With new episodes of the ABC fantasy series Once Upon A Time back on the air, things will start ramping up rather quickly for the residents of Storybrooke. As these Fairy Tale characters learn to adjust to their lives in the quiet, little New England town, they will learn that there are things even more evil than they had ever imagined.
During this recent interview, show creators Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz talked about how long it will be before Regina (Lana Parrilla) realizes what Cora (Barbara Hershey) is up to, what’s in store for Rumplestiltskin (Robert Carlyle) and Belle (Emilie de Ravin), whether or not Snow (Ginnifer Goodwin) and Charming (Josh Dallas) will stay reunited for awhile, how Emma (Jennifer Morrison) is coping with the new elements of her life, what’s to come for Hook (Colin O’Donoghue), the addition of Ethan Embry and Downton Abbey star Lesley Nichols in mysterious roles, and when viewers might see the character of Ariel make an appearance. Check out what they had to say after the jump, and be aware that there are some spoilers.
ADAM HOROWITZ: Things with that storyline will progress rather quickly.
What’s in store for Rumplestiltskin (Robert Carlyle) and Belle (Emilie de Ravin)?
EDWARD KITSIS: You’re going to actually see a lot of Rumple and Belle, coming up. The second half of the season, he’s going to collect that favor from Emma (Jennifer Morrison) and he’s going to go in search of his son. He and Belle are definitely going to face challenges. What’s interesting is that you’re also going to see Rumple change for her. As we all know, sometimes that’s hard.
HOROWITZ: And Belle is going to find new obstacles and challenges.
Now that Snow (Ginnifer Goodwin) and Charming (Josh Dallas) have been reunited again, will they finally have more than five minutes together?
KITSIS: Yes! It’s fun to see them together again. They are figuring out their new role, being together, being in Storybrooke and being Emma’s parents, even though they are the same age.
HOROWITZ: The first half of the season was really them coming to terms with their memories coming back, and all that. Now, going forward, it’s about, what does this mean, being a family, with these memories and having this strange familial relationship. And what do they want now? What does that mean, in these completely different circumstances from anything they ever expected?
Should viewers be worried about who it was that Cora really killed?
HOROWITZ: You should only worry about it, in so much as here’s a woman who doesn’t really care about who she kills.
KITSIS: If we had an alternate universe, we would be able to show that guy and his family. But to Cora, he’s just some schmuck she found.
HOROWITZ: She literally took a random Storybrooke resident and killed him.
KITSIS: I would look at it more as a commitment to excellence. Cora is focused and she’s committed. She saw her daughter upset, but not broken. She said she would come back and break her, and she did. That’s love.
With the warning of consequences, how will Emma’s use of magic play out in the coming episodes?
HOROWITZ: Well, it’s obviously a new element that’s been introduced and is something we’re going to explore and discover. How it’s going to play out, we’re not going to tell you. We want you to experience that on the show.
HOROWITZ: We can kill off anyone!
KITSIS: I think death is a big deal, obviously. Killing off a main character is something we did with Sheriff Graham (Jamie Dornan), and I still get death threats about that. What does Cora need? She needs information. If you come to this strange land that you’ve never been to, a psychiatrist is perfect. He knows secrets and he knows how things run. Gold has gone to him. Henry has gone to him. It’s more valuable to her, to have him alive right now. But, you never know what’s going to happen.
In terms of the Rumplestiltskin and Hook (Colin O’Donoghue) storyline, what can you tease about that?
KITSIS: They’re going to get into it soon. Very soon.
What can say about Ethan Embry’s upcoming role?
KITSIS: It’s really good.
KITSIS: This will help, his character’s name is “Mysterious Stranger.” He’ll be both mysterious and strange. He’ll get a name pretty soon, and we’re excited to tell that story, as well.
HOROWITZ: The less said about Ethan Embry, the better. In general.
What’s to come for Hook and Emma?
KITSIS: It’s hard to deny the handsomeness of Hook. The real question is, is he going to lose the guy-liner in Storybrooke? And the answer is no. Emma is going to find herself with a few choices this season. In all life, there are the people that are right for you and there are the people that are wrong for you, and then there are the people that you just choose. Emma is going to face all those things. We’ll see what happens.
