'Once Upon a Time' Comic-Con panel: The Little Mermaid to appear in season 3

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Image Credit: Denis Poroy/Getty Images

The Panel: Adam Horowitz, Edward Kitsis, Ginnifer Goodwin (Snow White/Mary Margaret), Jennifer Morrison (Emma Swan), Josh Dallas (Prince Charming/David), Emilie de Ravin (Belle/Lacey), Collin O’Donoghue (Captain Hook), Robert Carlyle (Rumplestiltskin/Mr. Gold), Lana Parilla (Evil Queen/Regina), Michael Raymond-James (Balefire/Neal)

Footage Screened: A short clip that kicked off with Grumpy/Leroy whistling the “High Ho” song as he took a lunch break, a nice little touch in itself. He opened his lunch box, and looked out over the sea. Suddenly, a thin, pale hand reached into his lunch box and stole his fork! He followed the footprints to a blue dress draped over some driftwood, and, lamenting the loss of his fork, peered into the waves. A head of magnificent red hair rose to the surface, clutching the fork in victory, and then the girl dove under the water, exposing a delightfully shiny blue tail.

There was also a quick “commercial break” – a morning show called “Good Morning Storybrooke,” hosted by Yvette Nicole Brown and Paul Scheer featuring dating advice from Dr. Whale and a low budget commercial for Mr. Gold’s pawn shop. “If you lived it, I have it!” Robert Carlyle narrated in the clip – noting that all the significant magical objects from the show have found their way into his hands. (The full episode of “Good Morning Storybrooke” will be available on the season 2 DVD.)

Snap Judgement: Although Horiwitz and Kitsis were tight-lipped about the actual plot of the upcoming season, they emphasized that anything can happen in Neverland.

The cast riffed about the different ‘ships – notably the one that pairs Emma and Hook. Collin O’Donoghue and Michael Raymond James, who were seated next to each other, offered to fight it out onstage. When O’Donoghue mused that perhaps it was time for Hook to get over Mila, Josh Dallas responded by saying “not with my daughter!” So it remains to be seen how the relationships will shift, but Kitsis and Horowitz assured us that Snow and Charming were solid. Asked about the possibility of a seperation, Jennifer Morrison jumped in, “We all just started suffering, thinking about that.” “I won’t stop trying,” Lana Parilla intoned.

As for the mysterious Peter Pan, Horizitz and Kitsis promised he will be non-traditional, and maybe a little frightening. They said the Neverland on “Once” will be recognizable, but with a few special twists. For example, Tinkerbell will have an unlikely connection to one of the characters – and meeting her will reveal some surprises.

The Big Revelations: Ariel! The Little Mermaid will definitely make an appearance, and hopefully be a regular character on the upcoming season. Also, season 3 will run in two sets of 11 episodes each — one block in the fall and one in the spring.

Most Incisive Audience Question: A fan asked the cast where they you think their characters belong – Storybrooke or Fairy Tale Land? After looking around at each other, they all sort of spoke at once that their characters need to be in their land of origin. Robert Carlyle said they’re all trying to get back there, because that is home.

The group who sailed off to Neverland in the finale of season 2, when asked about the time spent on The Jolly Roger, responded that they still feel like the earth is moving under their feel. O’Donoghue looked around incredulously at his fellow cast mates and said he loved it! He’s a sea captain through and through.

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