March 12, 2017
'Once Upon A Time' Season 7 Renewal, Cast Update: Will Jennifer Morrison Return?

Once Upon a Time Season 7's fate continues to remain uncertain. And even if ABC renews the fantasy-drama series for another season, it is highly unlikely that it will return with the same narrative and the same star cast. All the original cast members' contracts are due for renewal this May, but it seems that only four actors may end up signing new contracts. Jennifer Morrison, Lana Parrilla, Robert Carlyle, and Colin O'Donoghue are currently in talks to renew their contracts for a potential Once Upon a Time Season 7 and beyond.

Earlier in January, Jennifer Morrison, who plays Emma Swan aka the Savior, and Robert Carlyle, who plays Mr. Gold, said that they were not certain about their future on the series, as well as about Season 7 renewal. Entertainment Weekly (EW) is now reporting that Morrison, Carlyle, Lana Parrilla (Regina Mills), and Colin O'Donoghue (Captain Hook) are the four actors who have begun negotiating their Once Upon a Time contracts.

The other original cast members, including Ginnifer Goodwin, Josh Dallas, Jared Gilmore, and Emilie de Ravin, are not part of the current negotiations, and it is possible that they might not be part of Once Upon a Time if it returns with Season 7 this fall. Moreover, according to Deadline, Dallas and Goodwin, who are married with children in real life, do not see themselves continuing with the series after Season 6.

Once Upon a Time actress Ginnifer Goodwin (L) and actor Josh Dallas at an event.
Once Upon a Time Season 7 might not feature Josh Dallas and Ginnifer Goodwin. [Image by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images]

It was earlier reported that co-creators Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis were working on a new storyline, and the current story was heading toward closure. New narrative means bidding goodbye to some of the old characters. TV Line reports that Once Upon a Time Season 7 might not welcome back all the actors due to creative reasons.

"The shake-up, sources say, is largely creative-driven versus a Castle-like cost-cutting measure."
In January, ABC chief Channing Dungey told EW that Horowitz and Kitsis would be looking for Season 7 of Once Upon a Time to be a "springboard in a new direction from a narrative standpoint." He later added that whenever there was a change, there would always be a transition.

Meanwhile, Horowitz and Kitsis are introducing two new characters in Once Upon a Time Season 6 finale. The Walking Dead alum Andrew J. West and Alison Fernandez, who played the younger version of Jane in Jane the Virgin, have been roped in to portray pivotal roles. TV Line reported that both the actors would be introduced as guest-stars in the final episode of the current season and if ABC renewed Season 7, West and Fernandez would return as series regulars.

TV Line also reported that Once Upon a Time Season 6 finale would see West playing a "strong yet vulnerable" man who was once optimistic but now is a recluse. The character is in his late 20s to mid-30s.

"A gent who was once optimistic and hopeful but now is a friendless, cynical recluse. That said, he still possesses a dormant, deep-seated spark of hope that waits for the right person to reignite it."
Fernandez's character, on the other hand, is a "precocious" 10-year-old girl whose eyes have a mischievous twinkle.
"And though this girl comes from a broken home, those struggles have only made her stronger — something which will come in handy when darkness threatens "everything she holds dear."
Once Upon a Time is currently midway through Season 6. The series returned from its three-month winter layoff on March 5, and the midseason premiere episode fetched a 0.9 demo rating, with nearly 3 million viewers tuning in to watch it. The low numbers do not assure fans that the series will return this fall, but according to Deadline, the show continues to be important for ABC despite its low ratings.
"While down in the ratings, Once remains an important series for ABC with strong Disney DNA and solid DVR and digital play."
ABC might confirm the status of Once Upon a Time Season 7 once the four actors finalize their contracts.

[Featured Image by Robin Marchant/Getty Images]