“Once Upon A Time” wraps up its first season run on ABC this Sunday and the finale is so colossal, that when the executive producer in Vancouver first read the script, there were tears.
“He cried just because of the enormity of it,” Edward Kitsis, co-creator and executive producer, who wrote the finale with his fellow top boss Adam Horowitz, told AccessHollywood.com of Steve Pearlman’s reaction. “As we said when we started the show, we really wanted to try and make ‘Once…’ feel like a big summer movie every week and this is an episode where we feel like we‘ve done our best to try and make good on that.”
The episode, titled “A Land without Magic,” will feature many of the guest faces that peppered the season, including their former “Lost” co-worker Emilie de Ravin, who is reprising her role as Belle, “True Blood’s” Kristin Bauer van Straten, back as Maleficent and Sebastian Stan as Jefferson/The Mad Hatter.
Also returning is Jamie Dornan, whose exit from the show in episode 7 (when Queen Regina crushed his character, The Huntsman’s heart) caused an outcry from fans.
“On Twitter, for example, I saw a lot of response and a lot of emotion [to his death] and it was really gratifying because when the part was conceived as this sort of seven episode journey for the character, what you wanna do is make the audience care, and if the audience didn’t care about his death or his loss, then it would’ve been a failure,” Adam said.
The show bosses said they always planned to bring Jamie back for the finale, and they learned a cool trick on how to do that on their last show.
“One of the great things about when you tell [the story of] two worlds, and one of them takes places in the past is, although they may die in the present, they can always return and I suppose that’s a little trick we learned on ‘Lost.’ Charlie died, and yet we would see him in flashbacks,” Edward said.
On last week’s episode, schoolboy Henry ate an apple that Regina pulled from a portal to the fairytale world and turned into a turnover meant for Emma’s lips.
So what comes next?
“I can tell you this… this is a world, as we know, that doesn’t have magic and when you introduce something into a new environment, it has very unpredictable results,” Edward told Access. “And so, I would say that the fate of Henry gets resolved in the finale, but what it is, you have to watch.”
Regina, played by Lana Parilla, has fought Emma (Henry’s birth mom) all season over Henry, but with the youngster in trouble, she may have to make a choice – keep up her curse on Snow White, or lose her adopted son.
“Unfortunately, for Regina, that is what she is always wrestling with, which is to do the right thing or to get revenge. We saw her literally rip her father’s heart out to enact a curse, which left a void, which she’s been trying to fill and as [Mr.] Gold said to her last weekend, he said, ‘This was about making Snow White unhappy, it was never about having a son. Perhaps that’s what you need to give up to keep your curse.’ And I think Regina is a character who is constantly wrestling with those choices and wants everything,” Edward said.
Regina might have a lot to contemplate, but Emma still has a secret to unlock. Asked if Emma needs to know who she is – Snow White and Prince Charming’s daughter – to save her son, Eddie said fans will have to tune in.
“I think that’s a great question and I would say watch Sunday, because I believe, hopefully it might get answered,” he said.
And for those wondering if there could be a big death count in Sunday’s episode, Adam suggested that some will pay a heavy price.
“I think the way to think about it is, one of the themes of the show for us is ‘magic has a price,’ and in the finale, there are some great prices that are paid in a very deep and profound way for some of the characters,” Adam said.
The “Once Upon A Time” Season 1 finale airs Sunday at 8/7c on ABC.
-- Jolie Lash