Caveat Emptor: mild spoilers ahead.
When last I caught up with the very busy Jane Espenson, we were at Comic-Con in San Diego. We talked about Once Upon a Time, of course, and also about her delightful “marriage equality” situation comedy Husbands, which stars Brad Bell (also known as Cheeks) and Sean Hemeon, was about to start its second season of webisodes, which has now ended; Once Upon a Time was about to begin shooting season two.
So I thought, with the season premiere of Once airing this week, and Husbands about to launch into a new direction, it was a great time to touch base with Ms. Espenson, the great lady of genre television writing. (Name a quality, if not iconic, sci-fi/fantasy series of the last 20 years, and chances are that Jane might have had a hand in it along the way: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Battlestar Galactica, Game of Thrones, Caprica, Torchwood: Miracle Day, Firefly, Angel…the list goes on.) But Jane has also quite a comedy resume, having written for Ellen (the comedy series, not the talk show). So it’s not a complete surprise that she’s taken on creating a situation comedy—while writing Once Upon a Time being involved in other projects as well. When we spoke by phone earlier this week, we talked about Husbands and Once Upon a Time, and her new project related to Husbands—a comic book series.
Because of the length of the interview, I’ve broken into two parts, with, this one covering (mostly) Once Upon a Time, and Part 2 discussing Husbands.
Having watched the Once Upon a Time season premiere, appropriately called “Broken,” I was a bit taken aback by the teaser, which seemed out of place for a typical Once episode. I had to do a bit of a double take, wondering if I’d I booted up the wrong screener on my computer. Jane laughed. “That's what we wanted. We wanted you to go, ‘Wait. What is this? Is this the show?’ That was a calculated effect!”
We are introduced in the first scene to a new character; we’re given no information for him, and no context. “This is someone you haven't seen before,” she explained without elaborating. “You'll just have to keep watching for awhile to find out who that is.” Of course I can speculate, and acknowledged Jane, so will the fans. (Could he be Rumplestiltskin’s long lost son Baelfire? Of course Jane gave me no clue. What do you think? Let me know after you’ve seen the premiere!)