Warning: This story contains major spoilers from the series finale of Once Upon a Time. Read at your own risk!
Nearly seven years after the Evil Queen crashed the wedding of Snow White and Prince Charming in the Once Upon a Time pilot, the now-redeemed hero returned to the scene of the crime during Friday’s series finale — but this time, it was Regina to whom the beaming crowd bowed.
During the series finale, Regina’s (Lana Parrilla) fate looked uncertain as Wish Henry (Jared Gilmore) aimed to kill her for crushing his grandparents’ hearts back in season 6. Regina is ultimately able to get through to this alternate version of her son, thwarting Wish Rumple’s plans to separate all the fairy tale characters for eternity.
To ensure that no one would ever be alone again, Regina casts a new Dark Curse, powered by love, that brings all the realms together in Storybrooke — she’s crowned the leader of this new combined realm as The Good Queen.
“I feel like she’s reached her happy ending in this episode, and yet her happy ending isn’t that traditional with someone, in love or with a family,” Parrilla tells EW. “It’s with everyone, it’s with all the realms united. I’m happy with where her happy ending is at, which is, there is no ending. It just carries on.”
As Parrilla notes, Regina’s happy ending does not include a love interest, but the character was briefly reunited with Robin Hood (Sean Maguire) in a dream during the finale — read more about that scene in our interview with executive producers Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis here.
The two-hour series finale also allowed Parrilla to reunite with original Henry portrayer Jared Gilmore. “It was so awkward to have to sword fight my son,” Parrilla says. “Even though he’s not my son, but he looks just like him, it was a bit strange for both of us. Honestly, Jared is the sweetest. We have such a real relationship, Jared and Lana. We’re so, so tight that he was just always looking out for me and wanted to make sure that he didn’t really hurt me. He came at me very aggressively and I’m on defense because there’s no way I’m going to fight him. I have to definitely defend myself because he’s out to kill me.”
“It felt a bit strange for our characters, and also really cool because Regina loves him, even though she doesn’t know this version of Henry,” Parrilla continues. “I think Jared playing Wish Henry is just brilliant. He did such an incredible job, it was really nice to see this different side of him as an actor to be able to portray this evil Henry.”
READ MORE OUAT CONTENT: On set of the series finale || OUAT bosses tease series finale || Check out series finale photos || OUAT’s final villain revealed || OUAT’s timeline explained || Ginnifer Goodwin and Josh Dallas interview || Lana Parrilla interview || The Hot Seat || Colin O’Donoghue interview || OUAT pokes fun of itself || OUAT‘s 25 craziest fairy-tale twists || Andrew J. West and Dania Ramirez interview || Rose Reynolds and Tiera Skovbye interview || Rebecca Mader interview || Jennifer Morrison interview || OUAT bosses pen thank you letter to fans
As Parrilla says farewell to the character she’s inhabited for the last seven years, she echoes Regina’s own sentiment in the hour, that even though Once Upon a Time is coming to an end, these characters will live on. “Regina hates endings, because then your story is done,” Parrilla says. “This is a second chance. And so who knows where this character’s gonna go in the future. I guess it kind of leaves it open, doesn’t it?”
Read our postmortem with the OUAT bosses here.
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