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 with Henry riding down Storybrooke Main Street in the newly created United Realms was originally accompanied by footage of Tilly, Margot and Rogers in front of Granny's Diner, and Archie and Pongo walking down the street. 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.
Footage of Henry riding through a forest was also filmed, but was deleted from the episode.
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.
Jennifer Morrison and Lana Parrilla worked on the first day, while Ginnifer Goodwin's and Josh Dallas' scenes had to be shot on the second day. According to Adam Horowitz, the only interactions that had to be digitally "faked" were between Emma, Snow and David.
According to Rose Reynolds, each side of the crowds were filmed separately.
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 highschool, 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:
[image begins] tiger? Snow [image begins]Cave of Wonders? [image begins] with a deep, rumbling, [image begins]bs my slumber?" the [image begins]ow faced him uncertain- [image begins] is not treasure that I [image begins]" The Tiger con- [image begins] allow you to pass. [image begins][two illegible words] never see the open [image begins]ought. It seemed [image begins][two illegible words] jaws of this [image begins]" [illegible word]? Perhaps if she [image begins] should be clear again [image begins] her way out of [image begins] thanked the [image begins] she walked into [obscured]
Fittingly enough, the accompanying illustration shows Snow White in a desert (as seen in the Season Six episode "Street Rats", the Cave of Wonders is located in the desert realm of Agrabah). The caption reads "The shifting sands had Snow disorientated and heartsick with yearning."
The story is based on Disney's Aladdin, where the Cave of Wonders is guarded by a spirit with the shape of a tiger's head. The cave can only be entered by a chosen individual and anyone else who makes attempts to enter are given a warning by the tiger. If they try to enter the cave anyway, they are killed by the spirit.
When Roni opens her own book, a micro-excerpt from the "Cinderella" fairy tale can be glimpsed.
The illustration of Roni shows her sitting alone on a rock by 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 [obscured] on this lonely rock she now called [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".
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."
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."
Another prop photograph from the online auction offers a glimpse of Lucy's story:
Lucy looked out the window one more time. That makes about a thousand [obscured] despon- [obscured] […] 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 [obscured]
It also contains an excerpt from Rogers' story:
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]
A behind the scenes photograph posted by Keegan Connor Tracy on Twitter reveals 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".
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.
↑ 6.06.1It 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.
↑ 8.08.1santarossa_leather. (Kevin Santarossa) May 19, 2018. Retrieved on March 14, 2019. "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)
↑joyamor. (joy♡amor) March 28, 2018. Retrieved on March 14, 2019. "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)
↑ 23.023.123.2@AdamHorowitzLA (Adam Horowitz) on Twitter. "The scene was shot over two days. Everyone (including Jen and Lana) worked the first day. The second day we shot Josh and Ginny’s portion. By that time Jen had left for scheduling reasons. Their interaction was the only one where we “faked” anything /cont" (screenshot)
↑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
↑ 50.050.1File: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."
↑ 52.052.1File: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. Retrieved on March 14, 2019. "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. Retrieved on March 14, 2019. "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. Retrieved on March 14, 2019. "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. Retrieved on March 14, 2019. "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. Retrieved on March 14, 2019. "You might like this one.." (archive copy) mo_co_lee. (Lee J. Buckley) January 22, 2019. Retrieved on March 14, 2019. "Many expressions here......and coffee, they always need coffee." (archive copy)
↑@canadagraphs (Canadagraphs) on Twitter. "#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. "We have horses, black knights and blue screen. I haven't seen any cast yet, but we've been told @colinodonoghue1 is here!" (screenshot)