Once Upon a Time Cast Shake-Up: Finale Will Accommodate Any Changes, No Story Will Feel 'Incomplete'

Though contract negotiations — with only some cast — have gone down to the wire, Once Upon a Time‘s Season 6 finale will provide closure where needed and won’t leave any storylines “incomplete,” the series bosses tell TVLine.

As previously reported, original cast members Jennifer Morrison, Lana Parrilla and Robert Carlyle, as well as longtime series regular Colin O’Donoghue, had been invited to extend their expiring pacts with the fairytale-based drama, while others (including Ginnifer Goodwin and husband Josh Dallas) might only guest-star as needed in any possible Season 7.

Rumors have swirled in recent weeks about who in fact did re-sign, but ABC isn’t confirming any extensions (or exits). “We have the answers to that, which we can’t share, but the story has been designed around it,” co-creator Adam Horowitz affirms.

Although filming on the two-hour finale (airing Sunday, May 14, one week after the series’ musical episode) wrapped earlier this month, “Any changes that we have to accommodate have been accommodated,” adds co-creator Eddy Kitsis. “We planned this finale from the beginning of the year, so whoever stays and whoever goes… all those questions have already been dealt with. The audience does not have to fear [anything feeling] incomplete.”

The significant cast change is part of a “reset” of sorts for the series, to steer things in a new direction as well as make the ratings-challenged series more attractive for renewal by ABC. Part of that shift includes the finale’s introduction of a young man/cynical recluse (played by The Walking Dead‘s Andrew J. West) and a precocious 10-year-old girl (Jane the Virgin‘s Alison Fernandez), both of whom would stay on as regulars if Season 7 is a go.

Those arrivals will coincide with Emma Swan aka The Savior engaging in a recently foretold “Final Battle,” which is also the finale’s title. “We wanted to be able to complete this chapter,” Kitsis says of the season ender’s two-pronged mission, “and yet set up the next one.”

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