ByMatthew Rudoy, writer at
Author of the novels 'Corruption' and 'Destruction'. Passionate about many books, movies, and TV series.
Matthew Rudoy

Captain Swan shippers rejoice! Even though Jennifer Morrison announced in May she would not be returning as a series regular for Season 7 of Once Upon A Time, the actress did confirm that Emma Swan would return for one final episode. Entertainment Weekly shared the first look at Emma's return and finale to the fairy tale series. She will appear alongside Hook in "A Pirate's Life" which serves as the second episode of Season 7. Take a look at the photos and what can be gleaned from them regarding Emma's role this season.

Back To The Enchanted Forest

Everything on always seems to tie back to Storybrooke and the Enchanted Forest. Despite the change of present locale from Storybrooke to Hyperion Heights, the Enchanted Forest looks to be maintaining its status as a pivotal location.

This incredibly touching moment shows an emotional reunion between and her now adult son Henry. Remember Henry's squeaky voice in Season 1 and his endless attempts to get Emma to believe in magic and fulfill her destiny as the Savior, even if it meant eating the poisoned apple turnover? Yep, thinking about how little Henry's grown up is making me feel almost as emotional as Emma looks in this photo.

Such a poignant scene is clearly taking place in the Enchanted Forest, observed by Hook with a mysterious cottage in the background. Beyond location, showrunner Edward Kitsis provided a salivating hint in terms of the scene's placement within the show's timeline:

“What we’re not doing is a flashback story where we’re seeing stuff prior to, or during, the previous six seasons. We’re moving forward past the end of season 6, seeing what happened with Emma and Hook, and how it relates to the events in Hyperion Heights. It’s an emotional curtain call.”

Our re-acquaintance with Emma will therefore take place via the show's hallmark flashbacks after the events of Season 6 but prior to the present of Season 7. Henry's travels to the Enchanted Forest was already confirmed with the flash-forwards in the Season 6 finale and a clip released for the upcoming season. The flash-forwards also teased the mysterious new darkness adult Henry and his daughter Lucy face there. Henry may reach out to Emma and Hook for help in combating the darkness, thereby bringing them to the Enchanted Forest and leading to the pictured scene. The other picture shared by Entertainment Weekly seems to hint at this possibility, given the looks on the faces of Emma and Hook and how they're reaching for each other.

How Will Emma's Story End?

It's exciting to see Emma back in action, but it's still unclear how her story will culminate in a way that's worthy of her character development and explains how she'll no longer be in the show. Part of the challenge is that many of the most important individuals in her life, like Henry, Hook and Regina, are at the core of Season 7.

Killing her character off seems like an obvious option, but one I highly doubt the show will take. With the story headed in a different direction minus many fan favorites, audiences are tentative about the new season. Loyal will surely tune in, but some have already written off the possibility of watching anymore, given the overall absence of characters like Emma, Snow, Charming and Zelena. Killing Emma will further alienate those viewers. The loyal fanbase would be furious to see Emma die, especially so soon after her happy beginning. Her death would certainly qualify as the "emotional curtain call" teased by showrunner Edward Kitsis, but seems too much of an alienating move for the show to make. A series about hope will not execute the main protagonist of Seasons 1-6.

Hopefully the showrunners have created a definitive ending for Emma, fitting for her character development and adequately explaining her absence moving forward without resorting to killing her off. Emma's identity and development as the Savior, a mother, a wife and a friend should all be encompassed within this ending. Since Regina will be a main character in Season 7, hopefully Emma will also have a final scene with her former enemy and now dearest friend. At least these photos confirm she'll get some emotional scenes with Henry and Hook. Maybe she'll even get to meet her granddaughter Lucy.

'Once Upon A Time' [Credit: ABC]
'Once Upon A Time' [Credit: ABC]

Season 7 of Once Upon A Time premieres Friday, October 6 at 8pm on .

How do you think the show will wrap up Emma's story? Share your prediction in the comments below!

(Sources: Entertainment Weekly)


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