With Once Upon a Time‘s fate uncertain, the ABC fairy tale drama will provide a sense of closure in its upcoming two-hour finale, while also launching a new chapter should the show earn a seventh season.
While EW has heard OUAT is a near-lock to return — ABC is expected to announce renewals and cancellations next week ahead of its upfront presentation — the drama has been heavily hinting at providing resolution to many stories this season, as Emma (Jennifer Morrison) is slated to face the long-awaited Final Battle following Sunday’s musical hour.
“I would say that if this is the series finale, then you will have the usual opinions on a series finale ranging from the best ever to the worst ever, because that’s the internet,” executive producer Edward Kitsis says. “What I would say for fans is it will be complete, so they will not have any dangling threads that they’re like, ‘I can’t believe [it]!’ We’re not going for a crazy ending that everyone goes, ‘Well, what did that mean? I feel unsatisfied.’ We understand that this could be the last year. We feel like we completed this story and the next chapter of Once Upon a Time will be completely different.”
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Completely different indeed: Should OUAT be renewed for season 7, there will likely be a big shakeup in terms of the cast. “By the end of the season finale, a lot of what we’ve been doing for the last six years is wrapped up, and we hope in a very satisfying way,” executive producer Adam Horowitz says. “Then, we move forward in a way that, at the end of it, hopefully you’ll see what we’re hoping to do in season 7.”
“If there’s one thing this show has done, it’s reinvented itself every year, so the show has the ability to be many different shows,” Kitsis adds. “We feel like, creatively, it’s time to end a few stories, but we feel like this is the kind of show that regenerates.”
With that said, the OUAT bosses insist that a seventh season wouldn’t be a complete overhaul. “We’re not designing this in a way where you say goodbye to everyone and never see them again,” Horowitz says. “We’ve been telling a story for six years now for these characters and now we’re trying to complete that story, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have other stories.”
“If you think the reboot is going to be, ‘Oh my God, it’s Bashful and Sneezy on a road trip,’ the network did not go for that,” Kitsis quips.
While the duo plays coy on which characters would be returning, Horowitz adds: “It would involve some of our characters and it would involve some new people as well. It’s a mixture of things.” Those new characters include The Walking Dead alum Andrew J. West and Jane the Virgin star Alison Fernandez, who will both appear in the season 6 finale, with the potential for more episodes should the show get renewed. Check out our theory on that here.
Once Upon a Time‘s highly anticipated musical hour airs Sunday, followed by the two-hour finale on Sunday, May 14 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.