Once Upon a Time: 11 Things to Know About Season 5

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We are just days away from Once Upon a Time Season 5.

With the addition of Merida - along with returning fan favorites such as Mulan and Red on board - there’s much to get excited about for long-time fans of the show.

Following a screening of Once Upon a Time Season 5 Episode 1, series creators Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz fielded audience questions and gave us the following teases regarding what's on tap this fall...

1. The Dark Swan Journey

The Dark Swan Journey
Emma kicks off the season separated from her Storybrooke family with one major challenge: "Emma is going to try to resist the darkness," said Kitsis. "Her relationships with everybody are going to be tested. We love the idea of watching Hook fighting for her as well as Regina and her family." Also, the fact that Hook and Regina have both battled darkness is probably not something to forget moving into this chapter.

2. We Want to See You Be Brave

We Want to See You Be Brave
We meet the Brave heroine quickly in the season premiere - and she'll be similar to the character on the big screen. "I think if you watch the movie Brave you realize Merida's problem was that she punches first and asks questions second so I think that’s what we’re seeing here," said Kitsis. "We’re going to find her in the middle of a very intense situation and we’re definitely going to explore her story more."

3. Regina as Leader

Regina as Leader
With Emma going through so much, Regina's role in the community will change a bit. "I also think that you’re going to see in Storybrooke," teased Kitsis. "It’s going to be everybody looking at the mayor [to lead]." The fact that the town still doesn’t fully trust her is going to be a challenge. Regina and Snow’s relationship will also be affected in terms of who the town looks to for leadership.

4. Season 5 Storytelling

Season 5 Storytelling
Expect the first half of the season to focus on what happens to the gang while the characters are at Camelot and then again in the present day. Kitsis explained: It’s going to be similar to season 3B in that we are going to be flashing back to Camelot and a present day story."

5. More Origin Stories

More Origin Stories
Look for the backstories of Merlin, Arthur and Lancelot. However, don't expect those stories to fully take us away from our regular cast. "It’s really about our core group of characters and what they’re going through," says Horowitz. And, yes, we’ll see Merlin (Elliot Knight) in the pilot but not in a way you might expect.

6. Zelena is...

Zelena is...
"Awesome," said Kitsis about the Evil Witch being a part a full-time part of the series this season. "Zelena’s role in the premiere, I’d say she’s the Hannibal Lechter of Storybrooke." And for those who thought having the green one carrying Robin Hood’s baby has softened with impending motherhood, Horowitz advised: "I would say pregnancy has changed her but not necessarily for the better."

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Once Upon a Time Season 5 Episode 1: "The Dark Swan"
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