Different points of view: "We try to kind of crystalize it at the start, where from Emma's point of view, it's like 'since I've been back, your lives have sucked.' But from Mary-Margaret and David's point of view, it's 'no. It's been great. Because we're back, and we're a family.' And now they have these challenges to overcome in order to be together and be a family," explains Adam Horowitz.
How will Regina like being on this journey with people she can't stand? "It is not gonna be [easy]," Edward Kitsis says, saying Regina will wonder why she is still "at the kids' table." Regina's feelings about being on this journey with people she detests will be explored more in the third episode.
On "Captain Swan" and that "ship," and what we can look forward to from that: "The whole relationship 'ship' thing - that's an awesome thing that the fans bring to the experience in the show, but the story we're telling encompasses both the relationships between all of the characters and potential romances, but the bigger emotional story as well," Horowitz says.
"Obviously, they think Neal is dead. Obviously, Hook is a man who likes ladies. And as we saw last year when they climbed the beanstalk, Emma has probably captured his heart a little bit," says Kitsis. "But in the same respect, we see that Neal is fighting like hell to get a second chance with her and, right now, I think that Emma is focused on getting Henry. She's not somebody who likes to let her walls down. Her heart's been broken too many times for her to be worried about dating right now. But we'll see," he teases.
Adam Horowitz on how splitting Once Season 3 into two 11-episode arcs works: "It is impacting, and we hope in a really positive way. In addition to two 11-episode arcs, the scheduling of running them more or less uninterrupted in both arcs allows us, hopefully, to really gain story momentum, and to really look at them as two mini-seasons that are hopefully thematically connected and building to one sort of big finish. It allows us to tell what we call the 'Neverland arc' in the first half, and in the second half tell the '[blank] arc' which we're not going to spoil just yet, which will grow out of where you see these first 11 end. As writers, it's been both challenging and really kind of freeing in a way, to allow us to really focus on giving a complete experience in the Fall and a complete experience in the Spring," he says.
Eddy Kitsis talks about the split season, too. "It's also really hard, as a writer, to do 22 episodes of one story in today's world," he says. "I think television is changing and habits change, and people are used to 10-12 episode seasons. So, for us, it's also exciting because we get to do two seasons this year. We're trying to do 'all killer, no filler.' So I think for us personally, it's fine, because it allows us to really tell contained stories that we want to tell, without being like 'how do we stretch this one idea'?"
Who would like Once Upon A Time? "For us, this is a show for believers," Kistis says. "For some people that's great. For some people it pisses them off, because it's a lot cooler to be cynical. It's a show about hope. That's what we love about it, and that's what we want to write about."
And finally, about goals and how they might be different for the Charmings when compared to people like Regina or Peter Pan: "Our characters are all looking for a happy ending. They're all looking for love. It's just what choices do you use to get them. Some people are okay playing hardball. Some people want to do it the right way," Kitsis teases.
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