As revealed at Comic-Con, Emma Swan is not the only Savior on Once Upon a Time. A sneak peek at the opening sequence of season 6 featured Jafar (Oded Fehr) hunting down Aladdin (Deniz Akdeniz), whose job as the Savior had clearly taken it toll.
“The very first thing we’re hoping is that people realize Emma wasn’t the first,” executive producer Edward Kitsis says of the Savior reveal. “Once you realize that Emma wasn’t the first, then it makes you wonder, ‘Well, last year we learned about the Dark One mythology. Is this year when we learn about the Savior mythology?’ And the answer would be yes.”
The OUAT bosses say it’s possible we’ll even meet the first Savior, but the story is meant to delve further into the pressures of what it means to be Savior. “Last year we saw Emma to Hook, ‘I love you,’ when there was no problem, when there was no death,” Kitsis says. “She was able to let in those new emotions. One of the things we want to get into this year is Emma Swan’s head. What is it like to finally find your parents? What is it like to have to have the pressure of being the Savior? What is it like to fight all those fights?”
“The Aladdin thing showed you what happens to the Savior,” Kitsis continues. “[Jafar] gave [Aladdin] his Giving Tree speech. We saw Jafar say, ‘All that’s left is a stump.’ For us, we really wanted Emma to look at, ‘Is my job just helping other people? Do I get my own happiness? Has this happened to all Saviors? What do you mean I’m not the first?’”
Showcasing Aladdin’s story will also provide parallels between the two Saviors at the top of the season. “What we’re going to do for Aladdin we’ll slowly reveal, but from the get-go we’re going to see that there might be some hints from that scene in the beginning to what Emma will be facing in the present,” executive producer Adam Horowitz says.
When asked whether Emma and Aladdin will meet in season 6, Kitsis replies, “I hope so,” which certainly raises questions as to how similar the Dark One mythology is to that of the Savior. Can there be more than one Savior? Are there Saviors in every land? Or does the job get passed down in death?
One possibility: Aladdin’s story may have been put on pause in the Land of Untold Stories on purpose. “The characters from the Land of Untold Stories have run away because they don’t want their stories to play out,” Kitsis says. “Now that they’re back in Storybrooke, they’re going to play out. Once again, you have Emma in the position of Savior trying to help these people find their happiness.”
Once Upon a Time returns Sunday, Sept. 25 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.