Fans are still reeling from the news and looking for answers, and I don't blame them. Why is Jennifer Morrison leaving Once Upon A Time? The good news is that the actor isn't being asked to leave the show or departing on terms that sound in any way negative. She just feels like this is the right time to leave. Even better, she has nothing but good feelings about Once Upon A Time in general and Emma Swan specifically, as she makes very clear in the announcement of her departure.
Speaking directly to fans, Morrison expressed her gratitude to everyone involved in her journey, up to and including all those of us who have watched her in the fairytale classic since OUAT's premiere in 2011. She went on to explain why this is the moment she chose to move on. Long story short? She's seen the character through six seasons of ups and downs and feels like the termination of her initial contract is a natural ending point that can help usher her into new ventures.
Here she is, in her own words:
As I reached the end of my 6 year contract on ONCE UPON A TIME, I was faced with a significant decision. ABC, Eddy Kitsis, and Adam Horowitz very generously invited me to continue as a series regular. After very careful consideration, I have decided that creatively and personally, it is time for me to move on.
She underlined the fact that Emma Swan is one of her all-time favorite roles and promised that even though she's pursuing "other creative endeavors," she'll still attend the fan conventions "whenever [her] personal schedule allows." She even revealed that she'll appear in one final episode in Season 7, should the show be renewed. So keep your fingers crossed for that, because this doesn't have to be goodbye.
To extend the fairytale metaphor a bit further, Morrison is just putting a bookmark in the Emma Swan chapter, which has been one of her favorite stories, and beginning a new one that's full of promise and mystery. But she's far from closing the book.
As sad as it is to lose her on Once Upon A Time, I feel confident that the actor's departure will launch her career in a new and interesting direction. I can't wait to see how this new chapter unfolds.