ouat sean 1

Once Upon a Time: Sean Maguire returning as Robin Hood — exclusive

Once Upon a Time

Posted September 27 2016 — 12:00 PM EDT

Fans asked, Once Upon a Time answered: Sean Maguire is returning to the ABC fairy tale drama in season 6, EW has learned exclusively.

Though Robin Hood met a grim fate at the close of season 5, Maguire will appear in multiple episodes this season. However, the character isnot coming back from the dead. The powers that be are keeping how he’s returning — whether it’s via flashback or some other means — under wraps.

“We’re thrilled to have Sean back for this story arc and are excited for the audience to see what we have planned, which in the wake of his character’s heartbreaking demise, is something we hope is unexpected and surprising,” executive producers Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis tell EW.

Last season, Hades (Greg Germann) planned to use the Olympian crystal to kill Regina (Lana Parrilla), which he claimed meant no underworld and no afterlife for the person afflicted. However, in the season 6 premiere, Henry (Jared Gilmore) gave Regina hope that Hades was lying and that Robin’s soul did move on after his death.

It’s an idea Horowitz and Kitsis first teased at Comic-Con, explaining that some of the characters would question whether Hades was telling the truth, but that didn’t mean they were bringing Robin Hood back to life. Pressed further at a recent press screening about whether the show would “pull a Hook” — referring to the group going to the Underworld to resurrect Hook (Colin O’Donoghue) — Kitsis said, “ ‘I don’t see that happening,’ would be the respectful answer to our fans.”

“We see those tweets every day — all 3,000 of them, every two seconds,” Kitsis said said of the fan fervor over Robin Hood’s death. “We’ve had loss on this show, we’ve had people come back. We’re not going to the Underworld this year, so I can tell you that a lot of this year is about Regina dealing with loss and moving on, because I think Regina has the most unfair luck of anybody, but that’s what makes her Regina.”

“By moving on, we don’t mean falling in love with someone right away,” Horowitz added. “That’s not realistic to us. This was someone she did love, who she did lose. We hope that we deal with that grief and its aftermath in a real way.”

Outside of Once Upon a Time, Maguire will also appear on NBC’s new fall drama Timeless as James Bond author Ian Fleming. Get the details here.

Once Upon a Time airs Sundays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.