I thought my story came to an end a long time ago, and then new people came into my life... People who gave me a second chance. I can't wait to see what's in store for me next. Well, for everyone. I refuse to believe there won't be more adventures, more love, more family. And yes, there will be more loss, because that's just a part of life. And in the end, we can get past it all... with hope.
This episode is the second part of the season seven finale and the series finale.
Wish Rumple's evil plan is revealed and Regina realizes the only hope to stop him is by turning Wish Henry from his path for vengeance. Meanwhile, Tilly and Margot try to get help in Storybrooke. With his hope of ever being reunited with Belle fading, Weaver struggles to find a way to defeat his evil alter ego; and when Rogers' life is threatened, he is faced with the ultimate sacrifice.
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In Storybrooke, in the newly created United Realms, Roni tries to run the engine of her car, while Kelly asks why they don't just poofwhere they are trying to go because they're getting late. Roni asks her what they are getting late for, but Kelly avoids the question, only saying that it's a meeting Roni does not want to miss. Kelly magically fixes the car and advises her sister to get dressed.
United Realms: Extended
The scene where Henry is riding down Storybrooke Main Street in the newly created United Realms was originally accompanied with a sequence with Tilly, Margot and Rogers in front of Granny's Diner. There are a couple of lines where they say that they are heading somewhere (meaning Roni's coronation) and Rogers asks Henry, "Did you get it?", meaning Roni's crown. At the same time, Archie and Pongo are walking down the street. There was also a sequence where Henry is wearing the same costume and riding through a forest, presumably on his way to Roni's coronation.
Most of the footage was deleted in post-production, although Archie and Pongo can still be glimpsed in the lower left hand corner of the screen as Henry rides through Storybrooke.
This episode is named after the road sign with the same message at the Storybrooke town line.
This episode contains the most number of guest starring and uncredited cast members in the whole series.
Sleepy and Dr. Whale's names are misspelled "Sleep" and "Dr. Wale", respectively, in the press release.
The credit of Dr. Whale is a mistake in itself as David Anders does not appear in the episode. It is likely that the release was meant to read David Avalon instead, since Doc does appear and is missing in the press release.
Jakob Davies, who portrayed Pinocchio for most of the show, being replaced by his younger brother Jack Davies by the time of the Season Six episode "The Song in Your Heart", accompanied Jack to the set on the last day of filming for the series finale.
It is also confusing for Pinocchio to be there, since both August and Wish Pinocchio were adults by the time of when there were last seen.
Roni's coronation took two days to film. Each side of the crowds were filmed separately. According to Adam Horowitz, everyone, including Jennifer Morrison and Lana Parrilla, worked the first day.Rose Reynolds was not present when Jennifer filmed her segments on the first day. Ginnifer Goodwin's and Josh Dallas' portion of the scene was shot on the second day. By that time, Jennifer had left for scheduling reasons. The only interactions that had to be digitally "faked" were between Emma, Snow and David.
At a fan convention in 2018, Rebecca Mader proposed the series finale would involve everyone from all the realms ending up all together in Storybrooke, despite not knowing at the time that this is exactly what would happen in the episode script.
It is unclear when the ending of the episode takes place. The fact that Roni seems to cast the Dark Curse right after the events of the death of Weaver makes it a time paradox, since the events of this episode occurs before Henry graduates from high school, making it impossible for some of the characters existing in the Royal Castle. However, there is also no explanation if the group first finds a way to get back to their original timeline, or the Dark Curse that Roni casts automatically sends them to that time. Regardless, it remains unknown.
Kevin Santarosa, a production staff member on the show, appears as a guest at Roni's coronation. He can be seen standing behind Rogers and next to Marco.
An excerpt from the Grimm fairy tale "The Pink" can be seen in Mary Margaret's storybook.
