‘Once Upon a Time’ Creators Explain the “Next Chapter” to Come in Season 7

The sixth season of ABC’s Once Upon a Time has come to a close and with it the stories of the entire Charming family — at least, this version of them.

After defeating the Black Fairy (Jaime Murray) and rejoicing in their happy endings (which were happy beginnings all along), the book finally closed on Emma Swan (Jennifer Morrison) and her fairy tale.

Leading into Sunday’s finale, stars Ginnifer Goodwin, Josh Dallas, Jared Gilmore and Morrison announced their departure from the show, begging the question of how the story will continue without any of its main heroes. As expected, the Disney-inspired fairy tale drama’s big time jump at the end of the two-part finale provided the answer. The story now seems as if it will start over from scratch, this time with Henry (The Walking Dead‘s Andrew J. West, a new series regular) as the adult whose long-lost daughter Lucy (fellow new regular Alison Fernandez) shows up on his doorstep to prompt him into saving his family.

The Hollywood Reporter turned to series creators/showrunners Adam Horowitz and Eddy Kitsis to go inside the decision to overhaul the series, what it means for old characters and why fans should continue to tune in for season seven of Once.

Are you approaching the story of adult Henry as a total reboot of the original Once Upon a Timepremise?

Kitsis: Kind of, yeah!

Horowitz: I hesitate to use the word “reboot.” We’re more thinking about it as a hybrid of a lot of things. We’re paying homage to the original premise, but there are certain characters who are returning and some who are not. It’s a combination of a lot of things, but what we’re trying to do is go in a new direction but stay true to the spirit of what the show has always been.

Will you be recasting any other characters as adults?

Kitsis: Potentially, yes. Not right away. That’s the biggest one.

Horowitz: We want to keep under wraps how we get to Henry grown up and what that means for Regina (Lana Parrilla) and Hook (Colin O’Donoghue) and Rumple (Robert Carlyle), who are returning regulars. There’s stuff that we’re excited to unveil, but it’s not about recasting so much as we’re hoping to open up the universe more.

How do you plan to tell stories about Regina, Rumple and Hook without some very important family members?

Kitsis: The answer to that question will be answered next year. We’d rather show it than tell it.

Henry’s got a daughter. Will we be meeting her mother?

Kitsis: Yes, next year. [Lucy’s] mother and Henry will be a very epic love story in the tradition of Once Upon a Time, just like his grandparents. We can’t forget, he’s the grandchild of Prince Charming, which technically makes him Prince Charming Jr.

Horowitz: Junior junior. Prince Charming III.

How many new roles are you looking to create with six series regulars leaving?

Horowitz: I don’t think we want to confirm exactly right now, but we will say there will be more regulars, and they’ll be more recurring characters as well, and we’ll probably make some announcements as the summer progresses.

Besides Jennifer Morrison, who will return for one episode and who has promised to pop back in? 

Kitsis: Everybody has said they’d be willing to come back. As our show is and has been for six years, we see people come back all the time. Rose McIver came back and she is the lead of her own show [The CW’s iZombie, which was also renewed], so we hope to be seeing everybody.

Horowitz: While we tried to really wrap up a lot of their stories and give a nice send off to these characters we’ve loved being with for six years, they’re still part of the universe, so hopefully we’ll be seeing different people at different times.

Fans, as would be expected with six regulars leaving, are upset. How do you get them to come back for season seven?

Kitsis: At a certain point after six seasons, some people’s journeys needed to have an endpoint. We believe that what we are going forward and doing is what people love about the show, which is a show about hope and fairytale characters trying to find themselves in the real world. We’re going to return to more storytelling like that, and if they love the original Once, then hopefully they will enjoy the next chapter and the new universes and adult Henry.

Horowitz: We’ve been so blessed to have such an incredibly passionate fan base that feel so strongly about all these characters that we totally hear and feel the emotion at hearing that some of these characters won’t be there every week. But some will and then there’s always chances of seeing some again. But really, I think as Eddy said, we’re trying to go on in the spirit of what we started in season one and telling those kind of stories again with a new canvas that’s really exciting to us as storytellers. We really hope that the audience will feel the same way as they see these new stories that we start to tell.

Kitsis: Part of it really is, creatively, wanting to end one chapter and begin a new one and get back to that fresh, original idea that resonates.

Once did hit a string of series lows in season six. How do you hope to bring new viewers back and broaden the show to those who haven’t tuned in before?

