A trio of returning cast members will return in the upcoming rebooted seventh season of Once Upon a Time, but under the new curse, they’ll be very different from the fairy tale characters we’ve come to know and love — and now we know how!
Under the new curse in Hyperion Heights, Hook (Colin O’Donoghue) is a uniform cop, while Regina (Lana Parrilla) is a bar owner, as teased in the trailer for season 7 but confirmed by the respective actors at the Television Critics Association’s press tour on Sunday.
“When we meet Hook at the start of the season, he is a uniform cop in Seattle,” O’Donoghue told reporters. “He’s different from any of the other 10 different Hooks that I’ve played. I describe that there’s a sense of loss there in the guy and he just doesn’t know what it is that’s missing. He’s striving in some way to find who he is still, yet the Hook that we meet is trying to be the best uniform cop that he can be and do the right thing, but as is the case on Once Upon a Time, it’s more complicated than that.”
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The loss Hook may be feeling is Emma, as Jennifer Morrison is only slated to return for one episode — the second episode, which is Hook-centric, is slated to reveal why Emma is not along for the ride. Episode 2 is going to answer what has happened with Emma and Captain Hook and episode 4 will answer that very question for Belle,” executive producer Edward Kitsis said. “We are not looking to get rid of any of the happy endings, but we are moving forward and we think we have a way to achieve both things.” (Executive producer Adam Horowitz confirmed Regina will also get a centric episode, but wouldn’t confirm when it would air.)
Regina, meanwhile, is not actually named Regina, though Parrilla kept mum on the character’s cursed name.”I’m no longer in pantsuits,” Parrilla said. “I’m in denim and rock T-shirts. When we meet her, this other version of Regina, she’s working in a bar. She’s a bar owner. She’s a little rough around the edges… This version feels really different. She’s no longer in charge. We’ve always seen Regina in charge, and then she redeemed herself, but this Regina is something else. I’m having a blast playing her. We’re all still discovering who she is. It’s refreshing, it’s different.”
This version of Regina also won’t actually recognize her son Henry (Andrew J. West) in the cursed world, harkening back to when Emma befriended Mary-Margaret (Ginnifer Goodwin), unaware that she was actually her mother. “We interact in two different worlds — in the fairy tale world in flashback and in Hyperion Heights in Seattle.” Parrilla said. “In that world, when we meet in this other world, we are our cursed selves, so we don’t really know each other.” However, the two will meet in flashback where Regina is shocked to see young Henry is now all grown up. “We actually meet we reunite after many years in a flashback. Regina has not seen this grown man ever before. So she’s taken back by that and is finding their relationship now that he’s no longer this little boy.”
Rumple’s (Robert Carlyle) new persona is still being kept relatively under wraps. “We’re going to find a new persona for Rumplestiltskin in the real world. As always there’s a bit of mystery,” said Horowitz, who then pointed to the recently released trailer. “He looks menacing, doesn’t he? There’s always that element of menace and mystery. He’s involved in many of the goings on in this neighborhood in Seattle. We don’t want to say too much of the specifics of it, but it’s a lot of fun, and it’s another layer and color for Bobby to play.”
Though they’re playing three very different characters, elements of their original personas will still shine through. “When you’re cursed, you can’t get rid of all of you, so things percolate up and there are hints and remnants of who they once were, mixed with who they are now and that becomes part of the journey for all of them, which is these new lives, how they’re dealing with the new problems that are associated with them,” Horowitz said. “Then, in the flashbacks, we’ll start to unravel the story of how they got there, we’ll start to understand different reasons for the different behaviors, and how we’re seeing them in these new permutations.”
Getting them to believe is likely the mission of Henry’s daughter Lucy (Alison Fernandez) — and should they reach that point, it could help them break the curse since there is no magic in the new Storybrooke-esque Seattle neighborhood Hyperion Heights. “We really want to differentiate between the two worlds now,” Horowitz said. “Seattle is going to look like the modern day and there’s not really going to be magic on that side, but there will be in the Enchanted Forest.” But Horowitz noted that those who have hope could manifest magic much in the same way the clock moved forward when the Savior came to Storybrooke in the pilot.
Once Upon a Time returns Friday, Oct. 6 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.