In a bit of a shocker announcement today, actress Jennifer Morrison has elected not to return to Once Upon A Time for a seventh season, should ABC renew the show.
Morrison’s character of Emma Swan has been central to the show for the entire run, and to lose a central character like that can be difficult for the writers to deal with. But the show was looking at a re-imagining of itself already, with word on the street that four specific characters are targeted – Swan, Hook (Colin O’Donoghue), Regina (Lana Parrilla), and Mr. Gold (Robert Carlyle). With all the original cast contracts up at the end of Season 6 (O’Donoghue still has a year on his), other current cast members were likely to be relegated to guest stars or even less. Parrilla and Carlyle are said to be close to signing, and Andrew J. West (Dead Of Summer) is expected to join as a regular after making his debut on the two-part season finale.
Morrison did agree to a guest appearance in Season 7. She announced her departure on her Instagram account:
As I reached the end of my 6 year contract on ONCE UPON A TIME, I was faced with a significant decision. ABC, Eddy Kitsis, and Adam Horowitz very generously invited me to continue as a series regular. After very careful consideration, I have decided that creatively and personally, it is time for me to move on. Emma Swan is one my favorite characters that I have ever played. My 6 years on ONCE UPON A TIME has changed my life in the most beautiful ways. I am absolutely blown away by the passion and commitment of the Oncer fans. I am so honored to have been a central part of such a special show. I will be forever grateful to Adam, Eddy, and ABC for giving me the gift of playing Emma Swan. As I move on to other creative endeavors, I will continue to attend the fan conventions whenever my professional schedule allows. I always look forward meeting the fans. If ABC Network does in fact order a season 7, I have agreed to appear in one episode, and I will most certainly continue to watch ONCE UPON A TIME. The creativity of the show runners has always inspired me, and I cannot wait to see the ways that they continue to develop and reinvent the show. #Onceuponatime #EmmaSwan #UglyDucklings