Home / Interviews / Hook Or Neal: Who’s The Better Match For Emma On Once Upon A Time?

Hook Or Neal: Who’s The Better Match For Emma On Once Upon A Time?

The third season of ABC’s Once Upon A Time begins Sunday, September 29, and the cast and producers made their way to Comic-Con recently to promote the upcoming Season 3.

We spoke with several of them at a Comic-Con press room, and we will be spreading those out over the coming days. But first, here are Colin O’Donoghue (Captain Hook) and Michael Raymond-James (Neal) on what is coming up in Season 3, which O’Donoghue tells us “starts off right where it left off.”

“The ship falls down to Neverland, and Neal goes to the fairy tale land,” Colin says. Despite the different locales, Raymond-James points out that all of the characters have the same goal. “All of us are trying to get to the one single point, and that’s wherever Henry is,” he says.

For O’Donoghue, the notion of all of the characters on the same ship should prove to be interesting. “We’ve got three villains and three goodies on the ship, so they all have to try and band together in some way for the greater good, to get Henry. It will be interesting to see, from that perspective, how that works out,” Colin says.

For Michael Raymond-James’ Neal, his showing up in the fairy tale land comes not too long after his character found out that he’s Henry’s father, so a lot is going on.  “Literally, in the overall timeline, it’s just a few days ago. I say at one point ‘not bad for Day 3 as a dad,’ and I screw up as dads are prone to do. So it’s really been a very short amount of time. But for Neal, that was the thing that he’s been looking for, through all of it, was that sense of family,” Michael says, showing how important it is for Neal to get back to Henry and Emma. Will Neal (formerly Baelfire) use magic to get what he wants?  “It’s a means to an end, and the ends justify the means, I think, for me. Not in terms of killing or anything like that. I don’t like magic, but if it helps me to get to my son and the woman that I love, then I’m not going to withdraw on moral obligations,” he says.

O’Donoghue himself asked Raymond-James if Neal has the power to do magic. “I didn’t have any magic at 14 when my dad became the Dark One, and I wasn’t interested in magic,” he answers. “I saw him become this monster that wasn’t my Dad. I wanted my Dad. That was it. I was a kid who was scared, and he let me go… if he has any in him, he hasn’t cultivated it.”

Over in Neverland, fans can look forward to all of the characters you would expect to find there. “It’s a magical place,” O’Donoghue says. “It’s also very different in a way that only Adam and Eddy can do. A spin on it. It’s very different. People will be interested to see how dark it is. The Lost Boys and stuff like that are there, and they’re very different from the Lost Boys we’ve known from before. From Hook’s point of view, it’s not a place that he wants to go back to. He doesn’t want to be back there. It’s not a nice place.”

But, enough about locations. We want to know the more pressing question: Which character is a better suitor for Jennifer Morrison’s Emma?

Michael Raymond-James gives a safe answer. “I don’t think either one of us could answer that. I don’t think that’s for us to decide, either,” he says.

“I think they both, in their own minds, have [an idea]. First off, I’ll preface it [with] I don’t know if Hook and Emma are a thing or not. I know that they have a connection. But I think both of them would feel that they both deserve to have love,” Colin adds.

“If that were to be a debate, it would be spirited, to say the least, I’m sure,” Raymond-James admits.

Once Upon A Time Season 3 premieres September 29 on ABC. Come by our Once Upon A Time forum, and be sure to come back soon for more interviews!

About Craig Byrne, Editor-In-Chief

KSiteTV Editor-In-Chief Craig Byrne has been writing about TV on the internet since 1995. He is also the author of several published books, including Smallville: The Visual Guide and the show's Official Companions for Seasons 4-7.


  1. Captain Swan!!! (Hook and Emma) They have incredible chemistry. :)

  2. If it has to be one of them, I’d say Swan Thief/Swan Fire. They have a past, they both love each other and know each other, and they have a son together.

  3. Captain Swan!! they both deserve love. Neal and Emma have history but I think they both need a fresh start with someone else.

