Disney and Pixar’s “Brave” is getting the “Once Upon a Time” treatment in season five, with Scottish princess Merida joining the ABC fantasy drama.
At the show’s Saturday morning Comic-Con panel, executive producers Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz unveiled a teaser featuring Merida’s iconic archery skills, showing a hooded character hitting the bullseye of a target before splitting that arrow with a second and pulling back her hood to reveal curly red hair. Merida will be played by Scottish actress Amy Mason.
The cast and executive producers were on hand at Comic-Con to tease season five, with Ginnifer Goodwin, Jennifer Morrison, Robert Carlyle, Lana Parrilla, Josh Dallas, Emilie de Ravin, Colin O’Donoghue, Sean Maguire and Rebecca Mader in attendance.
Fans also got a first look at Morrison’s Emma in her “Dark Swan” iteration at the panel, since the season four finale saw the Savior tether herself to the darkness and become the new Dark One to save Storybrooke from destruction.
Morrison admitted she was looking forward to tackling Emma’s darker side in season five. “I’m really excited. As an actor to start season five of a show doing something brand new is exciting… now I get to try something totally new and different and get to have the fun that these guys are having,” she laughed, nodding to Parrilla and Carlyle. “There is some fun to the villainy, I’ve spent the whole hiatus digging out my thoughts about it… Emma went through a lot in her life, she’s always tried to be a good person and now she’s tethered to the darkness she’s free of that. I feel like she’s going to face some of the darkness and figure out how to overcome it and not just suppress it.”
The show will also hit its 100th episode during season five, but the producers remained tight-lipped about the milestone. “We want to make it very special, and we want the 100th episode to be our spring premiere,” Horowitz said. “We’re hard at work trying to not tell you anything.”
As for a potential musical episode, Kitsis asked the cast whether they wanted to sing, and was answered with a resounding “yes!”
“It would be great to do a musical episode, I don’t know even where to begin,” Kitsis admitted. “Does anybody have any songs? ‘It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like a Dark Curse is Coming’ is what we’d start with…”
Henry (Jared Gilmore) became the author at the end of last season, and made the “impulsive decision” to snap the quill, Kitsis wryly noted: “He was making a heroic gesture and I’m sure that won’t come back to haunt him …Nothing could possibly go wrong…”
The show will also introduce the world of Camelot, with the sorcerer Merlin the only person who can potentially save Emma from the darkness. “Camelot is going to exist in a parallel timeline; it’s existed long ago, short ago, present ago and maybe in the future,” Horowitz teased cryptically.
Casting additions for the storyline include Elliot Knight as Merlin, Joana Metrass as Guinevere and Andrew Jenkins as the knight Percival.
“Once Upon a Time” season five premieres September 27 on ABC.