“Words can’t do justice to what Ginny, Josh, Emilie, Rebecca and Jared brought to ONCE UPON A TIME… but we’ll try… never have we had the privilege of working with a more talented group of collaborators,”series creators Adam Horowitz and Eddy Kitsis said in a statement via Variety. “Each brought unique talent, incredible intelligence, and their own individual bit of magic as they gave life to these iconic characters.”
The showrunners went on to break down why each actor was so vital to the show.
“Ginny reinvented Snow White for a modern audience – there was no way she would be stuck cleaning up after dwarfs, she created an iconic empowered heroine for the 21st century.”
“Josh mined the depths of Prince Charming – a character who in myth was just a “type” but in his superlative interpretation became a complex man fighting for love and family.”
“Emilie took the character of Belle to a deep and soulful place, bringing great intelligence and warmth to the character, making her fiercely independent, strong willed but also an eternal optimist who saw only the best in all those she encountered.”
“Rebecca took us on a broomstick roller coaster ride as she re-invented the Wicked Witch of the West by finding the pain beneath the green. She made the character soar to incredible heights while always keeping her grounded and relatable.”
“And Jared literally grew up before the eyes of millions, from a child actor with enormous innate talent to a young man whose abilities continue to astound as he created a character who truly, as we say on the show, has the heart of the truest believer.”
They concluded with one more giant thank you that’s bound to make longtime fans emotional.
“We can’t thank them enough for the hard work, dedication, and passion they delivered day in and day out. Without them there would be no ONCE UPON A TIME,” Horowitz and Kitsis wrote. “As ONCE continues, this group will always be the beating heart of the show. And even though we won’t be with them every week, in a show about magic and hope, we fervently believe it won’t be the last we see of them,” the network concluded.
In addition to the departures mentioned above, Rebecca Mader, who played the Wicked Witch, announced on Friday morning (May 12) that she is also leaving the show at the end of season 6.
“A lot of you have been asking if I will be joining everyone in season 7, so I wanted to let you know personally that unfortunately I am not. This wasn’t my choice but a creative decision of the show’s that I totally respect and Understand,” she explained. “The most important thing is that you all know how much you mean to me,” Mader wrote.
As for what’s ahead for Once Upon a Time? The show may be down (a few characters, that is), but it’s certainly not out. In fact, ABC has officially renewed the drama for a revamped seventh season. And while Morrison has confirmed she’d be willing to return for at least one episode next season, it remains to be seen whether any other departing stars are up for making an appearance. Fans, however, won’t have to wait in suspense too long. The upcoming season 6 finale — it airs this Sunday (May 14) — should offer plenty of clues as to what’s ahead for Storybrooke’s favorite residents.
What do you think about these exits? Let us know in the comments below! Once Upon a Time’s Season 6 finale airs on Sunday, May 14 at 7 p.m. on ABC.