Lana Parrilla is pulling double duty this season on Once Upon a Time.
On the one hand, she's the Evil Queen again, forced from Regina's body and trying to make her "hero half" suffer for abandoning her. On the other, Regina is trying to start a new future in Storybrooke now that Robin Hood (Sean Maguire) has died. Settling down has been put on the back burner as Regina goes to war with her alter-ego to try and defeat her darker half once and for all.
TVGuide.com talked to Lana Parrilla about the Evil Queen's plans in Storybrooke, what Regina needs to do next and what we can expect when Robin Hood returns later this season.
The Evil Queen and Hyde [Sam Witwer] are teaming up. What draws that duo together and what makes them so formidable?
Lana Parrilla: They're two villains and they're kind of one-and-the-same. They're both sort of pulled out of their lighter selves or hero selves. They're kind of like kindred spirits in a weird way. They are two villains that have one another at this point. Dr. Jekyll and Regina have linked up to try and take them down, so they're going to try and do the same thing to stop their "better" halves.
Hyde has had a little more time being separated from his alter-ego. What can the Evil Queen learn from him in that regard?
Parrilla: There's absolutely something that she can learn from him in regards to how do you deal with magic. If he's impervious to magic, is the Evil Queen? Maybe she'll learn that from him. With that power, what do you do with it? I'm sure she can pick up a few tips from him. If that does happen, it's something that happens off camera. It won't be something we see much of.
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The Evil Queen has also developed a closeness with Zelena [Rebecca Mader] that Regina has failed to make happen yet. Is that a legitimate bond or is the Evil Queen only manipulating Zelena?
Parrilla: I think she genuinely cares for her. I think she even genuinely is still learning what that means, though -- what it means to care for someone and what are your responsibilities to a family member. I don't think the Evil Queen has learned that lesson yet. I think she really loves having a wonderfully wicked sister. There are fantasies about them ruling and what does that look like? We are so powerful individually and together we can be even more powerful. The villains always want power, so I think she's going to want to team up with her sister and take over Storybrooke.
Crushing the Evil Queen's heart didn't work for Regina. What does she need to learn to be able to overcome her darker half?
Parrilla: Her biggest lesson is learning that you can't get rid of your darkness. You have to learn to embrace is and learn how to deal with it differently. Even Hyde warned her about that. Gold has been warning her all along. It's something she probably doesn't trust because she's hearing it from these villains, but that's her ultimate lesson. She's still learning it. She's in denial of that lesson. You can't get rid of your darkness. You have to learn to embrace it. You are both. Every time I read a script, or sometimes on set, I literally hear those words in my head, "We are both."
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The Evil Queen has threatened that Regina's darkness isn't gone and she'll never really be a hero. Has Regina fallen for that or has she maintained the confidence that she's built over the past few seasons?
Parrilla: I think that Regina legitimately fears that that is her reality, that she is always going to be battling this darkness and that has the potential to grow back. That terrifies Regina. I think the Evil Queen is wanting to turn Regina evil so that she can be understood on some level. It sounds really harsh, but that's the truth. [Regina] pushed her out. She threw her away. That's how [the Evil Queen] feels. She feels abandoned. She retaliates like a teenager and is going to punish [Regina] for it, and we know she's a great punisher.
Robin Hood is slated to return this season. What can you tell us about how that will happen and what will it mean for Regina?
Parrilla: I am very excited that Sean Maguire is going to be joining us again. We can't wait to have him back. It's like a big family reunion for us. I have no idea how they are bringing Sean back but I know it's going to be really cool. I know he's really excited, as are we.
I don't know how Regina is going to respond to Robin Hood. I have no idea how the Evil Queen is going to respond to Robin Hood. That's going to be interesting because wasn't he both of their lovers? That's going to be really interesting to find out. Then you have Zelena with the baby. It's like Robin Hood has three women after him! It's going to be fun.
What do you think of the Evil Queen's plan and Robin Hood's return?
Once Upon a Time airs Sundays at 8/7c on ABC.