Once Upon a Time is about to embark on a new adventure, and a lot of things are going to change for the characters of Storybrooke as the show heads into Season 6.
The first major shakeup is that the heroes are staying put in Storybrooke, the magical Maine town that's been home to the inhabitants of the Enchanted Forest since the show began. The decision to stay in a central location comes after a few seasons in which the main heroes have ventured off to other lands for adventures. This means that now, the show will return to its original format with a season-long arc rather than epic tales that wrap up at each half-season, like Frozen or Neverland.
"After the last couple of seasons where our characters went on journeys to other lands, be it Neverland or the Underworld or Camelot, this season is about coming home and figuring out what life is like at home," says executive producer Adam Horowitz. "That lends itself to a storytelling modality that's more about these smaller arcs that hopefully build up to one big story by the end of the season."
Since Once is returning to its roots for the location, it'll expand in other ways — including a whole new set of characters. Last season, the show introduced the Land of Untold Stories, filled with characters we've "never met or may have forgotten" who have now taken up residence in Storybrooke. Dr. Jeykyll (Hank Harris) and Mr. Hyde (Sam Witwer) were the first Land of Untold Stories characters we got to know, but there are even more famous literary characters setting up shop in Season 6.
"We're going to meet the Count of Monte Cristo. We're going to be telling stories from other lands and other pieces of fiction," says executive producer Eddy Kitsis. "For us, it's really fun to expand the universe of Once Upon a Time."
Fellow literature greats include Captain Nemo from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, who will be causing trouble for Hook (Colin O'Donoghue), and the Greek God Morpheus who will be heavily entwined in Rumple (Robert Carlyle) and Belle's (Emilie de Ravin) storyline.
While it seems like the influx of new characters could overcrowd the small town, this could be a great new direction. Once Upon a Time can use these new characters — whether they're friends or foes — to refocus the story on its core players without getting distracted by new surroundings. New characters can open old wounds for our favorite characters, or put them in situations that force them to grow. These interactions lead to a better story that won't distract from character growth as a grand setting like Neverland or the Underworld seemed to do.
Once Upon a Time is heading back to basics for the new season, and that could make it the best one yet.
What famous literary characters would you like to see cause some drama for your favorite Once Upon a Time heroes?
Once Upon a Time premieres Sunday, Sept. 25 at 8/9c.