Once Upon A Time Season 6: Creators Eddy Kitsis and Adam Horowitz Exclusive Interview

Will we see Rumbelle? How about CaptainSwan? Those were a few of the questions I got on Twitter after seeing the Once Upon A Time Season 6 premiere during a recent event. I am not going to give any spoilers, but I will share what the creators Eddy Kitsis and Adam Horowitz talked about in this exclusive Once Upon A Time interview.



Once Upon A Time Season 6

Welcome to Storybrooke, a small town in Maine that you won’t find on any map. This town is full of magic, populated by fairytale characters once cursed by the Evil Queen Regina to live in our world—deprived of their memories and happy endings. Until Emma Swan came to town and changed everything. With the help of her son, Henry, Emma embraced her true identity as the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming—the Savior destined to break the Curse. But even after returning everyone’s memories, Emma’s mission was far from over. With the Curse broken, Mr. Gold (aka Rumplestiltskin) was free to bring magic to Storybrooke. And magic ALWAYS comes with a price…

ONCE UPON A TIME - Executive producers and cast of "Once Upon a Time" were featured at the Comic-Con Convention in San Diego, California, on July 23, 2016. (ABC/Todd Wawrychuk) ADAM HOROWITZ (EXECUTIVE PRODUCER), EDWARD KITSIS (EXECUTIVE PRODUCER)
ONCE UPON A TIME – Executive producers Adam Horowitz and Eddy Kitis (ABC/Todd Wawrychuk)

Having a chance to sit down with the creators is a treat. Without any spoilers, but lots of teasers, here’s a big chunk of the interview with Eddy Kitsis and Adam Horowitz.

Let’s talk about Emma, what’s going on with her this season? 

Adam: The show remains a show about hope. So our characters are going to fight for that hope and to see if that faith that is in line with that. 

ONCE UPON A TIME - "The Savior" - As "Once Upon a Time" returns to ABC for its sixth season, SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 25 (8:00-9:00 p.m. EDT), on the ABC Television Network, so does its classic villain-the Evil Queen. (ABC/Jack Rowand) JENNIFER MORRISON

Eddy: But I think what we wanted to do was get inside Emma’s head. Six years ago when we met her, the very first thing she did to Henry is she said, I don’t believe any of this, she even denied having a kid. We’ve seen her grow and fight in all these travels, and we thought, well what would happen if you did all this? You know, what is it? Is it fair to return to the happy ending to everyone else and then we told yours doesn’t count? And would you still keep doing your job? Are you doing it out of the sake of duty or because you believe in it?  And what kind of role model and what does this take on you?  And so we wanted to get into Emma’s head this year in a character way and explore what it means to have this responsibility. 

Can you explain the concept of the untold story and how it is going to affect our regular characters?

Adam: In the past, we’ve seen the characters within Storybrook who have been effective by the curse, whose stories intersect with our characters, in the case of characters whose happy endings have been ripped away by the Evil Queen and her curse. With the Land of Untold Stories, it’s a little bit different, and what we’re exploring is the characters who have run away from their stories, who have left them and gone to this other place. Now they find themselves in Storybrooke in stories that may have been put on pause and resumed. So rather than stories that necessarily that have ended in a certain way, these are stories that were midstream that, for whatever reason, these characters didn’t want to see it continue. And it’s a different way of looking at what some of these classic characters have gone through and finding another way that they can kind of intersect with our characters.

So did the characters then have the control in their stories?

Eddy: It’s the same sort of control that I think any of the characters have had, which is, that they have free will in their lives and are moving forward. But there are forces on antagonism, like for our Storybrooke characters it was the Evil Queen when she casts that curse. For these characters, many of them met forces on antagonism that are like, “I don’t want to deal with this,” and then went somewhere else.

What was the selection process like for choosing the untold stories? How deep are you going? How much of that time is focusing on those untold stories? 

Adam: We have a dart board.

