The fairy tale isn’t over yet — but Once Upon a Time Season 7 is turning the page.
The ABC drama is undergoing something of a reboot next season, following the departure of many major cast members, including Jennifer Morrison (Emma), Ginnifer Goodwin (Snow White), and Josh Dallas (Prince Charming). Returning cast members include Lana Parrilla (Regina), Colin O’Donoghue (Hook), and Robert Carlyle (Rumplestiltskin).
The Season 6 finale set up the new tale by introducing an adult version of Henry, played by Andrew J. West, and his daughter Lucy (Alison Fernandez). What happened to Henry — and how he lost his memory of Lucy — and the rest of his family will unfold as Season 7 progresses. Co-creators Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis have been teasing Season 7 details throughout the summer, first at Disney’s D23 Expo and then at San Diego Comic-Con. Here’s everything we know so far:
Once Upon a New Day
The show is moving in its seventh season to a new day: Fridays. The premiere episode, titled “Hyperion Heights,” is set for Oct. 6 at 8 p.m.
Once Upon a New Place
The show still toggles between the modern-day “real world” and the Enchanted Forest. The modern-day action moves from Storybrooke to Seattle, where adult Henry has been living. His neighborhood is called … Hyperion Heights. “You’re going to see it’s a neighborhood and that’s a great title for it,” Kitsis said at D23. “We have a really fun take on the city and this new forest, and we can’t wait to show everybody.”
Parrilla, for one, is excited by the city setting and what it means for her character’s wardrobe. “This new Regina is very different. I’m out of pantsuits and into denim,” she told Entertainment Weekly. “So it’s cool, it’s fun, it’s different.”
Familiar Names, New Faces
OUAT has added several new cast members, who are playing beloved characters. Dania Ramirez is a new version of Cinderella (Jessy Schram played the character in previous seasons). And she just happens to be Lucy’s mom and Henry’s love interest. “Dania Ramirez will be playing a different version of Cinderella,” Kitsis said at D23. “If we remember Henry’s grandfather is Prince Charming [Josh Dallas], so we have the grandson of Prince Charming with a new Cinderella.”
Meanwhile, Gabrielle Anwar is playing Cinderella’s evil stepmother, Lady Tremaine; Reign queen Adelaide Kane is wicked stepsister Drisella. And Rose Reynolds (Poldark) and Mekia Cox (Chicago Med) are, respectively, Alice in Wonderland and Tiana.
A Whole New World
At Comic-Con, Kitsis and Horowitz unveiled the first scene from the Season 7 premiere. In it, young Henry (Jared S. Gilmore, reprising his role) has finished his first book as the Author. He tells Regina that he wants to explore other realms to write new books. He takes off on August’s motorcycle and uses a magic bean. Later, older Henry is riding that motorcycle through the Enchanted Forest when he runs into Cinderella fleeing in her carriage. She gets knocked out; Henry realizes who she is. Meet-cutes clearly run in the family!
Then, as Kitsis explained at Comic-Con, Henry “gets into some trouble and he calls out to help from his family, and [Regina, Hook, and Rumplestiltskin] come to his rescue. It’s really these three and Henry on an epic adventure.”
A New Captain
The second episode, titled “A Pirate’s Life,” focuses on Captain Hook. He’ll appear in the premiere, but Horowitz said at Comic-Con, “We really delve into what happened to him, and there’s a flashback story centered around Hook, which explains a lot.” Perhaps it’ll explain why Hook appears to be a cop in the Season 7 Comic-Con trailer?
Even though Morrison’s Emma won’t be returning, their love story isn’t over. “I think that Emma is absolutely Hook’s soulmate that we saw, so the Hook we all know and love, how could he look elsewhere?” Kitsis said at Comic-Con. “There is no Tinder in Storybrooke, people.”
And fans of Captain Swan will get the answer to a most pressing question: Did Emma and Hook have a kid? “We can’t say whether or not they have a child, but we can tell you we will answer that question in the beginning of the season,” Kitsis promised at D23.
What’s Old Is New Again
Though quite a few series regulars exited the show last season, they are likely to pop up in guest appearances. Already, Morrison has said she’ll be in at least one episode early next season. Gilmore will be seen in the premiere as young Henry. And Emilie de Ravin will return as Belle in episode 4.
A New Romance
OUAT has touched on same-sex pairings — Ruby. aka Red Riding Hood. and Dorothy from Wizard of Oz, for one. When Comic-Con moderator Yvette Nicole Brown asked if there’d be a prominent LGBTQ storyline next season, Kitsis replied, “I would say that we are planning to do it this year.”
Once Upon a Time Season 7 premieres Friday, Oct. 6, at 8 p.m. on ABC.
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