As Once Upon a Time undergoes a creative reboot heading into its seventh season, ABC Chief Channing Dungey is leaving open the possibility of more years to come.
Following the exits of six series regulars — including Jennifer Morrison, Ginnifer Goodwin, and Josh Dallas — OUAT will be jumping ahead in time to an adult Henry (Andrew J. West), who is apparently trapped under a curse alongside Regina (Lana Parrilla), Hook (Colin O’Donoghue), and Rumple (Robert Carlyle). The series also added a slew of new faces, including Dania Ramirez as a new iteration of Cinderella, and Gabrielle Anwar as Cinderella villain Lady Tremaine. The move has led to some backlash among fans of the long-running ABC fairy tale drama, but Dungey insists that if the viewers show up, the show could continue on past season 7.
“A lot of it is going to depend on how these new characters and this new story line resonates,” she told reporters at the Television Critics Association’s press tour on Sunday. “If it does, we have the opportunity to tell multiple years with these new characters and if not, we’ll look at the series as we’re going into this year and talk about how we wind it down. What they’ve got planned is really spectacular.”
Though Dungey called season 7 a “real creative reboot for the show,” she reiterated what executive producers Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis have said: The spirit of the original is still intact. “They’ve taken the DNA of what made Once so special from the beginning, and yet they’ve come up with an entirely new way to tell the stories, which is fantastic,” Dungey said, explaining that the reboot was a necessity in keeping this show relevant.
“They felt that with some of the principal characters, particularly with Snow and Charming, that we had taken those characters on an incredible journey over six seasons and that we had run out of runway a little bit with those stories,” Dungey said. “There are certain characters that are coming back as themselves, but slightly different iterations of that. And I think what they were really looking to do was to find a way to reinvent and to create more space to tell more stories, but in a similar universe.” Here’s everything we know about season 7 so far.
The Once Upon a Time cast and creators are set to take the stage later Sunday at TCA, so stay tuned for more news.
Once Upon a Time will return Friday, Oct. 6 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.