Eddy: Yes, like so for instance, the second episode is The Count of Monte Cristo, and The Count of Monte Cristo was a master of revenge. So that you’re going to see the story unfold where we realize he has the past with the Evil Queen, who we also know was interested in getting revenge. So for us, when we bring in new characters it is the fun of telling that story, how it all links back to our characters. And I think what you’ll see in this first ten episodes. The villain is obviously the Evil Queen, Rumple is not looking very heroic right now, and Zelena is caught between two sisters. So we’re going to see some chaos in Storybrooke unfold, but it’s a lot between our characters.

Adam: And there’s an early episode where we’re going to be seeing Cinderella again, we haven’t seen her in a number of seasons. Way back in season one when we first met her, she had this story about what happened in her childhood, giving it out with Rumple, but what it really was, it was a reflection of what Emma was going through at that time. And in the same way, I think and hope that you’ll see a lot of these stories are doing the same sort of thing.

What are some other characters we can expect to see this season, besides like Aladdin and Cinderella?

Adam: We are going to be seeing Captain Nemo. Ah, we are going…Oh, I can’t remember what we can say and what we want to keep a secret.

Eddy: I always get in trouble at this point.

Adam: Yeah. He really forgets what’s aired or not. Captain Nemo, Count of Monte Cristo, Cinderella, Aladdin, Jasmine, Jafar.

Eddy: We’re going to meet The Evil Stepmom from Cinderella, we’re going to meet the evil stepsisters. We’re going to see a lot more of Archie, this year, Jiminy Cricket, Elroy and the Dwarfs, our normal group of people in The Land of Untold Stories.

Adam: You know what’s really fun is kind of what Eddy’s just saying about these other characters, they haven’t been on the show in years. But they are popping back up and in the last few seasons, our characters have been going on journeys. Whether it’s to Neverland or the Underworld, now they’re back in Storybrooke trying to make a life for themselves there. So we’re trying to dig more into what daily life is, what normal is. In an early episode, you’re going to see Snow White ask the question of what is normal. And how do we get back to it? And that’s something that she-she kind of strives towards and in doing that, it allows us to see these characters that we’ve grown to love writing for, and hopefully the fans enjoy seeing as well, pop in and out of all of their lives. And will hopefully kind of create that big sense of community in a sort of way.

ONCE UPON A TIME - "The Savior" - As "Once Upon a Time" returns to ABC for its sixth season, SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 25 (8:00-9:00 p.m. EDT), on the ABC Television Network, so does its classic villain-the Evil Queen. (ABC/Jack Rowand) COLIN O'DONOGHUE, HANK HARRIS, JENNIFER MORRISON, JOSH DALLAS, LANA PARRILLA, JARED S. GILMORE
ONCE UPON A TIME – “The Savior” – As “Once Upon a Time” (ABC/Jack Rowand)

Six seasons into the show you guys are at the point where it’s not true love as romantic love, it can be a parent and a child, or between siblings. Can you talk about sort of exploring moving away from what traditional happy ending or true love story would be? 

Eddy: I think that’s absolutely true. This show has always been about a family. There’s a lot of romance, and you’re going to see the first few episodes have a lot of that romance in them, but at the end of the day, the curse was broken between a son and a mom. And family comes first on this show, and that is important to us. I think that also we try to do real life like Neil. Neil is Emma’s first boyfriend, we all have them, and you don’t marry them usually, you move on, and you learn from them. And they become a how to of what not to do or what to do, but that’s what they were, and that was real to us.

Adam: Same with Regina with Daniel, which there’s nothing un-untrue about that love or impure about it, but she moved on, and she found love with Robin and subsequent we lost him. But to Eddy’s point it’s character roaming and experiencing things, and the goal of the show has always been not to have it just be a pattern.

Eddy: And I think that also that’s the question you’re going to see Snow White ask, what is a happy ending? Like everyone kind of expects it to be like in life, aren’t you always like, if only I got here I would be so happy. And then you get there, and you look up, and you go, I actually want to be there. And these stories, they end with happily ever after, which means they go on. They very rarely say, “the end.” So there is no period at the end of this, so how do you live your life like that? You know, if you’re waiting around for here’s the three things that are going to make me happy and then I can just sit down and go, I’m happy, it doesn’t work like that. And I think the characters have to slowly start to realize that as well because I think that a lot of them just believe that true love’s kiss we wake up and we go off into the sunset, except for there’s another episode the next week and a new marshmallow monster comes to town.

