From Frozen to the Queens of Darkness.
That’s the short version of what we’re going to see when the hiatus of Once Upon A Time Season 4 finally comes to an end this Sunday.
On Once Upon A Time Season 4 Episode 13, we find our residents of Storybrooke in a place of peace which, of course, we know won’t last…and it doesn’t. With the Queens of Darkness headed to Storybrooke, thanks to a banished Gold, expect drama, magic, new sass and, more importantly, some new secrets that will be a big, big threat to just about everyone.
(If you missed it, check out the special sneak peek we posted yesterday, featuring the three Queens.)
I had the chance to screen the first two episodes of this cycle earlier this week, followed by a Q&A with creators Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz. Ready to find out what's on tap...
Why Maleficent, Cruella & Ursula? Kitsis explained the reason why the writers specifically chose these three baddies for this chapter:
“Maleficent was previously on the show and we always wanted to get back to her, which is why we never fully killed her. Ursula we set up a little bit and teased in the Ariel episode, and we think she’s a lot of fun. Then, Cruella we just liked her, really; there’s a sass to her. What we wanted was for Gold to take the lesson of the heroes who always worked together and realized he needed to work together with the villains, so we just loved the idea of a team of evil. When we were saying our wish list of who we wanted to write, it was these three.”
And, as Horowitz teased, there are some interesting connections between the Queens and some of our regular characters.
Hope for Rumbelle? The producers weren’t spoiling much about the broken up pair, but when asked if Belle will forgive Rumple, Kitsis offered:
“I think she kicked him out of town, so he reached his last straw…I would say he has his work cut out."
Is Emma Evil? As we all saw in this Once Upon a Time promo, Emma looks to be comfortably on the side of the Queens of Darkness. What does it all mean?
“One of the big themes for the second half of the season, that we want to deal with is, what makes someone a hero and what makes someone a villain, and what the differences are and what the common ground is,” Kitsis said.
He continued: “Emma has spent a long time in the series being told she’s a savior and being told she’s a hero, and now she’s going to have to face that it’s not as black and white as that. I think going into this second half of the season all of our characters are going to be wrestling with this idea of good and evil, not just in terms of what they’re facing as an external threat but internally and within themselves.”
What does this mean for Emma and Hook? The Captain Swan relationship could be headed for some big challenges.
Emma’s Powers: If Emma were to go bad, what would happen to the powers she’s developed up to this point? “It’s less about what the powers are than how they’re used,” Horowitz said, cryptically.
Kitsis reminded us that “we’ve seen Rumple and Regina use their powers to help us, be it fighting villains or whatnot, and we’ve seen them rip out the hearts of 20 villagers because they wouldn’t let Regina know where Snow White was.”
One SPOILER: we do see Emma use her powers in the new episodes.
Henry: The young man already has the Evil Queen as his adopted Mom. What happens if his biological Mom also goes bad? “I would say that Henry would do his best to keep her on the good side of the forest,” said Horowitz. “I think that Henry is the heart of the truest believer so the truest believer always believes in you even when you’re, maybe, going down a wrong path.”
Also for Henry, the producers were asked if he could find his first romance soon. “I think there’s a junior high dance for him in the future at some point,” Kitsis teased, admitting he didn’t know if would happen in this half of the season "We never know if he’s going to run into Gretel at the punch bowl.”
Marvel on OUAT: Though we have seen Henry reading Marvel comics, the producers confirmed that’s the extent we’ll see the Marvel Universe in Storybrooke even though both Marvel and ABC share an owner in Disney.
Jamie Dornan Returning?: If you thought chances were slim in past seasons for the return of Dornan’s Huntsman character, now, with the success of the film, Fifty Shades Of Grey, they are next to impossible. And while Kitsis and Horowitz did say they had a chance to see Dornan recently, they know his schedule for the next year is booked solid.
As Horowitz said: “The character lives on, on DVD.”
Bad To Good?: In their exploration of heroes and villains, Kitsis explained: “For us, what we really want to explore is if you’ve done a bad thing can you come back from it, can you become the person you want to be even if you didn’t start out that way, and vice versa? What makes a hero and what makes a villain is a point of view? That, to us, was really interesting as opposed to just black and white, like I’m good you’re bad and I’m a villain and I’m coming here to do villain stuff.”
The Return of August: The producers teased that we will be getting a glimpse of him (and actor Eion Bailey) in episode 315. They didn’t give too much away beyond that but Kitsis offered, “I would say this, if you’re searching for the author they’re going to check with the guy who rode into town with the typewriter.”
Heroes, Villains and Regina: There are reminders thrown in Regina’s face a few times in the spring premiere about being known as the Evil Queen, even as she’s trying to put her days as a villain behind her. Horowitz explained:
“There’s always an element, with Regina, of coming to terms with what she was and what she wants to be.”
Adding to that, Kitsis previewed: “Regina’s going to have a huge curveball thrown her way this second half.” There was no mention of Robin Hood ... but we can hope, right?
Anyone else excited for the new episodes to start this Sunday? Which character are you dying to see again?
Once Upon A Time airs Sundays at 8/7c on ABC.
Jim Halterman is the West Coast Editor of TV Fanatic and the owner of JimHalterman.com. Follow him on Twitter.