Once Upon a Time Producers Tease Struggles of Redemption, A Shocking Finale... and Vegas?

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With the Once Upon a Time Season 3 finale looming on Sunday, we spoke with show creators and executive producers Adam Horowitz and Eddy Kitsis to get the inside scoop on their plan for Hook and Emma, whether  Regina is truly redeemed and what we can expect going into season 4.

Which, yes, ABC has now confirmed!

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Did you always intended to have Hook in love with Emma? Was that something you planned out or was it something that developed because of the actor's chemistry onscreen?

Eddy: Always. 

Adam:  Always. I mean, listen... You go into these things with the best intentions. That is to say we loved the idea that Hook and Emma would be kindred spirits and that is why we kind of wrote that in the beanstalk episode of season 2. But of course, you know, there's always the chance that there isn't any chemistry. We were very lucky that we feel that Hook and Emma have an enormous amount of chemistry so that kind of allowed us to stick to the plan that we wanted. 

Did you know you were going to kill Neal off at the start of the season?

Eddy: We knew very early in the planning stages for this season that that would occur. It's like anything when you plan a season, there are certain specifics. Did we know it was going to be in episode 15? No. Did we know when we cooked up the idea that it would happen before the finale? Yes. There's some wiggle room in how we plan things but we knew we wanted to do that and we knew that we kind of wanted this end of the season to lay out the way it laid out. 

Do we have to worry about any more character deaths in the near future?

Eddy: We have to worry about danger and we have to worry about things that are going to harm our characters. 

Adam: I think we should always worry about death, then what's the fun of having stakes. 

Henry's growing up. Will we begin to see him with his own story lines or will the plots be focused more on Emma and Regina dealing with a teenager in this magical world?

Eddy:  We're not really at the Sweet 16 episode yet, but I absolutely. I think Henry's the heart and soul of this show. He is Commander of Operation Cobra and I think that we will absolutely want to see him grow into a young man and have his own stories and develop his own character. I think that there will be individual stories with the character as well as how will he fit in with the family. 

With the help of Henry's love, Regina's had quite the journey of redemption culminating to the point where she uses light magic to defeat her sister. In contrast, even with Belle's love, Rumpelstiltskin continues to choose the dark side. Is that a choice you made from the beginning for these characters and is it a trend that will continue?

Adam: I would say that all the characters, I mean particularly in these example you've brought up of Rumpel and Regina they do kind of go back to the core of who they are and they fight it and they fight against it. They struggle with it. I think we're seeing Rumple and Gold struggle with it a bit right now. And as much as we've seen Regina use light magic and redeem herself in that way, she's still struggling. I think we've seen it all season long. Growth does not come easy for anyone.

Eddy: And Rumpel is a complicated man and he once told us that he was a difficult man to love. 

Regina and Robin Hood have finally found one another. Is that a relationship we'll be seeing a lot more of?

Eddy: Maybe.

I'm assuming the green smoke suggests we haven't seen the last of Zelena. Will we be seeing more of her in season 4?

Adam: All we can say is that Zelena died. That's what happened in the last episode.

Eddy: She has been defeated and we will really not see her in this finale and as far as season 4, you never know. 

This season we've explored Neverland and Oz. What's next?

Adam: Vegas.

Eddy: Yeah, Vegas. They're all going to go to Vegas and plan an Oceans 11 type heist using both good and dark magic. But where we're going next…

Adam: ...will be revealed at the end of the two hours.

Eddy: Yes, it will be somewhat clear and it will be a surprise.

What specifically can you tease fans about Sunday's season finale?

Eddy: Well, I think we can tease that it is a two hour movie that hopefully is a summation of all of the character arcs and conflicts that we've seen this season and it takes some of our characters back in time. That's a big problem because when you go back in time you can screw up the future and things have to be put right. 

What was your favorite episode or story of the season and what didn't quite work out the way you had hoped?

Eddy: That's a very a tough question to ask fathers of their children. I will say that we are very proud of this season because creatively we got into it and we wanted to tell two different, unique story lines. We wanted to do Neverland and we wanted to do the Wicked Witch and we wanted to really return to our core characters and deepen them. I think that we've done that in a really fun and interesting way this year. Are there things that you would like to do better. Of course but that is unfortunately network television. We don't get the luxury of writing all the scripts and shooting them so rock & roll's a messy business. You just have to keep moving forward.

Adam: Many might argue with this, but there's no harsher critic of the show than ourselves. We can look back at everything and say we wish we could have done this better or that better but as a whole I'd say we're very proud at where this season has wound up. Whatever mistakes were made that's between us and our therapist. 

C. Orlando is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow her on Twitter.

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Once Upon a Time Season 3 Episode 22 Quotes

Hook: What the hell are you doing? You're depriving me of a dashing rescue.
Emma: Sorry. The only one who saves me is me.

It's how you know you really got a home. When you leave it there's this feeling you can't shake. You just miss it.

Neal