Mulan, Sleeping Beauty, Captain Hook and Jack and the Beanstalk are coming to Season 2 of “Once Upon A Time,” creators revealed during Comic-Con International.
The new season will also reveal the identity of Henry’s father, what happened to Rumplestiltskin’s son Baelfire, and the fairy tale alter-ego for mysterious Dr. Whale, the series creators Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis told their panel audience of roughly 4,000 in Ballroom 20 at the San Diego Convention Center on Friday.
Kitsis and Horowitz were joined on the panel by Lana Parrilla (the Evil Queen), Ginnifer Goodwin (Snow White), Jennifer Morrison (Emma Swan), Emilie de Ravin (Belle), Meghan Ory (Red Riding Hood) and Josh Dallas (Prince Charming).
ABC’s “Once Upon a Time” has become a smash hit, drawing an enthusiastic audience despite its small budget and unconventional story line. The show is set in the fictional town of Storybrooke, where the residents are fairy-tale characters who don’t remember their true identities after being cursed by the Evil Queen, now Storybrooke’s Mayor Regina Mills. Emma Swan, the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming, moves to Storybrooke after her biological son Henry Mills (Jared Gilmore), given up for adoption at birth, finds her and tells her she is the key to breaking the curse.
Each episode is comprised of Storybrooke conflicts between Regina, Emma and others, interspersed with flashbacks to characters’ pasts, revealing their fairy-tale counterparts. Throughout the show’s first season, fans took to Twitter and wikis, speculating about the true identities of Storybrooke residents. Fans also took sides on Twitter: Parrilla’s followers call themselves the “Evil Regals” and Goodwin’s go by “The Fairest.”
Season 1 ended with a curse-breaking kiss and an ominous purple cloud of magic entering the world. Though characters suddenly remembered their fairy-tale pasts, they did not magically revert to their former identities — a twist that surprised many fans.
Kitsis and Horowitz said that Season 2 will follow characters as they grapple with their identities in light of their recovered memories.
“One of the things that we do explore is what does it mean that they spent all these cursed years as those characters,” Horowitz said. “We’re not completely deleting that.”
“There’s a lot of sorting out to do,” Kitsis added.
The idea presents a unique challenge for the actors, many of whom essentially played two different characters up until now; Goodwin, whose Snow White is a daring adventurer and whose Mary Margaret is a soft-spoken schoolteacher, said the most difficult part of the new season will be “melding these two characters together.”
Kitsis and Horowitz said they are excited to bring in new characters — including Mulan, Aurora and Jack and the Beanstalk — early in the upcoming season. They also previewed some footage showing Captain Hook breaking into Mr. Gold’s antique store and reclaiming his namesake.
They also promised to reveal more about several existing characters, including the fairy-tale counterpart of mysterious Dr. Whale (David Anders), the fate of Rumplestiltskin’s son Baelfire (Dylan Schmid) and the identity of Henry’s biological father — something Emma avoided telling Henry in Season 1. Morrisson said she was one of the few people who already know that secret.
“We kind of discussed it really early on, in the pilot process,” Morrisson said. “I mean, obviously Emma knew who it was. … It was something that I kind of needed to know for my research and back story in order to play Emma.”
A short, funny video (above) — by Jane Espenson, who wrote many of the Rumplestiltskin and Red Riding Hood episodes — screened during the panel, showing the characters as lovelorn clients of Singlebrooke, a fictional online dating service.
David (Prince Charming in fairy-tale land) described his ideal woman: “She’s milk white. … Is that racist?”
And Sheriff Graham/The Huntsman (Jamie Dornan), one of the show’s most popular characters who nevertheless wound up dead at the hands of Regina, made an appearance in the video, touching his hand to his chest and saying, “Recently I’ve felt this emptiness here.”
The show’s creators hinted that the return of magic will also allow for the return of deceased characters, including Maleficent, whom Emma defeated at the end of last season.
“I didn’t see her body,” Kitsis said. “I just saw an egg full of magic and some dust.”
Horowitz smiled, and teasingly added, “There’s magic in Storybrooke now.”
— Noelene Clark
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