The cast and crew of Once Upon a Time are currently busy filming the Season 2 finale. As of today, March 29, they are on Day 4 of filming, but one major actor has already checked out early. What's the deal with Michael Raymond-James (Neal Cassady/Baelfire)?
Read spoilers at your own risk! For more on Wetpaint Entertainment's philosophy on spoilers, click here.
Yesterday, March 28, Michael Raymond-James tweeted, "Just arrived at work for my final day of shooting on Season 2 #OUAT. Interpret that however you will, Oncers. #Mahalo"
And interpret we will. This clearly means that Michael has finished filming before the main cast. Does that mean Nealfire is going to leave the episode early? And if he does, why?
All signs point to the finale taking place in Neverland; and we also know is that in Episode 21 or 22, something happens that changes Nealfire's relationship with his father, Rumplestiltskin (Robert Carlyle), "forever."
So what could the big change be? Nealfire dying would certainly "change" things with Rumple, and it would also explain why Michael finished early, but we very much doubt the show would kill the character off so soon — if ever! There's too much left to be explored with his relationships with Rumple, Emma (Jennifer Morrison), Henry (Jared Gilmore), etc.
We also know that Dylan Schmid, a.k.a. Young Baelfire, is back on set. We think he's probably just there for a flashback, but some fans are wondering if Neal might get turned into a younger version of himself, as August/Pinocchio did. That would also be a big change and explain Michael's absence. But Neal has made it very clear he doesn't want that to happen, and it would once again throw away a lot of the interesting dynamics that have been created, so we hope it's not the case.
It's also very possible — even likely — that Michael's early departure is not as big a deal as his tweet would suggest, and he's just teasing fans for fun. Perhaps Neal embarks on some sort of quest or mission early in the episode. Maybe he's kidnapped. (That could set up a plot for next season.) Or maybe the explanation is even simpler: Maybe all of his scenes were shot first for scheduling reasons.
What do you think? Share your theories in the comments below!
Read more OUAT spoilers here.
Catch the next episode of Once Upon a Time on Sunday, April 21 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.
Rebecca Martin is an editor at Wetpaint Entertainment. Follow her on Twitter @BeccaDMartin.