Exclusive: Once Upon A Time’s Evil Queen Lana Parrilla Talks Season 2, a Softer Regina, and More

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Fans of Once Upon A Time know Lana Parrilla by different names, for them she is the Evil Queen/ Regina Mills. Thanks to her curse, audiences were able to meet and fall in love with Storybrooke and its inhabitants last season. But it’s all about to change now that the curse has been broken. So where does that leave our lovely Queen this new season?

TV Equals got a chance to talk to the Queen herself, Lana Parrilla, and ask her about all our burning questions. While she couldn’t reveal too much, she did share some great insight as to Regina’s state of mind this season, as well as teased what’s coming up for Storybrooke.

Can you talk about some of the changes in the second season, since the curse is now broken and there’s a whole new storyline?

Lana Parrilla: Yes. Well, there’s a lot of new characters that have joined our cast, and that’s going to be interesting. I known that some people have seen some teasers of Captain Hook. That’s already been out there. We have Aurora and Mulan. There’s a lot of different new stories to tell. It’s a bigger season, visually and also cast wise. There’s a ton of new stories. I can’t give them away, but I just don’t even know where to begin. It feels like a different season, even, for some of the actors that did the complete first season. There’s a different energy about this year.

So where does that leave Regina, and is she even called Regina now, or maybe just the Evil Queen?

Lana Parrilla: She’s called a few different things, which are inappropriate to say. But she’s called Regina still. Your Highness. Your Majesty. She’s not in a great place, let’s say. The curse is broken and the cat’s out of the bag. Everyone knows who she is, and they want justice and rightfully so. She is going to have to fight long and hard for a couple of things. One, most importantly, her son, Henry. I think that is pretty much the main focus of this character in the second season at this time. She’s lost her son, and that comes with [some] challenges. She’s less concerned with the curse being broken right now, as she is with getting her son back, and she realizes that it’s something that not many people see. I see it because I play the character, but she’s a very hard, a very loyal, committed person and I mean this in the sense that when you think about her love for Daniel, in the first season, she does everything after the point when he dies to get back at Snow White for him. She’s really kind of hung up over [it] and [it’s] very similar with Henry. Losing Henry, I think if she doesn’t get Henry for the next twenty years, she will not stop clawing and fighting for that person. [That’s what] I saw in the character in the second season, and [she is] also extremely resilient.

Are we going to be staying in Storybrooke, or is there talk of them trying to get back to Fairy Tale Land?

Lana Parrilla: How do I answer this question? As we saw in the first season, there’re multiple flashbacks every episode where we go into Fairy Tale Land. That kind of storytelling does not change. We do still have our flashbacks. There’s an episode, a couple of episodes that I’ve shot with Ginny [Goodwin] and Robert [Carlyle] where we are back in Fairy Tale Land. We’re kind of picking up where we left off in certain moments, and then obviously back a second time in Storybrooke. [Some of these storylines are] mind blowing. I sit here reading these scripts, like, ‘They are geniuses.’ They really are, these guys. They are some of the best storytellers on television, or out there. I don’t know how they do it.

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In terms of approaching your part this year, has anything changed for you as an actress?

Lana Parrilla: There’s a softer quality to my character this year. So, I’ve always been very mindful to keep her vulnerable and grounded and more human, and show the deeper complexities and not just get caught up in the funness of playing the Evil Queen, because it is fun. But there’s more to her. This season there are elements of [fears and doubts], but then there’s an honesty in the character that we’ve never seen before. She’s not as gamey, as of right now. She’s really trying to do the right thing, and she feels like a different character. I think it’s just a different side to her. There are a couple of episodes where you will see, and I can only give this away because it’s in the promos, that Regina in Storybrooke does dabble into the magic and tries to use it to get Henry back. But something else is happening as well with her. She’s really trying to get honest, not only with herself but with others around her.

If you had a sort of ‘Freaky Friday’ episode where you swapped bodies with someone, who would you want Regina to swap bodies with?

Lana Parrilla: Well, the Mad Hatter has been one of my favorite characters on the show. I just like what his character can do, can travel from land to land. That’s one that I’d be interested in, but I think another would be Captain Hook. I think it’d be fun to play Captain Hook. I have to clarify that I haven’t worked with him yet, and I haven’t seen any footage, but just reading his story is interesting. He’s a good villain. I wouldn’t want to switch with the princess or anything like that. I like playing the villain. If I was going to swap bodies it would be with another villain.

Do you have a message for the fans as we head into the second season?

Lana Parrilla: I would say just hang on tight and buckle your seat belts because you’re going to on a fast and furious ride.

If you could guest star on any other show, which one would it be?

Lana Parrilla: I’m such a fan of so many old shows that I go into my head. I’m like, ‘The Honeymooners.’ That’s so old. Current. I would say, I think, ‘Mad Men’ would be fun, or ‘Game of Thrones’ is really interesting to me, or no. Scratch that. ‘American Horror Story.’

That’s quite a switch.

Lana Parrilla: Yeah. I’d love to be on that show. It would be cool.

Once Upon a Time returns for its second season on Sunday, September 30th, at 8pm on ABC.

(Photo Credit: TROY JENSEN)