Disney's D23 Expo might've had all the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Star Wars, and classic Disney animation film fans flailing with glee over the many cast appearances and new materials presented, but the TV crowd got a taste of something exciting this weekend, too.
Once Upon a Time execs Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz, alongside series star Colin O'Donoghue, appeared at the Anaheim, Calif. convention for a special presentation on the forthcoming seventh season of the show. During the panel, they helped to clear up a few key details about how the showrunners will handle certain cast member drop-outs and introduce a few new faces to the series when it returns this fall.
The series is expected to reset in the new season, after jumping into the future in the Season 6 finale, which means a lot of the heroes we already knew from before won't be back — with the exception of O'Donoghue's return, alongside a few cameo appearances by others.
As we already knew, Devious Maids' Dania Ramirez has joined OUAT as a series regular, but before this weekend, her exact role was unannounced, leaving us all to speculate as to who she might be playing in the new iteration of the series. After all, most of the fabled characters have already made an appearance on the show, so the list of characters who'd be totally new to the Storybrooke crew was much slimmer than the roster of newcomers joining the series.
According to Kitsis (via Entertainment Weekly), Ramirez will portray Cinderella in the new season, but she won't exactly be a grown-up version of the character previously portrayed by Jessy Schram.
"Dania Ramirez will be playing a different version of Cinderella ... If we remember Henry's grandfather is Prince Charming, so we have the grandson of Prince Charming with a new Cinderella," Kitsis told the crowd. Jared Gilmore, who'd played Henry Mills since the series began in 2011, will reportedly reprise his role one last time, but his replacement by actor Andrew J. West will be explained as follows: "Henry's the author of the first book, but he wants to go to the place where the happy ending isn't written."
In other words, we can expect to see some of the same old stories played out in new and different ways in the refreshed run of Once Upon a Time (cue the Rumple refrain, "There's always a price!") through the other new cast additions, Gabrielle Anwar, Mekia Cox, Rose Reynolds, and Adelaide Kane.
In addition to introducing the new "book" of the series, the showrunners also confirmed that the season premiere episode title, "Hyperion Heights," refers to the location of the season — Henry's new neighborhood in Seattle, Washington — and added that the locale is a fecund forest that throws back to days of Disney past.