by Billy Nilles | Tue., Jul. 25, 2017 10:58 AM
When Once Upon a Time returns for season seven, a grown-up Henry Mills will take center stage. But this aged-up version of the ABC fairy tale mash-up's beloved character will be nearly unrecognizable.
For starters, he's a grown man now, played by new series regular Andrew J. West. On top of that, as the series embarks on this new story, the former Truest Believer will have forgotten all about magic, much like his mother Emma Swan had when the series began. Stepping into a series in such a unique way might seem like a daunting task for an actor, but as West told E! News, he's just excited to explore exactly what led Henry to that apartment in Seattle his daughter Lucy (played by fellow newbie Alison Fernandez) found him in during those surprising final moments of the season six finale.
"What's cool for me is to go back and watch the six seasons of the show. What I've really used for inspiration is the relationship between Regina and Henry and Emma and Henry," he told us after the show's revealing panel at San Diego Comic-Con over the weekend. "That's been a huge source of inspiration because it's essentially how this character became who he is. The other thing that's cool about it too is there's a significant time lapse between when we last see Henry in the season six finale and going into season seven, so a lot's happened to him and he's changed in certain ways and he's grown. And that's some of the stuff that will be explored in the new season. In a lot of ways, he's a new person."
Also to be explored? His relationship with Lucy's mother, who just so happens to be Cinderella! The show's second take on the iconic Disney character will be played by another new series regular, Dania Ramirez. "It's a little different, you might find," she told us about character. "This new Cinderella is a little edgier as a character than the Cinderella that you're kind of used to. We're falling in love and, you know, there's a love story there."
"What's cool about it, too, is it's certainly a love story, but it also becomes a quest," West added. "And that's certainly something that will be explored very early on in the season."
Of course, with Cinderella also comes her evil stepmother. As the show's panel revealed, Gabrielle Anwar will bring Lady Tremaine to life in all her nasty glory, and as the actress told us, she's having the time of her life breaking bad on the series. It's so fun to be playing something so nasty. I've been so good, and now I can be so bad," she told us, gleefully. "It's delicious. I'm really, really turned on by this character."
While the show will be busy introducing us to this new world, much of the season's early focus will remain on Henry and his unfortunate predicament. "I think it's really interesting because we know Henry to be the believer, the child, the one that hasn't been trained by the hardships of life. And I think now you see Henry grown up, going through his journey," Ramirez teased. "And we get to find out what that journey ended up being like. What took him from one place to the next, and how do we get him to be a believer again?"
For more from the cast, including scoop on the exciting addition of Princess Tiana (to be played by Mekia Cox) into the OUAT world, be sure to check out the video above!
Are you excited about all the fresh blood coming to OUAT? Sound off in the comments below!
Once Upon a Time returns on a new night and time, Friday, Oct. 6 at 8 p.m. on ABC.