ABC is pulling the plug on “Once Upon a Time” after seven seasons. Co-creators Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis had tried to take the fantasy show in a new direction this year after losing most of the original cast. While hard-core fans followed “OUAT” from its traditional Sunday time slot to Friday, the audience was not large enough to merit renewal by the Alphabet network.
This reboot built on the season 6 two-hour finale, which had introduced two new characters including a young man who has lost hope and now lives as a recluse (Andrew J. West) and his daughter Lucy (Alison Fernandez) who has her own book of fairy tales. He was a grown-up version of Henry (Jared Gilmore), the boy whose search for his birth mother Emma (Jennifer Morrison) to the dismay of his adoptive mother Regina (Lana Parrilla) kicked off the series back in 2011.
Morrison only returned for one episode of season 7 to wrap up her character’s storyline. In the penultimate episode of season 6, which was a musical one, Emma finally got her happy ending with Captain Hook (Colin O’Donoghue).
O’Donoghue, Parilla and Robert Carlyle, who plays Rumpelstiltskin, were the only members of the original cast to stay with the show. And they weren’t playing the parts that had made them fan favorites. Emilie de Ravin, who joined in season one as Belle appeared in one episode while Rebecca Mader, who first appeared as the Wicked Witch in season three and signed on as a regular in season five, came back in a multi-episode arc. Other original cast members — including Ginnifer Goodwin and Josh Dallas, who played Emma’s parents Snow White and Prince Charming — were MIA in season 7.
To fill the void, “Once Upon a Time” signed up “Devious Maids” scene-stealer Dania Ramirez for the dual role of Cinderella and Lucy’s mother Jacinda and “Burn Notice” leading lady Gabrielle Anwar as both Jacinda’s stepmother Victoria and Lady Tremaine. And Adelaide Kane (“Reign”) plays the latter’s daughter Drizella.
In making the announcement, ABC President Channing Dungey said, “When we first heard Adam and Eddy’s pitch for ‘Once Upon a Time,’ we knew it was something incredibly special. For seven years, they have captivated us with their creativity and passion while reimagining some of our most beloved Disney fairytales, creating an undeniable global hit. Saying goodbye will be bittersweet, but ‘Once Upon a Time’ will forever be part of the ABC legacy and we can’t wait for fans to join us in this epic final chapter.”
The creators were equally effusive: “Seven years ago, we set out to create a show about hope, where even in the darkest of times, a happy ending would always be possible. But we never imagined the happy ending that was actually in store for all of us: years and years of adventure, romance, magic and hope. We’re so grateful to our brilliant collaborators — the cast, crew, and writers — as well as our partners at the studio and network for making this journey possible. But most of all, we want to thank the fans. Their fierce loyalty and devotion was the real magic behind ‘Once Upon a Time.’ We hope they join us for these last few hours as we journey to the Enchanted Forest for one more adventure.”