The text page next to Snow White's picture reads (some of the text appears on-screen, while the rest of it can be seen on a prop page which was auctioned off online in November 2019; text that cannot be seen (or is indecipherable) on-screen is set in fuchsia, or, in the case of links, is underlined):
Sandstorms whipped around Snow White as she trekked through the endless deserts of Agrabah. Things were looking dire. The oasis she imagined had turned out to be nothing but a mirage, a cruel trick of sunlight and fatigue, and she was in desperate need of some water. If only her camel hadn't run off! She could have been back in the city by now and sought shelter from this dreadful storm. Snow looked at the ground to see her footprints had disappeared. Now she knew not in which direction she had come or which direction she was going. Which way was forward and which way was back? It was quite impossible to tell. Snow sunk to the ground in defeat when a golden scarab landed on her hand. She gazed at it, eyebrows furrowed in confusion, when the scarab flitted off. Snow took after it --perhaps if she followed, the desert creature would lead her to a source of water. Snow wrapped the scarf around her to protect herself as best as she could from the elements as she followed the little bug darting though the air. When suddenly, the ground began to shake around her! The sand beneath Snow's feet began to rise in mounds, threatening to bury her alive as Snow backed away on terror. She watched as the mounds of sands began to take
shape -- forming the head of a giant tiger! Snow gasped. Was this the legendaryCave of Wonders? Suddenly, the Tiger spoke to her with a deep, rumbling, intimidating voice. "Who disturbs my slumber?" the Tiger roared down at Snow. Snow faced him uncertain- ly. "It is I, Snow White. And it is not treasure that I seek, merely shelter from this storm." The Tiger con- sidered her for a moment. "I will allow you to pass. But touch nothing within or you will never see the open sky again." Snow shuddered ath the thought. It seemed a dangerous proposition to walk into the jaws of this Tiger, but what choice did she have? Perhaps if she could wait out the storm, the skies would be clear again tomorrow and she would be able to find her way out of this desert. Snow took a deep breath and thanked the Tiger for its hospitality. And with that, she walked into his jaws and into the gaping darkness. but his own heart [sic]
The accompanying illustration shows Snow White in the middle of the Agrabah desert. The caption reads "The shifting sands had Snow disorientated and heartsick with yearning."
The character being trapped in a desert realm is ironic, given that her first name is Snow.
The story is based on Disney's Aladdin, where the Disney version of the Cave of Wonders is a hidden cavern filled with riches. It is protected by a sand guardian taking the form of a massive tiger's head, which kills anyone besides the chosen individual who attempts to enter. The location of the cave is revealed by using a magical golden scarab beetle.
The back of the prop page that was auctioned off contains an excerpt from the Grimm fairytale of "The Seven Ravens".
When Roni opens her own book, a micro-excerpt from the "Cinderella" fairytale can be glimpsed.
The illustration of Roni shows her sitting alone on a rock in the middle of the ocean, with a shipwreck in the background. The caption reads "Regina knew the most important thing was not to lose hope. She would see her son again.
Harsh sunlight beat down on Regina as she stood on a slippery rock. She squint- ed through the brightness, trying to get a sense of where this other, darker Rum- plestiltskin had sent her. All around her, in every direction, was an endless expanse of ocean. Regina looked out at the horizon, but there was no land in sight, no sign of life. She yelled out to the watery void, "Hello? Can anyone hear me?" But there was no response, not even an echo of her own voice. Just the crashing of waves on this lonely rock she now called home. Regina knew the most important thing she could do was not lose hope. There had to be a way to [obscured] a way back to Henry and her family. Maybe [obscured] she could use magic to conjure a rowbo[obscured] her arm toward the sea, flexed he[obscured] happened. Regina realized th[obscured] powerless. Her magic[obscured] Ever determ[obscured] stop her from [obscured] breath. [obscured] Re[obscured] [obscured]
ise of seeing her son. But the currents grew stronger and stronger, until Regina became swept up in a massive wave that took her right back to her barren rock. She tried again. And again. But no matter how hard she swam, the water would always pull her right back where she started. Regina collapsed onto the rock in exhaustion. "A ship will come," she thought. So she watched the hori- zon. But a ship never came. And as days turned to weeks turned to months, any speck of hope in Regina faded away, and she came to realize she would never see her family again.
An unseen page from Roni's book contains a combination of excerpts from the Grimm fairy tales "The Seven Ravens" and "The Pink". Another unseen page contains an excerpt from the Grimm fairy tale "Little Sister and Little Brother" combined with another excerpt from "The Pink". Another unseen page contains another excerpt from "The Pink", while a third page contains another excerpt from "Little Sister and Little Brother".
