Storybrooke residents are about to go through another big change, but this time it's not a curse doing the reversing in Maine. In the season finale of Once Upon A Time, the Author will set into action his new novel Heroes & Villains where the Evil Queen is Snow White, Regina Mills is a scrappy heroine, and Rumplestiltskin is a noble knight. How long will Heroes & Villains be Once Upon A Time's reality? According to the official ABC press release for the finale,
The Author proves to be a formidable wild card and forges an alliance with Gold. Emma, her parents, Hook and Regina scramble to stop them, but when Gold and the Author turn the tables on heroes and villains alike, the prospect of any happy outcome appears worlds away. Henry discovers he has big shoes to fill as he steps up to save his family before the story’s final page is turned. It’s a race to the finish, and everything culminates with a shocking twist that will leave the residents of Storybrooke reeling.
Basically, Isaac Heller has some dark alternate universe fanfiction that he really wants to workshop. What better way to do that than with magic ink, am I right? This should be fun as a character experiment. Which side will he choose for Emma, whose goodness has become a point of contest this season? I'm dying to know where Hook, arguably the show's lightest shade of grey in terms of villainy (back off, Rumplestiltskin fans), lands in this new universe. Will he be Royal Navy Captain Jones?
Are we going to be exploring the Heroes & Villains universe forever? Executive Producer Adam Horowitz previewed the OUAT season finale for Entertainment Weekly and may have given us our answer.
...in terms of where it leaves off, it’s probably more similar to [the finale of] Season 1 in terms of how it changes the conditions of the show, as opposed to sending us off on a journey to a new land or having someone magically appear. It’s a mixture of last year’s finale in terms of it being a big, fun movie and season 1 in terms of the character-based condition change.
So, that makes it seem as though we're stuck in this alternate universe Enchanted Forest at least going into next season, huh? Will Storybrooke cease to be a "character" on Once Upon A Time completely? As someone who absolutely loves the fairy tale costumes on this show, I would not complain.
It's pretty convenient that Regina and Rumplestiltskin both had the same goal and that it happened to be the Author's goal all along anyway, but since they are actually going through with this plan, I'm willing to go along for the ride. The show has pondered many times with the question "how do you give a villain a satisfying happy ending" — is turning villains into heroes and heroes into villains really the answer? It seems like this only proves that villains fundamentally can't have happy endings. In a way, for our characters, that seems a little bit sad.
However, the fact that Horowitz brought up the first season finale, where everyone woke up from the initial Dark Curse, is interesting to me. One of Once Upon A Time's most powerful arcs came at the top of Season 2, where everyone in Storybrooke was trying to reconcile their true selves with their disappointing, unfulfilled cursed selves. As David/Prince Charming put it, both versions of themselves still existed. Is this still the case in Heroes & Villains? Is there a shade of the characters we know and love in Isaac Heller's newest creation?
Some things never change, especially when you're dealing with such iconic characters. Watch this preview clip for "Operation Mongoose, Part 1" that gives you an idea of how the Heroes & Villains universe has tinkered with Snow White, Charming, and Regina.
Sure, the characters are reversed. Snow is an Evil Queen looking for revenge against Regina for ruining her chance at true love. However, many elements remain the same. James, the Prince's twin brother, is still dead. Snow White still ends up with David, who is sometimes kind of a dope just like he was in cursed Storybrooke. That gives me hope that the story will ultimately right itself especially if Once Upon A Time is planning to keep the Author's new story around for many episodes to come.
Images: Jack Rowand/ABC (2)