Despite being a family friendly show, Once Upon a Time has never been afraid to kill characters when necessary. We all remember, Graham, right? (No, still not over it.) Still, until now the series regulars have seemed entirely safe — but all that's about to change.
According to a new spoiler, one of the series regulars will bite it by the end of the season. And yes, this is a real death that sticks, and will cause the actor to leave the show (so no ghosts or anything). Really. Huge. Deal.
So, which characters seem the most likely to go? According to the showrunners, every series regular except for Robert Carlyle is a possibility, so we've ranked the eight possible deaths in the order we think they're likely to happen — from least to most likely.
8. Emma Swan (Jennifer Morrison). She's the lead of the show, and Once Upon a Time isn't exactly the kind of gritty, dark drama that might actually kill its main character. Unless there's some kind of behind-the-scenes drama we don't know about (and there has been no hint of that), we can't imagine the writers getting rid of Emma.
7. Henry Mills (Jared Gilmore). Henry isn't necessarily the most popular character, but offing him would be way too depressing for OUAT. We just can't see the show going there.
6. Regina Mills (Lana Parrilla). Regina is arguably the most popular character on the show, and the writers appear to be absolutely in love with her, so we think she's safe. That said, redemption-via-death is a tried and true trope, se we guess it's possible that's how her arc will end. But, nah. If that were to happen we think it would be saved for the show's final season, and, besides, watching her try to grow and earn a happy ending is way more interesting.
5. Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin). Snow seems about as unlikely as Regina to us. It's Snow White. You can't kill Snow White. That said, Ginnifer is currently pregnant with her first child, so we suppose it's possible she requested off of the show to focus on family. (Probably not, though.)
4. Prince Charming (Josh Dallas). We doubt the writers would stop Charming and Snow from getting their happy ending, and Charming just had an arc about almost dying, so his death would feel repetitive. That said, if the writers do want to go really dark and shocking by killing off one of the original regulars, we think Charming is in the most danger. Snow, Emma, and Regina are just too awesome, and, as we said, we don't think the writers would kill a kid, so Henry is probably safe. That leaves Charming.
3. Captain Hook (Colin O'Donoghue). Hook is popular and charming — traits that could keep him around, but also make him the perfect target if the goal is to create a truly upsetting death that still leaves the core Charming/Mills family intact. And we could totally see him sacrificing himself to save Emma.
2. Belle (Emilie de Ravin). We hate to say this because we're huge Belle fans, but we definitely think she could be the one to go — especially if the writers want a reason to push Rumple back towards the dark side. She's a fantastic character, but it seems like the writers don't quite know what to do with her outside of Rumbelle scenes, so maybe they've decided she can drive the plot more by dying than by hanging around.
1. Neal (Michael Raymond-James). While there is plenty of material left to explore with Neal, a lot of the meat of his story has been resolved, especially when it comes to his relationship with Rumple. Plus, of all the series regulars, he's the most recent addition to the show. His death would have a big, potentially very interesting, impact on a lot of the characters, but it wouldn't feel like a fundamental change the way some of the other characters' deaths would.
Who do you think will die? Let us know in the comments below!