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Once Upon a Time's Rebecca Mader teases enlightening Zelena hour

‘OUAT’ is heading back to Oz! Sunday’s flashbacks will shine light on Zelena’s lone wolf mentality, leading to some surprising decisions in the present

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Jack Rowand/ABC

While the Charmings prepare for the upcoming wedding festivities, the Wicked Witch aims to take the fight to the Black Fairy during Sunday’s episode of Once Upon a Time.

Not one to wait around, Zelena (Rebecca Mader) wants to take on the Black Fairy (Jaime Murray) alone against Regina’s (Lana Parrilla) wishes. The lone wolf mentality speaks to the flashbacks during Sunday’s episode, which feature a new story in Oz where a younger Zelena befriends the Tin Man. EW hit the set of the ABC fairy tale drama during the hour to get the scoop from Mader on how this episode will test the sisters.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What can you tease of what new history we’re going to get for Zelena?
REBECCA MADER: We have met the Scarecrow before — I ripped out his brain back when I actually had a boyfriend for a brief second — and all that good stuff with Dorothy, so in this episode, we might meet some other Wizard of Oz peeps. We’re going to learn more about why she is the way she is, and why some of the characters became who they are because of her. There’s an echo between what happens on Oz, and what’s currently going on, because Zelena’s always been on this struggle of being incredibly pained by abandonment, and having a mean dad, and all that stuff. There’s just so many defenses up. It really looks at why she’s alone, and that loneliness, because really now she isn’t alone anymore. She’s got a kid, and she’s got her sister back, and with the sister comes all of these people. So it’s sort of coming full circle, like being this really lonely abandoned kid to maybe sort of realizing that she isn’t alone, and she doesn’t have to do everything on her own.

But we get to see a really selfish side of Zelena in this hour?
Which is an echo of her earlier lives in Oz before she even came to Storybrooke. She was really abusive, she was terrorizing munchkins, and terrorizing everybody in the Land of Oz, and it’s an echo of that, and then healing that aspect of her that’s broken, because it all comes from her abandonment issues from her mom, and then having really rubbish adoptive parents. It’s like a horrible childhood that she had.

How does that speak to her interactions with the Black Fairy, especially considering teaming up with the Evil Queen didn’t turn out so well?
Zelena’s not really a fan of sharing the limelight. She’s very much like she wouldn’t be Diana Ross and the Supremes; she’d just be Diana Ross. She doesn’t want backup singers. She doesn’t want to be part of a band. She’s just a very lonely person, so she is not interested at all in helping this other beautiful British villain that’s come along. She does not want to be a part of it and doesn’t want to compete with it. She just wants it gone.

How does that affect her relationship with Regina?
It’s still rocky. They’re still finding their way at this point, but I have hope that it will come to a full resolution because I really enjoyed the episode “Sisters” last season, when we remembered that we’d known each other all along; that was a beautiful moment. But then we’ve had some setbacks, so I’m hoping that we can resolve all of that towards the very end of the season.

Do you think Zelena would at least be happy that the Evil Queen got a happy ending?
No, I think she is quite a selfish person and was at that point when those two went off into the sunset that it just didn’t even really bother her. She’s like, “See you later,” because she never really had a relationship with Evil Queen, and she didn’t even like the real Robin Hood, so the fake Robin Hood really didn’t interest her at all, so I think she was really hashtag uninvested by that departure.

How worried should fans be about what the Black Fairy has planned for Storybrooke?
Well, it’s another one of those Is it an end of days? moments. It feels like the stakes are the highest they’ve ever been. She’s kind of perfect, because you’re coming toward the end of the sixth season, and she’s very powerful, and she’s also got this tie with Gideon, and she’s controlling him, but then they’re also really super connected to Rumple, so it’s just like it’s like Facebook: It’s complicated. That’s the relationship status all the time. It’s really complicated, and the stakes are really high.

Will you be singing in the musical episode?
Mais oui. I do have a song. I’m very excited. All I have is my song, and my song is wicked. It’s so good. I’m so excited. It’s going to be like this huge Disney musical, and the fans are going to go nuts.

And these are all original songs?
Yes.

We’re not going to see you doing “Defying Gravity” or something?
No, but it’s kind of like a Once Upon a Time version. It’s so good. The fans are going to go bizonkizoids.

Are you nervous?
Yeah. I am. I’m a little bit uncomfortable, and I’m a little bit nervous, which is a good thing because whenever I feel that way, it’s always something I should do, and then when I do it, I come out the other side and I’m like, “Yeah, nailed it.”

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