It is no secret to anyone who has read KSiteTV’s Once Upon a Time coverage over the years that Lana Parrilla — Regina/the Evil Queen — has long been a favorite around these parts. Parrilla’s performance transcends “good or evil” and whichever form of the character she seems to be playing turns out to be an engrossing one.
With the upcoming “reboot” of Once Upon a Time, coming our way October 6 on ABC, Parrilla will add a new character to her arsenal — a bar owner that the show’s producers have told us is named “Roni.”
We caught up with Lana Parrilla at the recent Television Critics Association press tour to learn more about what we can expect from her in Season 7 — starting with asking her if the producers pitched her storyline before they started on this new adventure.
“A bit of it, yes,” Parrilla said about how much was pitched on the onset. “They basically said ‘you’ll always play Regina and the Queen, those two characters will be with us still, but probably in flashbacks. What are your thoughts about maybe playing a different character?’ And I was like ‘I love that idea!'”
The actress seems to be fond of “Roni,” her newest character that we will be meeting in Season 7, and it sounds as though she is not the only one. “I love it,” she enthused. “I’m still learning who she is. We’re still developing her, and I’m learning more about her… I love her. People really are responding positively to her, even just amongst our crew when they read the scripts. She’s really cool. She’s just different. She’s down to Earth.”
A new character means a new, more comfortable wardrobe as Roni — and Regina herself will have an updated look as well.
“For Regina, in the Fairy Tale Land, there is also a time lapse,” Parrilla explained. “She’s older — just doesn’t look it. I think it’s maybe seven years later, so she’s a different person as well. And she’s no longer the Evil Queen, but her costumes are still really beautiful. She feels very Goddess-like to me right now.”
And speaking of new looks, although Andrew J. West is taking over the role of Henry for Season 7, Lana’s time interacting with young actor Jared S. Gilmore is not yet finished. “Jared’s in the premiere and some other episodes, which I am so happy about because I love that kid so much,” Parrilla revealed.
Once Upon a Time Season 7 premieres October 6 on ABC.