Kitsis: You can’t really control ratings. Every year ratings go down and everyone reacts like it’s the first time. I think that though ratings are down, what’s interesting is the fan base continues to be up, so we’ll still trend and all those things. That being said, we feel it’s a great way next year for new viewers to come in and not be burdened with knowing the six years of mythology. You can come in fresh next year, and I think if you like fairytales and you like magic, you should check it out.

Horowitz: The live, next day ratings — we all know they’re becoming more archaic … We’ve been so encouraged that regardless of what numbers are saying, we have an incredible fan base that’s been so passionate all these years. To us, it just feels like a miracle that it’s season seven and we’re working on it. We’re so grateful to the fans who have stuck with us, so that we’re here.

From The Hollywood Reporter

Ginnifer Goodwin, Josh Dallas, Emilie de Ravin and Jared Gilmore also not Returning to ‘Once Upon a Time’

Ginnifer Goodwin, Josh Dallas, Emilie de Ravin, and Jared Gilmore will not return to Once Upon a Time after season 6, EW has learned.

The news comes following the previously announced exits of Jennifer Morrison and Rebecca Mader. Once Upon a Time, which was officially renewed for season 7 on Thursday, will now be centered on Regina (Lana Parrilla), Rumple (Robert Carlyle), and Hook (Colin O’Donoghue).

Goodwin, Dallas, and Gilmore, who are original cast members from the pilot, play Snow White, Prince Charming, and Henry Mills, respectively. Snow and Charming are the parents of Emma (Morrison), while Henry is Emma and Regina’s (Parrilla) son. De Ravin, meanwhile, joined the show later in season 1 as the iconic Beauty and the Beast heroine Belle.

Executive producers Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis crafted a detailed statement about the many exits and the possibility they will return:

“Words can’t do justice to what Ginny, Josh, Emilie, Rebecca and Jared brought to Once Upon a Time… but we’ll try… never have we had the privilege of working with a more talented group of collaborators.  Each brought unique talent, incredible intelligence, and their own individual bit of magic as they gave life to these iconic characters.

Ginny reinvented Snow White for a modern audience – there was no way she would be stuck cleaning up after dwarfs, she created an iconic empowered heroine for the 21st century.

Josh mined the depths of Prince Charming – a character who in myth was just a ‘type’ but in his superlative interpretation became a complex man fighting for love and family.  

Emilie took the character of Belle to a deep and soulful place, bringing great intelligence and warmth to the character, making her fiercely independent, strong willed but also an eternal optimist who saw only the best in all those she encountered.

Rebecca took us on a broomstick roller coaster ride as she re-invented the Wicked Witch of the West by finding the pain beneath the green. She made the character soar to incredible heights while always keeping her grounded and relatable.

And Jared literally grew up before the eyes of millions, from a child actor with enormous innate talent to a young man whose abilities continue to astound as he created a character who truly, as we say on the show, has the heart of the truest believer.

We can’t thank them enough for the hard work, dedication, and passion they delivered day in and day out. Without them there would be no Once Upon a Time.

As Once continues, this group will always be the beating heart of the show. And even though we won’t be with them every week, in a show about magic and hope, we fervently believe it won’t be the last we see of them.

Earlier this year, ABC chief Channing Dungey seemed to indicate there could be possible exits should the show be renewed, noting that the OUAT bosses were looking at the potential seventh season as a springboard in a new direction, “which doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re not bringing cast back. It’s just: How do you kind of hit the reset button in a way that gives you an opportunity to expand the stories that we’re telling?” Dungey said.

OUAT’s season finale, which will air Sunday, is slated to provide a sense of closure, while also launching a new chapter for season 7. That new phase will include the introduction of characters played by The Walking Dead alum Andrew J. West and Jane the Virgin star Alison Fernandez, who will both appear in the season 6 finale, with the potential for more.

However, Horowitz and Kitsis have previously noted that season 7 will not go through a complete overhaul. “We’re not designing this in a way where you say goodbye to everyone and never see them again,” Horowitz said. “We’ve been telling a story for six years now for these characters and now we’re trying to complete that story, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have other stories.”

When EW hit the set of the ABC fairy tale drama earlier this year, both Dallas and Goodwin seemed optimistic that the show could continue on even with a new set of characters. “Because things are always so new on our show, there would have to be a radical change in order to infuse it with new direction, and so I’m all for it,” Goodwin said. “I feel like these guys are the epitome of creativity, and if anybody can continue a show that’s been this inventive, and new, and has always gone in a million directions at once in the most entertaining way, I think its Eddy and Adam, and I’m ecstatic to see what happens.”

