Family trees just are never simple on Once Upon A Time, are they?
In its most recent OMG-moment, the diabolical Peter Pan was revealed to really be the father that abandoned Rumplestiltskin as a boy and that also makes Pan the Great Grandfather to Henry.
And since Henry gave up his heart (literally because, well, this is Once Upon A Time), what’s going to happen next? Will Charming ever get out of Neverland with his life intact? And is there love truly coming for Regina, as Lana Parrilla teased to us recently?
OUAT creators Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis filled me in (as much as they could) on where the rest of the Neverland chapter is heading and when we’ll be returning for good to Storybrooke.
TV Fanatic: How do you guys not get this stuff spoiled?
Adam Horowitz: I think, part of it was, we're very careful with scripts, shooting and all that and the other part of it is, I'm sure it did get spoiled in that there were some fans on the streets watching the filming but I don't think that they necessarily knew exactly what they were seeing.
Edward Kitsis: We got lucky is the real answer.
AH: As far as the spoiler thing goes, it's just that thing where it's like, if fans are interested in being spoiled they're going to find a way to be. If that's how they enjoy the show, that's fine, our preference is people come in unspoiled and get the joy of surprise.
EK: What's funny is that we just assumed this would be and we were shocked the whole time when it wasn't.
TVF: At this point, can we assume that Pan is 100% evil or is there more to this guy that we’ll find out?
AH: I think that we found out what he wants and we found out that at the end of the day that he is a purely selfish person who only cares about themselves and so for us, not so much. When you go back and you watch all of Rumple's scenes in every season that not only did he want his son back, but that fear of being his father now adds some weight to it. But Peter Pan has some surprises still in store for our heroes.
TVF: Henry is so full of goodness and belief. If Pan has his heart, does any of that go into Pan or is that not really how that works?
AH: Well, I think as we said on this show that evil is not born, it is made. I think that the trouble is that Henry's belief is fueling someone’s selfishness and so Peter Pan's corrupting something that is beautiful. If Henry's heart were in someone else, it might be able to lighten it, but when someone is as corrupt and aggressive as Peter Pan, I think, unfortunately, Henry's heart is at risk of being darkened and let's just help to get it back.
TVF: Let's talk about Charming a little bit because he's now essentially stuck on the island and dies if he leaves. I guess how seriously should we take that threat in these next episodes?
AH: Well, I would say as Charming said to Snow in the pilot, ‘Have faith.’ You know you have got to have faith. If then and when he figures a way around his predicament you will be as surprised by that as you were by the Pan stuff. It's less about a crazy twist than an emotional journey that we started between Charming and his family.
His predicament isn't really meant to be something shocking in the sense of big reversal for storytelling, but what it's meant to be is like a land mine in the Charming family relationship that resonates between Snow, Charming, Emma and Henry. So, how is everybody emotionally going to deal with what's happening? How are they going to emotionally deal with whatever resolution that comes up?
TVF: The Emma/Hook/Neal love triangle. Is it going to come down to Emma having to make a choice or is this going to carry into the next half of the season?
EK: I think that it is something that she has said to the both of them ‘I don't have to pick because I pick myself. So, stop giving me mix tapes. It's about me right now.’
AH: I think it would be unfair to the character of Emma to put her in a place this soon of making some sort of romantic choice that would theoretically affect the rest of her life or at least the near future. I don't think she's there yet and I think that' what she sort of expressed.
So, whatever kind of triangle that you're seeing is more about the fact that these are all people with feelings and they have feelings for each other. They are not only combatting whether or not feelings are reciprocated but are combating timing. They are combatting when these things should be important and when they shouldn't be.
TVF: Could we get a webisode where we see Neal and Hook actually make a mix tape for Emma and what they'd put on it?
AH: I would love that and the two actors keep threatening to do play list mix tapes and release them on Twitter to win her affection. If fact there is a running debate on set as to whose play list is better. So, I think that Michael Raymond-James and Colin should start sharing that with the world.
TVF: That sounds awesome. Talk to me about Ariel and JoAnna Garcia Swisher. When you guys see that do you want to bring her back right away or work plans for the future for her?
AH: We'd love to bring her back. Whatever plans we have for her in the future are not plans we are ready to reveal right now. All we can say is that JoAnna was fantastic. We loved working with her. She was always our dream casting for the part and she exceeded our expectations and we'd be honored to have her back.
EK: As far as we're concerned she's a part of the Once family now and as we expand our world she'd be a welcome addition to it. So, we would love to have her come back. We will be seeing her again in episode 10.
TVF: In the second half of the season, are we definitely back in Storybrooke? Is that where we're going next?
EK: I'd say we didn't want to spoil anything about the second half of the season right now.
AH: You will get a great hint at it in episode 11 which is the winter finale. I would watch the last scene and that should set up exactly what to expect the next half.
TVF: Lana recently hinted to me that there might be some romance coming for Regina. Is she going to get some lovin’ soon?
AH: I would say that romance with Lana falls under the same category as when we talked about Emma. We haven't spent a lot of time with romance between characters and that's the same reason we haven't really spent a lot of time doing it with Emma because it's about timing.
There have been hints this season about potential love interests for the Evil Queen and fate and all that, but the funny thing about fate is that it's not always what you expect and it's not always timed the way you want it, it can't be what you want it to be, and is it appropriate? On top of all that we have a character, the Evil Queen, who has a lost love, who wanted love, but is she ready to open herself up to love?
TVF: In Once Upon A Time Season Three Episode 7 I didn't realize until then that I missed Storybrooke. So, I'm curious, have you guys missed Storybrooke in this whole Neverland chapter because we haven't been back there very much.
AH: I mean, that's the key. The key for us as writers was to write away from it until we missed it and had to be back there and we felt like when the story had to be back there we brought it back there, but I think we’ll be seeing more Storybrooke soon.
EK: There will be Storybrooke in the next bunch of episodes coming up this season. We designed the first 11 to be like its own season and its own adventure and I think what's funny was it was the classic case of when we got to Neverland everyone was excited to be away from Storybrooke and then when we felt the moment we missed it everyone was ‘Oh, yeah!”
AH: That is why episode 7 has so much Storybrooke in it and we felt that was the time to get it addressed because people bring them back into the fold to see what was going on and I think you will see as this first half of the season draws to a close, there's more and more of that world in the show again.
TVF: I just want to squeeze in a little Wonderland question. Regardless of what happens with that show, any plans to bring those characters into the Once Upon a Time fold in the near future?
AH: This year we were going to complete the story of Alice and the people there. As far as will we see any of them in future, I would say, perhaps. I think, there's a few of them, we know the Knave of Hearts was once a Merry Men. So, who knows maybe he can hook back up with Robin Hood in the future.
Once Upon a Time Season 3 airs Sundays at 8 p.m. on ABC.
Jim Halterman is the West Coast Editor of TV Fanatic and the owner of JimHalterman.com. Follow him on Twitter.