In its sixth season, ABC‘s Once Upon a Time TV show is going back to basics. During an ATX Television Festival panel for Freeform‘s upcoming Dead of Summer TV series, executive producer Edward Kitsis promised Once Upon a Time, season six, will differ from previous seasons.
For the past three seasons, ABC scheduled Once Upon a Time in two (largely) uninterrupted blocks of 11 episodes each. Creators Kitsis and Adam Horowitz took advantage of that and featured one story in the first half of the season and another in the second. Season six of Once Upon a Time, starring Ginnifer Goodwin, Jennifer Morrison, Lana Parrilla, Josh Dallas, Robert Carlyle, and Colin O’Donoghue, will be approached as a 22 episode whole.
“This season is going to be different than the past seasons,” Creator/EP Edward Kitsis told the crowd. “It’s not going to be ‘Hyde comes to town, we fight with him for 10 episodes, and then the winter finale he dies, we move on.’ We kind of changed around what we’re doing this year… going back to that season 1 mentality, with small town stories and smaller arcs. We’re planning a 22 episode story, as oppose to just kind of breaking it up into 2 parts.”
Per EW, Horowitz added, “We’re also planning a 22-episode story as opposed to breaking it up into two halves this year. It’s been really exciting and fun.” Here’s more:
In season 6, the show will be exploring more tales from the Land of Untold Stories, which opens up new and endless possibilities for storytelling. (Check out some of those possibilities here.) But that doesn’t mean the heroes and villains we’ve come to know and love are taking a backseat — in fact, it’s the opposite.
“That’s actually providing the opportunity to look at our characters in a different way,” Horowitz said. “What’s really exciting about it is, for season 6, really being in Storybrooke again. As we hinted in the finale last year, in seeing the Evil Queen [Lana Parrilla] split, it’s allowing us to do that for a lot of our characters — not as literally — but it’s turning inward on a lot of these characters that we’ve been with for five seasons so far.”
The Once Upon a Time season five finale, “An Untold Story,” introduced Jekyll and Hyde (Hank Harris and Sam Witwer) who will feature in season six. Henry’s (Jared Gilmore) girlfriend, Camelot native Violet (Olivia Steele Falconer) is the daughter of Sir Morgan, who, in the finale, was revealed to be Hank Morgan of Mark Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court.
After the finale aired, EW pored over screenshots from the episode, looking for Easter Eggs that might provide a clue as to which stories from the Land of Untold Stories. At the New York City Public Library, Henry finds storybooks not unlike his own special tome.
Screenshots of the books in the EW article reveal stories including The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha; The Water-Babies, A Fairy Tale for a Land Baby; Gulliver’s Travels; Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea; and Paul Bunyan.
Easter Eggs EW spotted in the scenes from the Land of Untold Stories include The Three Musketeers, the Knight of the Holy Grail, and oh-so-briefly, cowboys!
Some fans have identified Aladdin and Jasmine, as well as Esmerelda (from The Hunchback of Notre Dame). There was also a hot air balloon, pictured in the screencap, below. Around the World in 80 Days (Jules Verne), anyone?
The first season of the Once Upon a Time TV series remains a fan favorite. Some viewers have grown tired of the two mini-seasons-in-one format. A 22 episode story made up of small town stories with shorter arcs might be just the ticket for the sixth season of Once Upon a Time. What do you think?