It's not uncommon for network execs to intentionally mislead fans in order to keep them off the trail when it comes to spoiling upcoming storylines. Turns out, this was totally was the case with Once Upon A Time Season 5. The series' executive producers Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis released casting sides earlier this summer for Evanna, Rumpelstiltskin's mother who fans had allegedly meet during a flashback. Given the change Rumple's character has recently undergone, it made sense that the show might delve more into his backstory, but it turns out it was all a ruse. Evanna, described as "plucky, strong and imbued with an unshakable sense of self-confidence", doesn't actually exist — at least not next season. Turns out, the casting was actually for Merida, who we now know will be played by Scottish actress Amy Mason. Oh, and Merida isn't Rumple's mother, either.
Kitsis admitted that the deception was necessary to throw the press and fans off track, and you have to hand it to him — it actually worked. However, you also have to wonder what the point of it all was, considering Merida was revealed to us before the season even began, rendering the whole surprise element kind of pointless. Still, she'll make a welcome addition to the cast, particularly given the major mission ahead of the Storybrook crew. And it begs the question: What role will Merida play in the hunt for Merlin and Emma's struggle to rid herself of the Dark One and be restored to her former Savior self?
There's one thing that is known: Merida will be found in Camelot. "It’s certainly a part of Emma’s journey as the Dark Swan and dealing with her darkness," Horowitz explained to Entertainment Weekly. "All that is tied with how we explore the world of Camelot this year."
While it makes sense that Merida is somewhere in the Enchanted Forest and will get her moment to shine when the real search for the only wizard who can banish the Dark One for good begins, it's unclear how directly she'll be involved (though I think it can safely be assumed that it'll be majorly).
Given that Brave's Merida is one of Disney's latest and greatest heroines, it's doubtful Once will change her too much from canon. That being said, she'll likely keep her status as one of the good guys and could very well be the pivotal character in Camelot that helps The Mills and Charming families bring Emma back. I don't know about you, but i'm getting more and more excited for September 27.