After seven seasons and 155 episodes, Once Upon a Time will bid farewell Friday, May 18 — and EW was on set for one of the final days of production. Here, Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin) gives a rousing speech about hope as it seems all but lost; a great evil threatens to steal their happy endings once and for all. "In the series finale, there's a lot that comes full-circle," says executive producer Adam Horowitz of this familiar-feeling scene, in which the heroes have discovered personalized storybooks with bleak endings. Who's behind this final threat? Friday's episode will provide a major clue!
Ginnifer Goodwin and Josh Dallas are among the many original stars returning for the finale. You may even notice they're in a very familiar location from the pilot. (Lana Parrilla teased we'd see this locale again when we hit the set.) "The show did start with the Evil Queen busting up the wedding of Snow and Charming," Horowitz notes. "That seismic moment in the series is something that we feel all the way through until the finale."
Yes, Jared Gilmore and Andrew J. West do share screen time by season's end, despite playing the same character at different ages. (You'll find out how this is possible during Friday's episode!) But it was important to the OUAT bosses to bring Gilmore, among others, back for one last hurrah. "We just wanted to sing the songs one more time," executive producer Edward Kitsis says. "We look at the last two hours as our last chance of doing Once Upon a Time. What we're hoping is that the last two hours will remind everybody what they loved about the series, and hopefully it will stay with them."
Though the future looks bleak, romance abounds for a number of characters in the final episodes. In addition to seeing Snow and Charming return, viewers will get a glimpse at Emma (Jennifer Morrison) and Hook's (Colin O'Donoghue) happy ending, while Rumple (Robert Carlyle) inches toward a potential reunion with Belle (Emilie de Ravin). Even new lovebirds Alice (Rose Reynolds) and Robin (Tiera Skovbye) take a big leap in their relationship. But the OUAT bosses stress that not everything is wrapped up in a neat little bow in the finale. "The show has always been about going past the happy ending," Horowitz says. "It started with Snow White and Prince Charming's happy ending, and we moved past it. So we're hoping that this ending of the show is in the spirit of that."
You may clock that Regina (Lana Parrilla) is shackled in what appears to be a dungeon. Yes, the woman formerly known as the Evil Queen has a few last sins to pay for before the show signs off. "We saved her happy ending for the end," Kitsis says. "I think her journey throughout has really been watching somebody confront the demons within and emerge on the other side a better person." Get more scoop about Regina's happy ending, and the end of the series as a whole, in our on-set feature, which you can read here. Once Upon a Time's series finale airs over two weeks, starting Friday, May 11, and concluding Friday, May 18, on ABC.