It’s official: Once Upon a Time is bidding farewell to several more key cast members — Ginnifer Goodwin, Josh Dallas, Emilie de Ravin & Jared S. Gilmore. They join Jennifer Morrison, who announced her departure last week, and Rebecca Mader, who unveiled her exit this morning.
As Once wraps the narrative that drove the first six seasons in the Season 6 finale this Sunday, the fairytale drama will be resetting the story in the just-ordered seventh season, which will focus on returning cast members Lana Parrilla, Robert Carlyle and Colin O’Donoghue, joined by The Walking Dead‘s Andrew J. West, who will be introduced in the Season 6 finale.
Goodwin (Snow), Dallas (Prince Charming), Gilmore (Henry) and Morrison (Emma) have been on the show since the start, as have Parrilla and Carlyle. The contracts of all original cast members were up at the end of this season, and there had been rumors that Goodwin and Dallas, who got married and had two kids while on the show, had approached Season 6 going in as their final year on the show.
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De Ravin (Belle) also is a Once veteran, having joined as a recurring in Season 1, rising to a series regular at the start of the second season. Mader (Wicked Witch of the West) has been a later addition, starting as a recurrring on Season 3 and becoming a regular in Season 5.
In a statement about the departure of Goodwin, Dallas, de Ravin, Gilmore and Mader, Once Upon a Time co-creators/executive producers Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz noted that they “fervently believe it won’t be the last we see of them.” As part of her exit, Morrison signed on for one episode in Season 7, so guest-starring turns from the others are certainly a possibility. Here is Kitsis and Horowitz’s full statement:
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. Each brought unique talent, incredible intelligence, and their own individual bit of magic as they gave life to these iconic characters.
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.
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.
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.