Earlier today, Once Upon a Time fans were devastated to learn that ABC had pulled the plug on the fairy tale-inspired series.
After going through a soft reboot heading into this season, accompanied by a mass cast exodus and a move to Friday night, OUAT had run its course, and this spring's finale will be its last.
While making the announcement, Once Upon a Time creators Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis spoke with EW about the beloved series coming to a close. The duo first explained that there would be an ending in store, so fans wouldn't have to worry about being left with a cliffhanger.
"Yes, I would say that we did not go into this season assuming there would be a season 8, so we had two paths for the finale — one where it was closed-ended, one where it was open-ended," Kitsis explained. We had been building toward it the whole year anyways, so instead of a cliffhanger, it will just be a closed-ended story that wraps it up. But we’re prepared and ready, so we weren’t shocked by it."
As the interview continued, Kitsis explained that there were plans in place for another potential season, but they prepared for the tough news.
"We did have a plan for a potential season 8 just because, as I said, we went into the year knowing one of two things were going to happen, so throughout the year, you don’t ever want to be surprised if you can, so we had a plan for season 8, but that’s okay," he said.
With the rebooted version of the series only having lasted one season, many fans will wonder why Once didn't just end after the sixth installment. Do the creators regret continuing the show after most of the cast departed?
"That’s a weird question in the sense that if fans wanted that, they had the option of that: They didn’t have to watch this season," Kitsis said. "For us, we ended it the way we wanted to, but we were all still having fun and we wanted to see what would happen if we shook it up and did it. I don’t ever regret taking a creative risk because that’s why we got into this business. Once was a creative risk. Once, if you remember, was every critics’ prediction to be the first show canceled, so we wanted to see what would happen if we shook it up and moved on. I loved a lot of the episodes we did this year. I loved working on them. I loved working on them with the people, so I have zero regrets, but for the fans who felt like that should’ve been the ending, then for them, it is."
"I agree with Eddy," Horowitz added. "I don’t have any regrets about it at all. I think we’ve done some great episodes, and some of our best episodes yet are still to come this season. For fans who miss the original cast, we miss them, too. They were all great friends of ours and we really enjoyed working with them.
"But as life moves on, people go in different directions and do different things. Taking aside all the creative stuff about this show, it’s been one of the joys about making this show, which is all the amazing people that we’ve been able to collaborate with, from the cast to the crew to the studio and network. And cast members who left last year, we still see them all the time and we’re friends. It’s created what we think are lifelong friendships and bonds that have been incredible. For the fans, they get that as well, too. They’ve now met these characters, and even though some left the show last year, and some will now leave the show after this year, they can always be a part of them thanks to Netflix."
While many of the original characters have been gone for the seventh season, Kitsis revealed that fans can expect to see them again when the series comes to a close later this year.
"We’ll have some familiar faces from the first six years return in the finale," he confirmed.
Once Upon a Time returns with new episodes on Friday, March 2 at 8pm ET on ABC.