  4. SwanFire ___>;;)!!

  5. Swanfire/Swanthief all the way!

  6. Captain Swan all the way. <3 <3 I'm not a big fan of Swanfire and i don't think that Neal is the right person for Emma, at least not for the person she is now. I won't deny that they were both in love back then but emma has changed, she's not the same reckless and wild 18 year old girl that she was. she's a full grown woman, she's strong, smart and confident and makes different choices now, and besides emma is not exactly your typical princess and neal would be the most expected choice and a good romance is the least anticipated aka HOOK! <3 <3 <3

  7. SwanThieeeef ftw <3

  8. Captain Swan! They understand each other, have a lot in common. Emma makes Hook a better person and he admires her, they strengthen each other. I believe Hook can make Emma trust men again… of course if the writers choose to give them the chance. And both of them need and deserve love.

    About Neal… he broke Emma’s heart, chose to leave her not because he thought it’s the best for her, but because he was running from his father. His fear was bigger than his so-called love. Also he moved on with Tamara and never wanted to find Emma after the curse was broken. I would rather see Emma alone than be with him.

  9. CAPTAIN SWAN!!!!!!!!!!!! as we can see in the last episode, Hook changes, he could have run away with the bean but he didn’t. he comes back to save the town, and then, to save Henry. Emma was the one person that make him do that change, kinda “open his eyes” in the diner. I really think they have a lot of potential, but it’s gonna take time to build in the relationship. Reminds me of Pacey & Joey or Damon & Elena. they bring the best in each other. BTW, I hate Neal..

  10. CAPTAIN SWAN!!! I would be devastated if she goes back to Neal!!

  11. captainswan….. neal is not a fighter and also not a lover. emma deserves better… a fighter one, who fights for her and a lover who really loves her… and that is not neal..

  12. captainswan….. neal is not a fighter and also not a lover. emma deserves better… a fighter one, who fights for her and a lover who really loves her… and that is not neal.. that is killian jones!!!

  13. captainswan….. neal is not a fighter and also not a lover. emma deserves better… a fighter one, who fights for her and a lover who really loves her… and that is not neal.. that is killian jones!!

  14. Captain Swan. I think there is someone out there that will fit Neal better than Emma. I am excited to find out who. But I love Hook and Emma, they have amazing chemistry and watching their romance unfold will be epic.

  15. Swanfire. I understand now that there is a certain cuteness to some Captain Swan moments. But I love pretty much EVERY Swanfire moment. I don’t mind if Captain Swan have a fling but honestly I could see him ending up with someone else but not Emma. SWANFIRE FOREVER!

  16. Captain Swan or someone new for Emma, definately not swan thief, that would be too cliche and would be a major dissapointment on this show if they went that way. Emma is a kick ass heroine, and Neal had numerous opportunities to go see her and didn’t because he was ‘afraid’. I think he wants love and a family but his actions have been truly dissapointing. August told him to go see Emma and instead he hooked up with Tamara and never once showed any conflict over his engagement with tamara even though emma was free. Not until he asked tamara if she ever loved him and she denied it did he suddenly tell emma he loved her too. That portal scene was one of the most forced scenes that show has ever done.
    I enjoy her scenes with Hook – they have the chemistry and both are passionate characters. But is for some reason its not Hook then I would hope someone better for Emma would come along than Neal.

  17. I thought neal had a great connection with mulan! And Emma and hook are great together!

  18. Emma and Hook all the way! Neal does not deserve Emma!

  19. Emma and Hook for sure.Neal had his chance.Emma and captain hook have really good chemistry.

  20. I do love hook but that isn’t my only reason for wanting emma and him together. Hook knows magic, believes in it and is not afraid of adventure. Emma is the saviour who is trying to believe but her normal human upbringing is a road block. neal is anti magic, anti faery tale, anti adventure. He’s just a normal boring guy that wants a normal boring life. Emma being the saviour, will probably never have a mundane life and who could ask he to want that when she could have so much more. Henry also loves magic and faery tales. Neal abandoned her the reason doesn’t matter he did it. If he loved her he could have found a way to explain at least and straightened up himself. Plus, hook and emma have way more chem and neal is just old and boring

  21. CAPTAIN SWAN FTW! Everyone knows they’re the perfect pair. Neal doesn’t have any chemistry with Emma at all. Just think, he chose Tamara when he was given a choice between Emma and Tamara, like what kind of shit person does that crap! At least Hook knew he wanted Emma and now is doing everything he can to win her cold heart. AND IM PRETTY SURE THAT THE SHOW’S RATING WOULD GO UP BECAUSE MORE PEOPLE SHIP CAPTAIN SWAN THAN SWANFIRE SO THAT WOULD GIVE THE PRODUCERS SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT!

