Once Upon a Time returned to San Diego Comic-Con for the sixth year, delighting a packed Ballroom 20 on the most popular day of the convention. Spoiler alert! If you haven’t seen all the episodes of last season, we dive right in at the panel. We review the highlights of Season 5 as we prepare for the next mind-twisting season our producers have in store.
Yvette Nicole Brown moderated this panel, offering a refreshing perspective (as she herself is a huge fan of OUAT). Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz (executive producers) returned with favorites from the cast: Colin O’Donoghue (Killian / Captain Hook), Jennifer Morrison (Emma Swan), Lana Parilla (Regina/ Evil Queen), Josh Dallas (David / Prince Charming), Emilie DeRavin (Belle), Rebecca Mader (Zelena/Wicked Witch), Jared Gilmore (Henry / the Author).
Notably absent were Ginnifer Goodwin (Snow White / Mary Margaret) and Robert Carlyle (Rumplestiltskin).
A Review of Season 5
An emotional Season 5 followed our heroes’ journey from Camelot to the realm of Hades in the Underworld. Emma embraced her role as Dark Swan. King Arthur was not as honorable as history recalls, obsessed with his broken Excalibur sword fragment, and striving to re-forge the blade with the Dark One’s dagger.
Killian almost dies in Camelot. Emma turns him into a Dark One in an attempt to save his life and erases everyone’s memory that this happened. When Killian discovers he is a Dark One, he gives in to the darkness, resurrecting all the previous Dark Ones through a portal to the Underworld.
At the last moment, Killian sacrifices himself to prevent the Dark Ones from conquering Storybrooke. Killian is condemned to the Underworld and is tortured by Hades. There, he joins other characters who have died but still have unfinished business (re-enter Regina’s mother/Cora, Regina’s father, Cruella, Stealthy dwarf and more).
Rumplestiltskin once again becomes the Dark One and brings our heroes down to the Underworld to rescue Hook. Of course, Rumple complicates matters with his own agenda to save a pregnant Belle (trapped in a love’s-true-kiss sleep). Hades re-kindles a romance with Zelena. He is angered when our heroes help residents trapped in the Underworld move on to a better place.
Our heroes escape the Underworld, but Hook is trapped and says his good-byes. Hades pursues our heroes to Storybrooke, dreaming of ruling a kingdom with Zelena. Hades kills Robin Hood (who was protecting Regina) with the Olympian crystal. Zelena realizes that Hades is wants everything for himself; she kills Hades with the Olympian crystal.
Rumple ties Storybrooke’s magic to the remnants of the crystal. Henry tries to destroy magic (by destroying the crystal) using the Holy Grail, but discovers that his grandparents, Snow and Charming, are trapped in the Land of Untold Stories with Zelena because of a portal malfunction. He needs magic to save them. Henry brings them all back to the real world in New York using the magic of wishes.
Hook is saved by Zeus’ divine intervention, while Robin Hood remained lost. This creates an awkward dynamic between Emma and Regina.
The Land of Untold Stories introduces a host of new characters, including Dr. Jekyll / Mr. Hyde. A grieving Regina, haunted by her ever-present dark side, uses a serum developed by Dr. Jekyll to split off the Evil Queen as a separate entity. Regina crushes the Evil Queen’s heart. However, the Evil Queen survives by stealing the heart of the Dragon…to wreak havoc in Season 6.
SDCC Panel Revelations Generate More Questions….
- Was there a wedding gown in the store window in the last scene with Emma and Hook?
The panel danced around the question, saying that the dress in the shop window “it’s always been there.” And Emma’s gown would be red leather. (Lana Parilla was actually wearing a red leather dress). No promises or denials of wedding bells in Season 6…we’ll have to wait and see.
- What will happen, now that Regina is separate from her dark half, and the Evil Queen has survived?
Lana Parilla promises that “Regina is still sassy. She’s not going to lose her sass.” Regina is not going to be just a “pure…light being.”