Kelly's book contains an illustration of Zelena looking out the porthole of the Nautilus. The cation reads "”I hate fish and I have no desire to live like one,” Zelena thought as she looked out the porthole."
A prop page auctioned off online on eBay in November 2019 reveals the unhappy ending planned for Kelly:
The Wicked Witch paced up and down the Cap- tain's Chambers of the Nautilus, cursing the bloody heroes, mocking the gumption that got her into this mess. "Let's save the world! Things will always work out! The good guys always win!" Well, they didn't win this time. Wish Rumplestiltskin had his way and now they were all separated. and sure, a large part of Zelena didn't mind the solitude. She often took to her farmhouse for weeks on end just to recharge. But her farmhouse was infinitely better than this rat-infested hole, and this time, Zelena was separated from her own daugh- ter. It destroyed her to think of little Robin, left all alone in Storybrooke, wondering what happened to Mummy. Zelena vowed to get back to her, even if she had to break through one of these portals and swim there. Although Zelena didn't know how to swim. It was a secret she had long held from the others, fearing an enemy might use it against her... or that someone might mock her. Not that any one should be surprised that Zelena was water-shy; she was the bloody Wicked Witch of the West, after all. Some might say water was her Achilles Heel. Although she'd probably say it was the backstroke that she feared most.
Zelena had to admit that Wish Rumplestiltskin had a flare for dramatics and pain, trapping her in this water- tight sardine can. Not only was she surrounded by water, but he knew very well that she found fish bloody disgusting and that traditional was her very least favorite type of interior design. She dug her toes into the elabo- rate rug beneath her. "Repulsive," she thought. And that music! The Captain's pipe organ magically droned on incessantly day and night. How many sea chanteys must one listen to until they go mad? "What I wouldn't give for one bloody round of Chopsticks," Zelena thought. Suddenly the Nautilus shuddered, as if hit with ten thousand pounds of force. The screws popped from the walls and water sprouted in, spraying Zelena in the face. "I'm under attack," she thought, terrified. Zelena ran to the portal to see what hit her. And then she saw it... "Giant bloody squid," Zelena sighed. As if this under the sea entrapment couldn't get any worse...
Another unseen page from Zelena's book contains an excerpt from the Grimm fairytale "The Seven Ravens", while a third page contains an excerpt from an alternate version of the Brothers Grimm's version of the "Cinderella" fairytale, where the titularcharacter is known as Ash-Maiden.
For David, Rogers and Lucy's books, green fields were used so that the illustrations could be digitally added in post-production. According to a prop photograph posted on an online auction, the captions read:
"Charming knew exactly where he was, and yet had never felt so lost."
"“My hair will never grow long enough. Not in a thousand years,” thought Lucy."
A prop page auctioned off on eBay in January 2019 reveals Lucy's unhappy ending:
Lucy looked out the window one more time. "That makes about a thousand since I got here," she thought, despon- dently. It had only been a day, but that day had felt like a year. Lucy wondered if eventually her hair, like Rapunzel's, would grow long enough that it would allow her to escape. But she had an idea that Rumplestiltskin wouldn't make it that easy. Probably, she would be old before her hair got that long. Or perhaps escaping the tower would only set her free in a real where she was a friendless stanger, still without a way to get back to those who loved and cared for her. At least the basic necessities were provide for her. There as a hearth with a warm fire that seemed to magically regenerate itself without easier consuming wood or filling the air with smoke. The flue had at first struck her as a possible route for escape, but even if she could make it to the roof of the tall tower, there was still no safe way to the ground. Food was provided as well, a small haunch of meat at midday, along with an out gruel and a bucket of fresh well water, all provided by magic. And there was a soft bed waiting for her when she exhausted herself with
pacing the room and exploring every inch of it for a way out. She wondered if she'd cry herself to sleep tonight and wowed that she would not. She wouldn't give Rumple, or the universe, the satisfaction. She knew she should keep up hope right now. But it was hard to have hope in this moment, with her father and mother so far away, no doubt trapped in their own stories of isolation. "I'm thinking of you," she said to the sky outside the window as the first star began to appear. "I'm with you," she added. But she didn't say, "I have hope." She didn't want to lie.
