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 💚
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.