\'Once Upon A Time\' Season 5 Premiere Postmortem: Producers On What\'s Next
The characters of "Once Upon a Time" are in a dark situation.
(Spoiler alert! Major plot details from the Season 5 premiere, and hints at what's to come, are covered in this article. Watch the episode before going any further!)
Regina, Hook, Snow, Charming, Henry and the gang apparently have failed. At the end of Sunday night's Season 5 premiere of "Once Upon a Time" on ABC, it was revealed that Emma Swan has embraced the darkness. Unfortunately, a new curse prevents the Storybrooke denizens (who went to Camelot to save her) from accessing their memories about what exactly happened, and Dark One Emma Swan isn't in a sharing mood.
As Season 5 continues, the show will follow what happened (in the past) when the characters went to save Emma in Camelot, and what happened after they allegedly failed (who knows for sure with a Dark One!).
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Emma might not be sharing any details, but Executive Producers Adam Horowitz and Eddy Kitsis offered clues about where the fairy tale drama is headed in the coming weeks, when they spoke with reporters following a screening of the Season 5 premiere episode.
"[Emma's] relationships with everybody are going to be tested, and we loved the idea of watching Hook fight for her, as well as Regina and her family, because Emma came to Storybrooke a nonbeliever and now she is a leader, and she's united everyone and so as you saw there, when you take the leader out, everyone starts bickering," Kitsis said.
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"And we also loved the notion that two of the people that she's expectedly and unexpectedly grown closest to over the years -- Regina and Hook -- are both people who have battled darkness themselves and the fact that she is facing darkness and they've faced it, and how their experiences can inform what she's going through and either help or hinder her, is something that we want to explore in this half of the season and beyond," Horowitz added.
Here's what else producers offered up about what is ahead as "Once Upon a Time" Season 5 continues.
"It's a complicated answer," Kitsis told reporters after the screening.
"Going forward after the premiere, on the Storybrooke side, our characters are really wrestling with the mystery of what could they have possibly done to Emma to make her this way and Emma plays her cards very close to the vest, but that does not prevent her from interacting in very direct and close ways with characters like Hook, Regina and Henry," Horowitz added.
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"We're going to see the relationships move forward in a new way in the present, which is where we have a very dark Emma appearing," Horowtiz said.
Back in time, in Camelot, "a lot of choices are going to be made and choices are going to be made by different characters, both Emma and by the people that care for her, and some choices that seem like they may be the absolute correct thing to do, are going to turn out to be maybe the worst thing to do," Horowtiz also noted.
As Snow/Mary Margaret and David/Charming do everything they can to save their daughter Emma, they will face new challenges in their own relationship while in Camelot (and remember, Snow has a connection to Lancelot, while Charming is going to have a bromance with Arthur). Trying to save Emma though, will leave the couple feeling powerless, and create conflict.
"When you are married, and there's a really bad situation and you can't do anything about it, sometimes you turn on each other, and we are going to see Snow and Charming fight in a way we've never seen before and we hope that the fact that they share a heart wins out," Kitsis said. "But it's all because of the emotion of just trying to save their daughter and we're trying to play that in as real a way as possible."
"She's going to get her own hour," Kitsis said, when Access asked if, post-premiere, the show would be dipping into the Highland culture, following Merida's mentions of her family.
When one writer pointed out that Merida's father had passed away, the producer noted, "But there's flashbacks!"
Amy Manson as Merida in 'Once Upon a Time' (ABC)
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Eagle-eyed "Once" viewers probably clocked that the movie theater usher in the opening scene (who warned Emma about not removing Excalibur when presented with the opportunity) is actually Merlin.
Merlin is one of the many characters from Camelot who will get an origin story this season (Arthur, Guinevere and Lancelot will too). Producers said the reason why Merlin cautioned Emma will also be explained, as will the Dark One's dagger/Excalibur mystery.
"We're not just planning to drop them back in the show with no explanation and just say 'Oh, they were over in the corner,'" Horowitz said of Mulan (Jamie Chung) and Red (Meghan Ory), who will both appear in multiple episodes of Season 5. "We do want to kind of give a taste of where Mulan's been and what she's been up to and what she's been going through and the same with Red. And there are other characters who may return as well and we want to do that as well. And we want to sort of honor the idea that their lives -- all these characters lives -- have been going on during the, now the fifth year of the show, and we want to give a taste of where they've been and now see how they can reconnect with everybody else and what that's going to mean going forward."
Jamie Chung as Mulan in ABC’s ‘Once Upon a Time’ (ABC)
With Emma out of the hero business at present, Regina will be needed more than ever by the residents of Storybrooke. But, they aren't ready to move past her past, something that complicates matters.
"We've seen Regina on our side, helping out the heroes, but she is going to be thrust into a leadership position in saving the town, with a town that, quite honestly, a lot of people are still frightened of her," Kitsis said.
The Season 5 premiere revealed two Rumples – the apparition that follows, taunts and encourages Emma to embrace her darkness, and the Rumple/Mr. Gold, who is still too weak to wake up in Storybrooke. Going forward, we'll explore more of both. Intriguingly, producers revealed the show will explore the "mythology of the Dark Ones," Horowitz said.
And, some bigger news. "You're going to meet the first one," Kitsis added.
As for Belle, Horowitz said, "it's important to kind of to note that Belle cares about what's happening to Gold/Rumple right now, but that doesn't mean that all is forgiven and that everything that's gone before doesn't need to be dealt with. It does."
Emma and Hook have been torn apart again, but there will be a big focus on the couple. "Their relationship is a big part of the first half of the season," Kitsis said. We'll no doubt be following every second as Hook fights for his ladylove, and we will take joy watching the Captain get involved in more adventures with Emma's son, Henry.
"Hook and Henry have a lot of stuff that's coming up," Horowitz said. "We thought they were a lot of fun together in the premiere and we had fun with them in the finale last season."
With Henry growing up, Horowtiz said, "he can take a more active part in the adventures now and I think you're going to see that he takes a more pivotal role in some of the things that are coming up."
"Once Upon a Time" airs Sundays at 9 PM ET/PT on ABC.
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