Once Upon a Time is experiencing a major casting shakeup as several of the actors have decided to leave the show after season 6 finishes its run.
OUAT was recently renewed for season 7, but that doesn’t mean everyone will be returning for the show’s next installment. So, the major question is who’s staying and who’s going?
According to Entertainment Weekly, Ginnifer Goodwin (Snow White), Josh Dallas (Prince Charming), Emilie de Ravin (Belle), and Jared Gilmore (Henry) will be exiting the show.
Obviously this is a pretty big deal considering Snow White and Prince Charming are central to the story and are the very reason why Emma exists. Their actions have driven the story since season 1, episode 1, and it’ll be interesting to see how the show can move forward without their constant presence.
Henry has had a similar role on the show, although his storyline has been somewhat restricted given the large ensemble cast. As the author, he plays a major role in the plot, but still hasn’t had much screen time. As Emma and Regina’s son, it’ll be interesting to see how they write him out of the story without causing major problems.
On the other hand, Belle’s departure probably won’t cause much issue to the overall arc of the show, though it’ll certainly affect Rumpel’s choices from here on out.
This information comes on the heels of lead star Jennifer Morrison (Emma) and Rebecca Mader (Zelena) also leaving the show.
To my Darling Pretties, First of all I would like to start by congratulating Adam, Eddie, Lana, Bobby and Colin on the pick up of Once Upon A Time! I am truly happy for you all and most importantly for the fans that will get to keep tuning in each week to see where they will take us. A lot of you have been asking if I will be joining everyone in Season 7, so I wanted to let you know personally that unfortunately I am not. This wasn't my choice but a creative decision of the shows that I totally respect and understand. The most important thing is that you all know how much you mean to me. I am told frequently both online and in person that by being a part of such a special show I have in some way changed someone's life. This is hugely meaningful to me. I am here to let you know that I am the one who has been changed. Not just by playing such a well written multi-dimensional character but by the fandom itself. I have heard your stories, your pain, your struggles, your achievements and I have truly felt you. I have learned. I have grown. I am a better person because of you, the fans and everyone that blessed me with this opportunity to play such an iconic role. Congrats all and thank you! I look forward to the next. I invite you to come with me on this journey. I am forever changed. And I'm wicked. And Wicked Always Wins. Forever yours, Bex 💚
If you’re a bit confused about how the show can move forward from here, you’re not the only one. Here’s what creators Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis had to say on the matter:
“As Once continues, this group will always be the beating heart of the show. And even though we won’t be with them every week, in a show about magic and hope, we fervently believe it won’t be the last we see of them.”
Season 7 will act as a new start for the show and hopefully provide closure for some of our favorite characters. And, as Adam and Eddie have stated, there’s hope that those who have departed may show up again in smaller capacities given the opportunity. Goodwin in particular seemed interested in the idea.
So, who’s returning? It sounds like the show will now concentrate on the stories of Regina, Hook, and Rumpel. What’s confusing about this is Hook’s involvement in the story given his relationship with Emma. How they move forward while still providing a fulfilling story will certainly be an interesting challenge to watch them overcome.
Here are statements from both Lana Parrilla (Regina) and Colin O’Donoghue (Hook):
Congratulations #OnceUponATime on a S7 pickup! I'm so excited to be a part of a show that has inspired so many people and look forward to creating new stories for all to enjoy! It's been an incredible 6 years working with such a talented cast and crew! I will miss those who will not be joining us in the next chapter and wish them the upmost success on all their future endeavours! Cheers to Season 7!! See you again soon! #LongLiveTheQueen 🥂 Love – Lana 💋
— Colin o'donoghue (@colinodonoghue1) May 12, 2017