Jennifer Morrison: Emma's past 'impacts everyone' on 'Once Upon a Time'
On Sunday’s Once Upon a Time, Emma (Jennifer Morrison) will find herself in a dangerously icy situation as Elsa (Georgina Haig) continues to rampage through Storybrooke, accidentally trapping them in an ice cave in her quest to find her sister, Anna (Elizabeth Lail). Fortunately, this will help bond Emma and Elsa, who have a lot more in common than fans may have realized. Below, Morrison teases what’s in store for the dynamic duo, Emma’s future with Hook (Colin O’Donoghue) and how Emma’s past will provide new insight into the Once puzzle.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Emma is going to get trapped under the ice with Elsa. What can you tease about their paths crossing?
Basically, when Elsa lands, everything is different to her and nothing makes sense. She’s never been out of Arendelle, and this is literally a completely new world to her. As we saw in the Frozen film, fear is a great problem for her. We’re in that great problem in the sense that everything makes her fearful when she gets to Storybrooke, which causes her magic to go completely haywire. She’ll do whatever it takes to try to protect herself, because she doesn’t know if she’s in danger or not. She doesn’t know if we’re good guys or bad guys, she doesn’t know what a car is, she doesn’t know what technology is. Everything is new and scary and throws her for a loop, which is what causes us to be in a situation where we’re trapped under ice, and clearly, the cold doesn’t bother her anyway, so she’s okay.
Did you really…
I did. [Laughs]. I am very cold, because the cold does bother me! So, we have this problem where I’m freezing to death and she’s not, and everyone’s scrambling to figure out how to solve this problem. And the problem is basically caused by Elsa being extremely fearful and causing something she didn’t intend to cause. It ultimately ends up to be something that connects us, but it puts everyone in danger for a minute.
Elsa and Emma have powers that they don’t necessarily know how to control. Are they going to bond over this and will Elsa help Emma with her powers?
One-hundredpercent, yes. There are clearly so many similarities with these characters. Even before we had joined together on Once Upon a Time, I would constantly ask questions about whether there was any intentionality of how similar these characters were. They both have powers that they don’t know quite what to do with. They feel a little bit out of control, they’re afraid of it at times, they resent it at times, and they appreciate it at times. It’s causing them to be misunderstood, it’s causing them to hurt people they care about. They have a tremendous amount in common. They are very obvious friends because of that. Elsa has spent more time figuring out how to control her magic and trying to harness it and use it in the most positive way possible, so she’s definitely going to be a help in trying to start working out what her magic means to her and how to control it and use it positively.
Can you talk about the flashbacks we’re going to see to Emma’s childhood this season?
It’s not going to change who Emma is now. A lot of it is what’s already been built into her character in terms of her being shuffled between foster homes and things like that. There is some stuff that’s going to be revealed that actually impacts everyone in the sense that there’s just some information that comes out about her past that changes the overall puzzle that we’re all considering in this story. I know that’s incredibly vague. [Laughs]
Emma and Hook have decided to take it slow. What’s ahead for them?
We do see them go on a first date. As always, there’s a lot going on. There are concerns about Regina (Lana Parrilla) being heartbroken over Marian (Christie Laing) coming back and she wants to try to help anyway she can, so that’s distracting. There’s a snow monster in town, that’s distracting. We eventually encounter Elsa, so that’s distracting. Then we discover that there’s an evil Snow Queen (Elizabeth Mitchell), so that’s distracting. There’s just stuff going on that’s in the way of them just having a happy-go-lucky situation. But they’re trying. They’re trying to figure out how to get to know each other amidst all these crises, and how to make time to go on a date. It’s a very unique take on the beginning of dating.
Emma really wants Regina to get a happy ending. What are her next steps in trying to achieve that?
I don’t think Emma honestly knows. She’s just going to keep trying things. There’s no clear solution to this problem. She can’t apologize for saving a life and she can’t feel like she shouldn’t have saved someone’s life. That’s just a fact. Beyond that, she obviously would never have wanted to intentionally mess things up for Regina. She’s just going to keep trying anything she possibly can to be there for her, to support her, to try to encourage her to do the right thing, to offer whatever help Regina might possibly want. She is just going to continue to try to prove that she’s there for her and she’s going to be a true friend.
Regina wants to find the author of the book, and the producers teased that Regina and Henry (Jared Gilmore) would be on a mission together this season. Will Emma be suspicious of them spending time together?
I don’t think so. We’ve worked so hard to come to a place where Emma really sees that Regina is a good mother and if nothing else, she will always do what’s best for Henry. She will always fight to protect Henry. As far as I know, and I haven’t been told differently, Emma is just going to be happy to see Regina embracing being Henry’s mother again and really connecting to him in a way where they’re fighting for a positive ending instead of a negative ending.
Will Emma struggle with what it means to call Storybrooke home?
She’s truly embraced Storybrooke as her home. She’s excited by the idea of having a home for the first time, but there are definitely going to be bumps along the way that don’t make her question that it’s her home, but make her question whether or not she can continue to keep it her home. So, it’s not going to be because she’s decided that she doesn’t choose for it to be her home, there will be things that will threaten it being her home.
Does she feel any jealousy towards her new brother, Prince Neal, for getting her parent’s affection that she never got when she was younger?
It’s not in the writing, and it’s not something that I instinctively feel for her. If anything, she relates to her parents because she gave up Henry just like they had to give up her. She has these heartbreaking connections to her parents because she sees them raising baby Neal and she realizes some of the things she missed with Henry that she wouldn’t even know about. She also realizes that they missed those things with her that they wished they didn’t have to miss. I don’t see any sense of jealousy there, just a little bit of heartache that they’ve all had to miss out on things because of fate.
Once Upon a Time airs Sundays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.