ONCE UPON A TIME: Jane Espenson Teases ‘The Return,’ the Identity of the Stranger, What Character is Difficult for Her to Write and More
April 22, 2012 by Marisa Roffman
ONCE UPON A TIME is back!
To celebrate, I spoke with OUAT write Jane Espenson (who penned tonight’s hour) about what fans can expect from the Mr. Gold-centered outing, a certain super spoilery ABC promo, the Stranger/August’s real identity, and more…
What can you tease about tonight’s episode?
Jane Espenson: This is called “The Return” and we’re going to see Mr. Gold try to figure out who the Stranger is. And we’re going to see his past — we’re going to see another story with Rumpel and his son, where the son is going to try and find him an alternative to his new leathered-skin, Rumpel-y lifestyle. And so it’s emotionally charged for Mr. Gold/Rumpel in both stories. And you’re going to see him really be emotionally shaken by this. You’re going to see a lot more about the inner workings of Rumpelstiltskin.
Does Belle come into play in this week’s episode or is Emilie de Ravin (Belle)’s return later in the season?
JE: Belle hasn’t happened in the fairytale events that we’re going to see in this, so we will see Emilie de Ravin again, but that will be in a later episode.
Good to know. Should fans be a little alarmed by how little Mr. Gold knows about the Stranger considering how much he knows about everything else?
JE: It’s certainly interesting, yeah. This is a guy who tends to have things figured out, and I think that’s why he’s so curious about August. The same way the viewers of the show are curious about who he is, Rumpelstiltskin shares that curiosity. And he’s going to be working pretty darn hard to figure it out.
Will he be successful before the season ends?
JE: “Will he be successful before the season ends?” There are so many parts and words to that sentence. I would say, yes, we are getting closer and closer to the true identity of August. Whether or not it’s Gold who uncovers it, well, we’ll have to see.
There’s been this new ABC teaser that seems to indicate that in Storybrooke, the characters we know are confronting Regina for the curse…
JE: Yeah, I know what you’re talking about.
That seems pretty massive…
JE: Yeah. It certainly makes sense. You can imagine if the people of Storybrooke found out who Regina is, they’d be very angry. So, that’s how I’d read that. That looks to me like some angry citizenry.
Does that scene take place before the season finale?
JE: The sequence you saw airs this season. [Laughs] But remember, things that you see aren’t always what they seem.
Right. I felt that if that is literally what happens, it was almost too big of a spoiler to release…which then made me think it’s not actually real. So I’m very curious to see how it plays out — whether it’s a nightmare or something else.
JE: You may be on to something there.
Before I let you go, you’ve written a number of episodes this season and given the big ensemble, which character is the most difficult for you to write?
JE: Oh what a good question! Everyone is asking who my favorite is or who I love writing, and that seems so obviously Rumpelstiltskin, and Robert Carlyle (Mr. Gold/Rumpelstiltskin) is so amazing every week — although all the characters are good. But who’s the most difficult to write for? Probably Emma, in the same way Buffy was the hardest to write on BUFFY. The more central a character is and the more well-developed a character is, the more subtleties and contradictions are built into their nature, which makes them very hard to write. It’s a lot easier to write an extreme character than a modulated character. So I would say Emma is challenging to write, but very rewarding when you get it right.
Let’s hear it…do you have any good Stranger theories?
ONCE UPON A TIME airs Sundays at 8 PM on ABC. If you’ve missed anything, make sure to check out the official website!
ONCE UPON A TIME: Lana Parrilla on Regina’s Relationships with Mr. Gold, Emma, and Mary Margaret, Plus Working with Barbara Hershey
ONCE UPON A TIME: Raphael Sbarge Teases Archie’s New Clients and Jiminy’s Return in Fairytale Land
ONCE UPON A TIME: Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis Dance Around the Possibility of a Jamie Dornan Return
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