Welcome back for season six, Oncers!
After a long, magic-free summer, we're pleased to say that Once Upon a Time returns to our lives this Sunday on ABC with a heart-pounding, gut-wrenching, body-shaking, epically jam-packed premiere. (Seriously though, it's insane!)
We already caught up with the cast of OUAT at Comic-Con to bring you some spellbinding scoop on what's coming up next, but now it's time to focus on the swoon-worthy side of things with our very first Romance Rundown of season six!
Once Upon a Time creators and executive producer Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis held a special press Q&A session earlier this week, and spilled everything you need to know about all of your favorite pairings before tuning in to Sunday's big debut.
Snow and Charming: Oncers know that over the past few seasons, Snow and Charming's story has been a bit sidelined. (Through no fault of their own, of course! Ginny Goodwin has just been a little preoccupied with her two real-life pregnancies.) But now it's time to fully welcome the most iconic fairy tale couple back into the spotlight with a glimpse at their new-normal life.
"In the last few seasons our characters have been going on journeys -- whether it's to Neverland or the Underworld -- and now they're back in Storybrooke trying to make a life for themselves there," Horowitz explained. "So we're trying to do more of what the daily life is and what normal is."
He continued, "In an early episode you're going to see Snow White ask the question of, 'What is normal? And how do we get back to it? That's something that she and Charming strive toward and, in doing that, it allows us to kind of see these characters we enjoy writing for pop in and out of their lives."
Additionally, we're going to see Snow and Charming address the idea of what a "happy ending" truly is and what that really means for their family. Kitsis teased, "These stories often end with 'happily ever after,' which means they go on, but they very rarely say 'The End.' There's no period at the end of it, so how do you live your life like that?"
Rumple and Belle: We truly hate to tell you this (because we seem to have to say it every year!), but it looks like Rumple and Belle are in for a gut-wrenching tumultuous ride in season six.
"I think that Belle really kind of is in a place where she's really given up on Rumple," Kitsis explained. "But they have a child, so it makes these things messier. Once a child is involved, you actually have to put aside your own feelings and put the child first, no matter how much you hate the other person. And that is going to be tested."
Whoa! Hate? Hmm... that seems a little strong, so Kitsis was quick to clarify his words. "I wouldn't say she hates him," he corrected himself. "I would say she's severely disappointed and she seems very angry with him."
Before you start to riot in the streets of Storybrooke, Horowitz reminded viewers that there is a fine line between love and hate. "They've had that love between them," he said. "And she's really struggling now with how to move forward in life because Rumple has positioned himself in a position where it appears to be an unrepairable relationship, so Belle really has to figure out, 'How do I give birth to this child and raise it?'"
On the bright side, we will tell you that there are plenty of seriously swoon-worthy Rumbelle throwback moments in Sunday's premiere -- complete with a familiar gold dress, a teacup and a shocking twist.
Killian and Emma: Now that Emma and Killian have had their romance-filled reunion after that hellish experience in the underworld, their honeymoon phase is, unfortunately, coming to a close. (Hey, it was a pretty romantic ride for a while there!)
Emma will be dealing with a jaw-dropping, heartbreaking issue over the course of this season, but rather than sharing her burden and fears with Killian, she's going to revert back to her old ways.
"What we're trying to explore is sort of these gray areas," Horowitz said. "It's a lie that's coming from a good place in her mind, but he's probably not going to feel that way if he finds out."
"When Emma has a problem, she reverts back to season one and those walls go up and she's like, 'I'll figure it out myself. I don't need to tell anyone,'" Kitsis added. "The journey for her and Hook -- now that she said last year, 'I love you,' -- we thought, well, if you're letting that wall down and all those good things to come in, all the bad things are going to come in. That push-pull is kind of what's going to be driving them."
Regina: Earlier this week, we filled you in on how Regina will be "dealing with loss and moving on" after the tragic death of Robin Hood -- especially after the creators pretty much confirmed that he will not be brought back to life -- and now, it's time to focus on Regina's heroic future.
Horowitz said, "The goal of the show is to not just have it be a happy ending but to move past it." As Regina strives to move on from losing her loved one, we'll be seeing a "different kind of hero" as she comes to grips with what life is like without her evil side.
"Regina is embracing the idea of hope," Horowitz said. "Separating the Evil Queen out of her is something we're really going to dive into and exploring just how different is she and what has changed really? It's going to change her and make her grow and make her face things that she hasn't faced yet before."
We will be seeing Regina (and her evil alter ego!) in a lot of sisterly scenes in Sunday's premiere, but her new dynamic with Zelena is not going to be a smooth one. "[Zelena] is dealing with the fact that she's got a kid and she's got this kind of complicated relationship with Storybrooke in general," Kitsis said. "So with the evil queen coming in, it's a wild card and how she's going to react to [her], we're sort of leaving it a little open-ended intentionally."
Bonus OUAT Scoop: "I think this show has always been about a family," Horowitz stressed. "There's a lot of romance, and I think you're going to see the first few episodes have a lot of that romance in them, but at the end of the day, the curse was broken between son and a mom. Family comes first on this show and that is important to us."
Season six of Once Upon a Time premieres Sunday, Sept. 25 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.
What are you most looking forward to seeing in season six? Which couple are you most worried about? Share your thoughts with @LeanneAguilera on Twitter!