Alas, this is the last of our Once Upon A Time Comic-Con interviews; but on the bright side, we've got the show's creators, Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis, revealing some Season 3 intel, which should be satisfying enough. We caught up with the "master storytellers" at a press room following the series' Comic-Con panel.... and very quickly, Eddy and Adam confirmed that the show's core characters will remain the forefront, despite the appearances of characters like Peter Pan, Tinkerbell, and Ariel in Season 3.
"We're not going to meet a lot of new characters beyond that," Kitsis confirms. "Often what we try to do for the show, is to dig deeper into our main characters. Last year we saw Robin Hood, and people were like 'How come we didn't see more?' For us, it was like the story was about Belle getting Rumple to do the right thing for the first time as the Dark One, and we introduce Robin Hood. Does that mean we're going to see him this year? Yes. But in that episode, his job was secondary to telling this story which is 'Rumple made a right decision over him'," he explains. A major goal of Season 3 will be to dig deeper to each character with stories like "The Evil Queen" that are just a slice of life for a given character. We will see more flashbacks like that in the new year. "Season 1 they were much more sprawling, because we were introducing them to the audience," Kitsis admits. "Now that the audience knows them, we can really just stories like that Belle-Rumple story. It was a field trip, but it was a momentous field trip."
With that said, the first episode of Season 3, which airs on September 29, will have no flashback. Episode 2 is a Snow-Charming-Queen story that Kitsis calls "very old-fashioned" and "Season 1-like;" and Episode 3 features Regina. Episode 4 focuses on Rumpelstiltskin, and Episode 5 is going to spotlight Hook. "We're just going to keep going in order and continuing to dive deeper into those stories," Kitsis says.
Adam Horowitz insists that even though we're going to see a lot of Neverland as the season begins (as that's where the characters were headed), Storybrooke will not be forgotten, and that eventually, both the Neverland and Storybrooke stories will meet. "The people who were left behind definitely weighs heavily on our characters, particularly Gold who had a difficult parting with Belle," he says.
"We don't want to throw it all at you, and that is why, at the beginning of the season, to be honest with you, we're going to focus on Neverland and the people on those ships," Kitsis says, expanding Horowitz's statement. "Our goal this year is to tell great, emotional stories and really dig deeper into the character, and not have to bounce around to eight different worlds. We don't want people to watch the show with a flowchart. So, that means by making the show more focused, it does mean that certain things we may not see right away, and hopefully the audience will enjoy the ride they're on, so that when they get to them, they'll be happy, and hopefully we hit the right notes at the right time."
And, of course, one of those "notes" that will be hit, in Neverland, is Ariel, The Little Mermaid. "If you remember, Neverland had mermaids," Eddy says. "We've always wanted to do Ariel, and it was just a matter of what was the best place. We always saved it for Neverland, because to us, that is where I want to meet her, but the question of how she got to Neverland, and her story, is one that will be revealed in the season. In the first eleven," he reveals.
That is not to say that the Little Mermaid teaser, which is clearly in Storybrooke and can be seen below, is an official scene from the show.
"That is not canon," Adam confirms. Just like last year when we showed Hook breaking into Mr. Gold's shop. It was our way to hopefully tease the audience and say 'this is what you're going to get.' That was a Comic-Con exclusive!"
"For us, we wanted to say Ariel's coming, just like last year when Hook was coming," Kitsis continues.
Season 3 of Once Upon A Time begins Sunday, September 29 on ABC. Read some of our other interviews about the new season here!