We've already been given a brief look at what Once Upon A Time Season 5 is going to be like when it comes to the new villain in town. Emma being the Dark One is serious business, not only because she's the big bad wolf of at least the first half of the season, but because this is the former Savior we're talking about here. Someone with Light Magic who also happens to be the product of True Love turning into the Dark One can't possibly be without complication, and I think I speak for most fans of the show when I say that it's going to be an interesting journey and September 27 can't come soon enough. After all, we might know the Dark One as he was when Rumplestiltskin was in charge, but Emma is a whole new kettle of fish, and something tells me her version of evil might be even more fearsome.
Sure, Rumple was remorseless and power hungry and chose that power over his own son, but Emma is different. She only became the Dark One because of her truest nature, being the Savior. She wanted to save Regina not only from dying, but from having her happiness taken yet again; Emma wanted to put her first, to make the grandest gesture of all by sacrificing herself instead. That has to count for something, right? Well, as Once producers Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis have pointed out, every Dark One is different, so Emma's former self will play a part in her new one.
HOROWITZ: How a Dark One manifests is specific to each person who takes on the mantle. Emma will have her own unique spin on what it means to be a Dark One.
KITSIS: We’re going to get really into the Dark One mythology. One thing that we think about is once you become the Dark One, it allows you to have the freedom to have no inhibitions.
HOROWITZ: You become the ultimate version of yourself, but on the dark side.
This got me thinking more in depth about how Emma's version of the Dark One would differ from Rumple's version, beyond the obvious. There are a few key shifts I think we'll see in Dark Swan, though only time will tell how far they decide to take it...
Emma Will Want To Get Rid Of The Darkness
At least in the beginning, that is. Emma had every faith that the people who loved her would also be able to help save her, when it came down to it, and she'll also be working to save herself... until the real power of the Darkness kicks in, of course. Then things might get a bit more complicated. And sure, Rumple was tricked into becoming the Dark One, but I wouldn't say he was all that devastated about the role once he had it, that's for sure.
Emma Was Never A Coward
Rumple wasn't respected before he became the Dark One because he was weak and cowardly, and that certainly didn't change after he got his power — instead, people just feared him. Emma is the Savior, and while it took her a while to embrace that role, she's earned it, time and time again, and her courage will come in handy when it comes to getting back to her former self.
Emma Has Love In Her Life
Part of the reason Rumple went so evil in the end was because he had nothing left. He sacrificed his son, his wife left him and was eventually killed, and there was no motivation to look to the light. That's certainly not the case for Emma, whose love for Henry will be a beacon even in the darkest moments — and that's not even counting all the love she has for her parents, Regina, Hook, Lily, etc. and vice-versa.
Emma Will Have Help
Just like she's got motivation to be good, Emma will also have the help of the people she loves and who love her to work towards finding a solution. They'll fight for her in every way, from going to Camelot to find Merlin to simply reminding her of her humanity and her good heart. Whatever it takes to keep the Light inside her alive until they can get the Darkness out. Rumple certainly didn't have anyone fighting for him like that. Sure, Belle believed in his goodness, but there was never any talk of taking the Dark One out of him altogether, and that's likely because Rumple would never have chosen such a thing for himself.
I don't know about you, but I can't wait to see how this plays out.