It looks like the rumors of Once Upon a Time's reset are true and next season is going to mean a lot less of your favorite characters.
Ginnifer Goodwin, Josh Dallas, Emilie de Ravin and Jared S. Gilmore will be done with the show after the Season 6 finale, according to Deadline. None of those actors were on the list of characters that were expected to return as the show pivots in a new direction for next season. The original talk was that Jennifer Morrison, Colin O'Donoghue, Lana Parrilla and Robert Carlyle would be the only series regulars to continue on -- but that went up in the air when Morrison announced her exit earlier this week. The remaining actors will join The Walking Dead alum Adam J. West, whose character will be introduced in Sunday's season finale.
The Season 6 finale will showcase the final battle between Emma (Morrison) and the Black Fairy (Jaime Murray) and has been heralded as the last chapter in the storybook that has contained Storybrooke's and the Enchanted Forest's magical history. It makes sense that the end of the book would mean a permanent end for some of the characters' stories.
The timing of Goodwin's and Dallas' exit makes sense. Snow White and Charming's sole purpose on the show has been to reunite with their daughter Emma and help her become the hero she was always meant to be. If Emma's story is over, it makes sense that Snow White and Charming would gracefully move to the background as well. The same goes for Henry (Gilmore) who has always been treated as a galvanizing force and inspiration for Emma rather than graduating to his own storylines.
The shocking part of this news is that de Ravin is choosing to exit the show. If Carlyle is to continue on as Rumpelstiltskin, it appears that he will be losing his love Belle. She is the source of all the goodness and heroic acts he has acquired over the series. If there is no Belle moving forward, will Rumple fall back into the darkness that once consumed him?
The same concern goes for O'Donoghue who will reportedly continue on as Hook even though Emma will not play a major part in Season 7. His redemption arc has been tied to him becoming the man worthy of being the Savior's true love. How will Hook change if Emma is no longer by his side?
Centering the new season on Parrilla's Regina is a no-brainer of course. She's long been one of the most dynamic characters on the show. After killing off her second true-love Robin Hood (Sean Maguire), Regina is poised to take center stage on the show and craft out a hero's story on her own.
The Final Battle for Once Upon a Time begins Sunday at 7/6c on ABC.