It's the beginning of March, which means it's time to get ready for another half-season of Once Upon a Time.
The ABC drama returns on Sunday after a jaw-dropping fall finale in which Rumple (Robert Carlyle) and Belle's (Emilie de Ravin) son Gideon (Giles Matthey) returned to Storybrooke fully grown and revealed himself as the man under the black hood prophesied to kill Emma (Jennifer Morrison) in her visions. It turns out that after the Black Fairy kidnapped infant Gideon mere days beforehand, she took him to a land where time "works differently," accelerating his growth and turning him dark.
While Rumple and Belle now have their hands full trying to reconnect with their short-lost son, Emma and Regina (Lana Parrilla) are stuck in a wish-realm where Regina is being tested by the emergence of Robin Hood (Sean Maguire). The portal back to Storybrooke has already closed, so they must find a new way back and Regina must decide whether she can leave a carbon copy (at least physically) of her true love behind.
To help prepare fans for the upcoming premiere, TVGuide.com talked to Once executive producers Adam Horowitz and Eddy Kitsis about what to expect from the upcoming season.
Gideon has returned as a fully grown adult. How much of his life with the Black Fairy are we going to see in the second half of the season?
Eddy Kitsis: You are going to get to see the origin story. You will see what happened from the moment that he was kidnapped from the Blue Fairy to when he arrived in Storybrooke. We are going to do a flashback episode where you can see Gideon literally grow up.
Adam Horowitz: What happened with the Black Fairy becomes really critical to the story going forward in the second half of the season.
Snow and Charming are also in a precarious situation. Since this is a show about hope, we have to hope they will find a way to break this sleeping curse. How will having spent this time apart affect their relationship?
Kitsis: Being separated isn't going to...They've faced a lot of adversity. As they've told us in the pilot, they'll always find each other. What I think is going on right now is, there is more than just the two of them in their life. Them wanting each other is one thing, them also wanting to be there for Emma and facing this prophecy where she was told she would die is also something that's going on. [Plus], they have another child. Being separated for them always reminds them of how precious their time together is and how we have to enjoy the moments we have.
On a happier front, Robin Hood is back! You took a lot of time to explain that Robin Hood was definitely dead. What made you want to bring him back?
Horowitz: This is a story idea that we had for a while and we were very excited about it. We were very excited that Sean liked it too and agreed to come back. There was more to we wanted to explore with Regina and this felt like a really good vehicle.
Kitsis: What we loved was this idea of the alternate wish-world. What would be the one thing that could test Regina? As she continually tries to remove the darkness from herself, as she continually tries to take setbacks and move forward, what better way to test her than a reminder of what she's trying to get over.
We're also anticipating a big musical episode this season. What can you tell us as we get closer t it?
Kitsis: The musical is the penultimate episode and sets up everything for the finale. It is not going to be a standalone. It will further the plot that we're telling this season. At the same time, what we like is that it is very much what the show is. It's magical, fun and extremely emotional.
Who will we be most surprised to see has a really amazing singing voice?
Horowitz: I don't know if it's a surprise but the fact that our cast can do this is fantastic. We knew they were super talented but they've all sort of taken to it.
Kitsis: I think you're going to be shocked by every single one of them to be quite honest. Obviously, we knew that Josh Dallas did musical theater in London and we knew everyone else, but when you really hear them, it's great because people don't realize how talented these actors are. What we hope you'll see is they all have unique styles and abilitiies. The songs have a variety to them. It's a lot of fun to see what a Emma Swan song is and what a Captain Hook song is or what an Evil Queen song is. They all have a unique feel and hopefully they all feel like part of the show. We're really excited. We just started recording the songs and we're about to shoot in about a week.
Once Upon a Time returns Sunday, March 5 at 8/7c.