Once again on this season’s Once Upon a Time, the world changes for Regina (the terrific Lana Parrilla). It almost seems a misnomer these days to refer to her as “the Evil Queen,” so far has she come, even to the point of saving her romantic (and much deeper) rival because “it was the right thing to do!”
“I’ve always looked at this woman,” noted Lana during a brief interview at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, “as this iconic evil queen.” And now, with Emma becoming the Dark One, she’s been recast as the “savior.” But no matter what aspect of Regina come out, “I think that she’ll always be grounded in being a human being,” she added.
“The challenge this season is learning how to be a hero, being a savior, being there for others. That’s not really who she is,” Lana explained. “So that’s going to be her real challenge, but it’s always going to be based in being a real human being.”
“Before she was this manipulative mayor, and now she’s the savior. It’s fun for us actors to play different roles all the time. I love that we get to swap our roles and try different things. It keeps us interested as actors, and keeps the audience more intrigued. We trust Adam and Eddy. They know what they’re doing.”
Does she long for the Evil Queen? (Who wouldn’t?) Lana said, “I do hope we have flashbacks to the Evil Queen because I love playing her. We’ve seen so many different sides to her over the seasons. Young Regina, Evil queen, the mayor, redeemed-by-love-Regina. It just goes on and on… There’s a lot of room for different archetypes. I’d say she’s on a hero’s journey (referring to Joseph Campbell’s seminal writing on heroes and their many faces).”
Certainly, the old, evil-queen Regina would never have let Zelena live, having duped poor Robin Hood (Sean Maguire) in marriage and having her baby!
“I think Regina already regrets not killing Zelena,” Lana reflected. “But there’s already been so many rewards when she’s done the right thing… Deep down inside, she knows it was the right thing to do. So it’s all going to come with challenges going forward, but I don’t think she feels threatened by Zelena at all.”
How does Lana feel about Emma becoming the Dark Swan? “Regina really hates the fact that Emma has done this because now Regina has to do something about it. I think she really hates owing someone. It’s become a burden, and something she had to do something about, but if anyone can relate to where Emma (Jennifer Morrison) is in this new incarnation, it’s Regina. She’s been there.”
She and Henry will probably start “‘operation Emma’ and try to help her together,” the actress said of her relationship with son Henry. I think the whole town is going to band together. And that’s going to be really interesting with Regina in this new leader role.”
Once Upon a Time returns to ABC this fall with new episodes.
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