Once Upon a Time panel explains "requel" direction with new curse, versions of beloved characters

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Once Upon a Time returns for a seventh season tonight and when it does fans will discover a “requel” more than anything else. That's according to the executive producers Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz who were both on the New York Comic Con panel for the show Friday afternoon along with actress Lana Parrilla.

The panel began by showing the entire premiere episode of the new season, with attendees cheering whenever a familiar face appeared on screen. It was after that the producers explained the season will be part sequel and part reboot. There’s a new curse, new town, and new adventure. Horowitz said they were working to “keep the spirit of the show the same, but to go in some new directions.”

“For us as writers, we always wanted to end the show as we did last year. That was always the finale, but we loved the show and writing it. We’re still having fun and we feel like it’s even more relevant in today’s world so we wanted to keep going,” Kitsis said.

Among the familiar faces is Parrilla, though this time she’s playing a version of Regina called Ronnie. Parilla said it’s been fun and it’s rare that an actor gets to play so many different versions of their character.

“Ronnie’s the girl you want to do shots with at the bar. She’s a little rougher around the edges…” Parilla explained. “She’s been there. She’s done it. She’s seen it all. She does have this wisdom I think you’ll see over the course of the season.”

Kitsis said there’s no one better to stand up to a bully than Ronnie and she’s going to be the neighborhood hero that pushes back this season.

As for the other characters, the executive producers said nobody should be concerned that the characters’ happy beginnings had been lost.

“This is a show about hope so to take away a hapy ending would be hateful,” Kitsis said.

Fans will see other characters early in the season. The second episode will explain what happened to Emma since last season while the fourth episode will explain what happened to Belle and Rumple post-happy ending. The panel ended with a sneak peek of that second episode that showed Emma, Hook, and Henry in Storybrooke.

The new adventure for Once Upon a Time starts tonight on ABC.