ABC brought the executive producers and cast from Once Upon a Time to the Televistion Critic Association Summer Press Tour to discuss the upcoming changes coming in Season 7. On stage to answer questions included: Executive Producers Adam Horowitz, Edward Kitsis, and David H Goodman were joined on stage at the Beverly Hilton with actors Lana Parrilla, Colin O’Donoghue, Andrew J. West, Gabrielle Anwar and Dania Ramirez.

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In the aftermath of the show’s Season 6 finale, many familiar characters will be gone, but fans will see the return of new versions of Regina, Hook and an older Henry played by West. They will be joined by Cinderella (Ramirez) and Cinderella’s evil stepmother (Anwar). 

Check out some of the highlights from the Once Upon a Time TCA panel.

Changes in Once Upon a Time Season 7

“I would say what we’re planning to do is we have a grown-up Henry, and he has found himself in a new book with new characters, and he’s called on some of his friends, like Captain Hook and Rumpelstiltskin and, of course, his mom, the Evil Queen, to come join us. So we’re going to have a new curse in a new town with new characters, but we’ll still see some old faces,” Kitsis said.

Bye-bye Storybrooke

Once Upon a Time is headed to the big city. Goodman says the tale will leave Storybrooke, “very small bucolic town,” in order to “open things up in terms of a little bit of tone and the kind of stories we’re going to be telling.”

Building on the Show’s 6 Year History, including Emma and Belle’s Happy Endings

“We’re not looking to get rid of any of the happy endings that we have created or set up or ended with,” Kitsis said. “We’re not trying to take anything away. We are moving forward and we think we have a way to achieve both things.” 

He added that what happened between Emma and Hook will be answered in Episode 2 this upcoming season, while Episode 4 will do the same for Belle.

“I would say that what happened in the first six seasons of the show remains deeply rooted in the DNA what’s going forward,” Horowitz added. “We are telling new stories with some of the characters from the first six seasons and with the new characters, but what came before – we were all very cognizant, as we write the show and as we perform the show, and we are always thinking of the fans.”

Henry and Cinderella’s Romance

“This season Henry and Cinderella is going to kind of be the epic romance that we had Season 1 with Snow and Charming,” Kitsis teased.  “… we haven’t shown them meet yet.  We haven’t shown the relationship yet. In fact, all you saw last year was adult Henry with their daughter, and they hinted at his mother, and this year we’ll be actually showing you how they met, how they fell in love, how they were ripped apart and wondering whether or not they’ll find each other in Seattle.”

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A Different Hook

“When we meet Hook at the start of this season, he is a uniformed cop in Seattle,” O’Donoghue said. “He’s different from … .any of the other ten different Hooks that I’ve played over the five or six seasons. He’s definitely– I describe him as, … there’s a sense of loss there in the guy, and I think that he just doesn’t know what it is that’s missing. So he’s striving in some way to find who he is still, yet the Hook that we meet is trying to be the best uniformed cop that he can be, and do things the right way.”

Not Regina!

Regina isn’t named Regina when the show returns, but her new name will remain secret for now at least. “I’m no longer in pantsuits.  I’m in denim and rock Tshirts. When we meet her, this other version of Regina, she’s working in a bar. She’s a bar owner,” Parrilla teased.

“She’s a little rough around the edges, not the queen that we’re used to. She has curly hair. She looks very different. She feels different.  Like Colin, I also played so many different versions of this character and this one feels really different. All the other versions were evolutions of the character. And this one’s like I mean, her name’s not even Regina,” Parrilla continued.

Henry and Regina – Strangers?

According to Parrilla and West, the cursed Henry and Regina in Hyperion Heights won’t know each other. 

Kitsis expands on this by comparing this mother-son relationship in the two different worlds, “I think that you’re going to see in the fairytale side Regina looking at Henry who is grown up and having to find herself a mother to an adult.”

“And at the same time, I think you’re going to see in Seattle, they don’t know each other but are drawn together similar to the way that Emma and Mary Margaret were Season 1.”

Once Upon a Time season 7 begins Friday, October 6 at 8/7c on ABC. Want more news? Like our OUAT Facebook page. 

(Image courtesy of ABC)  

Carla Day

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV

Contributing Editor and Writer for Collider, BuddyTV, TV Fanatic, CliqueClack, and other publications. TV criticism, reviews, interviews with actors and producers, and other related content. Founder of TV Diehard.