Lucy's unhappy ending is a reference to her step grandmother's imprisonment in Gothel's tower in "One Little Tear".
The back of the page contains another excerpt from "The Seven Ravens".
Another prop photo from the auction offers a glimpse of Rogers' unhappy ending:
Captain Hook had fought his way out of a hundred of skirmishes. He was quite experienced in the common tavern brawl. And the Jolly Roger had been boarded by enemy pirates more times than he liked [obscured] [obscured] […] Bread-and-Butterflies large enough to swallow a grown man whole. But with his cutlass by his side, this seemed like a fight that he [obscured] [obscured]
The caption reads "Alice shivered [obscured]ately to keep [obscured]".
According to a prop page auctioned off on eBay, her story reads:
It was cold, Alice thought to herself. Really cold. Alice hadn't seen her breath like that since last winter in Hyperion Heights. She watched as the breath floated off into the starry night. A moment ago she had thought she saw the light of a city in the distance, but as her eyes adjusted she came to realize it was simply the moon reflected off the frozen tundra that stretched away to forever. Alice wasn't just cold, she was alone. Alice slumped on a rock, hugging herself, trying to keep warm. She wondered if she would survive the night. And more than that, she wondered if she would ever see her father, or Robin, again. She had spent so much of her life alone, now it looked like that's how she would end her life. Only just then, the rock beneath her bum began to quake. Startled, Alice sprung to her feet, but the rock rolled toward her as if in pursuit! She turned to fee, but another rock from nearby her side rolled her way. And another from behind her. And a dozen more, from all directions. They circled, herding Alice through an obvi- ous attack pattern! Alice readied herself. For what, she did not know when -- The rocks unfurled themselves, as rocks almost never do. Arms and legs formed on each as one after the other they revealed themselves to be little
stone men. None were taller than Alice's knee, but together they made an intimating force. Alice knew exactly what they were: Trolls. She had experience with trolls, but she didn't know what to make of this little army that surrounded her now. She was scared --
A behind the scenes photograph posted by Keegan Connor Tracy on Twitter, and a prop page auctioned off online, reveal that the Wish Blue Fairy's book shows Blue crying in a forest. The caption reads "The Blue Fairy soon realized she wasn't in her home anymore".
According to the online auction, the back of the illustration contains yet another excerpt from "The Pink".
According to another prop page, auctioned off on eBay, Blue's story reads:
The Blue Fairy soon realized she wasn't in her home anymore. In fact, she wasn't anywhere near her home. She was in another realm entirely, and that wasn't even the worst part of all of this. Not only had the spell ripped her away from home, it had brought her somewhere very dark, and very dangerous. Because this was not an ordinary forest, and these trees that surround- ed her, nearly blotting the sky, certainly weren't ordinary tress. They were moving, slow at first, then faster, their branches starting to articulate like limbs, their knotted trunks forming what began to look almost like a face if you squinted just right. The Blue Fairy thought for a moment of flying into the air for safety, but saw the branches closing over her like some kind of net, meant to catch things that foolishly sailed into the sky. She set herself for a battle, realizing that she may need every bit of magic she possessed to make it out alive. As she prepared herself, she tried to remember the lessons that had been taught to her as a novice fairy, all those years ago. To be confident and brave and remember that fairies are emblems of goodness in the world. And what- ever forces of darkness may be arrayed against them, the goodness will l always win. She said those words over and
over in her mind trying to give herself the strength, trying to imagine that her sisters were with her. But she found that courage was hard to summon as self doubt crept in. If only she hadn't been so foolish, she thought, allowing herself to be captured. She shook those thoughts out of her mind, knowing that no time for negative self talk. This was a time to be reso- lute and strong, and everything a fairy must be to sur- vive.
