Adam Horowitz & Eddy Kitsis Discuss Season 4 & the Introduction of Frozen Characters to Once Upon a Time
by Diane J Reed & Guest Interviewer Joanna Waddell
"We at Once Upon a Fan were so fortunate to get a hold of Adam & Eddy right before the start of Season 4, and they very generously spoke to us about their ideas and dreams for the Frozen characters and the regulars on Once Upon a Time. In addition, it's always been a personal dream of mine to "give back" to the Oncer community by creating an entirely fan-driven interview that features questions for Adam & Eddy from Oncers all over the world. So prior to this interview, Gareth Hughes & I looked over hundreds of questions submitted through Twitter and chose as many as we could reasonably fit into the interview. I also invited a high school student, guest interviewer Joanna Waddell, to participate in asking questions so that a fan could see first hand what this process is like. We hope you enjoy this exciting interview and express our deep gratitude to Adam & Eddy for being so kind and always making time for their fans". ~ Diane J Reed
Diane: Hi Adam & Eddy! Congratulations on your screening of “Tale of Two Sisters” in Hollywood yesterday before Season 4 airs—the reviews for your first episode are fabulous!!
Adam & Eddy: Hi Diane and thank you!
Diane: We’re doing a completely different format today—this interview is entirely fan-driven. I’ve fielded 250 questions from fans all over the world and chosen the top ones. We’re going to start first with the Frozen characters. We know from your recent interviews that Season 4 will start where the movie Frozen left off. But you’ve also said that true-believer Anna will face off with the devil in Rumplestiltskin. And Elsa, who tends to run away, will meet her bestie in Emma, who also loves to run away. So we know the Frozen characters are going to interact with characters in Once Upon a Time, keep growing, and be forced to face their demons both inside and out.
So with that in mind, here are the fans most burning questions:
Nathalia from Brazil (@nath_rebel), B. from Sweden (@richliga) and Joanna Waddell from Colorado want to know what subtle references from Frozenmight appear in Season 4? We know there will be no Olaf the Snowman. And Sven the Reindeer has already practically won an Emmy for his fine performance! But will characters mention Let It Go, or will we hear that song in the background, or will we see the Snow Queen’s ice castle that reflects her emotions? And will there be any other homages to the movie besides ice and reindeer?
Eddy: We will absolutely see homages to the movie. Sometimes it will be a character that will literally be there. Sometimes it will be a turn of phrase. But there are definitely a lot of shout outs and Easter eggs to the movie.
Diane: Cool! Yaroslava from Russia (@yaroslavnikulina) wants to know how Elsa came from the urn and what is her connection to Rumple?
Adam: Ooh! Well that’s a great question! And one that we intend to answer in the show. We don’t really want to spoil it.
Eddy: I would say that will be unfolded over the first eleven episodes—that very answer.
Diane: Along those lines, Joanna Waddell from Colorado wants to know how the other Frozen characters will enter Once Upon a Time’s world. I’m assuming they don’t all come from the urn.
Eddy: No. How they enter our world will be—boy, that’s a tough one. Mostly, we’re going to see everything from Elsa’s point of view. Characters will come in and out, but from the beginning it will be through flashbacks, and we’ll have to see what happens from there.
Diane. Okay! L. Scot (@LScot23) wants to know if we can expect a big showdown this season between Regina’s fire and Elsa’s ice? Can you tease how Elsa’s Snow Monster might also come into play?
Eddy: Well, I can tell you that we’ll see Regina do her best attempt to melt ice! But we can also tell you it will not be against Elsa, who is not a villain.
Diane: Ooh, interesting! What do you see as the biggest test for Regina’s character this season—Marian or something else?
Adam: Yes, it’s Regina facing herself and the years of growth we’ve seen in her character since the pilot that are now being put to the test by circumstances. She’s going to have to look inward and fight her own demons.
Diane: All right. Is Sidney Glass going to help Regina with her wishes by stepping out of that mirror and will he have his own significant story line?
Eddy: A significant story line—he has a great story line, and we wish we could have Giancarlo Esposito in every episode.
Diane: No kidding!
Eddy: Unfortunately, he is a very busy man. Believe me, we love him! He has a wonderful story line; he always helps Regina, and we think we have a surprising story for him that will be in one of the episodes coming up in the first batch.
Diane: I’m so excited because I love him and I know you love him!
