Once Upon A Time was a featured panel at PaleyFest 2013 earlier this month. The main cast members and creators Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis participated in the discussion of their roles as members of one of the funkiest dysfunctional families on television. Insights into the current season were revealed and events still to come were teased. Mild spoilers for upcoming plot elements follow!
Creators, executive producers, and writers Kitsis and Horowitz declared the past several episodes the most pivotal of the season as viewers have witnessed the reunion of Rumplestiltskin and his long lost son and Snow White’s turn to a darker side. Ginnifer Goodwin (Snow White) confirmed the turn. Look for Snow to go a dark place, an identity crisis where viewers will see a more intense version of Snow White.
Jennifer Morrison (Emma Swan) found it difficult to film the Emma/Neal/Bae reunion. The scene required her to experience “every emotion in about 3 seconds”. Robert Carlyle (Rumplestiltskin/Mr. Gold) believes Rumple, while fun, is flawed beyond complete redemption, illustrated by what he offers when Rumple and Bae are finally face-to-face. His best offer is to use magic to turn back the clock and make Bae 14 again. Has Rumple learned anything since he chose his power over love of his son or is he destined to make the same choices with his new-found grandson, Henry? The seer foretold that the boy who led Rumple to his son would be his undoing. It was the lead to a funny moment, when Carlyle quipped: “His days are numbered.” In response, Lana Parilla (Regina) acts like she’s going to clobber him. But, would undoing be such a bad thing in Rumple’s case? That answer we’ll have to stay tuned in to get.
Carlyle revealed that episode 22 is a “game-changer” for the relationship between his character and Neal/Baelfire, but was cut short by Kitsis before any details could be exposed. Kitsis and Horowitz confessed that they thought making Neal also be Baelfire was a clever twist and were somewhat disappointed when the audience caught on faster than expected.
One thing that helped in mapping out the arc for Season 2 was knowing they had the renewal and that there would be a Season 2 before they had to begin planning. It allowed them to have a careful plan for the season. Since the curse was broken at the end of Season 1, everyone knows who they really are and that gave them more freedom in what the characters could do, also.
Emilie de Ravin finds the amnesiac Belle a challenge, but a welcome one. Belle is in a sort of limbo trying to figure out who she is. It’s a way to meet her Storybrooke cursed counterpart, billed as “Racy Lacey”, the opposite of Belle. De Ravin teased things were going to get real interesting for Mr. Gold.
Lana Parilla agrees being good didn’t quite work out for Regina. It was a true attempt to change her ways for Henry’s sake, but the redemption went sideways. Circumstances forced her in a different direction. Even Parilla herself prefers the Evil Queen version of Regina. The struggle between her and the Charmings over Henry will continue. The Charmings don’t hate Regina because she’s a bad mother to Henry. They hate her because she keeps trying to kill them.
It was pointed out that, with the new additions to the Charming family tree, Hook is Henry’s step-grandfather. It was also noted that actor Colin O’Donoghue came on stage with a limp. Part of the reason Hook fell off the canvas, supposedly locked up in a Manhattan basement, was the actor broke his leg and was unavailable for shooting for several weeks. Is there a chance Hook with align with the forces of good? His lust for revenge has festered for at least a hundred years. His only goal is to get his “greasy paws” on Rumple and put an end to him.
The topic of possible relationships for Hook led to a proposed Neal/Emma/Hook triangle. Kitsis confessed he would like to see it happen. (Light bulb?) In answer, as Emma’s “parents” Snow and Charming, Ginnifer Goodwin and Josh Dallas offered their viewpoint. They want to protect her but also want her to have her shot at a happy ending. Morrison asked when Charming was gonna punch Neal for sending Emma to jail. But Goodwin had the clincher: Snow, as Emma’s mother, isn’t too keen on her being with someone who has also been with her baby daddy’s momma.
Here are more interesting bits about the show and hints for the rest of Season 2 that were discussed in the panel:
- When Once Upon A Time started shooting, Rumple’s makeup took two to three hours to apply. Now, the time is down to around one hour. Carlyle claims it takes longer to take off than get on.
- Greg’s Star Wars ring tone is only because Kitsis and Horowitz are big geeks and major fans of the franchise and thought it would be cool. Nothing more than that. (Greg is the man whose car crashed in Storybrooke.)
- The producers have no plans to recast Jefferson. They don’t know when Sebastian Stan will be available, but at this point, plan to wait on him to bring the character back. He’s just a very busy man.
- Viewers will find out what happened to August since the beginning of the season, when the wooden man opened his eyes and left without a trace.
- Episode 17 is titled “Welcome to Storybrooke” and recounts the first week after the curse in 1983. Though it may seem out of place, the episode comes at a specific point in the season arc. Fan favorite Jamie Dornan will appear as Sheriff Graham.
- Viewers will learn back story on Cora, Baelfire, and Hook, as well as more stories featuring favorite Storybrooke residents. The show will visit at least two new worlds before the season ends.
- Robert Carlyle’s first fairytale movie that he saw as a child was Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The first play he attended was a production of Rumplestiltskin. He also explained the Bowl of Soup joke.
- One spoiler the creators revealed – the titles of the two last episodes: “Second Star to the Right” and “Straight on Till Morning”. (Gee, I wonder where we’re going?)
- Dr. Whale is so named because that was the name of the director of the original Frankenstein movie.
- Kitsis and Horowitz credited their visual effects company Zoic with making the show look as good as it does. They create many ambitious and challenging effects without a lot of green screen. Turn around time is around three weeks. Visual effects created by Zoic for Once Upon A Time include Anton the Giant throwing a car at Snow and Charming, Hook’s ship sailing through the portal to Storybrooke, the beanstalk, and completely CG characters like the wraith from the season’s first episode.
- Kitsis and Horowitz believe the story works because they don’t write all the good guys completely good and the bad guys completely bad. Everyone is trying to get their happy ending. Their secret for a good show — find people who make you seem more talented than you really are and take credit for it. Once Upon A Time is made even better by extraordinary writers, actors, and directors. They are willing to use any story that fits in the world of storytelling and imagination in the OUAT world. The writers stated in the canon from the beginning of the show that many worlds were affected by the curse. So who knows who will show up in Storybrooke? But Kitsis assured the audience it won’t be anyone like Abraham Lincoln. At least not until season four.
The 2013 PaleyFest panels are available for online viewing at Hulu.