David's unhappy ending appears in a storybook page which was auctioned off online in October 2019:
Growing up, Prince Charming has always wanted to have brothers. He had dreamed of hacing a pack of other boys to run around with and play games and rogh- house. He had always through that would be the idyllic childhood. And yet here he ways, trapped with the Lost Boys, as they lived out the dark and twisted version of that childhood fantasy. Here, the "brothers" always seemed to be in some sort of competition with each other, and more often than not, the competition turned deadly. They all dreamed of being the first among the boys, and they would do anything to prove that they were the most capable, the strongest, the deadliest.They tried to drag Charming into their dark games, but he wanted nothing to do with them, or this place. All he wanted was to be back home. To see his wife and children again. But he had learned through bitter experience, that was impossible now. The magic that brought him to this realm insured [sic] that he would never escape from it. So he had nothing to do but look out into the dark water, completely alone, dreaming of the life he once had. All he wanted was to be back in his comfortable home in Storybrooke, telling this tale along with the others. Tales about impossible moment, the close calls, the
daring escapes. And yet, something told him that this time was different. That something her was per- manent. After all, it was always family working together that got each other out if trouble. But for the first time in many year he felt alone. Like maybe this time, hope would not wind the day.
David's unhappy ending is a reference to the first half of Season Three, where he was poisoned with dreamshade during his stay in Neverland and the cost of the cure was that he could never leave the island.
The backside of the page contains yet another excerpt from "The Pink".
When the portals to the storybook realms are open and everyone hangs on to prevent themselves from being sucked in, pages from Wish Rumplestiltskin's storybooks are turning in the wind:
In the scene where Leroy, Doc, and Walter arrive in front of Granny's Diner to receive their packed lunches from Granny, Archie is nowhere to be seen. After Leroy accepts the lunch bags and turns around as the Rollin' Bayou comes down the street, the next shot shows Archie is suddenly there with his dog Pongo.
↑Mitovich, Matt Webb (May 18, 2018). Once Upon a Time Bosses Break Down Series Finale's 'Epic' Reunion, Pilot Callback and Other Favorite Moments. TVLine. “TVLINE | Adam, I saw you on set for the finale, and I feel like one of the scenes we saw being prepped didn't make it, with Hook, Robin and Tilly on Granny's porch. HOROWITZ | The scene is there briefly at the end, when we cut back to Storybrooke and see the [Henry on the] horse riding down Main Street. There initially were a couple of lines where they say that they're heading somewhere, to set up the mystery of the coronation. KITSIS | All it was was Wish Hook saying to Henry, "Did you get it?," meaning the crown.”
↑ 7.07.1It is unknown if this character is supposed to be their main reality version or their Wish Realm version.
↑The credits of the episode identify Young Robin Hood as Margot, her cursed persona.
↑ 9.09.1santarossa_leather (Kevin Santarossa). May 19, 2018. "So over the years I've been on camera on #onceuponatime many many many times. With all the heart rips and magic items appearing and disappearing the editors have seen my face alot....and cut me out every time lol. In tonight's final episode both I @fall3nsa1nt and my lil munchkin @sophie_rossa are actually in the episode...unless the editors just cut me out by force of habit. #mybigbreak #once #donttellmyagent #oncers @onceabcofficial" (archive copy)
↑officialmeghanory (Meghan Ory). April 16, 2018. "Thank you #onceuponatime & #oncers for a wonderful adventure. Man will I miss that cape and Ruby’s wild hair! #littlereds i sadly won’t be in the finale because of scheduling conflicts but I wish I could have been there. Can't wait to see what magic is spun" (archive copy)
↑joyamor (joy♡amor). March 28, 2018. "Found ourselves brunching in #Storybrooke this morning with @vancitymeg Yay for #PlayingHooky! ❤❤ Lucky to have been able to catch the last couple days of filming for the end of the series - and that it's right in my backyard!! Apparently, fans from all over the world flew into town to be a part of this event!!" (archive copy)
↑File:722SnowOpensBook.png Notice how the second page opens with the beginning of the fairy tale; "A long time ago there was a Queen, who had not been blessed with children. As she walked in her garden (...)", while the first page contains a different excerpt
"the step-mother said, "If thou canst pick two dishes of lentils out of the ashes for me in one hour, thou shalt go with us." And she thought to herself, "That she most certainly cannot do." When the step-mother had emptied the two dishes of lentils amongst the ashes, the maiden went through the"
*Note that the book contains a misprint: Between row one and two, the words "went through the" appear, even though they are supposed to appear – and do appear – later in the excerpt
↑ 54.054.1mo_co_lee (Lee J. Buckley). April 1, 2019. "For the real fan geeks: a book, a playlist, a script, a wand and the hand of?" (archive copy) (photograph; note that you have to click on the photo to read the caption)
↑ 62.062.1File:722PagesTurn3.png File:722PagesTurn4.png "Little Sister and Little Brother": Notice how the page on the left opens with "The little sister said, “Oh, I pray you, dear little brother, do not drink, or you will become a roe, and run away from me.” But the little brother had knelt by the brook, and had bent down and drunk some of the water, and as soon as the first drops touched his lips he lay there a young roe." "The Pink": Notice how the opposite page opens with the beginning of the fairy tale; "There was once a Queen, who had not been blessed with children. As she walked in her garden, she prayed every morning that a son or a daughter might be given to her."
