As unlikely as it sounds, the Dark One may sacrifice himself to save someone else.
During the second season of Once Upon a Time, we learned of the prophecy that predicts Henry (Jared Gilmore) would be Rumplestiltskin's (Robert Carlyle) undoing. So it was very curious when Rumple lead the charge to Neverland to save his grandson. Rumple quickly separated from the group, however, leaving his motivations unclear. Will he save Henry or ultimately save himself?
When Rumple sets out to confront Peter Pan (Robbie Kay) in Sunday's episode, we'll finally get a glimpse into his history with Neverland's villain. "You're going to learn a lot more about the two of them," executive producer Adam Horowitz promises and notes that Pan's full backstory will unravel in the coming episodes. "You [have not] seen the last of Wendy," he adds and hints that a possible reunion could take place in the present.
Unfortunately, Pan knows exactly where to hit Rumple, as he's been exploiting the Dark One's daddy issues since he arrived on the island. "He definitely seems to have them," executive producer Edward Kitsis says and promises that we'll actually get to see Rumple's father at some point. "We've hinted in the past that his father was a coward and that his father's name was something that haunted him and that his father left him. This is a man who wants to break the cycle of his past. He wants to be a good father, but it's like that quote, 'I can resist everything but temptation,' so that's also his weakness."
"Those issues have played themselves out in his relationship with his son [Michael Raymond-James]," Horowitz adds. "Whatever happened to Rumplestiltskin in his past is really creating a lot of the problems he's dealing with today. He's getting drawn into doing terrible things."
Rumple will continue to rely on his imaginary crutch while trying to decide whether or not to really save Henry, offering viewers a chance to see more of Belle (Emilie de Ravin), who is still holding down the fort back in Storybrooke. But it won't be long before we see the state of those left behind. "By Episode 7, we're going to reveal what happened from the moment the ship left to Neverland and what happened to those characters and what they're dealing with back in Storybrooke," Horowitz teases.
But viewers should be more worried about Charming (Josh Dallas), who was hit by a Lost Boy's Dreamshade-poisoned arrow. Refusing to give up the fight to find Henry, Charming has pushed on, much to his own detriment. "He's in a really tough place and it is a real danger and it is a terribly, terribly heinous poison that is going through him so he's going to have to deal with a lot of stuff," Horowitz says.
"He's a true warrior and he's a true leader and he is somebody who is not going to let an affliction get in the way of the mission, which is saving Henry," Kitsis adds.
But death may not always be permanent in Neverland, at least when it comes to shadows. When asked whether it's possible for a shadow to be reattached to its host, Horowitz played coy. "I'm going to say we're going to see a lot more of shadows and what happens to them ripped or not ripped and how that works," he says. Adds Kitsis: "And whether or not that's actually Pan's shadow we're seeing."
Once Upon a Time airs Sundays at 8/7c on ABC.
Additional reporting by Sadie Gennis.