Eddy: Oh, we love him the most! The trouble with our cast is that we have so many talented actors outside of our series regulars, but they’re always working!
Diane: Yeah—because they’re good!
Eddy: Because they are good—especially Giancarlo.
Diane: Okay, fans named Annika (@bestpeopleare) and Cheesy (@PeterPanFanAye) and Lizzie from Australia (@princelyhans) want to know if you’ll keep the Frozen characters as regulars, or just for this season?
Adam: The plan is just for this season, or a portion of the season, and to integrate them into our world and then wrap up their story in a hopefully very satisfying fashion.
Diane: Okay. Well Linda Bigelow (@lindabglw) has a very interesting question: she wants to know what animation and CGI technical challenges you encountered in trying to “freeze” Storybrooke?
Adam: Yes, there are certainly challenges doing ice effects, but there have been challenges with all of the effects we’ve done. We’re just very lucky to have some of the most amazing effects people and post-production people you could want in this business, and they’ve made it exciting for the audiences to see what they’ve done for Storybrooke.
Eddy: You know, what’s amazing about the show is that we do a lot of the stuff you’re not supposed to do—show people flying and doing all these things. I think when people see the premiere they’ll be impressed. The effects are unbelievable.
Diane: Oh cool! Even from Elsa’s little snippet last season, it looked amazing. We’re all very excited about it.
Diane: We’ve heard that Elsa will have a heart to heart talk with Emma and bond with her this season! Can you tell us anything about that?
Eddy: I can tell you that they will have a heart to heart and bond this season. I think one of the things we love so much, and the reason we’re excited about bringing Elsa to Once Upon a Time is because we felt like she had so many similarities between herself and Emma. You know, they’re two people who like to run away when they’re feeling problems in their lives. And they’re two people with magic who don’t necessarily know how to control it, and who also never necessarily wanted magic. So for us, it was exploring growth. And I think the thing we loved most about Frozen was the friendship between the sisters.
Eddy: And so the first eleven episodes of this Frozen arc is really about that friendship. And not just theirs, but friendship in general. It’s a really important thing to us. Obviously, Adam and I have been friends for over twenty years now and partners. So it really spoke to us. And you know, we’re going to see Emma meet a new friend in Elsa.
Diane: That’s so wonderful! Well, OncerUponADream from New York (@TheMagialTweet) and Annika (@bestpeopleare) and Captain Swan (@OUATEmmaHook) all want to know if we’ll see more of Emma’s reaction to the new baby causing her to have flashbacks about her lonely childhood in the foster system—which you’ve confirmed! Can you tell us anything more?
Eddy: I would say everything you’ve just said will happen.
Diane: So many fans are dying to see more of Emma’s teenage years. And that’s going to take place this season too, isn’t it?
Eddy: That’s going to happen in episode . . . five?
Adam: Five, I think. Within the first six episodes.
Diane: Very cool. And we’ve also heard that Emma and Hook will go on their first date! And that Charming will be a rather protective dad. Any comments on that?
Adam: They will NOT be going to Granny’s.
Eddy: Yeah, this is a real, proper date!
Diane: And for Charming, will this be a funny moment, or just tense . . .
Adam: It will hopefully be an endearing moment.
Diane: Okay, so Ana (@tasoula_k) and Stephanie (@meowjournal) and Marianne Paluso (@Marianne_P81) say that they admire how Emma is an independent and strong woman who still knows how to love. Will the tables ever be reversed, and will we see Emma have to fight for Hook in Season four?
Diane: So their relationship will take some turns that we’re not expecting? I know you’ve already said that they’re not going to sit and eat pizza and watch Netflix—you won’t allow them to have it that easy.
Eddy: You know, we’ve seen Emma for three seasons, over sixty-six episodes. It’s very hard for her to let people in. She’s only called her parents “Mom” and “Dad” twice. Once when she thought she was dying, and then last year when she realized Storybrooke was her home. And so really, it took us that long just to earn that much with her. So for us, even the idea that she would realize she has feelings for Hook, and then the idea that she would just drop everything and be trusting, well we didn’t feel that was real. So we wanted to show the development between the two and what problems they have. And of course, there will be some plot problems along the way! But in the first few episodes we wanted to emotionally get into Emma’s head and wonder how she really feels about Hook.
