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Once Upon a Time - Season 4 - The Queens of Darkness Promotional Photos + EW Interview

Once Upon a Time may be saying goodbye to Frozen, but the ABC fairy tale series won’t be void of villains for very long: A trio of evil familiar faces will make their debut in Sunday’s winter finale. EW has the exclusive first look at Maleficent (Kristin Bauer Van Straten), Ursula (Merrin Dungey) and Cruella de Vil (Victoria Smurfit), otherwise known as the Queens of Darkness.

So, you’re saying these villains are teaming up to get their happy ending. Isn’t it a catch 22? To get their happy ending, aren’t they inevitably going to do something evil?
HOROWITZ: Happy ending doesn’t necessarily equal redemption, because happy endings are in the eye of the beholder.
KITSIS: Yeah, it’s what makes you happy. For instance, if watching two beloved heroes die makes you happy, well then your happy ending is probably different than the two heroes who want to see the villain die.

Let’s talk about Cruella de Vil. Can you say what world she comes from?
KITSIS: We’re kind of taking some liberty there. We’re going to realize that our Cruella may have originated from the Enchanted Forest, and we may find out she has some magic of her own. She’s part villain, part Zelda Fitzgerald. There’s something glamorous and jazz age, but something very deadly about her as well.
HOROWITZ: She’s a fun character for us. We hopefully found a way to spin it and make her different and part of the Once universe while also having plenty of nods of the iconography of Cruella that everybody loves.
KITSIS: The actress playing her, Victoria Smurfit, is just phenomenal. It’s fun to watch.
HOROWITZ: Wait ’til you see her car.
KITSIS: It was more expensive than Sven.

With the return of Maleficent, does that signal the return of the Aurora (Sarah Bolger)/Mulan (Jamie Chung) storyline?
KITSIS: We are definitely going to dive into Maleficent story. We will see Aurora. Mulan we love. We love Jamie Chung. We absolutely have hopes to bring Mulan back. Her story is in the laboratory right now. But she’s a great character and we’d love to see her back.
HOROWITZ: We want to continue her story. In the near term, there’s more Aurora to be had.

It seems like Rumple is pretty much going full evil again when we end the first half of the season. Will they be working with him?
KITSIS: The winter finale is going to set that up.
HOROWITZ: I don’t know if Rumple is ever full evil. Full evil implies a loss of humanity, and I think that as dark as Rumple gets, there’s still humanity in him that is struggling with the evil. That’s something we’re going to explore.
KITSIS: Rumple likes to think that the ends justify the means. He’s willing to do things to get what he wants, but most people won’t. In his mind, that doesn’t make him evil. He’s not cruel. He doesn’t destroy people’s lives for no reason. It’s usually because they owe him.

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