Can we expect any more saviors this season because we had a lot of dark ones?

Eddy: I’ll say this, without trying to spoil too much. If last year we were exploring dark ones and that mythology, this year we really try to explore savior mythology. What it means to be a savior, who they could have been before, and who they could be next.

You’ve said over and over again, that this is a show about hope. For all of those fans out there who are still hoping that Robin Hood will come back, what do you say to them?

Sean Maguire Robin (ABC)

Eddy: I’d say dead is dead.

Adam: That, you know what, gone until the end.

Eddy: I will say this, we see those tweets every day, all three thousands of them every two seconds. I think that we’ve had losses on this show, we’ve had people come back, but we’re not going to the Underworld this year. So, I can tell you that a lot of this year is about Regina dealing with loss and moving on because I think Regina has the most unfair luck of anybody. But that’s kind of what makes her Regina.

Adam: And by moving on, we don’t mean like falling in love with someone right away. That’s not realistic to us for this was someone she did love, and who she did lose, and we hope that we deal with that grief and that aftermath in a real way.

Regarding Regina sort of having this hope that Robin did have a peaceful ending and his soul wasn’t obliterated, is that something she’s going to pursue or is that sort of like a caption under the storyline?

Eddy: I think the thing about faith is you have to choose to have it, and if you need proof then you don’t really have it. So that was the lesson that she learned in this, and I think that’s what Henry said. 

How do you think Regina is now a different hero because she has hope?

ONCE UPON A TIME - "The Savior" - As "Once Upon a Time" returns to ABC for its sixth season, SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 25 (8:00-9:00 p.m. EDT), on the ABC Television Network, so does its classic villain-the Evil Queen. (ABC/Jack Rowand) LANA PARRILLA
ONCE UPON A TIME – “The Savior” – As “Once Upon a Time” (ABC/Jack Rowand) LANA PARRILLA

Adam: Regina’s embracing of hope and embracing of this idea that she is now somehow different after separating the queen out of her is what we’re really going to dive into. How different is she? And what has changed really? Is it as simple as just the bad parts are taken out? It’s not as simple as that, and that’s something that we’re starting to look into. And it’s going to change her and make her grow, and make her face things that she hasn’t faced yet before.

You had described Rumple and kind of the devilish, and the first thing I thought of was Walter White. Where do you find inspiration for the characters and their stories?

Eddy: You find them everywhere. You find them from life or TV shows. Like Walter White saying I like this life absolutely was amazing. Um, Michael Corleone closing the door when his wife realizes he’s gone to the other side. All these images stick in our mind. For us, Rumple was always kind of this mixture of Bowie and Mick Jagger and then he’s the Godfather. And you mix those two together. And so you’ve got Mick Jagger if he was a crime boss, and that is kind of where we came this from. When we sat down, we always said it’s fairytales through a Bowie video which is why you see all these little touches. We draw inspiration for the characters everywhere and in real life. 

As “Once Upon a Time” returns to ABC for its sixth season, SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 25 (8:00–9:00 p.m. EDT), on the ABC Television Network. 

In the season premiere episode, “The Savior,” as our heroes set out to stop Hyde, Emma develops a mysterious side effect, and Storybrooke becomes a haven for people from the Land of Untold Stories. Meanwhile, Regina and Zelena embrace their newfound sisterhood by becoming roommates, while Rumple tries to free Belle from the sleeping Curse with the help of a stranger. In flashback, Jafar confronts an afflicted Aladdin in Agrabah, and a secret about the Savior is revealed.

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*I was invited by ABC to take part in a screening of Once Upon a Time Season 6, Episode 1 to share my experience with my readers. All opinions are my own.
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