Diane: So Mikey (@Radames125479) and Jillian from Arizona (@jillianober90) and Joey (@JoeyRichter2MA) and Anna Júlia (@anna_dpaula) want to know will Emma and Hook stay together in Season 4, or will there be a lot of friction between them? What can you hint to us about their future?
Adam: Um, we can’t say right now.
Diane: Gotcha. We also have another spoiler alert—that there will be an entire episode devoted to Emma and Regina’s strained relationship. Any comments for us?
Eddy: Obviously, Emma at the end of last year realized that the life she was saving would destroy Regina’s happiness. And so I think Emma feels a certain amount of guilt because when she first met Regina they hated each other and they kind of had grown since then. As we said, the first half of the season will be about friendship, so Emma destroying Regina’s happiness doesn’t sit well with her and it obviously doesn’t sit well with Regina. So we’ll be exploring that over a few episodes, but one in particular.
Diane: That’s so interesting because both of them have worked very hard for happiness, and it will be fascinating to see their stories come together more tightly in that regard. And on another note, fans of Belle are over the moon with the news that we’re going to see a lot more of Belle’s backstory and even meet her mother! Barbara from Brazil (@bbastos) and Aithra (@AithraV) want to know if Belle’s mother is a known fairytale character, or is more of an independent character?
Eddy: Well we’re going to briefly meet Belle’s mom—we’re just getting a little glimpse of her. But we are definitely going to see a time for Belle before she knew Rumple. And her mom will not end up being a famous fairy tale character when you meet her. But we’ll understand that she has a very, very big impact on Belle’s life and Belle’s personality.
Diane: Okay, now Helena Menezes from Brazil (@Menezes_HC) and a fan called Always Be Amazing (@perfectderavin) want to know if Belle or her mother have any connection to the Frozen story, or are they on their own thread this season?
Adam: I would say that there IS a connection to the Frozen story.
Diane: Ooh! We also know that there’s a dance scene between Belle and Rumple coming up and there are hints of their honeymoon—is that correct?
Adam: Yes, there IS a honeymoon and there IS a dance. And based on last night’s reaction in the theater I can say that this may be THE SCENE of the episode! People really seem to go crazy for that dance.
Diane: Great! All right, I have a guest interviewer here today because as I said, this is a fan-driven interview. I invited high school student Joanna Waddell, your biggest fan in Colorado, to ask you a couple of questions about Henry. Are you ready, Joanna?
Joanna: Yes. You’ve said Henry will be in a “new operation” with Regina that will last the whole year. Can you give us any more comments?
Eddy: I can tell you that the operation—you will find out what that is in the second episode, I believe? Or the third? I can’t remember [laughs], but it will be throughout the season. And Regina will hint at it in the premier episode. It is a big arc and a big operation that involves the core mythology of this very show.
Adam: And it is one that the two of them embark upon together with complete openness. This is not Regina tricking Henry, or Henry trying to pull one over on her. There’s a closeness between a mother and a son that bonds them and makes them want to do this together.
Joanna: Very cool. Your fans Lorna Kiakowski (@TheLorskiTheory) and Fangirl (@Fangirl1312) & Jarebeararmy (@Panfanjeremys) want to know if we’ll see Henry get a love interest?
Eddy: Not in the first eleven episodes. He’s got his hands full with missions. But he will get a job.
Joanna: Will Henry’s growing up ever become a serious male threat to Rumple? We’ve heard that this season that Hook will be a rival to Rumpel again, and we’re wondering if Henry will become a threat as well.
Eddy: Well, you never know. But right now I would say that’s he’s Rumple’s grandson and that’s all Rumple has left that reminds him of his son Baelfire. So I think as tricky as Rumplestiltskin can be, we know he’s got a soft spot for family.
Diane: Okay, shifting gears a little, we got a similar question from an enormous number of fans. Chickarito from California (@lovelyeli_duh) and Captain Swan (@Captain_Swan_89) and Cat Gray from North Carolina (@Cat_Gray14) and The Red Rose (@Outalover4everr) and Marianne Paluso from San Diego (@Marianne_P81) and Timeless-love-story from The Netherlands (@timeless_love_) and Fari from Italy (@pirate_girl11) and Poppy (@PoppyMelidis) and Louis from Chicago (@louisbrightside) and Frances Poole from Atlanta (@HookSwandEndGame) ALL what to know if we’ll see more about Hook’s backstory and how grief drove him to become a pirate.