Dallas concurred: “The great thing about Eddy and Adam, and the great thing about the show and the characters that they’ve created is that they’re always reinventing themselves,” he said. “I think that’s only right with Once Upon a Time that at the end of this season, if it indeed comes back, that it has a completely different reboot, and it goes in a different direction. It’s fitting that Once Upon a Time changes as well as its characters.”

Even so, both seemed hopeful it’s not the last we’d see of Snow and Charming. “I hope there’s always some Snow story to tell,” Goodwin said at the time. “I have discussed with the guys that in whatever capacity Snow should appear to do right by the story then I will definitely contribute for sure.”

Once Upon a Time‘s two-hour finale airs Sunday at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

From Entertainment Weekly

Jennifer Morrison Not Returning to Once Upon a Time

ABC’s Once Upon a Time is closing the book on one of its original stars.

In a surprising move, leading lady Jennifer Morrison (Emma) has decided to exit the fairy tale drama following the end of its current sixth season, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. Should there be a seventh season of the bubble drama, which sources say is highly likely, Morrison could return for one, maybe two, episodes.

“The past six years of collaborating with Jennifer as Emma Swan have been truly magical. Watching her breathe life into Emma, she accomplished more than we could have dreamed possible — she gave life to a brand-new Disney Princess, filled with strength and intelligence and an incredible closet full of red leather jackets,” series creators/showrunners Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis said in a joint statement. “We’ll miss seeing her every day, but her imprint upon Once Upon a Time is indelible. She will always be a part of the show and its heart and soul. That said, just because Jennifer won’t be back every week doesn’t mean we won’t see our savior again.”

The decision comes as a surprise for die-hard fans of Disney-infused Once Upon a Time as Morrison — along with Lana Parrilla (Regina), Robert Carlyle (Mr. Gold) and Colin O’Donoghue (Captain Hook) — were all said to be renegotiating new deals to return for a seventh season. The series, which remains on the bubble, is on the cusp of a major reboot, with a renewal leading to a big time jump in an effort to move the story forward. Other cast departures are expected to come as fellow leading lady Ginnifer Goodwin (Snow White) and Josh Dallas (Prince Charming) will likely follow Morrison out the door after this season. Goodwin and Dallas have said that they consider this season their final time with Once and neither was among those renegotiating a potential return earlier this year.

Morrison’s departure comes as the actress — who in June begins a co-starring role onstage opposite Matthew Perry in The End of Longing — had been vocal earlier this season about the potential to remain with the drama. “I have a really fierce loyalty to the show,” she said in January. “I am fiercely protective of the character.… I don’t have any interest in abandoning something that is such a special part of my life, but I also know I don’t have it in me to do it forever, so it’s more about a life decision, and I don’t even know how to make that life decision until I know what ABC even wants.”

“As I reached the end of my six-year contract on Once Upon a Time, I was faced with a significant decision. ABC, Eddy Kitsis and Adam Horowitz very generously invited me to continue as a series regular. After very careful consideration, I have decided that creatively and personally, it is time for me to move on,” Morrison said in a statement. “Emma Swan is one my favorite characters that I have ever played. My six years on Once Upon a Time has changed my life in the most beautiful ways. I am absolutely blown away by the passion and commitment of the Oncer fans. I am so honored to have been a central part of such a special show. I will be forever grateful to Adam, Eddy, and ABC for giving me the gift of playing Emma Swan. As I move on to other creative endeavors, I will continue to attend the fan conventions whenever my professional schedule allows. I always look forward meeting the fans. If ABC does in fact order a season seven, I have agreed to appear in one episode, and I will most certainly continue to watch Once Upon a Time. The creativity of the showrunners has always inspired me, and I cannot wait to see the ways that they continue to develop and reinvent the show.”
Morrison’s exit comes a day after the penultimate episode of season six seemingly wrapped up Emma’s story. Sunday’s installment saw Morrison’s Emma finally walk down the aisle and marry Hook (O’Donoghue) — only to be hit by a curse and transported to places unknown.

“The way we look at it is, these are stories for these characters, and there are set endpoints to different stories,” Horowitz recently told reporters, including THR, of what’s to come in the May 14 season finale. “But that doesn’t mean there aren’t new stories for different characters. I think that by the end of the season finale, a lot of what we’ve been doing for the last six years is wrapped up — we hope in a very satisfying way — and then we move forward in a way that at the end of it, hopefully you’ll see what we’re hoping to do in season seven.”

Added Kitsis: “We understand that this could be the last year. We feel like we’ve completed this story, and the next chapter of Once Upon a Time will be completely different…. Creatively, it’s time to end a few stories.”