  22. CAPTAIN SWAN! I love Hook and i want him with Emma. I don’t like Neal, he’s just a boring guy who have to move on and let Emma be free and happy with other man. Emma deserves better, she deserves someone who makes her believe, a passionate guy who makes her on fire and well, you know which man i’m talking about. CAPTAIN SWAN FOREVEEER!

  23. CAPTAIN SWAN ALWAYS!! There are sparkles on my tv when Emma and Killian are together, there’s passion when they look at each other, there’s chemistry! They are perfect for each other!

  24. Emma and Neal should be together not Emma and hook I don’t like hook and if Emma gose with hook I’m throwing my tv into the street

  25. HOOK!!!!
    No matter Neal says he hurt/abandon/and then replaced Emma. That is not true love.

  26. Emma and Neal hook and Emma don’t make a good couple so I say swanfire

  27. Definitely Hook. All the way!!!!!!!!

  28. Swanfire!!!!!

  29. SWANFire!!!!!!! I don’t like hook he always makes a fuss when he dosent get his way

  30. Omg ewwww swan fire is gross. If Emma and Neal get back together I will chuck my tv into the snow. Captain Swan ALL THE WAY!!!! They are sooo perfect! That kiss> everything else I love them. Also captain swan overrules swan fire supporters so if the producers chose Neal there will be a ton of unhappy people. Hook and Emma are soo perfect for each other and they have both “lost” their first loves. When Emma told Neal they couldn’t be together and she wished he was dead I almost cried of pure joy. CAPTAIN SWAN ALL THE WAYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  31. Also hook has changed a ton this season. He is a much better person and his speech about his undying love for Emma and he would never give up

  32. Emma and Neal!!! There is more than one type of chemistry. Yes, Hook and Emma have sexual chemistry and playful banter, but those types of relationships aren’t long term. Emma and Neal have chemistry too. They can talk to each other and have deep conversations with each other. The only deep convos that Emma and Hook have had are about Neal. Neal sacrificed his life when he let go at the portal so Henry could have atleast one parent instead of losing 2. And he knew Emma would still have Henry even if he died. That’s gonna earn some serious points. Finally, do Emma/Hook fans not make the connection that Hook got Neal’s mom and is now after his ex and mother of his child. Ewww!!! It’s too VC Andrews for my taste.

  33. Emma and Neal!!!! Because Henry has two moms and just met his dad neal not to long ago if Emma gose with Hook and they get married it will be hard for Henry having 2 moms and 2 dads and Emma and Neal are ment for each other

  34. EMMA AND HOOK. I swear, if they don’t “hook” up, I’m going to die! They have so much chemistry and he’s a really good guy. You can see that likes her a lot and is trying to be a better person for her. Neal on the other hand has had his chance and he obviously didn’t take it. It’s not good to dwell on past relationships for so long, if it didn’t work out then move on. I think Neal may end up with Wendy. When she gets out of Neverland, maybe she’ll turn into the age she really is. That’s my guess. I just hope Emma and Hook end up together. PD: Peter Pan is a prick.

  35. Definately captain swan has the best chemistry ever. There is no questions or comparison to be honest. Captain swan all the way!!!p

  36. Emma and Neal because 1. Emma just met hook 2. Henry just met his dad and it would be hard to deal with that if Emma and hook go together plus he has 2 moms 3. Neal said he would NEVER stop fighting for Emma which means even if Emma went with hook neal would fight for her<3 4. Emma and Neal are ment for each other maybe they could make an episode where hooks true love comes back (forgot her name)

  37. Captain Swan all the way! They have a lot of chemistry!!! And they have a lot in common, as Emma told him, they both think in a similar way :) Neal is a loveable guy, but I think now is Hook’s turn, Neal had his chance…And Emma has changed a lot, she has grown up. And it would be something a little bit different, Neal would be the “typical choice”. Hook is the pirate, the not-perfect-guy, but he wants to change. So yeah! Hook is the one!

  38. Captain Swan….

    Emma and Neal hooked up for a wee bit when she was a teenager and then moved on. Their chemistry is just… dull. Baelfire is too, eh, cliche? He’s too ‘perfect’ now, and unlike Prince Charming, I feel like it just doesn’t work together. Also – he DID have his chance, and he really messed up. Emma and Hook though have great chemistry, she’s actually changed him for the better, and he’s helped her out too. Neal messed her up for a while, Hook’s helping bring her back.

