Fairy Tale Flashbacks: We were thrilled to learn that Belle’s (Emilie de Ravin) mother, played by the amazing Frances O’Connor, will be joining our spell-binding series for a bit this year, however fans should be aware that these mother/daughter scene will strictly be in flashback form. “The story is really going to be about Belle’s time before she met Rumple, which is an area we kind of haven’t discovered,” Kitsis explained.
In fact, we’re going to be traveling back in time a lot this year in order to discover new sides to some of our favorite characters. “With our flashbacks this season, we’re excited to explore the times before,” Kitsis said. “We’re going to get more into Emma growing up as a teenager, Charming before he met Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin) when he was on the farm and many more.” Who else is dying to see more of Bailee Madison as young Snow?!
Rumbelle Romance: If you thought last season’s Rumbelle wedding was swoon-worthy, you might want to take a seat for before you read this next sentence: “All the Rumbelle fans should be excited because in the premiere they’re going to see the honeymoon,” Kitsis spilled. Did you guys hear that?! The Honeymoon! And that’s not all… “There is going to be a very iconic scene that the audience is going to go, ‘I can’t believe they haven’t done that yet!’ It is iconic [scene] from the film, but [set] in our modern world,” he said. Our money is most definitely on the legendary Beauty and the Beast ballroom scene!
Additionally, the OUAT showrunners exclusively revealed to us that fans are in for an incredible treat when season four debuts. Horowitz explained, “In the premiere there is going to be a nod to something very iconic in the Disney lore that we have not talked about yet and we haven’t yet referred to on the show.” Adding to his partner’s tease, Kitsis continued, “I would say Rumple (Robert Carlyle) is going to come into possession of something very iconic to Disney, and launch a story in a world that the audience is not expecting.” Okay, who else thinks it could be the magical red rose with the withering petals?
How are you ensuring that the non-Frozen characters continue to get screen time while you mine this new world?
Horowitz: What we’re trying to do is not make the show just the Frozen show. We want to tell this Frozen story, but as you’ll see, their story is going to relate to our core characters from Once Upon a Time.
Kitsis: It was very important that it still [feels like it’s] Once Upon a Time. It’s not the Frozen sequel; it is the characters from Frozen coming to Once Upon a Time. So important stories like Rumpel and Belle, Hook and Emma, Regina and Robin Hood, Snow White and Charming and their baby — all those stories that we left last season are still very central to the storytelling of season four and will be explored further. Once fans can relax — we have no intentions of sidelining those stories for Frozen.
Can we expect nods to Frozen songs, like “Do You Want to Build a Snowman” and “Let It Go”?
Horowitz: Oh, for sure! We are huge, massive fans of that movie and we can’t help ourselves. There are nods to many things from that movie.
Kitsis: As we say, this is the most expensive fan fiction ever.
At Comic-Con, a scene from the season-four premiere showed Regina recruiting an old friend, The Mirror, to help her get rid of Elsa. So who’s the biggest threat to Regina, Marian or Elsa?
Kitsis: The bigger threat in her mind is definitely Marian. We’ve shown three seasons of growth for the Evil Queen, and now she’s really faced with her first emotional setback, which is she thought she had her happy ending. And when you go back and look at the finale last year, you see her and Robin Hood coming to that party. For the very first time on the show, [Marian] really looked happy, and that’s been taken away. So for us, it’s a now what? The old Regina would immediately rip everyone’s heart out. Will this Regina revert to heart wrecking, or will she evolve? And we’re going to find that out quickly in the premiere. But Regina is also going to be launched on a new quest with Henry this year. We’ve seen Henry in Operation Cobra with Emma, but we’re going to see a new one with Regina that we’re very excited about. And this is actually one that will transcend, although the first 11 will be Frozen, this is an arc that will go the whole season.
"Regina is also going to be launched on a new quest with Henry this year. We’ve seen Henry in Operation Cobra with Emma, but we’re going to see a new one with Regina that we’re very excited about. And this is actually one that will transcend, although the first 11 will be Frozen, this is an arc that will go the whole season.” [x]
In the finale, Emma and Captain Hook seemed to be taking their relationship to the next level. Is season four their attempt at being a “normal” couple?
Horowitz: There’s no chance that Emma — the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming — and Captain Hook will ever be a normal couple, but their feelings obviously reached a new boiling point at the end of last season. And we’re going to continue to explore those feelings, and we’re going to continue to explore how they can or can’t get closer.
Kitsis: But in a real way. Emma has had a lifetime of putting up walls, so one kiss does not mean love and [let’s] go register at Pottery Barn. As for Hook, we’re going to see some old rivalries. We can’t forget that as much as he loves Emma and has done the right thing for her, we’ve seen him do horrible things in the past because he’s a pirate. He and Rumpelstiltskin unfortunately are going to find their detente coming to an end.