Don’t worry, Evil Regals — even though the back half of “Once Upon a Time’s” Season 3 is going to focus on the introduction of the Wicked Witch as the big bad villain, Regina/The Evil Queen isn’t going to lose any of her evil spunk. Actually quite the contrary, Lana Parrilla promises with a laugh.
“Regina still has some secrets up her sleeve,” Parrilla teases to Zap2it. “We definitely will still see some evil this season. It’s just with different people. The evil queen isn’t dead. She’s just evolved.”
So what’s the difference between the green witch and our favorite Fairytale witch? “The Wicked Witch is a fun, delicious character who is out to hurt more than one person, and she is different than Regina in many ways,” Parrilla reveals. “First and foremost, they are fighting for different reasons. Regina was always out for revenge and Zelena/the Wicked Witch, it’s not about revenge for her. It’s about … other things.”
When pushed for details, Parrilla just laughed more. “I can’t quite tell you without spoiling it,” Parrilla says. “She is just pissed off. She’s angry. She wants what other people have. She’s a very jealous woman.”
And that jealousy will lead to a wicked vs. evil showdown, something Parrilla can’t wait for “OUAT” fans to see play out. “Oh yeah. For sure. I think it’s going to be really fun to see these two women battle,” Parrilla says. “They’re both fun, full, dynamic and layered characters with incredible costumes and powerful magic. As you will see, the battle is beginning. It kicks off this Sunday [March 9] and carries on throughout the season.”
It’s fantastic that “OUAT” Season 3 is switching the focus to the women of the story, as the first half of the season dealt with the men (Rumpelstiltskin, Baelfire and Peter Pan) and their family issues.
“It’s really cool, actually. It’s tapping into some really cool aspects,” Parrilla says. “Zelena has a connection to a character and I think that’s going to be very fun for many people to find out. The battles that take place are very crippling at times. People will get hurt, people will be wounded. I would say that it’s going to be a delicious second half of the third season.”
When asked how she would describe what fans can look forward to, Parrilla had more than a few juicy words to share. “There will be a lot of sexual tension, flirtation, power, magic, envy, jealousy, some revenge, love, family, and Mary Margaret’s pregnant!” Parrilla reveals with a laugh. “As is Ginnifer Goodwin. So that’s fun. It feels like we’re having two babies on the show! It’s been a really interesting second half of the season to film and I’m really looking forward to seeing how it plays out.”
And now that Regina is back in Fairytale Land, is there any chance fate might come to pass with her and her soul mate that she’s never met, Robin Hood? “This Sunday when you see our main characters back in Fairytale Land, Regina does cross paths with Robin Hood,” Parrilla teases. “But she just can’t even see that there are any sparks there, if there are any for her which I don’t think there are. Not initially, at least. She is more consumed with the loss of her son and the pain that comes with that. She’s in a mourning period.”
She continues, “That love, if and when it ever plays out, it’s not going to happen for a little while. You’ll see their relationship slowly build. But it doesn’t start off on a very loving level. There’s a lot of tension between them. I like to think of them as eight-year-olds in third grade, pulling each other’s hair when they someone, or punching a girl in the shoulder on the playground. That’s their relationship at first! It’s not immature, it just hasn’t developed. That story line is going to evolve over time.”
Speaking of her losing her son, expect to see a very touching scene in the midseason premiere between former rivals Regina and Snow White, as the princess helps the queen with her feelings of loss.
“You’re going to see her continue to grieve. As we’ve learned, she doesn’t let go very easily,” Parrilla says with a laugh. “She holds on to these emotions and feelings and losses. I mean, look how long it took her to get over Daniel. Over 28 years! The loss of Henry is not going to be an easy one for her. She’ll be in this space for quite some time.”
In addition to letting Snow help her grieve, Parrilla reveals that Regina will also open up to another character. “She ends up confiding in and connecting to one character, and this person enlightens her and helps her see things differently and to see the world from a more positive position as opposed to this, ‘All is doomed and my life is worth nothing now,’ which is where she is in the first episode back,” Parrilla says. “She has given up and she’s lost all hope.”
She continues, “She hasn’t had the easiest life. She’s lost a lot. Some of it hasn’t been her fault and some of it is. But she is getting closer and closer to becoming a full, well-rounded human being. And she can’t do that alone. She definitely needs guidance and there’s a character that helps her achieve that and get to that place.”
“Once Upon a Time” returns Sunday (March 9) at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.