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Heroes are made, not born, and on Once Upon a Time, the journey from villain to hero is a very rocky one.
That’s evident in the evolution of Captain Hook (Colin O’Donoghue), who has transformed from a vengeful pirate to a hero on the verge of proposing to his true love, Emma (Jennifer Morrison). But while he gained the blessing of her father, David (Josh Dallas), Hook now has a huge obstacle to overcome after realizing that he killed David’s father. The past has come back to bite him.
As OUAT co-creator Edward Kitsis tells Yahoo TV, they wanted to put “Hook through the ringer to see how far he’s come and what he can overcome.” Hook isn’t the only villain-turned-hero grappling with the past — Regina (Lana Parrilla) has realized that the Wish Realm version of Robin Hood (Sean Maguire) is not the same person as the Robin she fell in love with. “It’s coming to terms with letting go of Robin and moving forward,” co-creator Adam Horowitz explains. See what else Horowitz and Kitsis had to say about Hook’s hero journey, the iconic character introduced in Sunday’s new episode, and plans for future seasons.
First, can we talk about the Wish World version of Captain Hook, who is fat and pot-bellied and a drunk? How did you guys come up with that hilarious idea?
Horowitz: In constructing the Wish World, we wanted to create nightmare scenarios for Emma. So, like if a wish goes wrong, and how would her relationship with Captain Hook go wrong?
Kitsis: What would Captain Hook’s life be if he never got revenge nor he met Emma? So, her influence is no longer on him, and we just loved the idea that he got drunk and he still thinks he’s as handsome as he was when he first put on guyliner.
Horowitz: Really, a lot of it was just it made us laugh. And Colin just went for it. He really went for it.
Captain Hook has become a fan favorite — fans on Twitter go nuts over anything having to do with him. Did you envision that he’d become such a key figure?
Kitsis: You always hope, but you never really plan for it. We knew when we first sat down with Colin, we thought he was someone special. He brought such amazing ideas to the role and it was such a great collaboration.
Horowitz: For us, Colin did that rare thing, which is he came on the show and I think people have forgotten he wasn’t in the pilot. He’s such a fabric of the show and so tied into the DNA, that you forget that he didn’t show up until Season 2. But the reaction, we hoped for it, we were really excited to do Captain Hook and we were excited about Colin, but the reaction to it is even bigger than we ever, ever thought.
So, last week, we learned that Hook killed David’s father. How is this going to affect his relationships with Emma, with David? And just as he was about to propose to Emma!
Kitsis: Part of it is that Hook has had a checkered past, and before he can move forward, he needs to kind of come to terms with all of that. Part of this was about putting Hook through the ringer to see how far he’s come and what he can overcome.
Hook’s been on this journey to become a hero. Does he have much longer to go?
Horowitz: I feel like he’s already shown us that hero. I think that mentally, he has to let go of the past and embrace his future. I think that one of the things we see with our villains is they try to move forward, but sometimes deeds from the past hold them back. That fight and that struggle is what, to us as writers, makes them interesting.
Moving on to Regina and Robin, when you killed off the real Robin last year, was it always the plan to introduce the Wish World version?
Horowitz: We came up with it later. One of the things we always wanted to do was an alternate universe, and we thought it was a great way to test Regina, very similar thematically to what we just said about Hook. Regina thought she could do a shortcut — “I’m going to take all the evil stuff, the stuff I hate about myself and throw it away.” I think she’s learning that life doesn’t work like that. Life isn’t black and white, it’s grey. Her having to deal with the past to move on to the future, that’s exactly what this Robin Hood is. He looks like her Robin Hood, but he’s obviously a different person. It’s her coming to terms with that, and it’s coming to terms with letting go of Robin and moving forward.
Kitsis: And it goes back to the DNA of making a wish — careful what you wish for. The wish realm doesn’t just conjure something perfect and easy to fix your problems. That’s not how wishes work.
So, what is this Robin’s agenda in Storybrooke?
Kitsis: We develop it a lot this coming weekend and we see that there’s part of an agenda, and there’s part of a this guy is out of place, is not where he belongs. He’s a part of something greater than he ever knew — this love story Regina had with the real Robin. He’s struggling to find his place and that’s going to cause complications not just for himself, but for people like Regina who care for him, or cared for the original recipe Robin.
And it looks like we meet a new character. What can you say about him?
Kitsis: We dip into a bit of old school epic poetry, which we’re known to do from time to time on Once Upon a Time. And we do a Once twist on the classic character of Beowulf and what we find is that his story intersects with Rumplestiltskin. We go back and revisit a time in Rumple’s past when we was raising Baelfire.
Are we going to see another showdown between Emma and Gideon? The fight they had didn’t really mirror the one from her visions.
Kitsis: I would hope so, because if that was it, I would be let down. That is not the battle that was promised.
Horowitz: I think what Emma was saying there is, they may be fated to fight again, and she may even be fated to die, but it wasn’t going to be that day. So, I think she was able to push pause on it, but a battle definitely needs to happen.
What about these new characters, played by Andrew J. West and Alison Fernandez?
Horowitz: All I can tell you is that those characters will be revealed in the finale.
— Alison Fernandez (@tvalison) March 17, 2017
It seems like you haven’t introduced as many new characters as in previous seasons. Was that deliberate, to focus more on the main characters?
Kitsis: It’s more about where the story has naturally taken us. When we introduce new characters, we always endeavor to make it about how these new characters reflect on our core group of characters. Whether it’s Emma’s friendship with Elsa in Season 4, or Jekyll and Hyde at the start of this season reflecting on Regina dealing with her split. Also with Aladdin and Jasmine this year, Aladdin being a Saviour and how it impacts Emma. We’ll see more of Aladdin and Jasmine coming up soon.
What’s the word on future seasons?
Kitsis: We can tell you we’re waiting by the phone and as soon as we know, you will at least be the third of fourth person we tell.
Do you have a plan if the show doesn’t go forward?
Kitsis: We do have a plan if we don’t go forward, it’s called unemployment and we’ll have to come up with something new!
And if the show does go forward for Season 7?
Kitsis: We actually have a plan for Season 7 that will be threaded through this year and in the finale. So if we’re lucky enough to continue, by the end of the finale, people will know exactly where we’re going to take the characters and the show next season.
Once Upon a Time airs Sundays at 8 p.m. on ABC. Watch clips and full episodes of Once Upon a Time for free on Yahoo View.
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