Once Upon a Time‘s mysterious Season 7 “reset” is a liiiitle bit less mysterious now, after the ABC series held court on Saturday at the D23 Expo in Anaheim.
Coming out of the May finale, all viewers knew was that everyone in Storybrooke (as well as the Evil Queen and Robin Hood) received a happy ending — after which the action leaped forward to “years later.” There, a storybook-toting young girl named Lucy trekked to Seattle to introduce herself to her father, a grown-up Henry, and urgently inform him, “Your family needs you.”
In the immediate wake of that jaw-dropper, the head of ABC teased at Upfronts that in Season 7, Hook, the Evil Queen and Rumplestiltskin — played by the only returning series regulars, Colin O’Donoghue, Lana Parrilla and Robert Carlyle — “return but with new identities in a new city, facing a new curse” (plus, this bevy of cast additions.)
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New identities? A new curse? And original series lead Jennifer Morrison back for just one episode? Did the happy endings not stick?? Here’s what series co-creators Adam Horowitz and Eddy Kitsis, plus cast member O’Donoghue, shared about Season 7, which will air this fall, Fridays at 8/7c.
* When asked if departing series regulars other than Morrison — who is set to reprise her role for one episode next season — would return, Kitsis remarked “I would be disappointed if we didn’t” have them back, to which Horowitz said, “That means yes.”
* Addressing concerns that the show’s revamp will erase the happy endings that many of the characters got, Horowitz noted that “they weren’t so much happy endings as they were happy beginnings.” Season 7 is not “a complete reset or reboot. It’s a new chapter.” Kitsis then emphasized that they’re “not interested in erasing those six years or [making] people feel like they wasted six years.”
* New series regular Dania Ramirez is playing a “new” version of Cinderella, as shown in photos opposite Adult Henry (played by Andrew J. West). More on that here.
* Might Henry have a half-sibling? “We can’t say whether or not [Emma and Hook] have a child, but we can tell you we will answer that question in the beginning of the season,” Kitsis replied.
* “We meet [Hook] in new circumstances [in Seattle] in the premiere. In the second episode, we really delve into what happened to him,” Horowitz said, adding that “there’s a flashback story that explains a lot.”
* Although Hook is without his love, don’t expect him to embrace a new lady. “I think that Emma is absolutely Hook’s soulmate, as we saw,” Kitsis said. “The Hook that we all know and love, his eyes are only for Emma.” Added Horowitz: “How could he look elsewhere?”
* As for whether Hook will go bad without Emma, “There’s always the danger of Hook returning to his villainous ways, but I think his good heart [stops] him from going all the way,” Kitsis reassured the audience.