Can villains have happy endings? Once Upon A Time's Regina (Lana Parrilla) doesn't believe they can, but rather than just resign herself to living an angry, vengeful, one-note existence, the third season of the ABC fairytale drama sees her pushing aside old grievances and rivalries to put someone else first. Sure, she has her own motivations for doing so, and they are not entirely selfless, but in doing so, she may just prove she is worthy of a happy ending after all.
"Regina and Emma are a team for obvious reasons. They start to talk about themselves as the 'mothers of Henry.' I found that to be quite refreshing. For the first two seasons, all I kept saying was, 'He's my son, he's my son, he's my son,' and this year, he's our son, and we have to save our son. And I like that. I like that they're coming together. Because really the war between-- it's not so much between Emma and Regina, it's more between Regina and Snow. I feel like everything is shifting. It's been an interesting third season. We're playing different sides to the characters, but I'd guess anyone would when you're in a crisis like this, right? Survival mode kicks in and different characteristics come out," Parrilla said when LA TV Insider Examiner sat down with her on set in Vancouver.
So Once Upon A Time fans shouldn't assume that just because Regina is putting "her ego aside to fight for the life of a child" now, she doesn't still hold a grudge against Snow (Ginnifer Goodwin). Parrilla shared that even when there are no explicit lines of dialogue that call for her to mock Snow or threaten Snow, she will throw in little eye rolls or looks of disdain in reaction to some of the things the Charmings are doing that Regina doesn't love or fully agree with but which she will go along (for now) for the sake of saving her son.
"I think she's growing increasingly impatient," Parrilla said.
"Regina will reach a point where she just can't be one of the Charmings. And she's learning how to be both good and evil and to embrace that. I think that's what's really special about Neverland: it's a land of truth. And it forces everyone to look at their demons and make a choice. Whether or not you're going to stay the same or you're going to confront your past and deal with these issues and grow from them and move forward."
Neverland is a scary place, and though he looks like just a boy, so is Peter Pan (Robbie Kay). Regina certainly didn't think twice of using her magic and creating countless fireballs to defend her group at first, but in doing so, she showed Pan was she was capable of, and that put a target on everyone's backs. It also could put a giant beacon on their place on the island at any given time, so going forward in the search for Henry (Jared Gilmore), Regina is going to have to (grudgingly, we're sure) come to terms with corking her magic in order to keep the group hidden as much as possible from Pan.
"Using magic in Neverland is like shooting up smoke signals or like one of those flares that go, 'Hey, I'm over here! Come find us!' which is not what we want to do, especially if we're sneaking on to the island. So Regina is not allowed to use magic as much as she'd like," Parrilla said.
"There was a lot of talk about how magic works in Neverland. It's different than Storybrooke in the second season, and just a little bit wonky and nothing quite worked the way she had hoped. In Neverland, it's more like she's being contained-- her magic is being contained-- and she's being forbidden to use it. And that's because when we use magic, it alerts Pan and the Lost Boys where we are. So it's been quite frustrating for Regina to have to go the Charming route, which is with swords and…I never have props! It's so unfair; everyone has a prop. Everyone has like a sword or dagger or knife of some kind, and I'm like, 'I don't have my fireball, I can't use magic!' I find she's at the mercy of the Charmings for a little bit before she gets really fed up."
Once Upon A Time airs on ABC on Sunday nights at 8 p.m.
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