Ever since viewers first got a glimpse of Elsa from Frozen the last few minutes of the Once Upon a Time season finale there’s been a debate about where the idea to draw from such a recent Disney animated feature came from. Was it the studio imposing the inclusion based on the blockbuster success of the film? Or did creators and showrunners Eddie Kitsis and Adam Horowitz come up with the idea themselves because they loved the film and wanted to pay homage to it? The answer was revealed today at the Once Upon a Time Comic-Con panel. Find out after the jump.
Kitsis and Horowitz introduced an hilarious video short to show how the writing staff comes up with ideas in an annual story-breaking session called “mini camp” (not a real camp, Horowitz is repeatedly forced to point out). The writers (playing themselves) try to come up with ideas for the next season’s villain and throw out a lot of silly suggestions. They even pull out a red Dharma phone with a direct line to a grumpy former Lost producer Carlton Cuse (“They’re on their own, f ‘em,” he says). Finally, a pizza delivery guy arrives and suggests they do Frozen.
Later in the panel we got the first footage of Frozen’s Anna (Elizabeth Lail) and Elsa (Georgina Haig) from the upcoming Season 4 premiere, “A Tale of Two Sisters.” Standing before the familiar gravestones of their parents from the animated film’s “Do You Want to Build a Snowman” sequence, the sisters seem to be on good terms. Elsa tells Anna, “They would be so proud of you.” Anna says they would be proud of both of them. Then, Elsa tells Anna she has a surprise for her wedding, and is clearly happy about it. It could be Kristoff she’s marrying, though this being Once Upon a Time, it doesn’t necessarily mean what we are led to believe it means. One of the themes of the show, as the producers pointed out, is that happy endings can come from the most unexpected places. It’s possible that Hans is the intended groom, since the show just announced that he will be joining the show as well. But we don’t know why Elsa would be happy about that.
There were plenty of non-Frozen tidbits shared at the panel as well. It was moderated by Community’s Yvette Nicole Brown, who genuinely seems to be a passionate fan. Or, as she put it, “I fangirl about this show so much there should be a restraining order.” Also on hand to support the show were cast members Josh Dallas (Charming), Jennifer Morrison (Emma), Colin O’Donoghue (Hook), Jared Gilmore (Henry), Lana Parrilla (Regina), Emilie de Ravin (Belle) and Robert Carlyle (Rumpelstiltskin/Mr. Gold).
Ginnifer Goodwin (Snow) could not be there sent a cute video in which she was supposedly back at work after having her baby. She claims to be feeling good and not suffering from any hormonal post-partum effects, though that’s undermined when she gets pissed about having to retake a scene and knocks out Michael Socha, who played the Knave of Hearts in Once Upon a Time in Wonderland and will be joining the cast of Once Upon a Time this season.
Here are some other highlights from the panel:
- Another clip from the season premiere revealed that Giancarlo Esposito (Breaking Bad) will return as the Evil Queen’s magic mirror. We see her open the door to a cell where she’s been keeping him all this time and announce that she needs her mirror. “There’s someone standing in the way of my happiness,” she tells him. “I need your help getting rid of them.”
- Mr. Gold will embrace Henry as family and even bring him to work in the pawn shop alongside him this season. Kitsis said they just shot a beautiful scene between them the other day.
- Speaking of Mr. Gold, his marriage to Belle doesn’t mean that their romance will be smooth sailing from here, as there are still lingering secrets that could tear them apart. “The story’s got a long way to play,” Carlyle said.
- Although all the members of the cast can sing, don’t expect a musical episode anytime soon. “We don’t know how,” Kitsis said after being asked about writing a musical. “But we’re willing to learn,” Horowitz added.
- Neal/Baelfire (Michael Raymond James) will not be returning from the dead, but that doesn’t mean we won’t see him in future episodes. “Neal will always live in flashbacks and in our heart,” Kitsis said. Horowitz added, “Death may be a terrible thing but it doesn’t mean that’s the last you’ll see of someone.”
- More possible additions to the show from the world of Disney animation include Flynn Ryder from Tangled and Cruella de Vil from 101 Dalmatians. The writers are considering both of them for possible future introductions.
Once Upon a Time returns Sept. 28 for a its fourth season on ABC this fall.
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