All Hail the Queen! Lana Parrilla Teases Tonight’s Return of ONCE UPON A TIME and Mourns the Death of Sheriff Graham

In the fantasy world of ONCE UPON A TIME, Lana Parrilla is queen — truly as she portrays both the Evil Queen and her real-world counter part Regina in Storybrooke, Maine — the fictional world the Evil Queen created in order to imprison all the inhabitants of the fairytale world in order to make her dreams come true.  Storybrooke and Regina’s life as Mayor there is supposed to represent the Evil Queen’s dream of “happily ever after.”  Yet that “happily ever after” is now threatened by the arrival of Emma Swan, whose very presence is causing tiny fractures in the blissful utopia that the Evil Queen wished for.  In a recent exclusive interview, Lana Parrilla shared her view on Regina’s crumbling world and what Regina is really seeking out of her carefully-constructed life.

Do you think the Evil Queen/Regina is starting to suspect the spell that Rumplestiltskin gave her is either flawed or that he intended for it to fail all along and that’s kind of his revenge on her?
LANA:  Well, we know he gave her the curse — but do we know that he created it?  We don’t know that yet.  We don’t know where he got it from.

So it is to be revealed.  Maybe he was deceived as well.
LANA:  I think the curse — it has been a question I have asked as well, and I think we have yet to learn — as the audience has yet to learn, the curse is very powerful.  Clearly, it created this world where it placed everyone in the positions that they are in, professionally and their stature is in Storybrooke.  But was created by the Evil Queen or Rumplestiltskin?  These are all the questions I have continuously, myself, and which I ask myself when I approach every script.  It’s like, “Wait a minute.  Did I?  Did she? Okay, Snow White is a teacher?  Was that created by the curse or was that created by the Evil Queen or Rumplestiltskin?”  Those questions are hard for me to answer because I still ask them.  I think that’s why this show is going to be so great.  It is great and it’s going to continue to get better because we are all asking the right questions.

That’s part of the fun!
LANA:  And all the answers are floating out there in the minds of the creators and the writers.  So it is a tough one to answer.

Do you think because of the type of “happily ever after” that was given to Regina that she is now bored to tears by the monotony of it, or is she is content in the world that she created for herself?
LANA:  I don’t thinks she’s bored.  I don’t think anyone is bored watching any of these episodes!  There is clearly a lot going on in Storybrooke.

But that is because Emma’s arrival disrupted everything.  Before her arrival, there was a certain rhythm to life that was kind of predictable in Storybrooke under the curse — everyone was just kind of going through the motions.
LANA:  Maybe, we have not gone back into Storybrooke, like we haven’t done any flashbacks in Storybrooke.  So we really don’t know what those last 28 years have been like.  We don’t know what’s taken place.  I would assume that everything was under the control of Regina — that everything ran smoothly.  That everyone’s memories had been erased and time has stopped.  And I think Emma coming into Storybrooke has threatened and definitely riled Regina up a bit.  I think that’s why in the beginning she reacts the way she does.  Regina is very reactive when it comes to Emma and I think as we move forward that she starts kind of pull back on the reigns a bit and starts thinking, “I need to strategize.  I need a different approach.”  And that ends up happening.  It’s interesting because those stories have not been told yet.  We don’t know what it’s been like for the last 28 years.  I don’t even know if we’re going to do any flashbacks in Storybrooke, at least not at this stage.

More recently we saw the death of Sheriff Graham at the hands of Regina because she was so angry with him.  Do you think she’ll mourn the loss of him or will she quickly move on and forget about him?
LANA:  No, she definitely mourns the loss of him.  She definitely does.  I mean, there’s only so much I could do as the actor as I’m not in the writing room.  But there’s a scene where we do see Regina’s pain and compassion in losing Graham.  We see how difficult it was for her to make that decision.  And we do end up seeing the love and care that she had for him.  There’s a scene with Emma in this next episode and she lays in on her as she usually does, specifically because she’s talking about Graham, and there’s pain in her voice.  It was not an easy choice to kill him. Just like it wasn’t an easy choice to kill her father either. 

What do you think Regina’s going to be clinging to as far as a core emotion now that she’s had to give up two of the closest men in her life.  She doesn’t have other close people in her life, so what is the one strength she is going to lean on?
LANA:  I think the one strength she constantly leans on, and it’s been throughout, is this relationship with Henry.  Ultimately, that’s the fight.  When I think of Regina, yes, she is the Evil Queen, but when I think about her relationship with Henry — even as Evil Queen, she has this void that she’s been trying to fill and I think in adopting Henry as Regina, that she hoped that she would fill that void.  So I always try to keep that present when I’m playing her — her love for Henry.  That relationship is strong.  And you’re right to talk about these two men in her life.  She doesn’t have any friends and she ends up killing the few people that were close to her. 

Do you think we’re seeing a change in her perspective — that she is leaning more towards love in her life, clinging to those that she care about opposed to seeking just pure power?
LANA:  I think Regina has a really hard time allowing love in her life.  I think it is interesting that she made two choices to kill people that actually do love her.    Graham maybe didn’t want to be with her, but it doesn’t mean that he didn’t love her.  I think she is a quite confused woman.  I don’t think she really knows how to be happy.  She wants happiness and love, but when she has it, I don’t if she can recognize it.   I feel very sorry for her.  It’s heartbreaking.  [Laughter]

To see how exactly Regina copes with the loss of such a significant love and how she reacts to the threat Emma now poses on her way of life and what Regina’s next plan will be, be sure to tune in for another unforgettable episode of ONCE UPON A TIME on Sunday, January 8th at 8PM on ABC (CTV in Canada).  It’s going to be an interesting, if not amazing, journey!

Tiffany Vogt is the Senior West Coast Editor, contributing as a columnist and entertainment reporter to She has a great love for television and firmly believes that entertainment is a world of wondrous adventures that deserves to be shared and explored – she invites you to join her. Please feel free to contact Tiffany at or follow her at on Twitter (@TVWatchtower).

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