Recently, Jennifer Morrison shocked fans when she announced she will be leaving #OnceUponATime, where she currently stars as the badass Emma Swan. After six years of seeing her transformation from a person with no clear path in life into a brave warrior who knows who she is, with a seventh season for the show on the horizon, fans were devastated to hear the news.
That naturally left a lot of people with a lot of questions: Why did she go? Was there something wrong with the show? We finally have some answers. Morrison recently sat down for an interview with Entertainment Weekly, where she finally opened up about her departure from the series.
Why Did She Leave In The First Place?
Let's face it, this is the one thing we are the most eager to figure out: What really happened? According to the actress, after spending so many years with the same character, even though she loved her experience, she's now eager to do two things: Move on to different projects and be close to her family:
"Obviously any decision like this is really tricky because I care tremendously about the show and about everyone involved in the show. I’ve loved being there, but six years is a very long time [...] I did six years on 'Once Upon a Time'. I needed personally to move on to new things [...] I needed to be not living away from home [...] I feel like I’m at home in New York and Los Angeles, so I wanted to sleep in my own beds, and be by my family and friends, and have a life again. It was just time personally and professionally to step away when my contract was done."
While some fans will be mad at her decision, it's understandable that she wants to explore new territory, and that's great for her.
How Did The Cast And Crew React To Her Departure?
The topic of how the cast and crew took her departure came up during the interview. #JenniferMorrison stated that, while it was sad situation (they have been working together for the better part of a decade), they are a supportive family:
"Obviously, it’s bittersweet on both sides. We all love each other. I love Adam and Eddy, and I love everyone on the show, so it’s tough. But it’s also a family. We’ve become a family. We’ve worked so closely with each other over the last six years that you really do become a family, and you know each other very, very well. "
To avoid any rumors about troubles or feuds, Morrison clarified that, while the show's creators didn't want her to leave, they supported her decision and she has a great relationship with the cast and crew:
"Obviously, ABC and Eddy and Adam did want me to continue, but when I knew that the right thing for me was to move on, they were kind and supportive and lovely about it. There’s no bad blood, we’re all parting as friends, we all still care about each other very much. There’s no drama here."
With that out of the way, you may be impatiently wondering...
What's Next For Emma Swan?
Emma has some very big arcs on the show right now, and the actress revealed that there was originally a plan for the character past #OnceUponATimeSeason6, which is to be expected. But seeing how those plans will not come to fruition, we're left to wonder whether or not Emma will get her happy ending.
Sadly, her response cleverly shifted away from the question:
"I feel great. Listen, from Day 1 I’ve always said I love Eddy and Adam’s writing and I love the stories they come up with, and I feel like they do such a wonderful job of taking these characters on really rich journeys. So I’m very pleased with the journey that they had taken Emma on through the whole six years, and I’m pleased with where they’ve taken her to at the end of the six years.
With that said, when Morrison announced her departure, it was stated she would be returning for one episode in #OnceUponATimeSeason7. The actress was asked if that meant she would be willing to return for more, or even the series finale. Turns out that, aside from her confirmed reappearance, that's all up in the air right now:
"I don’t know. I can’t really speak to that. All I can say is that I’ve negotiated for one episode, and that episode is the only thing I can promise."
Fortunately, we already know from the show's creators that several characters will get satisfying endings in the Season 6 finale. So it's easy to assume Emma will be one of them. And as for the uncertain fate of the show, two new characters are underway, and fans have assumed they will be the ones to pick up the leading characters' weight.
What's Next For Morrison?
We shouldn't be worried about the actress' career, as she has various projects already on the way, including a play, The End Of Longing, written by Matthew Perry. Morrison states the path is not as clear after that, but she would definitely love directing:
"I’m definitely looking to transition more into directing and I will always act, it’s not like I’m going to stop acting, but it is definitely a priority to find the next feature that I want to direct."
There you have it, that's the behind-the-scenes story of Jennifer Morrison's Once Upon A Time departure. Fans of the show will have a hard time moving on, but her eagerness to work on other types of projects is completely understandable. Hopefully the show continues to be as successful as it is today and she finds great success in her future endeavors.
What do you think about Jennifer Morrison's explanation for her leaving Once Upon A Time? Would you like to see Emma return for more than one episode? Let me know in the comments!