[Warning: This story contains major spoilers from Sunday's episode of Once Upon a Time. Read at your own risk!]
Peter Pan's identity has been revealed!
On Sunday's Once Upon a Time, it was uncovered that Pan (Robbie Kay), the devious boy who rules Neverland, is actually Malcolm (Stephen Lord), the father of Rumplestiltskin (Robert Carlyle)! See, when Rumple was a young boy, he sought to leave the Enchanted Forest with his neglectful dad in search of a better world where the two could actually have a relationship — much like Bae (Michael Raymond-James) did when he was younger with Rumple.
Once Upon a Time's Robert Carlyle, Michael Raymond-James talk major daddy issues
But upon arriving in Neverland, the Shadow told Malcolm that he did not belong because he's not a boy. In turn, Malcolm turned Rumple over to the Shadow so he could forget the one thing that makes him an adult. From then on, a much younger Rumple's father took on the same name of the small straw doll that belonged to his son: Peter Pan.
"We just knew that he was bad news," Carlyle tells TVGuide.com, recalling the end of Season 2 when Rumple shared his fears of Pan as they headed off to Neverland. Carlyle didn't learn the truth about Pan's identity until the beginning of Season 3. "I was quite shocked. I thought in Episode 4 when Rumple says that when they grew up they were incredibly close, that was brilliant because everyone then is thinking, 'That is definitely his brother.' There was no sense of him being the father himself. It was a tremendous secret that was kept very well."
Keeping Pan's identity a secret was crucial to Sunday's big reveal having the intended impact, which is why Ginnifer Goodwin — who portrays Snow White on the ABC fairy-tale drama — was beyond excited to finally talk about it when we hit the Vancouver set last month. "We were so banned," she says. "We had to sign our lives away. That's truly the Rumple story, like we own the children. Some cast members saw it coming and I was shocked, but I guess it makes so much sense because the family is cursed. Each generation is caught in a cycle of sacrificing family for power and it only makes sense that Rumple would be the product of such a villain."
Once Upon a Time returns to Storybrooke!
Jennifer Morrison, who plays Snow and Charming's (Josh Dallas) daughter Emma Swan, was one of the few cast members who did figure out the secret early. "I had guessed it a while ago," Morrison says. "I just thought if the Dark One is terrified of someone, who could that possibly be? I thought his father because a really bad person would probably have issues with one of their own parents."
Were you shocked to learn that Peter Pan is actually Rumplestiltskin's father?
Once Upon a Time airs Sundays at 8/7c on ABC.