ABC's Once Upon a Time

ABC’s Once Upon A Time Season 4 Predictions

Storybrooke may be getting frozen over, but our Oncer minds are anything but when it comes to speculating about our favorite real life fairy tale characters. The finale of Season 3 left us with many burning questions, some of which we have partial answers to. But, as is the way of these things, there’s so much more that we don’t know. And just recently, the first 7 minutes of the Season 4 Premiere episode have found their way online! This is a perfect opportunity for me to make well-reasoned well-informed predictions that I promise not to be too smug about if they turn out to be right.



Emma and Hook

Hook and Emma in Once Upon a Time

Now that the Captain Swan ship has canonically set sail, as it were, as of the season 3 finale, the shippers and fans in general are eager to see where it will go. I think it’s going to be rocky. Sure the attraction is there (despite my insistence that Hook was a total slimy creeper before some hard to pinpoint moment where he became good), but Hook and Emma are very different.

Emma is much more family oriented and Hook hasn’t been involved with an extensive nuclear family for a long time. Also, Neal hasn’t been gone all that long and I expect Emma still has a lot of unresolved feelings about that. There’s also the fact that, despite how RIFE with ships OUAT is, nobody ever gets too much time to be together. I expect plenty of Emma and Hook’s relationship to be moments of snarky innuendo hinting at unresolved sexual tension while scrambling to save the day.

Emma has her stoic exterior and Hook has his carefree snark, but one of them is definitely going to have a vulnerable moment in front of the other that will be very sweet. I think it’ll be nice if Hook takes a turn for that. Emma’s had plenty of moments like that already.


Regina and Robin Hood

Once Upon a Time: Regina and Robin Hood

As realistic as the show has been with portrayals of relationships and families, the show does a have a soft side for destined true love and that’s what Tink said Regina and Robin were destined to be. So that leads me to think that eventually things are going to shake out alright for those two. Regina has come too far to go back to being completely monstrous without it coming across as forced.

But it does look like Marian isn’t going to make things easy and no matter how much Emma tries to explain or justify herself, Regina isn’t in the mood right now. And we already know at least one thing she is going to do. Employ the slavish Sydney Glass to help her remove someone who is standing in the way of her happiness.

I have a hope/suspicion about how this will culminate. Basically, Regina is going to put on a mature face to throw Marian off while hatching some nefarious scheme to kill her and make it look like and accident. Tension and suspicion will run rampant and ultimately, some combination of Emma/Henry and maybe Robin, unknowingly, will get Regina to abort her plot and fess up.

Then a scene will ensue where she lets out a long coming rant about how she keeps trying to be good but is constantly thwarted. There will be a profound moment of vulnerability where she earnestly asks Emma, “is this what it’s like to be good? Giving up what you want most desperately to do the right thing, ALL THE TIME?” Emma will give an honest, humble, but encouraging answer and maybe, just maybe, there will be a hug.


Rumpelstiltskin and Belle

Rumbelle Wedding on ABC's Once Upon a Time

Oh Rumpel. It speaks volumes about his character (and how much the writers love to play on their characters classic flaws) that he is still willing to lie to Belle and cover up his darker purposes to get what he wants. He swore to Belle he would not kill Zelena and even handed Belle his dagger to convince her, but whoops, that was just a copy. And he killed Zelena anyway.

Previews have hinted that another of Rumpel’s dark secrets is going to come to light and threaten the really sweet newlywed relationship of Rumpel and Belle. It’s a good bet that secret has something to do with Elsa and how she ended up sealed in a vase inside of Rumpel’s vault of most dangerous magic.  Did Rumpel trick Elsa into such confinement as he has done with so many characters in the series or did he actually subdue Elsa in some way? Elsa sure looked angry when she was released from her vase.

It’s also a fair bet that the “truth” that Elsa and Anna’s parents sealed in a bottle before their ship succumbed to a storm had something to do with Rumpel. Truths hidden by parents tend to be so in this series.