Once Upon a Time is averaging a 1.0 in the key adults 18-49 demographic and 3.3 total viewers during its sixth season. Those returns grow 60 and 42 percent, respectively, with seven days of DVR. The fan-favorite drama remains an important extension of the Disney brand, though its numbers have fallen off considerably this season.

Should ABC renew it, the series would heavily feature The Walking Dead alum Andrew J. West and Jane the Virgin‘s Alison Fernandez — who both make their debut in the season-six finale. West is rumored to play an older version of Jared Gilmore’s Henry.

Meanwhile, it remains unclear which other series regulars will remain for a potential seventh season. The two-hour Once Upon a Time season-six finale airs Sunday at 8 p.m. on ABC.

From The Hollywood Reporter

New ‘Once Upon A Time’ Projection Show Begins November 4 at the Magic Kingdom

Today Walt Disney World announced that a new nighttime projection show, “Once Upon a Time,” will debut at Magic Kingdom Park on November 4.

In this new show, Mrs. Potts from “Beauty and the Beast” shares bedtime stories with Chip, taking them (and all of us) on a magical trip through the most adventurous scenes from favorite Disney films like “Cinderella,” “Peter Pan,” “Alice in Wonderland” and “The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.”

Scenes that are expected to be guest-favorites include a flight with Peter Pan from London to Never Land, the Mad Hatter’s whimsical tea party, and a daring duel between Gaston and Beast. Mrs. Potts and Chip end their bedtime story with a grand finale that includes appearances by characters from even more Disney films.

The show, which was inspired by one of a similar name at Tokyo Disneyland Park, uses projection mapping technology to cover every nook and cranny of Cinderella Castle in vibrant images that appear almost three-dimensional.

“Once Upon A Time” will replace the current “Celebrate the Magic” projection show, which will end its run on November 3. Check your My Disney Experience app for times and more information.

‘Mr. Gold Pawnbroker & Antiquities Dealer’ Storefront Now “Open” at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Mr. Gold Pawnbroker

Missing a glass slipper?

In the market for a mermaid crown? How about love potion?

You may want to checkout the new storefront to Mr. Gold Pawnbroker & Antiquities Dealer in Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

The items you’ll see are inspired by ABC’s “Once Upon a Time” are available for window shopping.

ABC Brings Once Upon a Time, The Muppets, and More Favorite Series to D23 Expo 2015

d23-expo-2015

Be among the first to learn the secrets of what’s ahead on ABC’s most anticipated new and returning fall series; hear from some of the fairy-tale residents of Once Upon a Time and the very talented performers from the new series The Muppets; and meet some of your favorite ABC stars in person during special signing sessions at D23 EXPO: The Ultimate Disney Fan Event, where all the worlds of Disney come together, August 14–16 at the Anaheim Convention Center.

Panels and Presentations

The Magic Behind The Muppets
Friday, August 14, 10 a.m., Stage 23

Calling all Muppet fans! Have you ever wondered what it’s like to work with the Muppets? Here’s your chance to find out firsthand when ABC presents a panel on the magic and art of being a Muppet Performer. Join these creative artists and some of your favorite characters, along with a few surprise guests, for a rare and unforgettable demonstration of what it takes to bring these iconic and enduring personalities to life.

Once Upon a Time: An Evening with Snow White & the Evil Queen
Saturday, August 15, 6 p.m., Stage 23

Once Upon a Time’s savior has gone dark! As Emma Swan transitions into her role as the Dark One, join the resident fairy-tale characters as they cope with Emma’s new role and begin the search for Merlin. This is a journey that will take our heroes from the Enchanted Forest to Camelot and along the way bring many surprises, including Merida from Brave, as Once Upon a Time introduces its first Pixar character. Join co-creators and executive producers Edward Kitsis (LOST) and Adam Horowitz (LOST) along with series stars Ginnifer Goodwin and Lana Parrilla as they discuss the upcoming season of unexpected twists, evolving characters, new adventures, and new rivalries. This panel is sure to bring some surprises you don’t want to miss and an exclusive sneak peek at the upcoming season premiere! The Q&A with this fairy-tale team will be moderated by D23’s Jeffrey Epstein.

