We've known for quite some time now that there's a distinct possibility Once Upon a Time will turn its Savior Emma dark, but what if the series has an even more permanent change in store? During a recently interview with Entertainment Weekly, executive producers Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis teased that our blonde protagonist will "be faced with making a very big sacrifice" that will affect her relationship with everybody on the show. Sounds rather ominous, don't you think? And that's what got me thinking: what if Emma becomes The Dark One in the OUAT Season 4 finale?
I mean, if you think about it, this twist would be the perfect way to tie in Rumple's declining health problem. Perhaps in order to save everyone and keep Rumple from completely morphing into his Dark One identity, Emma ends up killing him, thereby inheriting the Dark One's power. It may not be a choice that she wants to make, but if it means protecting the people she loves, I have no doubt that she'd sacrifice herself to keep them out of harm's way — even if it meant having to spend an eternity as a powerfully dark creature. After all, we know full well by now that all magic comes with a price. (Would that mean she'd have to start saying that all the time now?)
Adding further fuel to this whole Dark One theory, Horowitz and Kitsis have also revealed to TVLine that, unlike these past few seasons, Season 4's finale won't be introducing us to a new fairytale element, so don't expect any magic lamps or journeys to a far off world to crop up in the final few moments of the show. Kitsis explains:
"We’ll absolutely be setting up what Season 5 will be, but unlike last year where it was, ‘Hey, it’s Frozen,’ or the year before which was, ‘Hey, we’re going to Neverland,’ this one will be much more like Season 1 in that it’s a condition of the show that changes and has ramifications for everyone."
So if it's a condition that's changing, Emma transformation into the new Dark One would totally fit in. Now only would this decision alter the very foundation of the show, but it'd also allow her to fully embrace her darker tendencies that have been laid dormant for so long. Plus, we know that someone is going to have to put an end to the Author's big history re-write in where the villains are now the heroes and vice-versa. Perhaps this is the only way to halt and reverse the process.
Granted, I hate the idea that Rumple could end up dying (for real this time). But I wouldn't put it past OUAT to come up with some sort of loophole so that the former Dark One doesn't have to die (at least permanently) in order for a new Dark One to be born. Either way, though, I'm more confident than ever that Ms. Swan will be left to take up the reigns. So you better start preparing yourselves now, folks. Because the Emma we all know and love could become nothing but a distant memory.