    Not to mention Captain Swan scenes are hands down the best on the show. Such sizzle!

  39. I was watching the tralier for the next episode and Emma was talking to hook and smiling I think she chose hook nooooooooo He always gets what he wants he took Neal’s mom now his love? I hate hook Emma and Neal go Swanfire!!!!

  40. Swanthief!!!!!! Hook can’t get everything and anyway neal and Emma are the perfect match

  41. Samantha Robinson

    SWANFIRE!!! I’m sorry to have to use language but screw Captain Swan. I don’t hate Hook but I hate the fact that he is getting all the alone time with Emma. He is not meant for her, I don’t believe that for a second and besides I’m sorry but the chemistry between the two hasn’t left the line between a simple crush and sexual attraction. There is no love and I just watched the mid season finale and if Captain Swan is true love then his kiss should have had some kind of affect on her but all it did was piss her off. Take that! BTW if they do make it so that Hook and Emma get together I will stop watching out of spite, after all, I still have my GRIMM to watch. (For many months I stopped watch OUAT because they killed Graham off, and only started watching again for Neal) :P

  42. Swanfir I mean I read some of the comments for captin swan and they only want Emma and hook together because they have good chemestery that is not a good reason for them to be together now Emma and Neal should be together because they love each other and Neal said in one of the episodes that he will never stop fighting for Emma (aww) and he cares about her. And captin swan sorry but “Emma and hook have good chemestery isn’t love so yeah

  43. So go swan fire!!!!!!!

  44. I say Hook and Emma are still fair game. There was a small shockwave that happened when they kissed and just like Pinocchio’s wooden leg, if she doesn’t believe in magic nothing magic will work even if its right in front of her eyes. I think they wanted to scare some CaptainSwan fans by making them think it didn’t work.

    Even though a lot of Swanfire fans think that CaptainSwan is shallow, what was light flirting has turned into something stronger than that. On the subject of Hook and Bae’s mom, if you’re expecting OUAT to not be an odd show where grandparents, parents, and their kids can be close in age then this is the wrong show for you. Emma isn’t Hook’s mom. Emma is an adult and so is Hook because of the difference in time in the enchanted forest and the curse. I say the relationship is fair game. I doubt Hook would want to fall for Bae’s love if he knew all that but he didn’t. And even if you don’t believe me, I love Bae’s character but the most interesting relationship he has with another character on the show is the one with his father Rumple. The most powerful scenes to me are with him. At first I did wonder whether Swanfire was the endgame but with the way things turned out and with the way things now I am not sure. Everyone is trying to push her to be with Bae and they keep saying he is her happy ending but I don’t know if that is how she feels. He tried to get her to have a cup of coffee and she bailed. I can’t wait for her to choose instead of her parents or anyone else. Even if she picks Bae I will just have to stomach it but I want to see her choose and not from parental pressure. I kind of hope she picks Hook just because they want to lead her towards Bae. It’s like they didn’t hear the conversation she had with Bae in the cave.
    On the subject of Hook being a parent I think that he would be an awesome parent to Henry. He is fiercely loyal and will put his life on the line for the people he cares about. No one could take the place of Bae as Henry’s father. He will always be his father. And if he can have 2 moms then he can surely have 2 dads lol.

  45. Captain Swan!! Hook and Emma are the perfect match

    and Neal has a bad vibe idk

  46. Emma and Neal They are cute together and if they don’t go together I will throw my tv in street go swan fire go!!!!!!

  47. peoples choice awards tonight and emma and hook r on best couple:( looks like emma and neal wont be together WHY HOOK WHY I WISH EMMA AND NEAL WERE TOGETHER NOT EMMA AND HOOK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I AM REALLY FUIOUS

  48. I vote neal and emma because as a viewer we never got to see what could have been. We’re just left off with cliffhangers every mid season and puff there goes our expectations. Hook and emma are nice couple as well but to me hook is a character who is very corrupt and doesn’t have a sense of moral. Their practically making every villain a softie if anything they should make him a villain. He is pirate for crying out loud even jack sparrow knows his place. Neal on the other hand shares the same qualities with emma not to mention most people we fall in love with share the same interests. Sure opposites attract but in reality it’s the people who share the same qualities that stick. This is just my point and I deeply hope they will surprise us.

  49. Hook!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!