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Once Upon a Time: Lana Parrilla talks Regina vs. Evil Queen

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ABC/Jack Rowand

Lana Parrilla is pulling double duty this season on Once Upon a Time.

After separating and trying to destroy her evil half, Regina (Lana Parrilla) is now facing the consequences head-on as the Evil Queen aims to destroy everyone’s happy endings in Storybrooke. Will Regina be able to stop her? EW turned to Parrilla to get the scoop:

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How will Regina continue to struggle with trying to find who she is now without her dark half?

LANA PARRILLA: It’s a journey for her. There’s still some big lessons ahead that she’s hasn’t quite learned yet. She’s going down that path now. The biggest lesson I could say for her is that you really can’t get rid of your darkness. That’s something that she has to learn, and unfortunately the hard way — and everyone else is paying for it, too. [Laughs] One decision affects everyone, the whole neighborhood. She’s struggling with that a bit. Right now, our heroes have been thrown into action and that’s where Regina is right now in this upcoming episode. She’s thrown into action and she’s assisting Dr. Jekyll to come up with a serum so she can take out her other half, the Evil Queen. That’s where she is in this episode.

Can you talk about the Evil Queen’s ultimate goal? Is it to divide the town person by person?

She’s still discovering what that ultimate goal is — at least I am. I’m not quite sure. She wants revenge. It’s now against more than one person. Before, in the past, it was Snow and Charming, really Snow. Now, she’s after Regina as well. She’s having a lot of fun in Storybrooke, as you’ve seen in these first few episodes. She’s really taunting and toying with everyone. She’s having a good time. It’s hard for me to watch, but when I tune in, I’m like, “She’s having fun.” At least at this stage she is.

Emma worries that Regina may actually be the one under the hood who will kill her. How do you think Regina would feel if she found that out? Would she worry about it herself?

Oh yeah, for sure. What we learned is that the darkness can grow back. That’s something we saw in the early episodes that darkness can grow back. I know that she fears that that darkness can grow back, and if so, getting rid of the Evil Queen in her really was pointless. She’s battling with that, and trying to still make the heroic choice, and stay on that heroic path that she’s created for herself and has been walking down for quite some time now. I really feel that being the hero is becoming second nature for her, making these choices. What we saw her do with the Count is she took a step back, but she also saved Snow and Charming’s life. That’s a huge step for this character, especially when we learn from the beginning she wanted to kill Snow. Regina’s really becoming this different woman from what we’ve seen over the years. She’s determined. She’s determined to be happy. Whatever that definition of happy is for her, she’s determined to make the right choice and be the best hero that she can be. That’s where I see Regina right now. The Evil Queen has her own lessons to learn. She’s having a lot of fun. She likes to learn the hard way.

The Evil Queen mentioned Regina not wanting her story to play out. Will Regina take steps toward achieving that this season?

She’s just really trying to stop the Evil Queen at this point from the immediate problems that are taking place. Eventually, I’m sure, her story, but right now there’s so much taunting and poisoning in these families. She’s really trying to drive wedges between people and she has some success for a little bit, and then something happens where the heroes stop her eventually. I think she just wants to stop the Evil Queen from hurting people and doing the wrong thing, and really wants to get control over her. She feels responsible, because she set her free. She’s like, “Oh God, I’ve got to grab onto those reins and pull her back in.” That’s really what Regina’s goal is right now, is stopping her darker self from destroying everyone’s happiness.

Robin Hood is returning. Can you talk about how that will affect Regina?

I have no idea. [Laughs] I have no idea how he’s even coming back, and how that story is going to be told. His soul was obliterated, but no one ever really dies on this show, so I feel like, with our storytelling, we can always find these loopholes to tell these stories and bring our favorite characters back. It’s going to be fun to have Sean [Maguire] back. He always brings a lot of laughter and light to the set. He’s a joy to be around. He’s a lot of fun. He’s funny. We develop such strong friendships on the show, so it’s like having your cousin or brother back. It’s a family show and everyone has little babies that hang out together, so it really is a family show.

Outside of Robin Hood, is there a chance for love for Regina this season?

Regina? I don’t know. I think we’ve seen the Evil Queen flirting with one of our Storybrooke residents — veterans, actually — Mr. Gold. She’s been really playing with him a bit and flirting with him, so we’ll see what happens with that relationship. I think Regina is still heartbroken.

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

Additional reporting by Samantha Highfill.

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