Jane explained, “I think it's situational. I think there are areas in their lives in which they are confederates and there are areas in which they are very much opposed.” Both believe, of course, that they have Henry’s best interests at heart. “But,” she added, “I think they would both probably give you a pretty different lists of things that would comprise that wellbeing. So that could turn into conflict. I'm reminded of Battlestar Galactica where we had so many characters, all of whom had these rich histories with each other in the body of the show.”
She recalled thinking, “my God, you can put any two characters in a scene and they'd have something fraught between them, some past thing from some other episode that's still hanging out there between them, to either be a point of confederacy or a conflict. And I think Once is doing that same thing.” With a large ensemble cast of characters, many of whom have histories with each other and already in place, there’s a lot of rich material to mine without having to create quick devices for creating conflict for a particular story line. It’s already there, according to Jane. “Our characters have very good reasons already established for their conflict.”
Like the favor Emma still owes Mr. Gold (Robert Carlyle), for example, which comes up in the premiere. “That's right," Jane said. "She still owes him a favor. That's still hanging out there.” And of course, Emma has to deal come to terms with the fact that at last she’s found her parents, but the revelation is jarring to her, while not at all to Charming and Snow, who are thrilled to have found their darling Emma.
“And it's beautifully unresolved. So often in the [writers’] room I find myself uttering the phrase ‘there's a good conversation.’ Everybody’s got something, someone to deal with, yeah. And Emma’s parents are a great example. And these are the parents she spent years searching for, but also resenting.” And there’s plenty to resent from Emma’s perspective. Jane agreed. “Well, I mean, we know they put her in a box and shipped her to Maine (when she was a baby), you know? It was all for the good, but I could certainly see that there's, as I say, there is a conversation to be had.”
And of course, there’s the ongoing conflict between Regina and Rumple. Lana Parrilla had told me during our interview last week that we’ll learn much more about her relationship with Rumple this year, going very far back in their history. “She is not wrong,” Jane said. “They had even more history and a different history than you might have thought.”