How are you ensuring that the non-Frozen characters continue to get screen time while you mine this new world?
Horowitz: What we’re trying to do is not make the show just the Frozen show. We want to tell this Frozen story, but as you’ll see, their story is going to relate to our core characters from Once Upon a Time.
Kitsis: It was very important that it still [feels like it’s] Once Upon a Time. It’s not the Frozen sequel; it is the characters from Frozen coming to Once Upon a Time. So important stories like Rumpel and Belle, Hook and Emma, Regina and Robin Hood, Snow White and Charming and their baby — all those stories that we left last season are still very central to the storytelling of season four and will be explored further. Once fans can relax — we have no intentions of sidelining those stories for Frozen.
Can we expect nods to Frozen songs, like “Do You Want to Build a Snowman” and “Let It Go”?
Horowitz: Oh, for sure! We are huge, massive fans of that movie and we can’t help ourselves. There are nods to many things from that movie.
Kitsis: As we say, this is the most expensive fan fiction ever.
At Comic-Con, a scene from the season-four premiere showed Regina recruiting an old friend, The Mirror, to help her get rid of Elsa. So who’s the biggest threat to Regina, Marian or Elsa?
Kitsis: The bigger threat in her mind is definitely Marian. We’ve shown three seasons of growth for the Evil Queen, and now she’s really faced with her first emotional setback, which is she thought she had her happy ending. And when you go back and look at the finale last year, you see her and Robin Hood coming to that party. For the very first time on the show, [Marian] really looked happy, and that’s been taken away. So for us, it’s a now what? The old Regina would immediately rip everyone’s heart out. Will this Regina revert to heart wrecking, or will she evolve? And we’re going to find that out quickly in the premiere. But Regina is also going to be launched on a new quest with Henry this year. We’ve seen Henry in Operation Cobra with Emma, but we’re going to see a new one with Regina that we’re very excited about. And this is actually one that will transcend, although the first 11 will be Frozen, this is an arc that will go the whole season.