If 'Once Upon A Time' Season 7 Happens Without Emma Swan, Here's How They Could Make It Work
The May 7 musical episode of Once Upon A Time featured Emma finally reaching her happy ending by confronting the Black Fairy and marrying Hook with all of Storybrooke in attendance. However, on Monday morning, it was announced that Jennifer Morrison is leaving Once Upon A Time. No, the Black Fairy's curse has not reached our timeline. But it's very upsetting to learn that the Savior of Storybrooke will be missing from the cast list of a potential Season 7. I mean, seriously, how can Once Upon A Time Season 7 replace Emma Swan?
To be fair, this major change in the OUAT universe had been hinted at back in January. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, ABC Chief Channing Dungey said, "[Executive producers Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis] would be looking for the seventh season to be a springboard in a new direction from a narrative standpoint, which doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re not bringing cast back. It’s just how do you kind of hit the reset button in a way that gives you opportunity to expand the stories that we’re telling?”
He raises an excellent question, and it's one fans will have to consider now that Morrison has made her departure official. Taking a note from the Author, here are a few potential directions that OUAT's Season 7 can take:
1. Henry Realizes His Destiny
Six years ago, fans were introduced to young Henry Mills, who was busy trying to contact his birth mother, Emma, and keeping his adopted mother, Regina, from killing everyone. Possessing the heart of the True Believer, viewers have seen Henry grow from a little boy to the Author, who has managed to save Storybrooke and its residents every season.
We know Henry has the heart of a hero (who can forget his sacrifice to save Neverland?), but he's often in the background as his two powerful mothers take center stage. Henry has always been the driving force behind these fairy tales, and his stories helped Emma realize the song in her heart, which allowed her to defeat the Black Fairy — for now.
As the Author, Henry believes in the good of each Storybrooke resident, and their destinies could change once the Black Fairy's curse is finished. Putting the stories back together sounds like a job for the Author, so perhaps Henry will get to be in charge of his own destiny for Season 7.
2. Regina Becomes A Single Mom Again
When viewers first meet Regina, she is a single mother who cares more about revenge than her family. These six seasons followed Regina on her journey as she changed her Evil Queen ways and established a healthy co-parenting relationship with Emma.
With Emma gone, Regina will have to navigate being a single mother again, which will be a completely different experience than the first time around. Henry may be a teenager, but he still needs his moms. Will Regina be able to juggle both roles once again?
Emma and Regina may have their differences, but it's clear that Regina cares for Emma and wants them to be a family. How will a season without Emma affect the both Henry and Regina?
3. Snow And Charming Continue To Be Parents
While Emma and her parents have a good relationship, OUAT viewers watched Snow White and Charming struggle with the guilt of not getting to see their daughter grow up. Much to their surprise, Snow and Charming did get a second chance at being parents to their new son. With Emma gone, they may be able to work through their heartbreak by taking care of baby Neal.
It was fun watching Snow and Charming become overwhelmed with baby responsibilities and work through them like good parents. A possible Season 7 will be heartbreaking without Emma, but watching Neal grow up may help the Charmings, and fans, cope with the loss.
4. Hook Faces The Ultimate Test
Throughout the six seasons of OUAT, Hook has made serious strides in his hero's journey. Fans have seen the best and worst sides of their favorite captain of the Jolly Roger, and Season 7 could open up more possibilities for Hook's character development.
It took time for Hook to change from villain to anti-hero to actual hero, and Emma played an important role in this transformation. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Colin O'Donoghue said, "He realizes he can’t run away anymore. He’s not the same Hook. He has to confront the issues and deal with them head-on and whatever happens happens, which is part of who he is as a changed man."
Of course, fans were expecting Emma and Hook to take this journey together, so it will be interesting to see how Hook will confront this problem alone in Season 7.
5. Rumple Finally Learns From His Mistakes
Let's face it: Rumple has a terrible family tree. His father, Peter Pan, and his mother, the Black Fairy, have been responsible for most of the bad luck in both the Enchanted Forest and Storybrooke. Now that Rumple played a role in making the Black Fairy's curse happen, he may have a lot to answer for in Season 7.
With Emma gone, Rumple's guilt may finally get the best of him. Could OUAT introduce a redemption storyline for Rumple that actually sticks? Can the Dark One learn from his mistakes?
6. We Learn More About Storybrooke
Obviously, the Charming-Gold-Mills family tree is the most important part of the OUAT universe. However, viewers have also met the wonderful citizens that make up Storybrooke. Without Emma, perhaps it could be time to explore other characters, and give them a chance to find their true happy endings.
With Season 7 as a possible restart, the potential of exploring different characters' storylines could be good for Storybrooke. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, OUAT producer Edward Kitsis said, "By the end of the season finale, a lot of what we’ve been doing for the last six years is wrapped up, and we hope in a very satisfying way. Then, we move forward in a way that, at the end of it, hopefully, you’ll see what we’re hoping to do in season 7.”
While this may be a new experience for OUAT fans, if we can learn anything from the life lessons of Charmed, it is that watching a principal character leave doesn't have to be the end of the world. It could actually be the beginning of a beautiful new family unit.