Despite being the savior, Emma Swan might not be able to fight the darkness that consumed her in the Once Upon a Time finale—but that’s okay, because she’s a pretty badass Dark Swan.
After the darkness within Rumple (Robert Carlyle) was accidentally set free, Emma (Jennifer Morrison) decided to sacrifice herself for the town and become the new Dark One, aka Dark Swan. But the big question was where Emma disappeared to after being consumed, which appeared to be answered in a special sneak peek shown during the Comic-Con panel on Saturday.
In the Enchanted Forest — specifically what appeared to be the prison that used to house Rumplestiltskin — a peasant delivers food to the lone occupant: The Dark Swan. Sporting new duds and a sparkly face — though not quite as intense as what Rumplestiltskin has — Emma rips out her captor’s heart after he is shocked to see a beautiful woman. “They said you were a monster,” he said. “Only on the inside,” she spit back before crushing it.
Yes, Emma has gone full-on evil. “Emma went through a lot in her life,” Morrison said. “She had a tough childhood. She’s had to overcome a lot of things. She’s tried to be the bigger person. Now that she’s tethered to the darkness, she’s free of that … She’s going to face the darkness in herself and figure out how to overcome it.”
As for the man who will hopefully save her, Hook has struggled with the darkness for years, only trying to be a better man for Emma. “He found love with Emma,” O’Donoghue said. “He has been a villain, but his girlfriend is nasty now, so who knows what’s going to happen?”
Speaking of the other Dark One, after the darkness completely consumed Rumple’s heart, the Apprentice pulled the darkness out, leaving Rumple in a coma as his body recovers from centuries of evil. Now with a pure heart, “The incarnation of Rumple this time around is slightly different,” Carlyle said. “He’s lost his mantle as the Dark One, but that’s not to say he doesn’t have that trickery about him. He still has that. Mr. Gold is presently in a coma, so he’s not doing too much.”
Other highlights from the panel:
-Brave is coming to Once Upon a Time, and EW has confirmed that Merida will be played by Scottish actress Amy Manson, whom fans might recognize from Being Human. A special sneak peek at next season — which you can watch below — showed off new character Merida and her awesome archery skills.
-Henry may come to regret destroying the Author’s quill.
-Hook may have a connection to Camelot: “Camelot exists in a parallel timeline,” executive producer Adam Horowitz said. “It’s existed. How we portray it and show you, it’s existed long ago, short ago and maybe in the future. It may have co-existed with [when Hook was in the Royal Navy].”
-Regina is “really now starting to accept that she can be happy,” Lana Parrilla said. And Robin Hood reciprocates. “He’s in love with Regina,” Sean Maguire said.
-The show’s upcoming 100th episode will be a special affair, slated to air as the spring premiere.
Bonus: EW has an exclusive clip that played during the OUAT Comic-Con panel, which features a satirical look at the lives of the Storybrooke residents who stayed after the ice wall came down. A bonus feature from the season 4 DVD, check out “Three Who Stayed” below:
And now, check out the other videos shown during the panel, including a first look at Merida:
Once Upon a Time returns Sunday, Sept. 27 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.
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