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October 03, 2012 at 07:39 PM EDT

Captain Hook is jumping on board Once Upon a Time full time.

ABC and producers just upgraded Colin O’Donoghue to a series regular for the season’s “back nine” hours — even before his character’s first episode has aired.

The Irish actor (The Rite) was originally signed for a recurring role on the Sunday night hit fantasy drama. Given the swooning fan reaction to our first photo of Hook posted this morning, we can’t say we’re surprised by this decision. Guess the producers must have liked what they were seeing from O’Donoghue on set too. We’ll meet Hook in the Oct. 21 episode, which is titled “The Crocodile.” Last season, producers similarly upgraded Emilie de Ravin’s Belle from a recurring role to series regular.

UPDATE: Here’s a statement from Once Upon showrunners Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz: “We are great admirers of Colin’s talent and of the way he portrays Hook. We’ve much more story to tell with the his character that we’re excited to share with the audience.”

Here’s ABC’s preview of the rest of the season:

Everything you’ve ever read about fairy tales is true—the residents of Storybrooke are living proof.
type
TV Show
seasons
7
Genre
Rating
TV-PG
run date
10/23/11
Status
In Season
Network
Available For Streaming On
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