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'Once Upon a Time' bosses: Emma is faced with a big sacrifice in the finale

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Jack Rowand/ABC

With Emma on the verge of going dark, Once Upon a Time fans have been on the edge of their seats wondering whether the Savior can truly be turned—and if so, who may fall victim in the process. Unfortunately, executive producers Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis aren’t offering up much in the way of hope, teasing that Emma (Jennifer Morrison) will be faced with making a big sacrifice in the finale. Will she be forced to trade her life for her parents’ (Ginnifer Goodwin and Josh Dallas), who will soon be the target of the vengeful Maleficent (Kristen Bauer van Straten) and her daughter Lily (Agnes Bruckner)? Get the scoop on what’s ahead:

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What can you tell us about the reunion between Maleficent and Lily?

EDWARD KITSIS: I can tease that it will go different than both of them expected.

Might mother and daughter not have as much in common as they’d have hoped?

KITSIS: Or they have more in common than they hoped.

Lily wants revenge on Snow and Charming. How are the Charmings dealing with that threat?

KITSIS: Snow and Charming look at Lily, and they want her to reunite with her mother because they thought they had killed her, so they feel a lot of guilt. But in this weekend’s episode, there’s an entire story devoted to Lily and Maleficent’s reunion and what they’re going to do with the future.

And will we find out how Robin Hood (Sean Maguire) and Regina (Lana Parrilla) are dealing with Zelena’s (Rebecca Mader) pregnancy?

KITSIS: That would be the “A” story, if you will. The whole story is about how Regina is dealing with it.

ADAM HOROWITZ: We start off the episode pretty early on with a pretty, we think, in-depth scene involving both Regina and Robin Hood’s reaction.

KITSIS: All the questions the audience is asking, they ask each other.

Could Zelena be faking this pregnancy?

KITSIS: She could be. We have seen her talent with magic. But that seems to be very easy. I would hate to end the show on information like that just to buy it back and say, “Just kidding!” That would seem not fair.

What can you tease for Barbara Hershey’s return as Cora?

KITSIS: The entire episode this week is really just a character piece about everyone worrying about Emma going dark when maybe they should be worrying about Regina. Once again, she finds the growth of four years versus her instinct, which is, “I would just really like to kill my sister.” It’s a much more character-based flashback. We realize it’s a time where Cora was trying to get Regina to understand who her worst enemy truly was.

Should we still be worried about Emma going dark even though she’s done the right thing by bringing Lily back to Storybrooke?

HOROWITZ: We should always worry about Emma.

KITSIS: It feels pretty soon to wrap that up. In the final episode, she is dealing with the journey of being a hero, trying to get other people to believe, and then she’s going to be faced with making a very big sacrifice.

How will that affect her relationship with Hook (Colin O’Donoghue)?

KITSIS: Oh, it will affect her relationship with everybody.

Will she forgive her parents before then?

KITSIS: We will absolutely be seeing a scene where we resolve how she feels about her parents, be it good or bad.

Belle (Emilie de Ravin) seems to still really care about Rumple (Robert Carlyle). How is she reconciling that as Rumple’s health is deteriorating?

KITSIS: Like with anybody who has let you down, you still love them, but you’re disappointed in them. It was pretty obvious that when Rumple went and got her heart back and gave it to her new boyfriend and didn’t kill him, that’s the Rumple she fell in love with and wanted to marry. She still loves that person, but the Rumple who chooses power and lies to her is still there. She hasn’t forgiven that person either. For us, we’re hoping it’s just messy and complicated the way life is.

There is no reversing how damaged Rumple’s heart is. What can we expect for him in the final episodes?

KITSIS: We can always expect that when Rumple gets desperate, things happen.

The season finale is titled “Operation Mongoose.” What can you tell us?

KITSIS: It’s a great indication of television today when it’s the long one-season arc of finding the Author (Patrick Fischler). Regina said in the opening, “I’m going to find the Author, Operation Mongoose, and make him rewrite a happy ending for me.” For us, the two-hour finale is going to be what happens when the Author starts writing.

Does Regina realize that having him rewrite a happy ending could reverse a lot of things, including adopting Henry (Jared Gilmore)?

KITSIS: Absolutely. All of that is going to absolutely be explored.

What role does Henry play in the finale?

KITSIS: He plays the role of hero. You’re going to see Henry step up and be called upon to finally be the hero he’s always been reading about and inspiring other people to be.

HOROWITZ: It’s been too long since Henry has been front and center and it’s time for him to come into his own.

KITSIS: It’s kind of like his bar mitzvah, but magically.

How does this finale compare tonally to the previous ones?

KITSIS: It is most similar to last year’s finale where that one felt like its own movie with its own tone.

HOROWITZ: But in terms of where it leaves off, it’s probably more similar to season 1 in terms of how it changes the conditions of the show, as opposed to sending us off on a journey to a new land or having someone magically appear. It’s a mixture of last year’s finale in terms of it being a big, fun movie and season 1 in terms of the character-based condition change.

Will there be a cliffhanger?

KITSIS: Yes, it’s a cliffhanger in the hopes that people are like, “What are they going to do next?”

HOROWITZ: By cliffhanger you mean, “Are we hopefully going to wonder what’s going to happen next?” then yes. We are resolving the stories from this season within the body of the finale, but we’re opening new doors as well.

Once Upon a Time airs Sundays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.