'Once Upon a Time' Co-Creators Spill About Season 3

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"Once Upon a Time" -- "And Straight On 'Til Morning"

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"And Straight On 'Til Morning" - The inhabitants of Storybrooke brace themselves for the end when Greg and Tamara detonate the trigger Regina had placed within the curse, with the annihilation of the town and its residents imminent; and Mr. Gold mourns the loss of his son, Bae/Neal. Meanwhile, back in Neverland of the past, Hook discovers his connection to a young Bae after he rescues him from the sea and soon realizes that the Lost Boys are in hot pursuit of the boy, on the Season Finale of "Once Upon a Time."

Many questions were left unanswered when the Charmings and company set sail in the "Once Upon a Time" Season 2 finale. At the ATX TV Festival panel on June 8, co-creators Adam Horowitz and Eddy Kitsis shed some light on what viewers can expect when the fairy-tale drama returns.

Below are the five of the best reveals about Season 3.

1. Two "miniseasons"

Nothing is worse than settling in for a new episode of your favorite show and realizing it's a rerun. Luckily, "Once" fans will not need to worry about that. Season 3 will be aired as two 11-episode "miniseasons." Each arc will have a beginning, middle, and end with no reruns in-between new episodes. The first arc will premiere in the fall; the second storyline will kick off in the spring.

2. In real time

Don't expect any time jumps when "Once" comes back on the air. Horowitz emphasized that the new season won't "skip ahead 10 years." The co-creators also stated that they want to show Henry (Jared S. Gilmore) aging in real time along with the show. They don't plan on bringing in a "Cousin Oliver" or younger actor to take his place.

3. Emma's magical powers play a part

As evident in the Season 2 finale, Emma is aware of the magical power she possesses. Expect to see more reflection on her powers and their consequences in Season 3. Horowitz and Kitsis didn't rule out the possibility that a certain queen may be recruited to help Emma understand her magical abilities. They also hinted that Emma's own loved ones might object to this arrangement.

4. Ready to get (captain) hooked?

The new setting and higher stakes will push everyone to new limits. Kitsis stated, "Bandit Snow [will be] required to save Henry." Also, expect to see more of Charming's backstory in Season 3. When asked about the possibility of a love interest for Regina, Kitsis responded that he would love to see her dating and wishes that someone would "make her a mixtape."

As for Hook, viewers can look forward to him working with the series' heroes to rescue Henry. Both Horowitz and Kitsis "liked Hook in the finale" and are excited to see how this new collaborative dynamic affects the captain. They expect him to view the rescue mission as a "second start."

5. Gone but not forgotten

Though a majority of the show's lead cast sailed away in the finale, viewers will still get a chance to check in on the rest of the crew left behind in Storybrooke. Season 3 will reveal how the rest of the town is coping with the loss of their leaders and how Belle is coping with the loss of her true love. Though Horowitz insisted that "[Gold] left her behind to protect her," viewers can expect Belle to be torn as she tries to cope with his departure.

Odds and ends

More new characters: Horowitz and Kitsis want to focus on the main characters but didn't rule out the possibility of introducing some new fairytale favorites along the way.

All of the beans are gone: Both Horowitz and Kitsis answered an unqualified "yes" to this question -- even if it was after a long pause.

Crossover with the spinoff "Once Upon A Time in Wonderland": Though nothing has been ruled out, the co-creators stressed that "Wonderland's" story is a quest for love and only a few specific characters will actually fit into the world they want to create. They also made no guarantees regarding the Mad Hatter's (Sebastian Stan) appearance but did issue an open invitation for any time his schedule permits.

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