On The Show Floor

Autograph Signings
Meet and receive autographs from some of your favorite ABC stars at the Disney | ABC TV Pavilion booth, located on the show floor. Following is the appearance schedule (subject to change):

Friday, August 14
12–12:50 p.m.
Dancing with the Stars pro dancers Witney Carson (Season 19 champion) and Allison Holker (Season 20 runner-up)

Saturday, August 15
4–4:50 p.m.
black-ish stars Yara Shahidi, Marcus Scribner, Miles Brown, and Marsai Martin

5–5:40 p.m.
Once Upon a Time stars to be announced

Sunday, August 16
10–10:50 a.m.
Fresh Off the Boat stars Randall Park, Constance Wu, Hudson Yang, Forrest Wheeler, and Ian Chen

5–5:50 p.m.
The Goldbergs stars Sean Giambrone and Hayley Orrantia

Once Upon a Time Snow White and Evil Queen Doll Collection
Limited Edition of 300, $129.95

Inspired by ABC Studios’ television series Once Upon a Time, this collection brings to life the beauty, magic, and charm of the iconic fairy tale characters from the show. Exclusively available at Disney Store at D23 EXPO.

Doll Collection Autograph Signing Opportunity with Ginnifer Goodwin (Snow White) and Lana Parrilla (The Evil Queen) 

Ginnifer and Lana will sign the Once Upon a Time Doll Collection, available exclusively at Disney Store at D23 EXPO. This autograph session will take place on Saturday, August 15 from 4–4:45 p.m. at the ABC booth on the D23 EXPO show floor, and is exclusively for those guests who have purchased one of the dolls.

Tickets for D23 EXPO 2015 are $74 for a one-day adult admission and $54 for children 3–12. Tickets for members of D23: The Official Disney Fan Club are $65 for a one-day adult admission and $48 for children. Multi-day money-saving tickets are also available. D23 Members can save as much as $112 off the price of admission, based on the purchase of four three-day tickets at the D23 Member rate. For more information on tickets and the ticket pricing structure for D23 Members and general admission, visit D23EXPO.com.

New ‘Once Upon a Time’ Photo Op at DHS Celebrates Arrival of ‘Frozen’ Characters to Storybrooke

Once Upon a Time Frozen Photo Op

In celebration of the arrival of Elsa, Anna and Kristoff Disney PhotoPass and ABC’s “Once Upon a Time” have teamed up to provide you with an exclusive “Once Upon a Time” Magic Shot at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. A Disney PhotoPass Photographer will take your photo in front of a “Once Upon a Time” background, then when you visit MyDisneyPhotoPass.com and claim your photo you’ll find a magical surprise – Elsa and The Evil Queen have joined you!

To make this celebration extra special, your “Once Upon a Time” Magic Shot is complimentary for a limited time! Just have your photo taken at the location at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, claim your photo at MyDisneyPhotoPass.com and download your “Once Upon a Time” Magic Shot for no charge.

Catch up with The Evil Queen, Elsa, Anna and Kristoff on “Once Upon a Time”, SUNDAYS 8|7c on ABC.

Elizabeth Mitchell Joins ‘Once Upon a Time’ in Mysterious ‘Frozen’ Role

Once_Upon_aTime_promo_image

TV geek goddess Elizabeth Mitchell is coming to Storybrooke.

Entertainment Weekly revealed today that Mitchell has joined the cast of ABC’s Once Upon a Time for a season 4 arc as part of the much-anticipated Frozen-inspired storyline. The move marks Mitchell’s return to ABC, where she became a fan favorite on Lost. Since then, she’s starred in ABC’sV and was most recently on NBC’s Revolution. Only this time, we hear Mitchell might be playing a villainous character.

Mitchell’s Once Upon role isn’t being revealed yet, but we’re told she is “possibly malevolent” with ties to royalFrozen sisters Anna (newcomer Elizabeth Lail) and Elsa (Fringe familiar Georgina Haig) as well as to Storybrooke and Arendell. The events in Once Upon are expected to take place after the events in last year’s animated Disney hit. Let the speculation begin!

ABC Cancels “Once Upon a Time in Wonderland”

Once-Upon-a-Time-in-Wonderland

ABC has confirmed through various sources that Once Upon a Time in Wonderland will not return after this season ends.

The fantasy-drama series, written by Once Upon a Time creators Adam Horowitz and Eddy Kitsis, based on Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

The spinoff of Once Upon a Time will come to an end on April 3.  This episode is being promoted as a “series finale”.

The show – starring Sophie Lowe, Michael Socha, Iggy Pop and Whoopi Goldberg – was originally developed as a 13-episode miniseries that was designed to fill downtime between seasons of the flagship series.  Instead, it began airing on Thursdays in October of last year, and failed to draw viewers in its tricky 8pm slot.

“I really had hoped that Once Upon a Time in Wonderland would work,” added ABC Studios chief Patrick Moran in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter yesterday (March 27), before the cancellation plans were announced.

“It was designed to be what they call ‘gap programming’… and it probably would have fared better as that,” he said.