Obviously, we can't predict the actual plot lines, because so little is known about the season. But we can talk in broad strokes about what we'd love to see the writers do with Rumple, based on how the season ended and what we did, and didn't, see from him this year.
Here's our Rumplestiltskin wish-list for Season 3:
1. Delicious frenemies interaction. Rumple is a master of deals, constantly teaming up with any side that helps his current plans. He makes plenty of enemies, but they all wind up working with him at some point. Since Robert Carlyle is one of the biggest talents on the cast, it's always a delight to see him snark and snip and bounce off other cast members. Now that Rumple's working with Regina, Hook, and the Charming clan, we fully expect to be treated to many scenes overflowing with tension, humor, and even occasional moments of understanding amongst frenemies.
2. More time with Nealfire. Yes, currently Rumple and his son are separated by worlds — not to mention that Rumple thinks Nealfire is dead. But with Michael Raymond-James's promotion to series regular, we have high hopes that father and son will reunite before too long. When that happens, we want to see them actually tackle their issues. There's a wealth of backstory and potential forward momentum to dig into here, and Robert Carlyle and Michael Raymond-James have excellent chemistry. We hope that's capitalized on.
3. More Rumbelle actually dealing with their issues. Again, Belle and Rumple are currently separated, but hopefully that won't last all season. We actually think the separation could be good for them. It will allow Belle to come into her own in Storybrooke, which hopefully means when Rumbelle reunites she'll be able to truly stand up to Rumple and force him to earn her love through good actions, not just a good heart.
4. A continued moral arc. Between Nealfire and Belle, Rumple has compelling reasons to reform his ways. We'd love to see him really tackle what it would mean for his sense of self to begin to let go of his power.
5. Wrap up the Henry is his undoing storyline. The Once Upon a Time writers have been pretty good at not prolonging mysterious too long. We hope they keep that up with this "Henry is Rumple's undoing" storyline. We'd love to see the prophecy plotline wrapped up by midseason. Ideally, it could tie into points two, three and four!
What do you want to see from Rumple in Season 3? Sound off in the comments below. And don't miss our thoughts on Regina.
Rebecca Martin is an editor at Wetpaint Entertainment. Follow her on Twitter @BeccaDMartin.