Warning: This story contains major spoilers from Friday’s episode of Once Upon a Time. Read at your own risk!
With only two episodes now left in the series, Once Upon a Time unveiled its final threat at the end of Friday’s episode.
As the hour came to a close, Weaver (Robert Carlyle) was confronted by Dr. Facilier, who suddenly dropped dead. His killer? The Wish Realm version of Rumplestiltskin — and yes, this is the greater evil the heroes will be going up against as the show charges to its series finale.
“One of the most fearsome villains that has ever been on the show was Rumplestiltskin,” executive producer Edward Kitsis tells EW. “Wish Realm Rumplestiltskin is a version of Rumplestiltskin without Baelfire or Belle. So, you are talking about a Rumplestiltskin without hope. He is unleashed.”
In addition to bringing the show full circle, the reveal speaks to what all three of the show’s reformed villains — Regina (Lana Parrilla) and Hook (Colin O’Donoghue) included — are facing in the final two hours. “The real villains, in a lot of ways for some of our legacy characters, were the demons inside them,” Kitsis says. “Whether it was Captain Hook needing to not just be a pirate and look for revenge, the Evil Queen not wanting to be evil, and Rumplestiltskin finding his heart. What we wanted to do was be able to, throughout the end of the show, have these three legacy characters really confront their own demons.”
What exactly does Wish Rumple have planned? You’ll find a major clue in EW’s exclusive series finale photos. “I’d say it’s less about a curse,” executive producer Adam Horowitz says. “With the arrival of Wish Rumple, chaos is unleashed. It forces our characters to not just confront him as an antagonist, but to confront many things about themselves, and it’s an unexpected roller coaster ride where we purposely tried to create a zag where you thought we’d zig.”
Throughout season 7, the real Rumple has been trying to stay on the straight and narrow in search of the Guardian to relieve him of the Dark One dagger, thus allowing him to reunite with his late love Belle (Emilie de Ravin). “Rumple is going to face the ultimate test and the ultimate villain, which is himself,” Kitsis says. “We hope the seven seasons of the show have given him strength enough to defeat a horrible version of himself.”