'Once Upon a Time' post-mortem: Bosses talk tonight's Peter Pan debut, tease what's to come

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Image Credit: Jack Rowand/ABC

Did you like the season premiere, Oncers? Good. We did, too. (Here’s our full recap of the episode.) But we were also filled with burning questions. So when a group of reporters got a chance to sit down with EPs Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz to talk about the premiere last week, we can armed and ready.

Want the scoop? Read on…

On Neverland: 
Neverland is a place where people must confront their past, says Kitsis. And for our characters — whose histories are muddled, to say the least — this will prove a difficult place to navigate. “Our inspiration was the idea that these character would have to return to who they were before the curse in order to [get Henry back] and we wanted to have them dig deeper into what everything means,” said Kitsis. Horowitz adds, “as the season progresses, we wanted to use [Neverland] as a prism to see these characters more clearly and more deeply.”

On the big confrontation between Snow and Regina and Charming and Hook: 
Tensions came to blows on the big pirate ship in tonight’s season premiere, but overall, Kitsis says the scene helped set the tone for the journey that is before them. “We knew we just wanted them to be like, ‘We getting on this road trip together because we’re all united under Henry.’ And it’s like any road trip, the first hour is like, ‘Yeah!’ Second hour is like, ‘Why would you buy Cool Ranch Doritos? This car f—king smells. Are you kidding me? We have three hours!’ And we wanted to build that up and have them go at it and have Emma basically step up and say, ‘I’m the coach and we’re getting our son. Boom.'”

On Peter Pan: 
Yes, Peter Pan (Robbie Kay) is totally creepy. But in traditional Once fashion, we will learn he wasn’t always that way, says Horowitz. “What we’ve said before on the show — and what we’ve pretty much said this since season one — is in our minds, evil isn’t born, it’s made. That applies to all our villains, including Peter Pan,” he says. That said, Kitsis jokes they’re well aware he’s a “is a sick, twisted kid.”

On Hook and Emma: 
While fans who stump for a romantic future for Hook and Emma may have picked up on one or two fun exchanges between the two in the premiere, Horowitz and Kitsis kept under wraps their plans for the pair this season. “The whole relationship — ‘ship — thing is an awesome thing that fans bring to the experience of watching the show, but the story we’re telling kind of encompasses both the relationships between all the characters — potential romances and not — and the bigger emotional story,” says Horowitz. But with Neal presumed dead and Hook being a red-blooded normal dude, there could be some more flirtation on the way. Kitsis says, however, Emma remains focused on the mission. “Her heart’s been broken too many times for her to kind of be worried about dating right now. We’ll see. She’s got two handsome guys.”

On Robin Hood: 
We’ve finally met Robin Hood (Sean Maguire)! And we hope you like him because Kitsis and Horowitz say we’ve only just started to unravel his story. “I think you’re going to get a little more into him in the beginning of this year, and we’re definitely going to get a lot more of him in the second half,” says Kitsis. “Sean brings a great…sense of honor [to the role] but also a sense of playfulness, which we think Robin Hood needs.” Horowitz adds with a laugh, “And if need be he can sing.”

On Ariel:
Let’s be honest: mermaids are kind of bitches. They almost sunk our heroes and were generally surly. So does that mean the beloved Ariel, who will appear in episode 6, is also a less-than-friendly entity? Nope, says the duo. In fact, “she’s going to be different than the mermaids you saw in the premiere,” says Horowitz. “I think the spirit of Ariel you’re going to see — which JoAnna Garcia [Swisher] plays very well — is the spirit of somebody who wants to see the world and experience things outside of what they know,” says Kitsis. “And so we have our own little take on it, but I think the thing that make Ariel such a great character is the spirit within her definitely is within our Ariel.”

Five scooplets on the episodes to come:
1) We will see how Henry was adopted in episode 9.
2) In episode three, “we get a little more into Regina and what it’s like for her to be on this trip with people she detests,” says Horowitz.
3) Tinkerbell and the Darlings will both appear this season. “We haven’t forgotten about them,” says Horowitz.
4) Since Ariel is on her way, does that mean we’ll see Ursula as well? “There’s an excellent chance,” says Horowitz.
5) Episode 3 will show more of Neal’s journey with Mulan, Robin Hood, etc. and Horowitz teases we’ll see “a wrinkle to their story” appear.


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