After a brutally long summer, we finally got to see the Charming family reunite on Once Upon a Time — and it definitely wasn’t what we were expecting. Emma (Jennifer Morrison) was filled with conflicting emotions about being given up by her parents Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin) and Prince Charming (Josh Dallas) — but that was cut short as the townspeople gathered to kill Regina (Lana Parrilla) and Mr. Gold (Robert Carlyle) unleashed a soul-sucking Wraith to take her down.
In keeping with Snow and Charming’s personalities, the duo and Emma protected Regina from the soul-sucker, banishing him through the Mad Hatter’s hat into whatever was left of fairy tale land. But the Wraith pulled Emma along with it, forcing Snow to jump in after her daughter. When the Wraith claimed the soul of Prince Phillip (Julian Morris), Mulan (Jamie Chung) and Aurora (Sarah Bolger) were both devastated and furious with whom they assumed brought the Wraith into the world: the portal-jumping Emma and Snow!
Let’s start with the present day New York opener with Michael Raymond-James. Does that mean that someone got out of Storybrooke?!
Adam Horowitz: That’s an excellent question. All we can say about his character is that sooner rather than later, you’ll learn a lot more about him. We air nine episodes before we’re scheduled to go off for Christmas break, and within those episodes, you’ll learn a lot more about him and what his role in our larger story is.
How do you respond to the theory that he might be Henry’s (Jared Gilmore) father? They do look alike!
Horowitz: I’d say that there’s a lot of theories out there. We love the speculation, but you’re just going to have to watch and see! Henry’s father is someone we will learn about this year well before the finale.
We saw that there is a part of fairy tale world that was preserved. How much of that will we see?
Horowitz: I would be very disappointed if I was introduced to that concept and it wasn’t explored. What happened to fairy tale land after the curse, what’s there, who’s there and what that world is like is something we’re going to be explaining.
Edward Kitsis: We’re going to have a quest to get home, so in that quest, we’re going to traverse many areas.
Already, Emma and Snow are going to be enemies of this world, but they’re the good guys!
Horowitz: That’s the challenge and that’s what’s exciting for us. [We wanted] to take Emma into a land that she’s never been to and then have it be a difficult place where maybe she’s not as beloved as she would want to be.
Kitsis: And with the person that she had, up until now, been the big sister to. Now she’s in a land where that person is her mom and knows better. That’s a tough adjustment for anyone.
Regina was quick to want to kill Charming, but Henry stopped her. Does that stop her indefinitely or will she continue to struggle with that?
Horowitz: Here’s the thing with Regina: Everything’s a struggle with her. What stopped her was Henry, and Henry’s still there. It’s going to be a struggle for her.
Kitsis: Magic is power and power’s a hard thing to give up. In order for her to prove to Henry she has a good heart, she’s going to have to give that up, but that’s a hard thing.
You’re now telling three stories, in a way, with Storybrooke, fairy tale land present and past. Will you guys continue to toy with parallel storytelling?
Horowitz: Yeah. The idea now that we can tell stories in Storybrooke parallel with fairy tale land that are both present day and both moving forward is exciting to us. And then, the ability to also be able to look back on the characters in the way we did last year has, for us as writers, added a new dimension to how we tell these stories. We’re excited for the audience to see it.
There’s a reason why this land in fairy tale world wasn’t touched by the curse. How soon will that start to unravel?
Kitsis: Within those nine episodes, you will probably get the answer to that.
When Phillip says “I love you,” it was ambiguous as to whether he was speaking to Mulan or Aurora.
Horowitz: That was purposefully ambiguous. If you ask Mulan and you ask Aurora, you might get different answers.
Kitsis: There’s definitely a story there, but it looked to me as if he was saying it to both of them.
That’s not your typical love triangle!
Kitsis: I mean, it’s your classic case of two women loving a man who was sucked into a Wraith! [Laughs] What I love most about it is it’s really not a love triangle. It started with Mulan on a quest to help Phillip wake up his true love, so she walked into it already saying, “I love this man; I want him to be happy.” That’s why she says in the premiere, “Love is a sacrifice of your own happiness.”
We saw that Sleeping Beauty was awakened, but can Phillip be? Is that reversible?
Kitsis: We didn’t see him die. We saw his soul be sucked, so the question is: Can somebody go get it?
ABC sent out sent out fun cast photos on Friday, but why is Henry holding a bow and arrow?
Kitsis:There is an Easter egg in there, but it’s going to take a while for you to realize it. Then, when you go back, it may not be the bow and arrow that gave it away.