Since its premiere six seasons (and years) ago, ABC’s Once Upon A Time has primarily revolved around the character of Emma Swan, played by Jennifer Morrison. Swan was a Storybrooke outsider who was drafted to come to the cursed fairy tale town by young Henry (Jared Gilmore), who turned out to be her son. Since then she’s lost loves (Michael Raymond-James’ Neal), lost powers (a fun Dark Swan arc), and as of last night, gained a husband in the dashing Hook (Colin O’Donoghue). After last night’s surprisingly successful musical episode, Morrison announced this morning on Instagram that next Sunday’s double-episode finale will be her OUAT swan song, and she won’t be returning for season seven, except for a single episode.
Morrison was one of only four cast members with expiring contracts already offered the chance to return to the show for a potential seventh season. If the show gets renewed, the new season will offer a bit of a reboot, with a paring down of Storybrooke’s convoluted cast of characters. In OUAT season seven, Morrison, Lana Parrilla (Regina/Evil Queen), O’Donoghue (Hook), and Robert Carlyle (Rumplestiltskin) are slated to be joined by two new characters, who will guest star in next week’s finale: Andrew J. West as a “strong yet vulnerable’ leading man who was once optimistic and hopeful but now is a friendless, cynical recluse” and Alison Fernandez as “a precocious 10-year-old with a ‘constant twinkle of mischief in her eye,” according to TV Line.
Series creators Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis also tell TV Line that “the end of this chapter in the series was designed to account for any exits, even those that may appear to be up in the air.” Still, the loss of its main point-of-view character leaves a giant hole in the series, which has been losing ratings fairly steadily over its last few seasons, leaving many to ponder what the point of a season seven return would be.