As for Belle herself, she’s been pretty good about checking Rumpel’s most wicked urges. I hope she still manages to be interesting as her own character and not just as part of the “Rumbelle” item. Let her bookishness save the day a few more times.


Snow and Charming

Snow and Charming in Once Upon a Time

OUAT isn’t going to downsize the original, central story of true love at the top of this convoluted family tree. Not when there’s a brand new baby in the picture that we fought through all of the second half of season 3 to keep safe from Zelena.

Or will they? The flip side of that is that there IS this bouncing baby Neal Snow and Charming are going to have to take care of and I really hope their roles don’t get relegated to grandparent caregivers where most of their scenes are first-time caregiving-parent gags. But I’m sure we can expect plenty more back story episodes where Snow and Charming will get plenty of heroics and maybe even some present day ones. Maybe big sister Emma will baby sit.

One thing I REALLY hope doesn’t get rehashed this season is David Nolan being completely idiotic/cowardly because of some honor before reason crap. He didn’t tell Kathryn the truth in Season 1 and he kept the fact that he thought he was going to die from Snow in season 3. Enough of that!


Elsa and Anna

Elsa and Anna in Once Upon a Time

It’s really hard for me to say whether I expect Elsa to become an antagonist or a protagonist in the show. I don’t expect her to become a full blown villain, like Zelena, but I do expect Elsa’s obviously burgeoning powers in Storybrooke to be a major source of conflict.

The real deciding factor in this is going to be what her initial interactions with the main characters will be like, I think. Who will Elsa run into first? Will it be Emma? Regina? Snow? What happens if Elsa encounters Regina at a moment when she’s feeling the weight of her past misdeeds robbing her happiness? Elsa could certainly relate to that. Elsa is younger and less experienced, so I expect Regina could certainly sway Elsa if she wanted to.

What if Elsa comes face to face with Rumpel? Will how will the rest of the main cast react to a pitch battle between the two and who will they root for? What if Snow and Charming had past relations with the Kingdom of Arendelle?

Also, what is this truth that Arendelle’s King and Queen need Elsa and Anna to know? It can’t be the secret of Elsa’s powers because, A that would be a pretty cheap reveal for the characters and an un-reveal for the audience. So it has to be something that both Elsa and Anna are not privy to. But what could it be?! Perhaps it has something to do with Rumpel, but it’s really too early to tell what this revelation might be and how it will impact Storybrooke.

Many fans theorize that Elizabeth Mitchell is going to play a more classic version of the domineering Snow Queen from Hans Christian Anderson’s fairy tale. That she may be Elsa’s real mother and that she is the source of Elsa’s mysterious powers. Even in the movie Frozen, Elsa never had a mentor for her particular gift. The Snow Queen could abuse that role.

And where is Hans, 13th Prince of the Southern Isles? Haven’t heard a word about him out of the new Frozen characters, but I don’t expect him to be very helpful.

I also think it’s a safe bet that Elsa might get romantically interested in a new or existing character, or someone might be interested in her. The fan squee potential is too much to miss out on.


New Characters?

The lead into Season 4 is much like the lead into season 3, where we knew that OUAT was going to delve deep into a new aspect of popular fairy tales when the main cast all traveled to Neverland. The “Neverland” Arc took up the first half of the season, so it’s not unreasonable to expect that Frozen and its characters will take up at least the first half-season arc. But what about the rest of the season? The latest buzz is that Kristin Bauer van Straten will return as Maleficent for the second half of Season 4, and I’m all for that, but new faces would be nice too.

There are still so many films, stories and characters that OUAT has not yet tapped for a subversive, mature, contemporary take on beloved popular culture. Even if Elsa and Anna stick around for at least the whole season, there are bound to be at least some minor new fairy tale characters introduced. How About Aladdin and Jasmine? And Jafar!?

Hopefully we’ll get some of the answers we crave when Once Upon A Time Season 4 Premieres Sunday September 28th on ABC.




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