Will Henry (Jared Gilmore) interact with his birth father?
KITSIS: I would be really disappointed, if we went this season and we didn’t show that. That would suck!
KITSIS: Pretty quickly.
HOROWITZ: Now that everybody is back in town, there are new issues to deal with, with Cora and Hook, but Mr. Gold is pretty determined.
KITSIS: I would say it will be within the first five episodes coming up.
So, they will find a cure to cross over the border of Storybrooke without losing their memories?
KITSIS: Well, perhaps. If Gold’s son is not in Storybrooke, I’m not sure how he would find him, if they didn’t.
Can you talk about the men in Emma’s life and when we might see Graham, Neal and/or August (Eion Bailey)?
KITSIS: Well, Graham is dead and if we brought him back, everyone would say that we are messing with continuity, so we don’t want to do that. What’s interesting is that the love of Emma’s life last year was Henry. This year, we actually met the one person she’s fallen in love with. Hook is obviously eye-candy. I don’t know if she would stare at him and think that he would be a great father for Henry, but he might be fun in Vegas. So, what’s interesting about Emma is that, now that she’s found her family and the shock of, “They’re the same age as me,” has worn off, they’re starting to become a family and they’re starting settle down. A lot of the anger and walls that she has put up throughout her life are going to be able to maybe be able to be broken, but not as quickly as you’d like. There’s still healing to do, and that includes her heart. So, it’s a matter of who wins it.
Will August return this season?
KITSIS: Perhaps. We are hoping to have him back.
HOROWITZ: August is an important part of the fabric of the story.
What role will Lesley Nicol, from Downton Abbey, be playing?
KITSIS: We’re all big Downton Abbey fans. She has a connection to Snow White and her family, and that will be explored in Episode 15.
HOROWITZ: We hope.
KITSIS: Probably not this season. We’ve taken a lot of toys off the shelf, so we’re probably not going to see her this year. We do have a plan for her, if there is a Season 3.
HOROWITZ: Ariel is a character that we love. We have a story in mind, but we don’t want to overload with too many characters at once.
Are there other characters like that, that you are planning on having show up?
HOROWITZ: There are a lot of characters that we’re excited about, but none that we’re ready to tease. It’s fun to bring in new characters and play with them and see how they interact with the characters on our show. But, we have this core group that we love so much, that are the heart of the show, and we always try to keep the focus on them.
KITSIS: There are characters and backstories that we haven’t gotten to yet. There was some stuff that we came up with last year, but we held off until this year.
HOROWITZ: There will be some characters that we don’t get to this year.
When will Mulan (Jamie Chung) and Aurora (Sarah Bolger) return?
KITSIS: Mulan will be in the [next] episode. Aurora and Mulan are off to save Philip, and we are hoping to return to that, at some point this year. But, for the first batch of upcoming episodes, we’re focusing on the Charmings, the Rum-Belles and the Cora and Regina family. Family dynamics is really what’s going on.
HOROWITZ: Now, we’re really focused on being in Storybrooke where we have all our players back together, and what’s going to happen when they are all ping-ponging off each other. From Rumple to Regina to Snow to Emma, their interests are often in conflict.
KITSIS: She’s laying low and she has a next move. She is doing both. The real question is, how persuasive is Cora. We know she has a commitment to excellence, so the question is, for somebody who has been off magic, will they return?
Will Emma get stuck in situations where she has to use her magic?
HOROWITZ: Emma’s magic, or her abilities with magic, is something that we obviously want to explore. It’s not about trying to come up with situations where she needs to use magic. The larger thing with Emma is that, now that she’s back and now that she’s with her family, it’s about really looking at herself and seeing who she is.
KITSIS: Magic, to her, is frightening. She just realized, a little bit ago, that this was all real, and she just got back from this crazy land. I think it frightens her to realize that this magic is inside her. So, I think you’ll see her using it when she needs to, as opposed to going out and doing birthday parties.
Does that create any conflict with Henry, since he’s so anti-magic?
KITSIS: He’s anti bad magic. Now that magic has been brought to Storybrooke and there are people that use it in his life, how does he feel about that? That’s actually something that’s going to get explored, towards the end of the season.
Once Upon A Time airs on Sunday nights on ABC.