Warning: This story contains major spoilers from the midseason finale of Once Upon a Time. Read at your own risk!
Emma Swan faced that fatal prophecy during Once Upon a Time‘s midseason premiere, but she somehow escaped her fate.
After returning from the Wish Realm, Emma (Jennifer Morrison) came up against Gideon (Giles Matthey) on the dimly lit Storybrooke main street where viewers know she’s doomed to perish. Her hand beginning to shake, Emma says she’s fated to die and she will die, but not today. Thus, she blasts Gideon back, destroying the infamous sword and surviving the showdown. But should fans still be worried that she’s in danger? “Absolutely,” executive producer Adam Horowitz cautions.
“Gideon pivots from that to new threats,” Morrison explains. “So he does fail in his initial attempts with her, but he’s still around, so his threat doesn’t go away and it shifts to a new version of a threat.”
However, Gideon’s true motives are still unclear. During the hour, the son of Belle (Emilie de Ravin) and Rumple (Robert Carlyle) revealed that he wants to kill Emma so he can take her power as the Savior — but to what end?
“Gideon is an interesting problem for Emma because there are just so many things that are unclear about what he wants, what he doesn’t want,” Morrison says. “She doesn’t know why he wants her powers. Clearly, anyone would want to have powers, but it’s not clear to her to what end exactly. She knows at this point that it’s at the expense of her life in some way. So I think it’s a bit of a tricky situation because a lot of the concern and the fear comes from the unknowing. When your opponent’s want is clear, then it’s easier to devise a plan, but when it’s not completely clear, it’s a little bit more jarring.”
Whatever Gideon has planned, this showdown is only the beginning. “What Emma says is, ‘I’m going to make my own fate,’ but in the same respect, she says she may be fated to die — it’s not today, but we don’t know when that is,” executive producer Edward Kitsis tells EW. “A lot of this year has been Emma coming to terms with that and being a Savior. There’s still a showdown to be had.”
Yes, Emma now believes she’s making her own destiny, but truly accepting her fate might prove difficult. “It’s something she’s going to wrestle with, but what she’s come to terms with is that this is who she is,” Kitsis says. “She’s a warrior, she’s a fighter, her job is to protect her family. She would never give up a moment of the time she’s had over the six years with Henry and finding her family. If her life is what it takes to protect them, that’s what makes Emma a true hero; she puts others before her. That doesn’t mean that she likes it, it doesn’t mean that it’s fair.”
So will Emma actually die? All involved are staying mum on her ultimate fate. “Obviously no one wants to die,” Morrison says. “She’s dealing it with the way she’s dealt with every other crisis, which is that they’re going to do everything they can to fight him, figure it out, and try to not die. It’s not like she hasn’t faced things like this before, so it’s another one of those situations.”
Once Upon a Time airs Sundays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC. Read our postmortem with Morrison and Colin O’Donoghue about Wish Realm Hook here, and read our postmortem with Kitsis and Lana Parrilla about Robin’s return to Storybrooke here.