The executive producers and cast of the upcoming remixed Once Upon a Time revealed more specifics about the upcoming Season 7 at their ABC panel for the Television Critics Association.
The series returns on October 6th in the episode "Hyperion Heights" which reveals more about now grown-up, Henry (Andrew J. West), the Queen-formerly-known-as-Regina (Lana Parilla) and the cop version of Captain Hook (Colin O'Donoghue) living in contemporary Seattle.
Executive producer Eddy Kitsis stressed from the top that the "happily-ever-afters" earned for characters like Emma (Jennifer Morrison), Rumple (Robert Carlyle) and Belle (Emilie de Raven) and others would not be wiped out for the new direction of the show. "Episode two is going to answer what happened to Emma and Captain Hook," Kitsis revealed. "While episode four will answer it for Belle."
Executive producer Adam Horowitz added, "What happened in the first six seasons remain in the DNA of this show. We're very cognizant of what came before and we're thinking of the fans. It's an emotional thing when people connect to a character for six years." Horowitz also confirmed that some actors from the first six seasons will reappear but "we're also moving into a new chapter" that is not beholden to the original mythology.
However, just like the first six years of the series, the show will still be about distressed characters who find hope to guide them to their best selves. And romance will still be a big part of the spine of the show. Kitsis said, "This season Henry and Cinderella (Dania Ramirez) will be the epic romance. We haven't shown them meet yet. We'll show how they met, and how they fell in love in Seattle."
Andrew West said audiences will get more details about what's happened in his life since last seen in the Season Six finale via flashbacks. "We'll fill in different periods in their all lives, through some of the flashbacks. It retains the spirit of what they've done so well. It feels like the Henry we know and then we get to see him later in life, so it feels new and different in an exciting way. It's so appealing to me as it's the best of both worlds."
Fan favorite O'Donoghue, says this version of Hook will be a uniformed cop in Seattle. "He's different from the ten other Hooks I have played over the six seasons," the actor said with enthusiasm. "There's a sense of loss there, and he doesn't know what it is that's missing. He's striving to find who he is still, but still be the best cop he can be. As is always the case, it's more complicated than that. Over the six seasons, I've been so lucky to play so many variations on this character. We get to explore in a completely different way now. And I've read up to episode four and they are the best I've read so far. One of them might be one of the best of any show I've read."
Actress Lana Parilla, who played Regina since the first season, confirmed that she has a new name that will be revealed in the premiere. But she did tease, "I'm no longer in pantsuits, but denim and rock shirts. She's a bar owner and a little rough around the edges. She has curly hair. Like Colin, I have played different versions of her but more evolutions. This one feels very different. She's no longer in charge. She's was always trying to manipulate, or be in charge, but then redeemed herself. With this new version, I'm having a blast playing her. It's refreshing and feels different. It's fun to be part of something constantly evolving. It feels like a pilot."
Once Upon a Time returns on Friday, October 6, 2017, on ABC.