'Once Upon A Time' Season 5 Offers First Tease Of Dark Emma In New Pics & She's Pretty Terrifying — PHOTOS

I feel like we've all had ample time to prepare ourselves for the whole Dark Swan storyline that will dominate much of Once Upon A Time Season 5 — and for those of us who haven't, we've still got a few months to go, so all is not lost. Ever since Emma sacrificed her soul for the sake of preserving Regina's happiness during the Season 4 finale, the only thing Oncers can think about it what's going to happen now that Emma Swan, the product of True Love and the Savior all rolled in one, is now the Dark One. And while there are certainly other fish to fry when it comes to Storybrooke and beyond, it's safe to say that most roads lead inevitably back to Emma, especially after the first photos of Emma Swan as the Dark One appeared in Entertainment Weekly on Friday, July 3.

First impressions being what they are, it's safe to say that Once execs Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis have decided to go literally dark when portraying the changed Emma, and the difference is rather extreme. Gone are her trademark riding boots and that beloved leather jacket and instead we've got killer stiletto heels and tailored jackets that are, well, okay... they're leather, but it's all black! It's intense and dangerous and Emma's hair has gone from blonde to nearly stark white, her pale skin somehow even more devoid of color, and frankly, I'm a little concerned.

I've always maintained that Dark Swan won't be nearly as bad as everyone is making out. After all, Emma's got light magic, and that alone should give her some amount of leverage against the greatest evil of all, right? However, the results of that combination have never really been tested, and as Kitsis points out, it could have unforeseen consequences. "Every part of her is fighting her dark urges," he explained. "What happens when [the darkness] mixes with the lightest magic of all, and will Emma have the strength to fight it?" Horowitz went on to point out that Emma will have "her own unique spin" on the Dark One identity. Yikes!

"[Becoming the Dark One] allows you to have the freedom to have no inhibitions. We are going to be exploring love and what happens when you use it as a weapon and what are the things that it makes you do. In the past, we’ve said love is the most powerful magic of all. It makes you do many things you normally wouldn’t think you would."

I've said before that I believe Regina will likely step into the hero role for Season 5, and I still believe that, just as I believe that all those happy endings everyone worked so hard for last year will still remain just out of reach this time around, at least until they find Merlin and get things back to normal. How long that will take, and how rocky the path to accomplishing that will be is anyone's guess, but I'd say we've got an exciting season ahead of us, wouldn't you?

Image: Jack Rowdan/ABC