The Dark Swan takes flight on “Once Upon A Time”

The Dark Swan takes flight on “Once Upon A Time”

PHOTO BY DUANE MADDY "Dark Swan" billboard by Petco Park promoting season 5 of "Once Upon A Time" at San Diego Comic-Con

“Dark Swan” billboard by Petco Park promoting season 5 of “Once Upon A Time” at San Diego Comic-Con


As soon as we passed Petco Park on our way to San Diego Comic-Con, we knew “Once Upon A Time” would have a huge presence. A larger-than-life building wrap featuring Jennifer Morrison as The Dark Swan greeted us as we made our way to the convention center.

The cast teased Dark Emma and what’s next for the residents of Storybrooke during the Comic-Con panel, which also included co-creators Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis, Lana Parrilla (Regina/The Evil Queen), Josh Dallas (Prince Charming), Ginnifer Goodwin (Snow White), Colin O’Donoghue (Captain Hook), Emilie de Ravin (Belle), Robert Carlyle (Rumplestiltskin), Sean Maguire (Robin Hood) and Rebecca Mader (Zelena/The Wicked Witch).

During the Season 4 finale, we saw Emma, the savior who once broke Regina’s curse, sacrifice herself after the evil that was drawn from Rumplestiltskin by the apprentice was accidentally set free. Regina, who has been on the path to redemption after a lifetime of evil deeds, had first stepped forward to allow the darkness to tether itself to her. But Emma, knowing how difficult turning from the darkness was for Regina, made a “split-second” decision to take on the darkness herself.
“I think if Regina were the only person in danger, she [Emma] would have made the same choice,” Morrison said. “But it’s important that the darkness was threatening the whole town.”

“There is some fun to the villainy, I’ve spent the whole hiatus digging out my thoughts about it … Emma went through a lot in her life, she’s always tried to be a good person and now she’s tethered to the darkness she’s free of that. I feel like she’s going to face some of the darkness and figure out how to overcome it and not just suppress it,” she said.

One of the themes throughout “Once” is characters being able to get a second chance, another shot at getting their happy endings. Regina was told throughout her life that she would never be happy and she began to believe that, causing her to do horrible things. Over the years, Emma and Henry, Regina and Emma’s son, have shown her there’s a better way.

“I think deep down at one point she felt she could never truly be happy. And that’s why she was so bad and evil and committed all of these horrible acts. And it’s being surrounded by the heroes, I guess, and really Emma and Henry that have changed this sort of perception . . . she’s come full circle. But I think it’s having the familia support that’s really given her hope,” Parrilla said.

With Lana Parrilla (Regina/The Evil Queen) after a Comic-Con event for “Once Upon A Time”
With Lana Parrilla (Regina/The Evil Queen) after a Comic-Con event for “Once Upon A Time”
Last season was also a departure for Snow White and Prince Charming, the very epitome of goodness and kindness throughout the series. After learning Emma would be born with the potential for darkness, the couple had the apprentice cast the darkness out of Emma and into Maleficent’s unhatched dragon egg, which turns out to be a human child. When Emma learns of their betrayal, she questions everything she knows about good and evil, about what makes a hero and what makes a villain.

O’Donoghue said complete redemption for Captain Hook has been a challenge. “For Hook, he’s been battling darkness for hundreds of years. He found love with Emma, so he’s desperately been trying to hold onto that and be the better man to keep her heart sort of safe, much like Charming and Snow, he wants to protect her. But, he has been a villain and his girlfriend’s nasty now . . . in a good way … so who knows what’s going to happen. He’s really struggled to stay on the right path. It will be interesting to see where he goes now.”

Dark Emma disappears at the end of the finale and the others in Storybrooke are tasked with finding Merlin , the only person who can bring Emma back to the light. This journey will take the group to Camelot, which exists in a parallel universe and timeline. Elliot Knight will step play the legendary wizard and viewers can also expect to see King Arthur (Liam Garrigan) and Guinevere (Joana Metrass). Viewers will also meet Merida from Disney’s “Brave” and the cast promises she will make an appearance in the first few episodes of the season.

We were fortunate to spend time with the “Once” cast following a press event and were truly charmed by their kindness and sense of humor. They were joking with each other the whole time and seemed to be a close-knit and appreciate of the “Once” fandom.

Season five of “Once Upon A Time” premieres at 8 p.m. Sept. 27 on ABC.