Once Upon a Time star Lana Parrilla is talking about her hopes for Season 7 following the creative overhaul of the ABC fairy tale drama. Created in 2011 by Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis, Once Upon a Time brought several classic fairy tale characters to life (in the form of human alter-egos) in a unique alternate universe in Storybrooke, Maine, including Mary-Margaret Blanchard/Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin), David Nolan/Prince Charming (Josh Dallas) and Regina Mills/the Evil Queen (Parrilla). The show was a natural fit for Disney-owned ABC, which even went so far as to create a feature film-style musical episode that served as the last hurrah before the show’s Season 6 finale on Sunday.
With waning ratings this year, ABC was sadly forced to shuffle up the formula for Once if it were to see a seventh season, and the solution included the departures of such key actors as Goodwin, Dallas, Jennifer Morrison and Rebecca Mader. Only two the show’s original stars will be featured in Season 7 – Parrilla and Robert Carlyle (Mr. Gold/Rumpelstiltskin) – and Colin O’Donoghue (Captain Hook, who was introduced in Season 2), will be back as well. The character of Emma Swan’s (Morrison) son, Henry (played in Seasons 1-6 by Jared Gilmore), will also return for Season 7, but will be played as an adult by Andrew J. West (The Walking Dead).
Only days after all the big changes for the show were announced at ABC’s Upfronts presentation, Parrilla is expressing sadness, naturally, over the departure of her friends/castmates from the show. In an interview with Gold Derby (via TV Line), she says, “Once Upon a Time is all of us [and] I’m really going to miss working alongside all those people.”
Addressing ABC Entertainment head Channing Dungey’s comments at Upfronts that the Evil Queen, Rumplestiltskin and Hook will return for Season 7, “but with new identities in a new city, facing a new curse,” Parrilla only could say, “I do know that we’re playing sort of different characters,” but “it’s all unknown” regarding details of the characters. Even with the uncertainty, Parrilla appears hopeful for what’s ahead for Evil Queen’s alter-ego, saying she’s “excited to see what the next chapter is for Regina.”
For the time being, Parrilla is having fun toying around with the idea of characters that could be mined from the Disney universe, which now, of course, includes that galaxy, far, far away. Parrilla says there’s one character at least, could be a perfect match the dark side of her character:
“I think that we should somehow incorporate Star Wars. I think that Adam and Eddy are huge Star Wars fans, and if there were a way to bring Darth Vader in, that would be cool. I would say that he would probably be a better love interest for the Evil Queen, but now she’s taken. But it would just be fun, I think, to just battle him. I’ve seen crazy fan art with the Evil Queen versus Darth Vader and they’re both holding lightsabers. I would just love that.”
Whatever the case may be, Parrilla sounds thrilled just to still be a part of a show that’s been so important to her career. Her passion for the show has been well displayed throughout the first six seasons, and she’s clearly intent on bringing that back to Season 7. And who knows? Maybe Parrilla can take a little of that magic she’s made over the years to make her Darth Vader dreams come true.