While the fate of Once Upon A Time is still up in the air, we can at least confirm one thing about the show’s future: lead star Jennifer Morrison will not be returning to the series should it be renewed for a seventh season.
The actress revealed the decision to leave over her Instagram account, but also said that if Once Upon A Time does get renewed, she will return for at least one episode as a guest star. Her lengthy post says:
“As I reached the end of my 6 year contract on Once Upon A Time, I was faced with a significant decision. ABC, Eddy Kitsis, and Adam Horowitz very generously invited me to continue as a series regular. After very careful consideration, I have decided that creatively and personally, it is time for me to move on. Emma Swan is one my favorite characters that I have ever played. My 6 years on Once Upon A Time has changed my life in the most beautiful ways. I am absolutely blown away by the passion and commitment of the Oncer fans. I am so honored to have been a central part of such a special show. I will be forever grateful to Adam, Eddy, and ABC for giving me the gift of playing Emma Swan.
“As I move on to other creative endeavors, I will continue to attend the fan conventions whenever my professional schedule allows. I always look forward meeting the fans. If ABC Network does in fact order a season 7, I have agreed to appear in one episode, and I will most certainly continue to watch Once Upon A Time. The creativity of the show runners has always inspired me, and I cannot wait to see the ways that they continue to develop and reinvent the show.”
In an interview with Deadline, Morrison went more in-depth in her decision to leave the series, echoing her Instagram statement that it is mainly to pursue other creative endeavours that she hasn’t had an opportunity to work on in over a decade.
“I spent six years year on House, a year on How I Met Your Mother and spent 6 years on Once Upon a Time, and collectively that’s 13 years of network schedule, which is an amazing and incredible gift but it’s a gruelling schedule,” Morrison said. “I’ve been transitioning into doing more directing, I’ve had some opportunities that I’ve passed up along the years in order to fulfill these network schedules, and I really had to weigh where I was in my life. I’m just at an age and a time in my life where I want to be home, I want to be with my family and my friends, to have a chance to have a personal life for a while, and also wanted to be available to do other creative things.”
She also spoke about what this would mean for the character of Emma Swan and the overall future of the show. “It just felt like everything had come to a really nice place for Emma, and Adam and Edward had set themselves up to really revamp the show with new people in a really interesting creative way. It felt like time for me to come home.”
Once Upon A Time creators and executive producers Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitis also made a statement regarding Morrison’s departure, stating: “The past six years of collaborating with Jennifer as Emma Swan have been truly magical. Watching her breathe life into Emma, she accomplished more than we could have dreamed possible — she gave life to a brand-new Disney Princess, filled with strength and intelligence and an incredible closet full of red leather jackets. We’ll miss seeing her every day, but her imprint upon Once Upon a Time is indelible. She will always be a part of the show and its heart and soul. That said, just because Jennifer won’t be back every week doesn’t mean we won’t see our savior again.”