However, the Evil Queen will be even more dangerous since “she is now without a conscience so she’s pure evil…and a lot of fun.” This does not bode well for Snow White and Charming since the Evil Queen has a personal vendetta against them.
- If Killian was saved by Zeus, is it possible for Robin Hood to return as well?
The redemption of Hook was a ‘one-time thing’ by Zeus, and we shouldn’t expect any other characters to be saved, say Kitsis and Horowitz.
- Was Hades wrong about the Olympian crystal? Robin Hood’s body remained after being ‘killed’ by the Olympian crystal (while Hades disintegrated into dust). Is there hope for Robin?
The showrunners hinted that there was hope for Robin’s soul, but he was indeed dead. So far, what we know about the Olympian crystal was what Hades has told us, points out Horowitz. What if he was wrong? Doubt is cast upon the true nature of the Crystal.
Once Upon a Time Season 6 Teasers
What do we have to look forward to in Season 6 of Once Upon a Time?
- The opening scene from Season 6 starts off with a powerful Jafar (Oded Fehr) soaring on a magic carpet through the desert. He seeks and finds Aladdin (Deniz Akdeniz) – now a full-grown man – who appears weakened, and has been in hiding.
Jafar mocks Aladdin. “Pathetic. The great savior, hiding. This is a sad day indeed…Look at the great Aladdin now…I want to savor this…you were nothing but a common thief. But you had honor, despite what you did to me…
“It took becoming a hero for you to completely come apart. That’s what always happens to saviors, isn’t it?… You give, and give, and give…and for what? They pick the fruits, they cut the branches. All that’s left is this shaky stump. Always. That’s why you never ever hear these words about a savior…they lived happily ever after.” Sneering derisively, Jafar storms off. “Do take care, Aladdin.”
What has happened to Aladdin leading into this situation? How does this story tie in with our heroes in Storybrooke? Why did Jafar call him ‘the savior’?
- Season 6 will feature more characters from the Land of Untold Stories.
We caught a glimpse of these characters at the end of Season 5, including Dr. Jekyll / Mr. Hyde (Sam Witwer, Star Wars Rebels). There was no further panel discussion of Dr. Jekyll / Mr. Hyde, although we can independently confirm that Sam was filming OUAT in July.
Our actor panel was asked what fictional characters they would like to see introduced on the show. Their choices: Oliver Twist (Kitsis), Richard Nixon (Horowitz), the Three Little Pigs (Colin), Indiana Jones (Jennifer), Han Solo (Lana), Dora the Explorer (Emilie), Annie (Rebecca), and Darth Vader (Jared).
- Relationships will be explored, and additional character back stories will be revealed, promise Kitsis and Horowitz.
- Emma and Killian now acknowledge their true love, but “surprising secrets” may surface from Hook’s past to affect their relationship. What pirate skeletons lie in the closet? How has returning from the dead affected Hook?
- Belle, now pregnant, reflects on why she stays with Rumple after everything he has put her through. Emilie DeRavin shares that Belle really finds herself attracted to Rumplestiltskin’s bad side, and “she is struggling with that quite a bit.”
- Jared talks about further developing Henry’s role as the Author.
“Something has changed” in Jared/Henry, says Yvette after he named Darth Vader as his co-star choice. “You have no idea, on set he’s a nightmare” jokes the showrunners. “I’m a monster” agrees Jared.
Henry will develop his power and responsibility of being the Author to help other people, taking his place amongst the heroes of his family.
- For our fashion fans: Hot Topic will launch an exclusive Once Upon a Time fashion line this fall.
What are you looking forward to the most in Season 6 of Once Upon a Time?
Once Upon a Time returns on ABC September 25th at 8/7 Central
Gloria Hasler is a freelance travel writer and photographer. She is a professional travel consultant, owner of Chrysalis Travel, and – together with her husband – co-founder of the Six Castles Club.