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Will Peter Pan be successful in his quest to turn Storybrooke into Neverland 2.0?
Once Upon a Time will tackle that looming question in the Dec. 15 fall finale, “Going Home,” which picks up after Pan — who switched bodies with Henry — revealed his dangerous plan to turn Storybrooke into a Neverland clone.
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Actor Robbie Kay, who plays the villainous Pan, talks to The Hollywood Reporter about switching things up with the body swap, Pan’s true intentions and whether Pan accomplishes his main mission.
How would you describe your experience playing an iconic character like Peter Pan?
It’s definitely been a journey so far, it really has. To portray an iconic character has been brilliant in itself and to be able to do that on a show like Once Upon a Time enhances that because the show puts a spin on characters and makes them very different and puts core values that are very different that aren’t in the original fairy tales a lot of people relate to. It’s been very fun, to be honest. The feedback so far has been fantastic to see. It’s been a great experience, really.
Pan has been a part of several big reveals, one of them being that he is actually Rumplestiltskin’s father. What was your reaction to that big character moment?
I found out relatively early on as sort of a preparation technique, I suppose, although I was baffled by that fact. I did not see that coming. Obviously, with the nature of the show, a lot of people seem to be related with each other. (Laughs.) I definitely wasn’t expecting that relationship to emerge. When I found out, I was absolutely taken aback, but I think it’s a brilliant twist. I don’t think many people at all saw that coming. It was great to see that reaction.
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The family is definitely complex. Have you perfected a method to keep track of it all?
It’s crazy! We have to be aware of [all the connections] when we’re playing scenes, but it’s hard to keep track of. Sometimes you’re like, “Oh yeah, that person is that person’s mother!” Or the other way around. When we’re doing scenes with 10 to 12 castmembers, it’s sometimes hard.
After playing Pan for so long, what was it like to play Henry?
It was very refreshing, to be honest, because I had been playing quite an evil character that a lot of the other castmembers resented. In every scene they were giving very glaring looks, so it was quite nice to try a role that people actually liked in terms of the characters in the show. (Laughs.) I know Jared [Gilmore, who plays Henry,] had a lot of fun playing Peter Pan. It was a pleasure to see that body reversal.
Were there aspects to how Jared has been playing Henry that helped shape your interpretation of the character?
For the first few episodes before that, we had been doing a lot of scenes together. We had a lot of time to look at how each of us played our own roles, so that helped an awful lot in portraying the other version’s mannerisms when it came to switching bodies.
Now that the characters are in Storybrooke and not Pan’s usual Neverland haunts, how differently does he operate?
He’s not in his own environment anymore. He’s very much in an alien place, which is quite thrilling for the character because he was in Neverland for a very long time. The ball’s not in his court anymore because he’s outside of an environment he’s familiar with. You see a different sort of attitude when it comes to how he handles situations.
Is he more mistake-prone?
I wouldn’t say he’s prone to making more mistakes. You’ll find out Sunday in the midseason finale what happens and how he reacts to situations, although he has a plan set out in his mind, which is to create a new Neverland. That holds many repercussions and consequences.
Is that now his big mission, to conquer different lands and turn them into Neverland clones?
You could say that. He had a striving for immortality — to remain young forever, and you saw that — but now he’s achieved immortality, it’s a question of where do you go from there. You could say that that’s one of his aims.
Can you tease a scene from the upcoming fall finale?
I can tease that there will be another body switch so you will see the Pan that everyone recognizes back in his own body. So you’ll see a lot of interesting moments from that.
Once Upon a Time airs Sundays at 8 p.m. on ABC.
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