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Once Upon a Time season 5: Dark Swan spoilers from showrunners Adam Horowitz, Edward Kitsis

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Jack Rowand/ABC

At this point, every diehard Once Upon a Time fan knows all about the Dark Swan — what she looks like, who’s supposedly training her, where she might be, how different she is from the previous Dark One, what she’s inspired by and who might have her dagger. Still, EW tracked down executive producers Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis to answer a few last burning questions pertaining to the new Dark One. Don’t worry, more scoop about your other favorite Once characters is coming! Without further ado:  

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Just to be clear, when the show returns, has Emma (Jennifer Morrison) officially succumbed to the Darkness yet?

EDWARD KITSIS: Part of what we saw with Rumpelstiltskin [Robert Carlyle] was his struggle, and we watched the Darkness consume him. We’re going to see the same with Emma. We’re going to see her struggle against this very dark thing inside her, and we’re going to see what happens. And perhaps, if we saw that video at Comic-Con, the question that we would be posing for our audience is what happened to lead her there?

Before the question felt like: Where did Emma go? But now should we be asking when?

KITSIS: It is not a question of when.

ADAM HOROWITZ: We’re not doing time travel. We dipped our toe in that. It was fun.

KITSIS: We may go back, but not this year.

That only intensifies the confusion over how Rumple is with Emma in this photo.

KITSIS: I know. How is Rumple there? Why is he behind her, and why did we give the caption, “If you’re going to be the Dark One, gotta learn from the best”? I would say all of those questions will be answered in the premiere. Emma was sort of like Dorothy taking us to Oz in season one. Emma is going to be taking us into the Dark One and the Dark One mythology, and we are going to learn this first half of the season who the original Dark One was, what made them tick, and why there is even a Dark One to begin with.

How would you say this Dark Swan is different from what we know of Emma?

HOROWITZ: I would say that Dark Swan is an extension of Emma and an exploration of who she is. Just like when Rumpelstiltskin became the Dark One, it became an extension of all the character traits, flaws, and strengths he had.

KITSIS: He was a coward, and the knife gave him the freedom to be powerful.

HOROWITZ: Emma becoming Dark Swan has been a great opportunity for us to explore who she is at her deepest levels and to see those traits exploded in a way. That’s what the Darkness does to you. It takes who you are and twists it, and that’s what we’re going to see with Emma.

Can you talk a little bit about the discussion over who should possess the dagger?

KITSIS: I would say who you trust with the dagger is an interesting thing. You want to trust the person who has your best interests at heart, but in the same respect, who would you say has the ability to unplug the machine? Meaning who’s the person that’s going to make the right decision at the right time? Emma’s the Dark One, and so who she gives that knife to …

HOROWITZ: Or who takes the knife.

KITSIS: Or who takes the knife has a lot of meaning and emotion but also some practicality to it.

Could Emma being dark entice Hook (Colin O’Donoghue) to go dark as well?

HOROWITZ: Well, there certainly is a dark part to Hook that is engaged by the Darkness that is taking over Emma, and it is something that he certainly can relate to in a way that many others can’t.

KITSIS: But I would say that right now his main focus is on saving the woman he loves. The one thing about Hook is he spent 300 years trying to kill Rumple, so he doesn’t give up so easy, he doesn’t change himself that easy.

How are Snow (Ginnifer Goodwin) and Charming (Josh Dallas) handling Emma being dark? Is this causing some inner turmoil for them?

KITSIS: Oh, boy, is it. For the very first time since season 1, we’re going to really see them disagreeing about the best way to save their daughter. And it is absolutely like any parents with a child: when you don’t know how to save the child, it causes a lot of stress at home.

Would Emma get revenge on people who have done her family wrong in the past?

KITSIS: Oh, I don’t know if she will be getting revenge on people who have wronged her family as much as perhaps her family may have wronged her.

Once Upon a Time returns Sunday, Sept. 27, at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

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