[Warning: This story contains spoilers from Sunday’s “Last Rites” episode of ABC’s Once Upon a Time.]
Once Upon a Time parted ways with a fan-favorite series regular during Sunday’s penultimate episode of season five.
After promoting a major death in the episode, the ABC fairy tale drama delivered when Sean Maguire’s Robin Hood met his demise and was honored with a heartbreaking funeral that ended with his daughter being named in his honor.
During the hour, Regina (Lana Parilla) and Robin teamed in an effort to get his daughter back from Zelena (Rebecca Mader) and Hades (Greg Germann). As they agreed on a game plan, the couple shared a tender moment: “You are my future,” Robin tells Regina halfway through the episode in what was clearly foreshadowing. “I’m with you, always,” she responds, setting herself up for yet another loss.
As the confrontation arrives, Hades points his Olympian crystal at Regina, only Robin steps in front of her — in an epic display of true love — and dies right before her eyes. Torn between her lover and her sister, Zelena then realized that Hades didn’t have her best interest at heart and winds up killing him.
Here, Maguire talks with The Hollywood Reporter about saying farewell to Storybrooke.
You were promoted to series regular at the top of season five. Did you know the plan then that Robin would be killed off?
No, I didn’t know when I signed on as a series regular that this was the way it was going to go. [Showrunners] Adam Horowitz and Eddy Kitsis said they didn’t know then, either. It’s just the way the story transpired. Knowing they’ll be doing another season, maybe their plans altered and therefore altered the fate of the character.
What was your conversation with Adam and Eddy like when you found out about Robin’s fate? What were they hoping to accomplish with this reveal?
They told me in January, and I was surprised because the way the writing had gone had alluded to Robin and Regina being soul mates and there being, as I’ve often said, hope and a happy ending. But in this character’s case, that wasn’t going to be the way it was going to go.
If you were to attend Robin’s funeral, how would you eulogize your character?
I’d say he was a good father, a good man and he ultimately gave the ultimate sacrifice to the woman he loved. He tried to live with honor despite being a very flawed human who has made mistakes. He gave his best and that’s the best way to remember him.
What was filming this like?
I’d come to terms with the fact that I was gone, but shooting the last scene with Lana was emotional and sad because we’ve had a great partnership over the past three years. It’s sad to say goodbye to people that you’re very close with but just because Robin may be gone, those friendships will still last for life. I could well be back in Vancouver shooting a different show, so we’ll see. I’m a firm believer that these things tend to happen for a reason.
Have viewers seen the last of Robin Hood or is there the potential for him to return, as is the case with many of these supernatural and genre shows?
I don’t know. It’s Once Upon a Time, so I’d never say never. Personally, I’ve left shows before and been asked to come back but never have because once I’ve played a character, I tend to want to try a new challenge. I feel that if we were to have explored some of the stuff that was alluded to when I was there, I don’t know how much we could cover in a flashback or something like that. I will go on record and say “never say never,” but at the moment, it doesn’t feel like something that is on the horizon.
Regina has had her fair share of loss during the series. Do you think Regina is a black widow?
No, I don’t. I think she’s having more of an extreme case than most of us, in terms of our lives and mistakes and our hope for redemption. I think she’s a character who had a very dark past for a reason and saw the light and is trying to be a good person. Whether she stays that way or not, I don’t know. What resonated with the fans is the idea of hope and the fact that you can change who you are — if you don’t like who you are today, you can change that tomorrow. A lot of the fans on social media feel for a show that talks about hope, killing Robin feels a little contrary to that. But Adam and Eddy are very clever guys, and I’m sure they have a good reason for that.
Do you think Regina can ever have her happy ending?
I honestly don’t know. It doesn’t appear so at the moment, but Adam and Eddy are not done telling their story yet.
Are you happy with the way Robin’s journey ended?
In all honesty, no, I wouldn’t say that I was. I felt like it was an abrupt end; I didn’t feel the character had any development this year and wasn’t really written for. That was disappointing for people who liked Robin Hood and liked him and Regina together. But I’m a company man and when you’re an actor, you have to understand that our job is to serve the writing. I write myself and I understand how important it is to be true to what the writer’s vision is. In all honesty, I don’t feel that a character like Robin Hood got the development that he could have had. But I respect the way the guys want to run their show. You either have to be on board or not. I’m happy to serve the writers.
Have you ever discussed what you had hoped Robin’s journey would be with Adam and Eddy?
I leave the writers to do their job. There’s nothing worse than actors saying, “What am I going to do?” A lot of times it’s in flux and it hinges on other circumstances. I try not to bother the guys, but I thought being a regular this season, I thought maybe they’ll get to Robin a little later and we’ll be able to see some of that development, but unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be.
What kind of message do you think Robin Hood’s death sends to fans?
Nobody wants to be the face of millions of young people crying into their computers and saying, “Please say you’ll come back.” It’s great to have a hero’s death and an emotional end, but I fear there were lots of people upset last night and today and that’s not a great feeling. But at the end of the day, it’s a TV show and people die on TV shows. I’m still here and will be here for fans via social media and conventions.
As a writer, what do you hope happens next for Regina?
As a writer, you hope the Regina character stays good and stays a hero and doesn’t let this tragedy turn her back to a dark place. But as a viewer of the show, maybe Regina going dark and being evil again gives them their Evil Queen back — she’s an iconic character on the show and to be honest with you, I leave the speculation to the fans and the writing to the writers.
What’s next for you?
I’m taking some time off to be a dad. There’s a couple projects on the horizon I’m excited about. They’re very different options and trajectories. We’re talking about where it’s best for me to go. I have the luxury of time to make the choice and absorb everything that’s happened and reflect on how great the fans have been to me. I’m always going to be grateful to them for their passion and dedication.
What did you think of Robin’s death? Sound off in the comments section, below. Once Upon a Time‘s two-hour season-five finale airs Sunday at 7 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.