When Once Upon a Time showrunners Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz teased that familiar faces would return in season 7, they weren’t kidding! Per Entertainment Weekly, you will see Emilie de Ravin back as Belle in the fourth episode this fall.
Through this update, we hope that the show will provide a nice update on where the character is, and what she is up to when separate from Rumpelstiltskin. Given that Robert Carlyle is still a regular on the show, the easy presumption to make here is that Rumple will be spending a good bit of time apart from Belle and everyone else he knows from Storybrooke; that could put a strain on that relationship, but knowing Rumple, he’s also more than capable of just jumping between the present-day world of the show and back where Belle is. (We like to think of him as having Doctor Who like powers of moving through time and space, and he doesn’t even need a Tardis to make it happen.)
The new setting for the series is Hyperion Heights, a Seattle-based community which makes perfect sense given that the show is filmed in Vancouver. This is a way to take advantage of the local geography, while also at the same time also establishing some significant distance between where the characters are in Storybrooke, Maine, and this new location. (Hyperion Heights makes us think of both Borderlands and Disney history anytime the name rolls around in our brain for longer than a moment or two.)
We know that Emilie is not the only former full-time cast member who will be turning up, as there will be at least one episode for Jennifer Morrison as Emma Swan. Meanwhile, our sentiment is that Ginnifer Goodwin, Josh Dallas, or Rebecca Mader could be coming on board at some point, provided they are available and there’s the right story for them. We also know already that Jared Gilmore will be back in the premiere as the younger version of Henry, and we assume that there is a chance that he could still turn up down the road in flashbacks. (You do know that this show does love a good flashback, right!)
What’s the story shaping up to be?
Given that many of the new additions this season have to do with Cinderella and her family (read more here), odds are we’re diving into a version of this story more than we ever have before. We’ll also get a new take on Alice in Wonderland, and for the first time, the show is diving into The Princess and the Frog. We’re at a point in the series now where the writers do have to get especially creative, given that so many different Disney movies have already been covered at length. You have to find new spins or come up with some lesser-known fairy tales to try and explore.
New episodes of Once Upon a Time premiere on ABC this fall. Feel free to share some of your early hopes and expectations for Emilie’s return in the comments! (Photo: ABC.)