ABC’s fantasy-adventure series Once Upon A Time is back tonight, and Sean Maguire’s Robin Hood has now been upped to series regular. LA Fan Cultures Examiner spoke to Sean last week to discuss what that promotion means for him, what Robin will face in the new season, and what it’s like to be part of one of TV’s biggest cult hits.
Robin has been a big part of Once‘s story for a while now, so having him as a cast regular isn’t a huge change; Sean described it as “a bit more of a permanent situation” than his previous recurring status. It also hopefully will give him more screen time, because Robin will have his hands full with multiple challenges this season.
“Robin and Regina [Lana Parrilla] are dealing with A) Emma going dark and B) Camelot and the Camelot folks, like Arthur, Guinevere, and Merlin,” Sean explained. “But also the more pressing problem for them as a couple, is the fact that Zelena [Rebecca Mader], wicked old Zelena, is carrying his baby. Which makes for a kind of confusing situation for everyone.”
So into all these much bigger problems comes Robin’s fair share of domestic drama. “That’s the balance that the guys try to find a way to fight,” Sean continued. “They’re such clever guys, the writers. [Series creators] Adam [Horowitz] and Eddy [Kitsis] are very clever – and they’ve got some pretty wild plans this year.”
In addition to its decently sized regular cast, Once has an extensive list of recurring players, having created a universe that is as expansive as any fairy tale. We asked Sean how he approaches being part of such a large story and how much of the show’s ensemble he’s getting to work with now that he’s a regular.
“A lot of us are together a lot, because we’ve been transported to another world, they’re in Camelot,” he told us. “There is so much going on on the show that a lot of it doesn’t make sense until actually the final product is made and printed. It’s the case of just play your own ball. Don’t get too caught up and lost in everything, just focus on what you’ve got to do.”
“This year I’ve been playing with the others a little bit more…It’s fun because we’re all really incredibly close and tight clan. It’s kind of like a family,” he continued. “It’s fun to get to play with those that I don’t get to play with as much. I get to hang out with Josh [Dallas] and Ginny [Goodwin] a bit more, and I get to hang out with Jen [Morrison] a little bit more. It’s nice. It’s a nice development this year.”
Plus, there’s no denying the coolness factor of getting to portray Robin Hood – a character that has captured people’s imaginations for decades and that probably a lot of other people have grown up also pretending to be. How much does Sean still enjoy playing this particular role?
“[It’s] incredible. I always like to say it’s a bit like being asked to play the medieval James Bond,” he reflected. “The idea of a noble guy doing the right thing for the wrong reason is always interesting.” He added that especially in the challenging world we live in now, people can appreciate a character like Robin Hood, because “he represents something inherently decent.”
And although he’s appeared in a few TV projects over his career, “I’ve never worked on one that inspires such passion,” Sean said. “There’s something that really allows people to get very involved in it, and people really are very serious about the show.”
“It’s a very satisfying job. I’m part of a team, kind of like being part of an orchestra that’s making wonderful noise,” he continued. “I love being part of that team and I love being part of the family.
“I just really can’t wait to start the new season,” he added. “It kind of starts with a bit of a bang.”
Once Upon A Time premieres tonight at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.