ABC’s “Once Upon a Time” is due to hit the airwaves again this fall, when – for better or for worse – audiences will be treated to a drastically overhauled version of the fairy tale show in its seventh season.
Up until the sixth season the show was aired on Sundays at 8 pm (ET), but after renewing the series on May 11, 2017, for a 22-episode seventh season, ABC will now move the weekly episodes to Friday 8 pm (ET) with the 1st episode due to premier on October 6, 2017.
Although Friday has been traditionally considered as a knotty night as far as TV ratings are concerned, ABC is confident of putting up a winning formula which reflected in ABC entertainment president Channing Dungey’s statement.
“We’ve turned Friday into more of a destination for our fantasy and science fiction fans,” is what he said about the Friday airing.
Adam Horowitz, the show’s co-creator, writer, and showrunner posted a picture of the writer’s room whiteboard on Instagram on June 20, probably an indication of the pace and seriousness with which work is progressing on season 7.
In another Instagram post of July 6, Horowitz posted a picture of the “Once Upon a Time” clapperboard confirming the start of filming.
So, how is the new season going to be different from the previous six?
While everything else can be left to speculation, what can be said for sure is that many of the show’s long established faces will be replaced with fresh ones.
Here’s a look at the returning cast, the new entrants and all those who will be missing from the new season.
Out of OUAT
Emilie D Ravin
Emilie de Ravin will not be making a return in the new season and this is what Executive producers Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis had to say about Emile and “Belle.”
“Emilie took the character of Belle to a deep and soulful place, bringing great intelligence and warmth to the character, making her fiercely independent, strong willed but also an eternal optimist who saw only the best in all those she encountered.”
Ginnifer Goodwin, another regular in the series will be missing from the seventh season. Horowitz and Edward Kitsis, however, had only good things to say about the actress.
“Ginny reinvented Snow White for a modern audience – there was no way she would be stuck cleaning up after dwarfs, she created an iconic empowered heroine for the 21st century.”
Jared Gilmore is another casualty of the series, although a grown-up version of the character, Henry Mills, will remain one of the central characters of the series going ahead.
“Jared literally grew up before the eyes of millions, from a child actor with enormous innate talent to a young man whose abilities continue to astound as he created a character who truly, as we say on the show, has the heart of the truest believer,” Kitsis and Horowitz said about the talented young actor.
Jennifer Morrison announced her decision to quit OUAT with an Instagram post saying: “Emma Swan is one my favorite characters that I have ever played. My 6 years on Once Upon a Time has changed my life in the most beautiful ways. I am absolutely blown away by the passion and commitment of the Oncer fans. I am so honored to have been a central part of such a special show.”
“We’ll miss seeing her every day, but her imprint upon Once Upon a Time is indelible. She will always be a part of the show and its heart and soul,” said Kitsis and Horowitz. “That said, just because Jennifer won’t be back every week doesn’t mean we won’t see our savior again.”
Morrison did mention in a message to her fans that she was likely to make an appearance in one episode next season if the show got renewed.
Josh Dallas is another cast member to have received his walking papers soon after season six wrapped up.
“Josh mined the depths of Prince Charming – a character who in myth was just a ‘type’ but in his superlative interpretation became a complex man fighting for love and family,” observed Kitsis and Horowitz.
Forty-year-old Rebecca Mader who had played Zelena since Season 3 was nudged out of the series after the sixth season. This is how she broke the news to fans on Instagram: “This wasn’t my choice but a creative decision of the show’s that I totally respect and understand.”
“Rebecca took us on a broomstick roller coaster ride as she re-invented the Wicked Witch of the West by finding the pain beneath the green,” Kitsis and Horowitz said. “She made the character soar to incredible heights while always keeping her grounded and relatable.”
Remaining on OUAT
Colin O’Donoghue’s will continue as Captain Hook in the seventh season. However, it remains to be seen if the new season will acknowledge he ever fell in love with and married the Savior, Emma Swan? All we can do is wait and watch.
Lana Parrilla is the only female making a come back on the new season but it is not yet clear who she’ll be playing.
“I do know that we’re playing sort of different characters,” she told “Gold Derby” in May.
Robert Carlyle is definitely returning as Rumplestiltskin/Mr.Gold.
New on OUAT
Andrew J West
Andrew J. West will play a grown-up Henry Mills, with no recollection of magic and his life in the Enchanted Forest – as introduced in the finale of the last season.
Alison Fernandez of Jane the Virgin and Orange Is the New Black fame will play Mills’s adorable daughter Lucy in season 7 of OUAT.
Gabrielle Anwar, the leading lady in Burn Notice, will be another new entrant on the show announced early this month but nothing has been revealed about the character she will be playing. However, there are speculations from certain quarters that she will play a negative character.
Ditto for Dania Ramirez (Heroes, Devious Maids) who is slated to join the new season but nothing is known yet about the character she is supposed to portray.
Adelaide Kane, Rose Reynolds, and Mekia Cox
Adelaide Kane (Reign), Rose Reynolds (Poldark), and Mekia Cox (Chicago Med) are also on board the new season and will play recurring characters.