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At the show’s Comic-Con panel, Morrison expressed how grateful she was to get the opportunity to take Emma in a new direction this year.
“I’m really excited, as an actor,” she said. “To be able to start season five of a show doing something brand-new is so exciting. I’ve been so enjoying playing Emma and everything that comes along with it. I get to do something totally new and different. … There’s fun to the villainy.
“I spent the whole hiatus digging up my thoughts about it,” continued Morrison. “Emma went through a lot in her life: She had a tough childhood, she’s always tried to be the bigger person, the good person, and now that she’s tethered to the darkness, she has to face some of that … to truly overcome it, versus just repress it.”
And though Emma’s decision to take on the powers of the Dark One was “split-second,” Morrison was glad her character was able to save both Regina (Lana Parrilla) and the entire town of Storybrooke.
“I think if Regina were the only person in danger, she would have made the same choice,” said Morrison. “But it’s important that the darkness was threatening the whole town.”
And with only Merlin able to stop the darkness, the producers have cast Elliot Knight in the pivotal role, as well as Liam Garrigan as King Arthur and Joana Metrass as Guinevere.
“Camelot exists in a parallel time ago — long ago, short ago and maybe in the future,” shared Once Upon a Time co-creator Adam Horowitz.
As for the former Dark One, Robert Carlyle teased that Rumple won’t be all good now.
“The evolution of [Rumple now is] … he’s lost his mantle as the Dark One, but that’s not to say he doesn’t have the same kind of trickery,” he shared. “[But] Mr. Gold is presently in a coma, so he’s not doing too much.”
And now that Regina has been spared from taking on the role of the Dark One, she’s even more thankful for her second chance.
“She found love,” acknowledged Parrilla. “I think she’s now starting to embrace and accept she can be happy.”
Of course, that’s complicated by Regina’s true love, Robin Hood (Sean Maguire), accidentally expecting a child with Regina’s half sister, Zelena (Rebecca Mader).
“I think it is complicated,” said Maguire. “When you have a situation like this, the best is to go on a show like Maury Povich. He’s in love with Regina. … Robin Hood got a lot of flack for impregnating Zelena, even though he didn’t know it was Zelena. He thought it was his wife; even though he was in love with Regina, he was trying to make it work. … [Now,] he’s like any decent person trying to do the right thing.”
As for what else is to come, Once Upon a Time co-creator Eddy Kitsis suggested Henry’s (Jared Gilmore) decision to snap the quill after becoming the new Author won’t be forgotten … or turn out well.
“Henry was making a heroic gesture, and I’m sure that’s not going to haunt him,” teased Kitsis.
Additionally, episode 100 will be coming up, and while they were vague on the details of what’s to come, Horowitz did share: “We want to make it really special, and we’re planning on it being the spring premiere.”
The Once team ended the Comic-Con panel with a delicious video tease of what’s to come … and it’s Brave. No word yet on whether that will be season 5B’s arc or a stand-alone hour. Watch the first video of the dark Swan below, as well as other clips from the panel.
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July 11, 1:15 p.m. Updated headline and story to identify new character correctly.
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