46. Zorkel567 says:

    Unsurprising, but still great to hear. Definitely want him a regular next year.

  47. S says:

    Good for the actor, who I really like, but Neal as a character really hasn’t taken off for me and I definitely don’t root for him and Emma. Also I have trouble seeing him as Bae.

    • Go says:

      I also have trouble seeing him as Bae, they do not connect for me
      Also i hear and read peeps saying he is such a good actor, but watching him on this show – he is just bland, and i just cant seem to take to Neal, he left a bad impression earlier on, and his whole attutide.

  48. J says:

    Thank God. Now I don’t have to keep fretting about some plot contrivance removing a great character and a great actor.