In case you missed the news at Comic-Con, the Once Upon a Time bosses revealed that the ABC fairy tale drama’s upcoming seventh season would feature a prominent LGBT character, but don’t expect a repeat of what happened in season 5.
As the series heads into somewhat of a creative reboot — six cast members have exited as the show pivots to feature an adult Henry Mills (Andrew J. West) alongside Regina (Lana Parrilla), Hook (Colin O’Donoghue), and Rumple (Robert Carlyle) — executive producers Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis are using the opportunity to introduce a gay character who will have a more substantial role. The news comes after a much-hyped LGBT coupling of Ruby (Meghan Ory) and Dorothy (Teri Reeves) ended up receiving a somewhat lukewarm reception since neither person in the pairing was a main character.
“One of the show’s franchises is love,” Kitsis tells EW. “This iteration is reflecting the world today. It will not be anything more than just one of other love stories that are happening. I don’t think it’s an arc, it’ll be a character who is gay and that’s who they are and they exist in the world. They don’t have a sign that says ‘special episode.'”
The OUAT bosses are staying mum on who the character will be, but the show has added a number of new additions going into season 7, including West, Alison Fernandez as Henry’s daughter Lucy, Dania Ramirez as Henry’s wife (and a new iteration of Cinderella), Gabrielle Anwar as Cinderella’s evil stepmother Lady Tremanie, Adelaide Kane as Cinderella’s stepsister Drizella, Mekia Cox as Tiana, and Rose Reynolds as a new iteration of Alice from Alice in Wonderland.
As previously announced, Jennifer Morrison is set to reprise her role as Emma Swan for one episode, while Jared Gilmore will return as a younger Henry in the premiere. EW broke exclusively this weekend that Emilie de Ravin also will be back as Belle for a Rumple-centric episode. (Stay tuned for more scoop on that soon!)
Once Upon a Time will return Friday, Oct. 6 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.