The Once Upon a Time bosses came to D23 on Saturday armed with a ton of scoop about the upcoming rebooted season, including that new series regular Dania Ramirez will, in fact, be playing Henry’s (Andrew J. West) wife, a.k.a the mother of Lucy (Alison Fernandez), as — wait for it — a new iteration of Cinderella.
“Dania Ramirez will be playing a different version of Cinderella,” executive producer Edward Kitsis reveals. “If we remember Henry’s grandfather is Prince Charming [Josh Dallas], so we have the grandson of Prince Charming with a new Cinderella.”
So you may be confused how Ramirez is playing a character we’ve already seen on the show, as played by Jessy Schram. Here’s the deal: Kitsis and fellow executive producer Adam Horowitz revealed that we’ll see Jared Gilmore return as a young Henry when the season kicks off so viewers can see why he left home. “Henry’s the author of the first book, but he wants to go to the place where the happy ending isn’t written,” Kitsis says.
When he ventures to these new places (and therefore new books), we’ll actually see different iterations of some of the characters we’ve come to know and love over the years. “What’s interesting to us is that these books tell the stories, a lot of them about these classic characters, and as you know for the first six seasons we did twists and turns on them,” says Kitsis, explaining that there are numerous different versions of characters — Disney animated and live action, among them. “New books could have different versions of some stories and ways of looking at them that maybe we’ve seen before, maybe some new characters as well.”
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Here are some of the other highlights from the panel:
Returning faces: Gilmore won’t be the only familiar face returning next season. When asked if any of the characters played by departing actors aside from Jennifer Morrison, who will return for at least one episode, could return next season, Kitsis says, “I would be disappointed if we didn’t.” Horowitz quickly adds: “That means yes.”
Happy endings: If most of the characters we’ve come to know and love won’t be prominently featured, what does that mean for the happy endings we saw in the finale? “They weren’t so much happy endings as happy beginnings,” Horowitz says. “We want to make sure we honor what happened over those six years… As much as there’s new stuff and new characters, what came before still matters and is still a huge part of what this show is. It’s a new chapter. ” Kitsis adds: “We’re not interested in erasing those six years.”
New locales: As suspected, Hyperion Heights — the title of the season premiere — is the name of the new neighborhood that Henry will be living in Seattle. “You’re going to see it’s a neighborhood and that’s a great title for it… We have a really fun take on the city and this new forest and we can’t wait to show everybody.” Kitsis says. Horowitz adds: “It is obviously an homage to Disney history. We’re always really conscious of that and we love to find ways to Put that in.” However, we haven’t seen the last of Storybrooke. “We may see it a few times throughout the year, absolutely,” Kitsis says.
New flashbacks: “We love doing origin stories,” Kitsis says. “We’re going to find ourself in a new book and a new universe with lots of new characters to tell, so we’re going to continue to flash back. We’ll be in Seattle for modern day and we’ll flash back to the Enchanted Forest.”
Captain Swan baby: While the producers played coy about whether Emma and and Hook have since given Henry a sibling, we will get an answer soon. “We can’t say whether or not they have a child, but we can tell you we answer that question in the beginning of the season,” Kitsis says.
Hook’s future: As for what’s next for Hook, Kitsis promised we’d get a lot of info in the first two episodes. “The premiere we meet you in Seattle,” Kitsis said to Colin O’Donoghue, who joined them on the panel. “You are doing really interesting stuff. The kind of stuff that’s so interesting, people should watch it.” Horowitz expanded on the second episode, titled “A Pirate’s Life”: “We meet Colin in new circumstances in the premiere, but in the second episode, we really delve into what happened to him and there’s a flashback story centered around Hook which explains a lot.” Does this mean he’ll turn villain again? “There’s always the danger of Hook returning to his villainous ways, but I think his good heart prevents him from going all the way,” Kitsis says, also explaining that Hook’s love for Emma will hold true, despite Morrison not returning full time. “I think that Emma is absolutely Hook’s soulmate that we saw, so the Hook we all know and love, how could he look elsewhere? There is no Tinder in Storybrooke, people.”
The panel concluded with O’Donoghue singing the musical episode’s “Revenge is Gonna Be Mine” for the crowd, which you can see a snippet of below:
Once Upon a Time will return Fridays this fall on ABC.