Once Upon A Time Premiere: 7 Things We Learned

Jim Halterman
ONCE UPON A TIME - "The Savior" - As "Once Upon a Time" returns to ABC for its sixth season, SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 25 (8:00-9:00 p.m. EDT), on the ABC Television Network, so does its classic villain-the Evil Queen. (ABC/Jack Rowand)
JOSH DALLAS, LANA PARRILLA, JARED S. GILMORE Spoiler Alert
ABC

Spoiler warning: Do not read this story until you’ve watched the season premiere of Once Upon A Time.

You didn’t really believe that Once Upon a Time had gotten rid of one of its best villains, the Evil Queen (Lana Parrilla), right? While she didn’t make an appearance until the very end of the Season 6 premiere, she left a very clear indication that she has a lot planned for her non-evil side, Regina (also played by Parrilla), and is recruiting the put-upon (again) Zelena (Rebecca Mader) to assist.

But there was much more that happened in the premiere and TV Insider had a chance to grill series creators Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis after an early screening of the episode this past week. Here are seven things we found out:

Emma's Journey Could Be Her End
While it was predicted by Hyde (Sam Witwer) that savior Emma (Jennifer Morrison) would die at the end of this journey, would the show really kill off one of its core characters? “I would say that that is a question we’re proposing,” Kitsis said post-screening. “I think what we really wanted to do was get inside Emma’s head. Six years ago when we met her, the very first thing she did to Henry is she said ‘I don’t believe any of this.’ She even denied having a kid. We’ve seen her grow and fight and all these travels.” Horowitz added, “the show remains a show about hope. Our characters are going to fight the battle to see if that is indeed [their] fate.”

RELATED: Once Upon A Time Season 6 Preview

Untold Stories are Ones Not to be Told
We saw the untold story characters arrive in Storybrooke, but how exactly does the  concept work within the show? “What we’re exploring is characters who have run away from their stories, who have left them and gone to this other place,” Horowitz explained. “Now they found themselves in Storybrooke and find stories that may have been put on pause have now resumed so rather than stories that have ended in a certain way, these are stories that were kind of midstream that, for whatever reason, these characters don’t want to see continue.” Horowitz added that the characters do have free will, but antagonists may get in the way of their stories been told—even when that’s the last thing they want.

Rumple, Belle and… Their Grown-up Son
Anyone else surprised to meet Morpheus (Giles Matthey), who reveals himself to be the adult son of Rumple (Robert Carlyle) and Belle (Emilie de Ravin) in Belle’s dream world? Now the big question is whether he will pop up in future episodes? “Yes, we’re going to see him again,” Horowitz promised. As for the future of Rumple and Belle, he's got his work cut out for him. “I think that Belle really is in a place where she’s given up on Rumple,” Kitsis said, “but they have a child and so that makes things messier because once a child is involved you actually have to put aside your own feelings and put the child’s need first no matter how much you hate the other person and that is going to be tested.” Clarifying his use of the word ‘hate,’ Kitsis said, “I would say she’s severely disappointed and is very angry with him.”

And while it would make things much easier if Rumple could just change his dastardly ways, Kitsis explained, that’s easier said than done. “It’s clear he truly loves Belle, he truly wants that child and truly wants to be a good dad but he is a gangster and doesn’t want to give up that life. That’s what he said to her. 'I like the life.'” Rumple may promise to do the best he can but that’s very different from saying he will completely change.

Emma’s Deception Will Continue
Surprised that Emma isn’t confiding in Hook (Colin O’Donoghue) or anyone else about her trembling hand and visions? It shouldn’t if you think about who she was at the start of the series. “When Emma has a problem, she reverts back to Season 1. ‘Wall goes up, I’ll figure it out by myself, I don’t need to tell anyone,’” Kitsis said. “She can sit there and have these great scenes of hugging Henry [Jared Gilmore] and hugging her Mom [Ginnifer Goodwin] and telling Regina they’re buddies, and then all of a sudden something comes up [and] she reverts back. That’s the journey for her and Hook, which is now that she said ‘I love you’ [last season], we thought, ‘Well, if you’re letting that wall down and all those good things in, all the bad things are going to come in, too.’ It’s that push and pull that's going to be driving her [this season].” Also, don’t expect to find out who the hooded figure is that Emma is fighting in her vision anytime soon, but she (along with us!) will be trying to find out the identity.

Regina Is Moving On
While the show has brought characters back from the dead in the past, it doesn’t seem to be a part of any plan in the near future with Robin Hood. “I can tell you that a lot of this year is about Regina dealing with loss and moving on,” Kitsis said. “Regina has the most unfair luck of anybody, but that’s kinda what makes her Regina.” And, for those fans who want to see Robin Hood back amongst the living, Horowitz did stress one reassuring point concerning Regina’s journey this season. “By moving on we don’t mean falling in love with someone right away. That doesn’t seem realistic to us.”

Zelena is Back to Her Villainous Ways
Zelena and Regina try their best to be sisters for each other but there’s still a lot of pain that eventually pushes Regina to lay into the Green One and boot her out of her life once again. Safe to say Zelena will no longer try to be good? “I think with Zelena, she’s the Wicked Witch. She’s pretty wicked” says Horowitz. “The Evil Queen coming in is a wild card and how she’s going to react to that, we left that open-ended intentionally in the premiere because we’re going to explore that in the next episode.”

Season 6 is More Storybrooke Focused, But…
…don’t think that means we’re not still going to get new characters along the way. For example, in next week’s episode we’ll meet The Count of Monte Cristo (Craig Horner), who Kitsis said has a shared thirst for revenge with (who else?) the Evil Queen. And while we’ll surely see Jafar (Oded Fehr) and Aladdin (Deniz Akdeniz) again as well as Princess Jasmine (Karen David). We’ll also see the return of Cinderella (Jessy Schram) for the first time since Season 1, along with her evil stepmother and her wicked stepsisters.

Once Upon A Time airs Sundays at 8/7c, ABC