As we move toward the Season 3 finale of "Once Upon a Time," executive producers Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis answer burning questions about what fans can look forward to for the rest of the season. As you can imagine, they promise it will be jam packed as the residents of Storybrooke get ready for the showdown when Regina (Lana Parrilla) and Emma (Jennifer Morrison) take on the Wicked Witch (Rebecca Mader),.
They also discuss whether or not Henry (Jared Gilmore) will get his memory back, if there a future for Hook (Colin O'Donoghue) and Emma, and if there will be a "Frozen" character added to the cast. To get the answers to these questions and more, check out what Adam and Eddie had to say at my roundtable at the 2014 WonderCon in Anaheim, CA.
We have this big showdown coming between the Wicked Witch and Emma and Regina. Emma is training for it now. Did the Wicked Witch need to be that much more powerful than Regina? Why did Regina and Emma need to come together to fight the WW?
Eddie: You will find out that the Wicked Witch is the product of severe dark magic, so you would need light magic to counteract that. But for us, what we really liked when we came up with the Wicked Witch, is somebody who was just a natural at magic. Her being so proficient in magic and Regina recognizing that would throw her off her game. When you think you are the best, and you find out that the person who told you were the best really didn't think you were the best, how do you come back from that?
Adam: Also, what's the fun in a villain that is easy to defeat? We wanted to find an antagonist in the Wicked Witch that is more than a match for all of our characters and to give her, really, a deep, psychological reason for why she is doing what she's doing, have those things touch all of our characters and force them to figure out ways to battle a tougher adversary than they have ever faced before.
Coming up on the finale, what can you tease? Will Henry get his memory back?
Adam: The issue of Henry and his memory gets resolved and it comes to the forefront rather quickly, obviously, before the end of the year. What happens with Henry is really key to what happens in the climax between our heroes and the witch.
Eddie: I could say we designed this season to be two seasons. There was Neverland , and as we said, there was a beginning, middle and an end. So for the Wicked Witch, it is the same thing. We plan to complete this season's arc, so that what we set up in the beginning of these 12 episodes will finish up by the end.
We've found out a little bit about what happened to Hook during the year that nobody remembers. Are we going to get more memories back before the finale?
Adam: I think that the mystery of that missing year will be definitely resolved before the end of this year.
Eddie: We will see a big chunk of that in the episode called "A Curious Thing."
You do a great job of taking good characters and making them not so good, and taking bad characters and giving them justifiable motivations. Are we ever going to be sympathetic to the Wicked Witch?
Eddie: To us, anyone who wants to live 14 forever is the most selfish person in the world. When we knew Peter Pan was Rumpel's dad, we wanted his end goal just to be self-preservation. We loved the idea of selfishness as opposed to world domination. The Wicked Witch, I think if you felt for her in ‘It's Not Easy Being Green,' then you feel for her. If you think that she handled it badly, then you want her to die. I think it's your interpretation of whether or not had she had more support and love in her life, she'd have gone down a different road.
Adam: I think as far as the witch goes we've shown some of the past that shaped her into who she was. We're going to delve a bit more into her and what she's doing and why, and we'll see more of that. It's up to the audience to decide whether that's sympathetic or not.
Eddie: We can tell you that she's wicked.
Adam: She's wicked. A lot of our so-called evil characters, or bad characters, are characters who take adversity and things that happen to all of us and they react in a different way. Hopefully, you understand the reasoning behind their reaction, even if you don't condone the way they do it.
Can you talk about the decision to kill Baelfire/Neal?
Adam: It's not something we take lightly. We love the character, we love Michael Raymond-James. When you're telling a large serialized story like we're endeavoring to do, there are ups and downs in that story for these characters. This was one of the most difficult things we've had to do on this show in the entire run.
Eddie: Yes. For us, we loved the idea of him when he lost Emma and Henry at the end of the first 11 and they went to New York. We loved the idea of him starting to go down the same path his father did which was, "I will do anything to get with my son, no matter the cost." And then realizing that his father sacrificed himself for him, so the person that he always thought was a coward finally redeemed himself, and so Neal had to honor that. We liked that kind of history repeating itself and then not. Unfortunately, that meant he had to die.
Adam: And I would also say this about his death, which is that the ripples of the death have not stopped being felt. As you continue to watch this season, I think you'll see that play out.
Any chance August Booth will be back anytime soon?
Eddie: Not this year, but definitely. We love Eion Bailey and we love that character. He's always on our mind.
Adam: August is in our mind and how to continue to incorporate him in the show., but not this year.
How far ahead are you thinking?
Adam: I would say this, if we're lucky enough to continue for however many years, we sort of attack that. We try to have a broad sense of where we would want the show to ultimately finish and end, whenever that might be. But we can really only attack it one season at a time. What we try to do is plan out the entire arc of a season with the hope that there's further seasons beyond that to sort of set the pieces in place for that. But, to say, do we have an idea for what Season 7 would be? No. Do we have an idea of where we would like the show to ultimately go? Yes.
Eddie: We kind of know the last couple scenes and where we want to get to. And what we do is in between seasons – in fact, we're doing it right now – is we are planning next season, and then we all go take a little time off and come back.
Why do you think parenthood is such a strong motif in this show?
Eddie: Well, I think there's no greater stakes than family. I think family is a very universal theme and, I think, the things that are interesting about fairy tales is they tell us how to live our life, or be with our family, or how we deal with the loss of a family member. And, for us, this was always about a dysfunctional family trying to come together and get their happy ending. For us, what's more emotional? If Peter Pan was just some really snotty kid, at the end of the day, it doesn't mean anything. But when you realize he's Rumpel's father, and you go back to everything that Rumpel's ever done: "I don't want to be a coward. I don't want to be like my dad," the fact that he let Bae go and it drove him nuts because he did to his son what he did to his father, it makes it richer. People were like, ‘Did Bae have to be Henry's dad and that?' If he was just some guy named Steve, who cares? Right? Think that through. "Okay, he's a guy named Steve. He's living in Detroit," who cares?”
Adam: It's not to say that everybody has to be related or any of that. It's that that kind of bond, the familial bond, is so strong, so powerful, that there's no greater stake, for us, at least to think about when you're writing which is: How do you interact with your family? How do you raise a family? How do you be a part of a family? Or, how do you find a family? Because your family doesn't have to be blood. You can find a family. That's the greatest thing you can see with the characters is when they find each other and they can come together and form their own family.
What does the future hold for Hook and Emma?
Adam Horowitz: As far as Hook and Emma…
Eddie: …there's more to be told.”
Adam: There's more to be told and there's a lot of craziness going on in Storybrooke right now that they've both got to deal with.
Eddie: Unfortunately, Emma wants to go back to New York, and Hook wants her to stay, so we'll see what happens.
Are the rumors true that you are trying to get a "Frozen" character?
Eddie: We were asked a question, "Do we like Frozen?" And we said, "We love Frozen. It would be awesome." Somehow that has become a story. I also like Darth Vader, but he is not coming on. You never say never.
Adam: We are fans of Frozen. We are fans of Brave. We are fans of a million Disney properties, fairy tales and stories that we feel would be great parts of this show. What we're doing now this season is we are really focusing on the characters that you've seen, the ones we've introduced and where we might go in the future is stuff we are hoping to mull over and surprise people with.
How can you top this season?
Eddie: I don't know. That is what keeps us up at night.
Adam: But the challenge is to always try to raise the bar. To try to keep developing and deepening the story and keep taking it to new places. That is what we push ourselves to do and we hope to continue to be able to keep doing that.
"Once Upon a Time" airs Sunday nights at 8 p.m. on ABC.