The delightful television series Once Upon A Time returns on September 25th with the season 6 premiere. Season 5 ended with an array of juicy cliffhangers and tantalizing prospects, made even better by thrilling tidbits released throughout the summer. Here are 5 burning questions for the upcoming season:
- How will the return of Lily and Maleficent tie into season 6?
Once Upon A Time creators and executive producers Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis (they will be referred to as Adam and Eddy for the rest of this post) have confirmed the return of Lily and Maleficent for season 6. After their fascinating development in season 4, it was quite disappointing for neither character to appear or even have their absences addressed in season 5. Their relationship as mother and daughter was just getting started, and they were finally moving forward from being two formerly revenge-obsessed individuals to overcoming their tragic pasts as they reconciled and began moving forward, finding a new place in the universe. And don’t forget that the identity of Lily’s father/Maleficent’s dragon lover is still a mystery!
I expect season 6 to explain what Lily and Maleficent were doing during season 5, how their relationship and individual identities have continued to evolve, and to answer the mystery of Lily’s father/Maleficent’s dragon lover. The answer to this mystery likely lies with the Land of Untold Stories, providing a practically endless potential of characters. This crucial figure has likely come to Storybrooke with Hyde and will bring Lily and Maleficent back into focus. My only doubt about this is Lily and Maleficent may have left Storybrooke in the season 5 finale via Zelena’s portal. If you remember in season 4, Maleficent tells Lily that magic is keeping her alive, and she will crumble into dust if she crosses the Storybrooke town line. When Storybrooke’s magic was tethered to the Olympian Crystal, Maleficent may have needed to leave Storybrooke in order to survive, to be in a place like the Enchanted Forest where magic would continue to keep her alive.
Wherever Lily and Maleficent are, it’s time to see them return in a big way that will surely answer many of the lingering questions surrounding them from season 4.
- What kind of past do Rumplestiltskin and Mr. Hyde share?
No character has as many past connections with major antagonists like Rumplestiltskin. From Regina to Cora to Peter Pan to Zelena to the Snow Queen to the Queens of Darkness, Rumple almost always seems to have a significant influence on the show’s major antagonists. The season 5 finale made it clear that he has a past with Hyde, and that it’s a nasty one. Could Rumple be as important a figure in bringing about Hyde as Jekyll himself? The Dark One is the only individual Hyde seems to fear so far, the only one more powerful than him. Rumple thus is integral to Hyde’s character (and naturally to Jekyll as well). Hyde may also be integral to Rumple’s character in a way we don’t fully realize yet.
- How will Rumplestiltskin wake Belle from the sleeping curse?
The sleeping curse has afflicted many in Once Upon A Time. From Snow White to David to Henry to Aurora to Dorothy, many have fallen under the curse and been woken by true love’s kiss. But with true love’s kiss out of play for Belle and Rumplestiltskin, our favorite Dark One has to figure out a new way to wake his wife. It’s a familiar dilemma in new territory. The answer not only lies with the information Hyde gave Rumple in exchange for the Pandora’s Box with Belle inside and Storybrooke itself. The answer also lies with the new character Morpheus (god of dreams in Greek mythology, will probably interpret Belle’s dreams and communicate with her via the dreams), and with both Rumple and Belle making sacrifices to help their unborn child.
- How will Emma be influenced by Aladdin and Savior mythology?
One of the most exciting pieces of news released this summer was that Aladdin and many characters and elements from his story will appear in season 6, and furthermore, Aladdin is(was?) a Savior. Adam and Eddy have promised that Savior mythology will be explored this season similar to how Dark One mythology was explored during the Camelot arc in season 5. While there were always clearly defining traits of Dark Ones and a history that began long before Rumple or Zoso, the same clarity and mystery wasn’t so true of Saviors until now. Since Emma broke the Dark Curse at the end of season 1, it hasn’t been so clear what it means to be a Savior. Sure, she helps people achieve their happy endings and stands up to evil despite incredible odds in order to aid in saving the day, but so do many other characters (Snow White, David, Henry, Regina, etc.). What has made Emma a Savior since the end of season 1 and how will that influence her journey this season? Will being a Savior begin taking a toll on her the way it did to Aladdin? Likely through Hyde and the characters from the Land of Untold Stories, Emma will meet Aladdin and discover much more of what it means to be a Savior, extending to the Savior mythology.
- What does the Evil Queen want? Moreover, how will Regina cope with the Evil Queen’s return, particularly in the wake of Robin Hood’s tragic death?
When Regina was the Evil Queen, she above all wanted Snow White to suffer, and a lot of the time that suffering revolved around obtaining Snow White’s heart. With Snow’s heart, she could finally have revenge for the secret Snow spilled to Cora, the secret that led to the death of Regina’s first true love Daniel. This was Regina’s primary motive in casting the first Dark Curse.
But with the Evil Queen split from Regina and now a being of her own, what will the Evil Queen want? She can’t just want all the same things Regina wanted as the Evil Queen. Too many people and circumstances have changed, one of the most significant being Zelena. Remember, when Regina was full-on Evil Queen she was unaware of Zelena’s existence. I see the Evil Queen’s motives being a mixture of things she used to want and things she wants now. The obsession with Snow’s heart and Snow suffering will remain. New desires like destroying Zelena will also arise, along with others we cannot yet foresee. Perhaps the most fascinating of these possibilities is what the dynamic will be between the Evil Queen and Henry.
As often seems to be the case, Regina has one of the most difficult paths to navigate, still grieving for the man she loved while also literally facing her worst self. Aligning with the show’s themes, she’ll have help from friends and family to help her through this incredibly difficult time. Yet that still doesn’t change the fact that Regina seems to have a harder road ahead of her than any other character, and she’s already had one of the hardest roads to begin with. Regina’s quest for her happy ending has been grueling as the writers seem intent on screwing her over more than any other character. She won’t have her happy ending handed to her like certain characters (you know who you are.) Her character development has been the most in-depth, satisfying and believable up to this point and I feel confident that will continue into season 6.
Image credit: http://zap2it.com/2016/08/once-upon-a-time-season-6-emilie-de-ravin-belles-family-history/