The “Once Upon A Time” panel followed hot on the heels of the “Once Upon A Time in Wonderland” panel, and as much as fans enjoyed visiting the spin-off, they were even more excited to see the landing of the mothership.
Creators Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz returned to the stage, followed by Ginnifer Goodwin (Snow), Jennifer Morrison (Emma Swan), Lana Parrilla (Regina), Josh Dallas (Prince Charming), Robert Carlyle (Mr. Gold), Ellie DeRavin (Belle), Colin O’Donoghue (Captain Hook), Michael Raymond James (Baelfire).
The mood was immediately jovial. James appeared wearing an Angry Birds hat, which Dallas teased him about. When the show’s leads — Carlyle, Donoghue, Morrison and Parrilla — were asked about their characters being trapped on a boat at the start of season three, there was joking about getting wet and getting bruised on the rocky voyage.
But quickly, the focus turned to the series matter of when the show will be airing. Horowitz told the audience, “In the fall, we’re running 11 episodes in a row uninterrupted, then 11 in the spring.”
Charles was asked to discuss playing twins on the show (which, given that one twin is dead, will be limited to flashbacks). “Of course, they were separated when they were very young. They had different parents, different circumstances and that made them different people. And we have Charming on his own journey now.”
Goodwin addressed what might be ahead for Snow from an emotional perspective. “I think what we learned last season is she doesn’t always do the right thing. What goes up must come down. She’s always been one end of the pendulum swing and she went very far in the other direction. Now she needs to find out who she is.”
After Parrilla and Carlyle joked around about how many people their characters have killed “In the five hundreds,” Parilla said), the Evil Queen hinted, “My favorite kill is coming up in season three.”
Finally, the looming question about when Peter Pan was going to show up was tossed to the show creators. “The journey was really us waiting on lawyers. But last year we saw the shadow, we saw the Darlings… we have not met Peter Pan and we have not gone to Neverland, and that’s where we’re going.”
But is Peter Pan a villain? Signs point toward yes, though Hororwitz would only say, “Peter has a complicated motivation, maybe.”
“He might be frightening to some people,” Kitsis said.
“We will be seeing a lot of Neverland and some it, of course, will be those characters you remember from the book. It’s a fantastical island; it’s the place where imagination comes from and where anything can happen,” he continued. But will there be Tinkerbell? “You all have to believe to see her,” he hinted.
Horowitz was more helpful. “We’re taking the icon and putting our spin on her. She has a surprising connection to someone at this table.” That someone is someone other than Hook, by the way.
O’Donoghue talked about taking on the iconic character of Hook. “When I met Eddie and Allen, we talked about taking a different spin. He’s a little ‘Princess Bride,’ and there’s a few of my friends from back home in there. Once I put the leather jacket on, I become this weird person…”
Colin is a gentleman in real life and a spicy gentleman when he puts on the leather jacket,” Morrison joked.
The panel was asked to talk about their most challenging experiences filming the show. “Fire. Dragons,” Goodwin said quickly.
“I spent a lot of time hanging from a giant green inner tube and biting it one and over again. I thought I had chocolate on my lip, and I had bruised it from biting it over and over,” Morrison said of her time spent in front of a green screen, pretending to bite the finger of the giant (Jorge Garcia).
Though Garcia may come back to reprise his role, Kitsis said, “We love Jorge. We always knew we wanted to make a giant into a dwarf. But right now we’re in Neverland and we’re going to see the people on this stage for a while.”
It was then time to watch a short presentation of the lighthearted and goofy “Good Morning Storybrooke.” A parody of a small-town morning show, it featured typical segments, including Dr. Whale offering love advice, Ruby stumbling through a hilariously horrible ad for Granny’s Diner and other Storybrooke-appropriate activities. Nicole Brown of “Community” showed up as a co-host.
Then, it was on to more questions. Emile DeRavin mentioned the hashtag #belleformayor, which inspired Parrilla to sneer, “Like I said, someone dies [this season].”
When a fan asked how Belle would react to having a bun in the oven courtesy of Gold, she said, “I think confusion then a little scared of knowing, because would it be a Belle child or a dark child. Or it could be twins, one good and one evil.”
But the real dish came in a video clip which showed Grumpy the dwarf finding his lunch fork had been stolen — and the footprints lead to a redheaded woman in the water who flips a fishy tail as she swims away. Ariel, ya think?
Are you excited about Peter Pan as a villain? What do you think the show will do with Ariel?