UPDATE: Dark Swan rules again. It sounds like Merida's arrival will be part of Emma's storyline. Here's how the showrunners broke it down in a spoiler chat with Entertainment Weekly:

So wait, Merida is NOT Rumple's mom on Once Upon a Time? — Trisha
Correct! The producers were hoping to keep the surprise of Merida joining the show intact by throwing fans off with fake casting sides. "The only way to throw the press off and our fans off of this being Merida was to say we're casting Rumple's mother," EP Edward Kitsis says. "It honestly worked because for once, this was not spoiled." Fear not, EP Adam Horowitz says Rumple's mother is a character they eventually want to introduce. As for Merida, "We're going to meet her through Emma," says Kitsis. Adds Horowitz: "It's certainly a part of Emma's journey as the Dark Swan and dealing with her darkness. All that is tied with how we explore the world of Camelot this year."


ABC's "Once Upon a Time" is going to be very "Brave" in Season 5. The cast took to Comic-Con this weekend to talk about the new season -- which starts September 27 -- and there was a sneak peek introducing Merida, who will be played by Scottish lass Amy Mason.

Check it out:

After the OUAT Comic-Con panel, cast members Colin O'Donoghue, Ginnifer Goodwin, Jennifer Morrison, Josh Dallas, Lana Parrilla, Emilie de Ravin and Rebecca Mader talked to TVLine about various Season 5 themes -- including Dark Swan and Regina and Emma "flipping" their roles as villain and savior -- and discussed the intro of Merida.

TVLine asked the group if they had any idea what would be happening with Merida and who would get to play with her. The cast answered, pretty much in unison, "Someone in this room." Jennifer Morrison finished that with "... interacts with her." Lana Parilla added, "And you'll see her in the first handful of episodes." So we'll see the "Brave" archer in the first few episodes (and possibly more, but it's good to know she'll have an early intro) and she'll interact with a main character.

The whole interview is awesome and hilarious. Watch it here:

But which character in that room will Merida interact with -- and will it be a friendly interaction or not? Maybe she'll hang out with Snow White, since she too knows her way around a bow and arrow.

Comic-Con also featured a chilling "Dark Swan" sneak peek, so don't miss that:

You may have also seen the first Dark Swan photos, plus the showrunners summing up Season 5 in one word. Dark Swan. Camelot. Merida. Zelena's baby. Regina as the savior. It's shaping up to be a fascinating season.

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