Ginnifer Goodwin, Josh Dallas, Emilie de Ravin, and Jared Gilmore will not return to Once Upon a Time after season 6, EW has learned.
The news comes following the previously announced exits of Jennifer Morrison (read her exit interview here) and Rebecca Mader. Once Upon a Time, which was officially renewed for season 7 on Thursday, will now be centered on Regina (Lana Parrilla), Rumple (Robert Carlyle), and Hook (Colin O’Donoghue).
Goodwin, Dallas, and Gilmore, who are original cast members from the pilot, play Snow White, Prince Charming, and Henry Mills, respectively. Snow and Charming are the parents of Emma (Morrison), while Henry is Emma and Regina’s (Parrilla) son. De Ravin, meanwhile, joined the show later in season 1 as the iconic Beauty and the Beast heroine Belle.
Executive producers Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis crafted a detailed statement about the many exits and the possibility they will return:
Earlier this year, ABC chief Channing Dungey seemed to indicate there could be possible exits should the show be renewed, noting that the OUAT bosses were looking at the potential seventh season as a springboard in a new direction, “which doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re not bringing cast back. It’s just: How do you kind of hit the reset button in a way that gives you an opportunity to expand the stories that we’re telling?” Dungey said.
OUAT’s season finale, which will air Sunday, is slated to provide a sense of closure, while also launching a new chapter for season 7. That new phase will include the introduction of characters played by 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. Check out our theory on that here. And get even more scoop on the finale here.
However, Horowitz and Kitsis have previously noted that season 7 will not go through a complete overhaul. “We’re not designing this in a way where you say goodbye to everyone and never see them again,” Horowitz said. “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.”
When EW hit the set of the ABC fairy tale drama earlier this year, both Dallas and Goodwin seemed optimistic that the show could continue on even with a new set of characters. “Because things are always so new on our show, there would have to be a radical change in order to infuse it with new direction, and so I’m all for it,” Goodwin said. “I feel like these guys are the epitome of creativity, and if anybody can continue a show that’s been this inventive, and new, and has always gone in a million directions at once in the most entertaining way, I think its Eddy and Adam, and I’m ecstatic to see what happens.”
Dallas concurred: “The great thing about Eddy and Adam, and the great thing about the show and the characters that they’ve created is that they’re always reinventing themselves,” he said. “I think that’s only right with Once Upon a Time that at the end of this season, if it indeed comes back, that it has a completely different reboot, and it goes in a different direction. It’s fitting that Once Upon a Time changes as well as its characters.”
Even so, both seemed hopeful it’s not the last we’d see of Snow and Charming. “I hope there’s always some Snow story to tell,” Goodwin said at the time. “I have discussed with the guys that in whatever capacity Snow should appear to do right by the story then I will definitely contribute for sure.”
Once Upon a Time‘s two-hour finale airs Sunday at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.