Eddy: Ooh, we will not be seeing his backstory in the first eleven episodes, but we will absolutely be seeing more in the second half of the season.
Diane: Yay! Okay, the Robin/Marian/Regina triangle is already happening. One fan who goes by Obisgirl (@_obisgirl) had a fabulous question: she’d like to know if there’s a difference to you as writers between soulmates and true love—is Robin necessarily the ONLY man for Regina?
Eddy: You know, it’s funny—we got asked that at Comic Con as our first question. And we were caught in the headlights. I think that one thing we’ve tried to show on Once Upon a Time, and especially with Regina’s arc, is that you CAN love again. So we know that Daniel was her true love when she was a young woman. And it was said that Robin Hood is her soulmate. And globally what we’re trying to say is that happiness isn’t always what you think it will be or with whom you hope it will be. But if you keep striving for it, you can find it. So for us, soulmates and true love are secondary to the idea that when things get bleak, you have to hope that they’ll get better.
Adam: And things can change! Meaning that true loves and soulmates can point you in a direction, but magic doesn’t provide it for you. Which is to say that you have to work at it. You have to make things happen. Nothing is easy. And a happy ending isn’t an ending—it’s a beginning. So with someone who may be your soulmate, the two of you still have to find a way to make that work. You know, Snow and Charming were true loves, but because they were able work together on that love, their love became as powerful as it was. There’s always the hope out there of striving to find what you need.
Eddy: For us, what it would imply is “Oh well, if you lose your soulmate you can never be happy again.” And that’s not the world we want to live in.
Diane: Wow, that’s fabulous. Now the fan Anna Júlia (@anna_dpaula) has asked if you can you tell us something about Maleficent’s return in Season 4—will her story intersect with the Frozen characters at all?
Adam. Uh, no.
Diane: I promised Brianna Mills (@babyregal1) that I’d ask this question: she’s noticed that the story of Once Upon a Time does focus on Henry. Will there ever be a little girl with magical powers in the show, or who has a profound story arc like Henry does?
Adam: That’s a great idea.
Eddy: Yeah, you never know! Henry started it all, but that’s obviously something that we could see happening. In a lot of ways, we’ve seen it by flashing back to female characters when they were children.
Diane: And everyone wants to know—Stefanie from France (@Stef525) and Tv Nerd from Sweden (@Emilie_Queen) and Gözde Uça from Turkey (@gozdeuca) and Laclan from France (@storybrookecity) and Elise B, (@EliseB000) and Céline from Franch (@CelinePan)—if we will ever see Graham, Jefferson, August or Peter Pan come back on Once Upon a Time again. They are very missed, and we want to know if their stories are indeed over.
Eddy: I think there’s always an opportunity. What our fans have to understand is that for instance Graham, well, Jamie Dornan has been working for two years straight! So it’s not that we wouldn’t love to have him back; it’s that he’s busy! And Jefferson—Jefferson has been doing Captain America. So sometimes it’s not really a matter of whether we want them or not; it’s a matter of realism. They’re not series regulars and they’re very, very, very busy. We would love to see them all again if we can work it out. But sometimes that’s a really difficult thing.
Adam: But we’re going to try to bring back some people.
Eddy: Exactly. Like Giancarlo was on Revolution so we couldn’t use him. And the minute he was available, you’ll see him in the premiere. So we always hope to bring everyone back.
Diane: Yay! Well it’s a testament to how much everyone loves the show and really bonds with these characters that they won’t let them go! And they’re eager to see them come back.
Eddy: Well believe me, we love them too.
Diane: And I want to thank you guys for talking with us!
Eddy: Oh, thank you so much! And honestly, we have to tell you that the fandom is really inspiring to us. The fan art and everything we get. When we were at the premier and looked across the street and saw all these people with “Once” signs, it was amazing. Adam and I were talking about it today—it’s really inspiring and it makes us work seven days a week. This is just an idea the two of us had twelve years ago. To have a fandom like this—nothing has inspired us in our career like that. So thank you, Oncers!
Diane: And Joanna Waddell, my guest interviewer from Colorado, is your biggest fan, and she wants to say thank you for showing her that dreams do come true.
Joanna: Thank you guys so much!
Adam & Eddy: Aw, our pleasure. Thank you Diane and Joanna!
Diane: Have a wonderful season—we’re excited! Goodbye you guys!
Adam & Eddy: Goodbye! Thanks to everyone