Once Upon a Time fans won’t be seeing the same versions of Captain Hook and Regina in the upcoming seventh season — and we finally have a better sense of who their beloved characters will be.
While it’s been previously teased that Hook and Regina will be different versions from what’s been established, returning stars Colin O’Donoghue and Lana Parrilla revealed spoiler-filled details at the summer Television Critics Association press tour on Sunday.
The new season will open in Seattle and another curse will have struck the characters, leading O’Donoghue and Parrilla to play new iterations of their fictional alter egos.
“He is a uniformed cop in Seattle,” O’Donoghue said, confirming what’s been teased in the first season seven teaser. “There’s a sense of loss there in the guy and he just doesn’t know what it is that’s missing. So he’s striving to find who he is still, yet trying to be the best uniformed cop that he can be and do things the right way. As is always the case on Once Upon a Time, it’s more complicated than that.”
But Parrilla’s character may be an even bigger departure from what viewers have been familiar with the past six seasons.
“I don’t think her name’s Regina and that’s cool,” Parrilla teased. “I’m no longer in pant suits, I’m in denim and rock T-shirts. When we meet her, she’s working in a bar. She’s a bar owner. She’s a little rough around the edges, not quite the queen that we’re used to. She has curly hair. She looks very different, she feels different. This one is like, ‘Her name’s not even Regina!’”
“She’s no longer in charge and we’ve always seen Regina in charge or try to be in charge, try to be in control, try to manipulate, and then she redeemed herself,” she continued. “But this Regina is something else and I’m having a blast playing her. I’m still discovering her. … It kind of feels like the pilot.”
Once Upon a Time co-creator and executive producer Eddy Kitsis echoed his sentiments from July, when he shared that the absences of Hook and Rumplestiltskin’s significant others will be explained early in the new season. (Kitsis also revealed that the idea for a reboot germinated around the fourth season and that they had a six-season plan.)
“Episode 2 is going to answer what has happened Emma and Hook,” Kitsis said. “Episode 4 will answer that question for Belle [and Rumple].”
O’Donoghue maintained that the new episodes will be worth the wait for loyal viewers of the show.
“Of the six seasons I’ve been in, I’ve been very, very lucky to play different variations of this one character so that’s one thing that I’m really excited this season that we’re shooting now — about exploring [him] in a completely different way,” he said. “I do have to say, the episodes [up to four] that we’ve read are, in all honesty, the best that I’ve read in any season so far. One of the episodes, I think, might be one of the best of any show I’ve [read]. It’s really, really fantastic.”
Once Upon a Time premieres Friday, Oct. 6 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.