ONCE UPON A TIME: Adam Horowitz and Eddy Kitsis Tease the Wicked Witch Versus the Evil Queen, Going to Oz, and More
February 14, 2014 by Marisa Roffman
ONCE UPON A TIME has been on an extended hiatus (so the show could run in two nearly uninterrupted batches), but its return is just a little over three weeks away.
To get a little intel about what viewers can expect from ONCE UPON A TIME season 3.5, I spoke with co-creators Adam Horowitz and Eddy Kitsis to see what they could tease…
What can you tease about what’s in store for fans during the second half of the season?
Eddy Kitsis: Well, it’s Wicked versus Evil. The Wicked Witch versus the Evil Queen.
Since a year has passed, will we be getting flashbacks showing what everyone was up to in the time we missed?
Adam Horowitz: We are getting flashbacks.
EK: What happened in the last year will definitely be shown. You’re not going to feel, like, “Wait a minute!” We’re going to see Emma’s life, and we’re going to see what happened in the Enchanted Forest, and who they encountered.
In the past, when characters are separated, it has taken a bit of time for them to be reunited. How long should fans expect it to be before Emma and Henry reconnect with the people they left behind?
EK: I would say it happens in an unexpected way in an unexpected time. But if you’re saying, will it be 12 episodes before Emma sees her parents, no, no.
AH: We are in the age of Twitter, we do see the pitchforks.
EK: One of the things we loved about the first half of the season was that we felt we told one story through character, and we intend to do the same in the second. We’re really focusing on the core characters and their journey, and everything they have come so far [for]…for us, it’s just continuing that.
Is the Wicked Witch the new foe for the second half of the season, or is she, perhaps, their new antagonist going forward for the foreseeable future?
EK: The second half of the season. Just like Pan, or Cora last year.
Is she related to anyone that we know?
AH: Yes. She absolutely is.
EK: She’s connected to a few of our characters.
Interesting. Since it’s been such a long hiatus, are you looking online to see what all the fan theories are about her, and what’s to come?
EK: [I] stay away, because it tends to not do the greatest things for my psyche. It’s hard to write a [story] with everyone commenting all the time. What happens is there are so many contradictory thoughts, that it ends up just making me cry. And so my wife has pulled me from the internet.
EK: At the end of the day, you hear certain things, you write this for the fans, but at the end of the day, you have to have a vision and stick to it, and if it fails and people hate it, you have to deal with it.
Well, there’s also literally no way to make every single fan happy.
EK: Zero. Impossible. [It's] too fast, too slow, not enough, too much. So for us, it’s like, let’s do what we like, and as long as we’re happy at the end of the day, you hope other people are. But at least you don’t look back and say, “I only did this because Chewbacca20 said he hated this!”
This was the first time you guys were able to officially split the season in half and tell different stories with each arc. What lessons did you learn from that first half of a season that you’re now applying to the second half of the year?
AH: We loved it. We loved doing it, because it allowed us to tell a complete story, and then do a launching pad at the end to set up another complete story we wanted to tell this year. It was a lot of fun to focus in on the characters and allow a complete journey in the first half, and then take them to a new place in the second.
EK: You’re going to see the second half of the season feels like a different season.
Did you have to pitch both halves of the season at the same time to ABC? Or did you get to pitch it a half season at a time?
EK: We had to do it all at once.
AH: At the beginning of the year, we had to lay out a big picture plan.
EK: ABC has been very supportive. They really support us and let us do our vision. They’ve been great as a network. No matter what crazy thing we say: “We’re going to take the show, and we’re going to go to Neverland, and we’re barely going to show Storybrooke.” And they said, OK, you know.
Are we going to be seeing Oz?
AH: Not in the way that we saw Neverland, in spending [a large amount of time there].
EK: Much in the way in season 1, we went to Wonderland for an episode, [we'll visit Oz]. We’re going to find out how the Wicked Witch became green.
Oh, that’s awesome. What has Rebecca Mader (Wicked Witch) brought to the show?
EK: Oh, wickedness. She is a Wicked Witch who knows how to get hers. She is like delicious and evil and wicked and sexy and strong. And the Evil Queen just hates her…Rebecca, we wrote for her on LOST, and we always loved her, and we always had her in the back of our minds as someone and then we knew this was perfect. We just wanted to see what would happen if we put her with everyone in a room together and let them go at it…she’s a real talent.
How are Snow and Charming dealing with losing Emma again?
AH: Their life sucks!
EK: They always have faith, they always have hope. What’s interesting is Regina just gave up her child for his best chance, the way that Snow did. So what’s interesting is we have a scene where they talk about it, and how they deal with it.
Given the loss Regina went through, where do we find her, emotionally, when the show picks back up?
AH: Regina is neither hero nor villain.
EK: She’s Regina.
AH: She’s her own unique creation. She does what she does for a very specific reason that goes beyond simple good and evil. And I think she continues that way. We saw her uneasy alliance with the characters, and I think that will happen, but what I think will continue to happen is when she encounters the Wicked Witch, there are some major sparks that will fly.
Since Ginnifer Goodwin is pregnant in real-life — and Snow and Charming talked about expanding their family earlier this season — can you say whether or not that will be written into the show?
EK: I will say, whatever [happens,] Ginny’s real life copied us, because we wrote it first. Whatever we do in the second half of the season, we were first.
Fair! What are you most excited for people to see?
AH: The Wicked Witch. In addition to Rebecca just being wonderful and all that, what she does to all our other characters, and how they react, and what it brings out in everybody, from Snow and Charming, Regina, Belle, it’s fun. It’s exciting for us as writers, and we hope the audience agrees.
ONCE UPON A TIME returns Sunday, March 9th at 8 PM on ABC.