The Evil Queen is back — and everyone in Storybrooke is gonna be in trouble!
When Once Upon a Time returns for its sixth season this Sunday, the ruthless dark magic-wielding villain has returned to torture the fairy tale heroes, particularly her better self, Regina (Lana Parrilla). In May’s finale, Regina drank a special serum devised by Dr. Hyde to rid himself of Mr. Jekyll. That divided her from the Evil Queen, and Regina thought she killed her dark alter ego. But alas, the Queen survived and she’s ready to wreak havoc.
“What we really wanted to explore this season is, can you actually separate the good and the evil within you?” co-creator Edward Kitsis tells Yahoo TV.
The separation of Regina’s good and evil sides “becomes one of the operating metaphors for this season,” says co-creator Adam Horowitz. “A lot of the characters are going to have to look inward at the different parts of themselves.”
Read on to learn what other themes OUAT will explore in Season 6, plus get the inside scoop on new characters and the state of the show’s romances!
Related: ‘Once Upon a Time’ Season 5 Deleted Scene: Can Emma Earn Her Family’s Trust?
1. Regina will face her greatest enemy — herself
After the death of her true love, Robin Hood, Regina could’ve turned evil again. But the showrunners didn’t want to move backward. “She has come too far to revert, but the Evil Queen is such a delicious character,” Kitsis says. “Every year, Regina has shown growth in different ways — be it falling in love, redeeming herself, letting old nemeses be her friends — but the journey that we think she’s still on is to learn to like herself. What this does is to put her on a path to explore that.”
2. The Evil Queen is no joke
Not only does the Evil Queen wield powerful dark magic, she’s holding onto a lot of grudges. No. 1 on her hit list is, of course, Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin). But the heroes are going to find it very difficult to vanquish her.
“This is the Evil Queen without a lot of compassion and who has all of Regina’s memories and knowledge and experience, so she’s much more formidable than the hothead we met in the pilot,” Kitsis warns.
3. There’s a new Savior in town
OUAT has introduced popular Disney characters like Elsa and Anna from Frozen and Brave’s Merida in the past. This year, it’s bringing on Aladdin (Deniz Akdeniz), Jasmine (Karen David), and Jafar (Oded Fehr).
Aladdin will have a very special, surprising tie to Emma (Jennifer Morrison). “Not only was there more than one Savior, not just Emma, but it turns out Aladdin was one as well,” Kitsis says. “What happened to him, and what his story is, is what we’re excited to put our own twist on.”
But the revelation won’t just be a happy bonding moment, Kitsis says, as Emma soon learns “the fate of Saviors is not always a happy one.”
4. Emma and Hook, sitting in a tree…
Fans of Emma and Hook (Colin O’Donoghue), aka Captain Swan, were delighted that she finally confessed her love for him in the Season 5 finale. And for now, it’s smooth sailing for the couple. “We can look forward to seeing those two progress,” Kitsis says.
But of course, this is Storybrooke, and no doubt storms are on the horizon. “There’s more to Hook’s past we haven’t seen yet,” Horowitz says. One figure from that past is Captain Nemo (Faran Tahir), from Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.
5. Belle is unboxed, but that’s the least of her problems
What is the relationship status of Rumplestiltskin (Robert Carlyle) and Belle (Emilie de Ravin)? “Not good would be their status!” Horowitz laughs. She’s currently under a sleeping curse within Pandora’s Box, but she’ll be freed soon.
“What we like to call ‘the maternity leave box’ won’t be left closed for long,” he says, referring to de Ravin having a baby during filming last season. “That will allow us to explore the ramifications of where those two are now. It’s a rocky journey.”
On that journey, Rumple and Belle run into Morpheus (Giles Matthey), the Greek god of dreams. But will he help lift the curse, or be a foe to contend with?
6. Henry’s got his first girlfriend, but now he has 3 moms
Oh, first loves are so sweet. Henry (Jared S. Gilmore) has a girlfriend, Violet (Olivia Steele Falconer), whom he first met in Camelot. “We will see more of Violet and their young, blossoming relationship,” Kitsis says.
Horowitz adds, “We’re going to see Henry wrestling with becoming a teen and how it impacts his various mothers.”
Right, mothers, plural. Henry has three moms now, and it’s going to make his life very awkward. “It is going to make Mother’s Day very uncomfortable, a Thanksgiving-like holiday for Henry,” Kitsis jokes.
“The Evil Queen is his mother just as much as Regina,” Horowitz says.
7. And Zelena gets what she always wanted
Speaking of awkward family ties, it seemed Zelena (Rebecca Mader) and Regina finally got on the same page after Robin Hood’s death, but the appearance of the Evil Queen will throw things for a loop.
“Zelena, as we know, has always wanted a sister,” Kitsis says. “Now she’ll have a choice between two of them!”
8. Familiar faces are everywhere
Fans will be happy to see the return of characters from seasons past like Maleficent (Kristin Bauer van Straten), Victor Frankenstein (David Anders), Cinderella (Jessy Schram), Prince Thomas (Tim Phillipps), and Dr. Archie Hopper (Raphael Sbarge).
Once Upon a Time Season 6 premieres Sunday at 8 p.m. on ABC.