↑ 64.064.1File:722PagesTurn5.png "Cinderella": Look for the words "pick, pick" and and a slightly re-worded version of "Then the girl took the dish to her step-mother, and was glad, and believed that now she would be allowed to go with them to the festival. But the step-mother said, “No, Cinderella, you have no clothes and you can not dance. You would only be laughed at.” "Little Sister and Little Brother": Notice how the opposite page starts with the opening of the fairy tale: "Little brother took his little sister by the hand and said, “Since our mother died we have had no happiness. Our step-mother beats us every day, and if we come near her she kicks us away with her foot. Our meals are the hard crusts of bread that are left over. And the little dog under the table is better off, for she often throws it a choice morsel. God pity us, if our mother only knew. Come, we will go forth together into the wide world.”"
↑File:722PagesTurn6.png Notice how the text in the upper right hand corner on page 2 begins with "the idea came to him one day that the Prince might wish to go to his father some time, and he would thereby be placed in a very awkward position. So he took the maiden aside, and said to her, “Tonight, when the boy is asleep, go and drive this knife into his heart. Then bring me his heart and his tongue. If you fail to do it, you will lose your own life.”
↑File:722RogersHoldingOn.png File:722RogersHoldingOn2.png File:722RogersHoldingOn3.png First page: Look for "The Prince stayed on at the castle for a time, thinking of his mother, and wondering if she was still alive. At last he said to the maiden, “I am going into my own country. If you like you can go with me; I will take you.” She answered, “Alas! it is so far off, and what should I do in a strange country where I know no one?”. Second page: Opens with (note that many of the words are off-screen; this is the text in its entirety) "The King was furious when he saw him, and ordered him to be thrown into the deepest dungeon. Then the huntsman said further, “My father, would you like to see the maiden who so tenderly saved my life when she was ordered to kill me, although by so doing she might have lost her own life?” The King answered, “Yes, I will gladly see her.” Then his son said, “Gracious father, I will show her to you first in the guise of a beautiful flower.” He put his hand into his pocket, and brought out the pink. It was a finer one than the King had ever seen before. Then his son said, “Now, I will show her to you in her true form.”"
↑vfxsup (Craig Clarke). May 21, 2018. "I was shooting in a separate stage for 621 however I had to drop in and get a pic of Sean and Lana together ;)" (archive copy)
↑tvalisononset (Alison Fernandez). May 4, 2018. "We are so getting the gang together so Tune in tonight for a very special captivating episode of @abconceofficial "Once Upon A Time". Tonight's episode was directed by the awesome #RalphHemecker" (archive copy)
↑vfxsup (Craig Clarke). May 19, 2018. "Tonight marks the final episode of a show that I was fortunate to be a part of. During my time I have (...)" (archive copy) vfxsup (Craig Clarke). June 12, 2018. "Huge thanks to Tiera for not running me over in the food truck 😂 even though I technically was standing in the middle of the road 😂" (archive copy) mo_co_lee (Lee J. Buckley). January 16, 2019. "You might like this one.." (archive copy) mo_co_lee (Lee J. Buckley). January 22, 2019. "Many expressions here......and coffee, they always need coffee." (archive copy)
↑@canadagraphs (Canadagraphs) on Twitter (March 22, 2018). "#OnceUponATime filmed a scene with Colin O'Donoghue running at a group of knights in the middle of Central Park, then met the fans afterwards." (screenshot) @jmarie83 (Joyce Scott) on Twitter (March 21, 2018). "We have horses, black knights and blue screen. I haven't seen any cast yet, but we've been told @colinodonoghue1 is here!" (screenshot)