‘Once Upon a Time’ Season 7: Colin O’Donoghue and Robert Carlyle on the Show’s Reset

Once Upon a Time stars Colin O'Donoghue and Robert Carlyle
‘Once Upon a Time’ stars Colin O’Donoghue and Robert Carlyle at the 2017 San Diego Comic Con (Photos © Richard Chavez / Showbiz Junkies)

The upcoming seventh season of ABC’s Once Upon a Time takes the series in a new direction, with only a handful of the cast reprising their roles. Among the returning Once Upon a Time stars are Colin O’Donoghue as Killian Jones/Captain Hook and Robert Carlyle as Mr. Gold/Rumplestiltskin. The veteran Once stars partnered up for interviews at the 2017 San Diego Comic Con where they did their best to avoid any season seven spoilers while still teasing the upcoming season.

Both Colin O’Donoghue and Robert Carlyle admitted they don’t know all that much about season seven. They’d only read two scripts before attending Comic Con, and Carlyle says the writers build on the story as the season goes on and watch what the actors are doing. “It’s not as if you’re dictating it, but you can slightly push it,” says Carlyle. “I cannot wait to see where we’re going.”

Both Hook and Gold’s love interests – Emma (Jennifer Morrison) and Belle (Emilie de Ravin) – won’t be returning for the upcoming season. Carlyle admits they don’t know how that will play out yet because it hasn’t been written. However, O’Donoghue knows a little more about what’s happening with Hook and Emma following their wedding.

“First off, I can say Hook and Emma was true love and they’re happy. So for fans who were worried about that, that’s the most important thing. The thing to remember is that we are different iterations of our characters, if that makes sense,” offered O’Donoghue. “It’s complicated to explain without being able to actually tell you why because it just seems like I’m talking nonsense. But when you watch it, you’ll understand.”

“I think it’s important that we don’t talk about this because this is really for the audience to discover. That’s part of the fun of this is for the audience to discover is this guy Gold, is this guy Hook? Is this the same guy?” added Carlyle. “As it progresses, you’ll discover that. At this point to give that away is to show your hand.”

”And it’s also fun because the audience is going to watch a show that they’ve loved for so long and they’re going to get to watch like they’ve started to watch it again, like it’s a whole new experience. Hopefully our fans will have an open enough mind,” explained O’Donoghue.

Both Robert Carlyle and Colin O’Donoghue pointed out that it could bring in new viewers because you don’t need to have seen seasons one through six to understand what’s happening in season seven. That wasn’t possible in any of the previous seasons as they all included interconnected stories. “This is a reset so it kind of allows a new audience to come in, and hopefully they’ll embrace the show in the same way that the previous audience watched,” said Carlyle.

Henry’s been aged up, but will either Hook or Gold age? “If this guy that I’m playing is still a part of Rumplestiltskin – this isn’t giving much away to say that he is – then Rumplestiltskin is hundreds and hundreds of years old. He’s the man who will not die, so I don’t think there’s much change,” explained Carlyle.

“Hook is the same as Rumple, a few hundred years old,” said O’Donoghue. “All I will say is that that will be answered.”

Although there was a happy ending for Hook at the conclusion of season six, O’Donoghue says he’s happy to jump into this new chapter of the story. “I think the first episode is one of the best episodes I’ve read since I joined the show, which is saying a lot because that’s a 100 and something episodes. I think there’s a fresh, vibrant exuberance from the new cast who come in and create new characters for our fans. I think it’s exciting to be able to do something different with a show that you’ve been working on.”

Watch the full Colin O’Donoghue and Robert Carlyle Once Upon a Time interview:

(Interview by Alice Balagia. Article by Rebecca Murray.)