‘Once Upon a Time’ Showrunner Dispels Spin-Off Casting Rumor

Sebastian Stan in "Once Upon a Time" (ABC)

Once Upon a Time” will not be letting its characters live happily ever after any time soon. On the red carpet for the show’s recent Paley Fest Panel, the showrunners and cast promised that the remainder of the drama’s second season will be darker and more intense. Teased co-showrunner Edward Kitsis, “I think what we are really excited about is it all kind of comes to a head in the last couple of episodes. So that all the strands come together.” Here are five things you need to know about the rest of the second season, including why the Mad Hatter won’t be replaced anytime soon:

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Regina Will Be Even More Wicked: This season the Evil Queen Regina (Lana Parilla) was partially redeemed only to break very, very bad in last Sunday’s episode, when she and her mother killed Snow’s childhood servant after acquiring Rumplestilskin’s dagger. According to Parilla, she will get even darker. “It’s very complex but something happens, something very traumatic,” she said. “It definitely spins her out and she goes in a direction that we haven’t seen her in in a while. But it’s not the road to redemption. It’s almost a regression. So everything is very cryptic but there’s a reason for it. ” Added co-showrunner Adam Horowitz, ‘There’s a delicious Evil Queen episode coming up towards the end of the season where we’re going to find a surprising little chapter of her life in the early days when she took over and got rid of Snow’s father.”

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Rumplstilskin Battles Hook — and His Own Family: Rumplestilskin/Mr. Gold (Robert Carlyle) is reeling from discovering that his long lost son is actually Henry’s con artist father, Neal, and that there is a prophecy that Henry will destroy him. Carlyle said that the family will not become a magical Brady Bunch any time soon. “Gold is such a flawed character,” he admitted. “He’s spent hundreds of years trying to get to his son again and the only thing he’s got to offer him is ‘I can turn the clock back and make you 14 again,’ so of course his son says, ‘Are you crazy? I don’t want to be 14 again.’ I can tell you that something does happen in episodes 21 and 22 which hugely changes their relationship forever.” As for his grandson, “I think Henry’s in danger now because he’s got an enemy in Gold,” he said. “You don’t want to make an enemy out of Gold. Of course he has to be careful what he believes in terms of the words The Seer says to him, ‘The boy will be your undoing.’ It’s not necessarily Henry. It might be someone else.”

Catch Up on Sunday’s Episode of “Once Upon a Time”:

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Emma Struggles With Her Feelings for Neal: Emma (Jennifer Morrison) is still in shock from last week’s episode in which she discovered that her ex, Neal, is engaged. Morrison revealed that there is still hope for Emma and Neal. “It’s going to be complicated because Neal’s engaged to someone else and Emma’s not anywhere near being ready to forgive him for what he did,” she said. “So there’s going to be a lot more explaining that needs to happen for her to be able to feel like she can forgive and trust him. But she definitely wants what Henry wants. She wants to do what’s right for him and Henry wants his father around so she’s going to do whatever it takes to have his father with him.”

An Episode Will Flash Back to the Beginning of the Curse: Episode 217, titled, ‘Welcome to Storybrooke,”  will be a must-see for fans. Kitsis said, “We’re going to see the very early days of Storybrooke, the first week of the curse.” That means flashback scens of Graham AKA The Hunter and Billy the Mechanic. “You get more insight into what it was like that very first week in 1983 and what it was like for the Evil Queen to win and to figure out this modern clothing.” Viewers will also learn where Pinnochio fled when he disappeared.

Spoilers for the Finale Episodes – And a Rumor Debunked: Horowitz dispelled the rumor that there will be a “Once Upon a Time” spin-off about the Mad Hatter, starring someone other than Sebastian Stan. “We have no plans to recast anyone,” assured co-showrunner Adam Horowitz. Unfortunately for Mad Hatter fans, Stan’s busy schedule means he won’t be appearing on OUAT for a while. Horowitz also revealed the titles of the season’s final two episodes. “The final two episodes of season two, they sort of work as a two parter: part one is entitled ‘Second Star to the Right,’ and part two is entitled ‘And Straight On Until Morning.” Emilie De Ravin also revealed that later this season there will be a big episode for Belle in which viewers will see her curse personality, racy Lacey, who is her polar opposite.

New episodes of “Once Upon a Time” air on Sundays at 8/7c on ABC.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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