The Once Upon a Time
that fans knew is over. A "chapter" has been closed on Once Upon a Time
and a new one is starting up with a somewhat new generation. Henry is now an adult, more than half the cast has left as series regulars and Emma Swan is no longer the lead. Once Upon a Time
has been reset, as producers promised it would be since rumors of the series' cancellation started floating around. Considering how strong the season 6 finale was and how much closure it gave the series, though, Once Upon a Time
really should have called it quits rather than try to reboot itself.
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A Good Idea Doesn't Always Make a Good Story
Once Upon a Time's season 7 reset isn't a totally terrible idea. The show handing over the reins to an older Henry "some years later" is a nice way to open a new chapter in the story. It's a thematic fit and doesn't feel so much like a reboot. It is more continuation than a complete reset. Henry's journey starting in an eerily similar way to how he began Emma's story all those years ago is also a nice symmetry. An adult Henry having his own adventures is a cute idea but not really a story that needs telling.
The season 6 finale had the storybook come to a close and had the line written that "they lived happily ever after." To extend things into season 7 really calls the ending of season 6 into doubt. At best season 7 will just extend everyone's happily ever after for just a little bit longer. At worst, it is going to make that happiness a bit of a lie. Once Upon a Time co-creators and executive producers Adam Horowtiz and Eddy Kitsis
have promised that the happiness that fans saw from their favorite characters in season 6 wasn't a trick. Emma and Hook were happy, in love and they will continue being together. It is hard to completely buy that promise when so much of the central cast won't be around in season 7.
Putting aside the weird time issues of how Henry is grown and, presumably, since they are still being played by the same actors, Rumple, Hook and Regina won't have aged at all, it is hard to feel super confident about the new chapter. Henry's daughter, Lucy, told him that his family needs his help. Yet according to the new cast, most of Henry's family will not even be around to be helped. Jennifer Morrison is returning for at least one episode so we might see Henry interact with Emma again but no one else has confirmed that they will pop back in for an episode or two. Unless Henry needs to help his family by finding his family, the absence of so many important characters is going to be extremely distracting.
The Difference Between Symmetry and Repetition
Henry taking the place of Emma, complete with a plucky young kid who suddenly entered his life, sounds like an interesting reboot idea. It does bring the series full circle and feels like an appropriate mix of new and old ideas. Yet Once Upon a Time showed that they were running out of new ideas as early as season 5 of the show. A shake-up in the cast might fix this problem but since season 4, for the most part, Once Upon a Time has been repeating itself.
Once Upon a Time has always operated telling stories with similar themes, which is only natural when adapting fairy tales. In recent years though, the show was stuck in a rut, often repeating the exact same story beats, whether it was lovers separated between worlds or Rumple struggling to do the right thing. Once Upon a Time was running out of story gas and it is more worrying than hopeful to see Henry put into the Emma role.
Once Upon a Time already told the story of a biological parent reconnecting with their child after a long absence, and they did it quite well, with Henry and Emma. Switching the genders doesn't make that a brand-new story and it certainly doesn't ensure that it will be better told with Henry and Lucy. Even the other snippets of Henry and Lucy from the season 6 finale don't offer much hope that things will be radically different. Lucy looking for Henry and her mysterious mother is no different than the Charming family's extreme hide-and-seek shenanigans that happened for years on Once Upon a Time. The show ended on a high note with the season 6 finale and the show should have gone off on top rather than rolling the dice for a new season.
Do you agree? Will you watch Once Upon a Time season 7? Do you think the season 6 finale should have been the series finale? Do you think Henry and Lucy can top Emma and Henry? Will season 7 be new or just more of the same?
Once Upon a Time
season 7 will air Fridays at 8/7c on ABC in Fall 2017. Want more news? Like our OUAT Facebook page