Once Upon A Time may have ended with some game-changers, but at least we have a good idea of what to expect when the season returns. Since Emma Swan is now The Dark One, they're off to see the wizard and break her curse. That's right — Merlin is coming to Once Upon A Time in Season 5, and I already have a lot of questions about what this means.
Anyone else relieved that the show is not going to do what they did last season and take us to Tomorrowland or wherever Pixar's Inside Out takes place? While the Frozen arc was fun, it didn't have the best timing. The Zap2It blog confirmed with the Once Upon A Time showrunners that the search for Merlin will be a focus in Season 5. With Arthurian legend, Once Upon A Time will be able to put their spin on characters and stories that have been around for centuries.
We don't know much about Merlin's role on the ABC series, but a few things have been hinted at. We know that he created the starry hat that absorbs powers for others protection. We know that his apprentice was responsible for finding authors to magically record history. We also know that he's the only one who can destroy the darkness inside Emma. With that said, here are my pressing queries about this not quite good, not quite bad new addition to Once Upon A Time.
How Old Will Merlin Be?
Anyone familiar with Arthurian legend knows that the wizard Merlin lives backwards. Will Once Upon A Time use this to their advantage? The BBC series Merlin used this to justify casting a young actor in the role. If you're going to be immortal, you might as well look your best. However, whether or not Merlin's life experience manifests in a Benjamin Button-type way is up to interpretation. That said, a show like OUAT that's constantly changing the future is sure to learn a lot from a character who possibly only experiences the future.
Who Will Play Merlin?
TVLine's Michael Ausiello has already suggested that Forever's Ioan Gruffudd should play Merlin. I would suggest Pedro Pascal, perhaps. The show loves to call upon their old Lost pals, so how about Jeremy Davies, Nestor Carbonell, Blake Bashoff, or Ken Leung? The great thing about a role like Merlin is that they can go in whatever direction they want, so I hope Once Upon A Time takes advantage of that.
Will We Meet Merlin's Friends?
Sir Lancelot has already appeared on Once Upon A Time. We saw him once in a flashback and as a magical projection by his murderer, Cora. He and his true love (which presumably should be Guinevere) were banished from their land. Other homages to this particular mythology include the sword Excalibur and the Lady of the Lake. So, if we're going to meet Merlin in Season 5 of Once Upon A Time, who else from this world will the series introduce? Knowing this show, it's sure to have a fun, feminist twist. I'd love to see King Arthur, Queen Guinevere, the witch Morgan Le Fey, and more Knights of the Round Table.
Why Did Merlin Create The Dark One?
We learned that Merlin created the Dark One and his dagger in order to contain a great and ancient evil force. In the season finale, the Apprentice assured us that Merlin could also banish that power. So... why didn't he just do that in the first place? There has to be more to Merlin's plan, and I look forward to learning what that is.
Who Is Merlin Connected To Already?
Every character on Once Upon A Time fits into the web of love affairs and secret relations. Surely, Merlin or one of his companions has tangled with one of our heroes or villains before. My guess is either Snow White's mother, Princess Eva, or David's father — both characters we could learn more about.
Where Is Merlin?
Before he died, the Sorcerer's Apprentice hinted that Merlin was far, far away. So... is he in the Dagobah system on the Outer Rim, hanging out with Yoda or something? A Star Wars connection would not be too far-fetched. Emma has turned to the Dark Side, after all. Anyway, it does seem as if the Once Upon A Time bunch will have to travel further than the Enchanted Forest to find this enchanter. Where exactly is Merlin hiding?
He could be in Oz. What if he became the actual Wizard of Oz? There has to be a reason that Zelena was brought back this season. While the Once Upon A Time In Wonderland spin-off delved into that wacky realm and our characters spent a whole season whomping around Neverland, there's definitely more story to tell in Oz. However, it's most likely that Merlin is in Camelot, the realm ruled by King Arthur and his Knights.
Whoever or wherever he is, it'll be fun to see Once Upon A Time delve into this classic territory. The prospect of an Evil Emma, powerless Rumplestiltskin and conflicted Regina is pretty depressing. I'm glad we have Merlin to look forward to in Season 5.
Images: Jack Rowand/ABC; Giphy(6)