October 1, 2015
'Once Upon A Time' Spoilers: Dr. Whale's Return And Merlin In Season 5

Once Upon a Time season 5 may be introducing new characters (like Merlin, King Arthur and Guinevere), a new location (Camelot), and a new Dark One (Emma, a.k.a., the Dark Swan), but there are also some familiar faces returning, as well.

Among the returning characters are the already-announced Ruby (Meghan Ory) and Mulan (Jamie Chung), each set to appear in multiple episodes. Ory was last seen in the Season 3 finale at Granny's with the rest of Storybrooke when the Charmings named their baby. When Chung was last seen as Mulan, she found out Aurora was pregnant and then joined Robin Hood's Merry Men.

Jamie Chung in Once Upon a Time
Jamie Chung plays Mulan on Once Upon a Time.

The latest character set to return in Once Upon a Time Season 5 is David Anders, who plays Dr. Whale/Victor Frankenstein, as the actor himself announced on Twitter with "The Doctor Will Be In" in response to a tweet asking if Dr. Whale will show on the ABC series again. TV Guide has confirmed that he will be show up in one episode this season. Anders last appeared on OUAT in Season 3, and now plays Blaine, one of the two people whom Liv gave the zombie cure to in the Season 1 finale of iZombie.

As for new characters on Once Upon a Time this season, one of them is Merlin, whom Emma is looking for in hopes that he can help her. In the premiere, the residents of Storybrooke traveled to the Enchanted Forest to find Emma after she disappeared at the end of the Season 4 finale, and soon after they were all reunited, King Arthur rode up with his men and told them that Merlin, who is still missing, prophesied that they would come. Not just that, but Arthur revealed another prophecy: "You're destined to reunite him with us." However, Merlin was seen in the premiere, as Elliot Knight was the one playing the movie usher in the flashback at the beginning of the premiere. He sat down beside Emma in a theater showing The Sword in the Stone in Minneapolis in 1989 and offered her some advice."I know many things, and I'm here to tell you, don't do it," he told her, and he wasn't talking about the candy bar he watched her steal from someone in the theater.
"When you do something that you're not supposed to do, even if you do it for the right reasons, bad things will happen, Emma. Bad things. One day, you will have the opportunity to remove Excalibur from its stone, and you mustn't. Leave the sword alone."
As Knight told Hypable, the show's creators told him that some fans may have forgotten he's playing Merlin, so they may not have realized what was going on in that scene.
"It was a really nice touch I think that they added to the first episode and they really wanted to set the basis to remind everyone, this is what's happening right now, these are the stakes of the season. I think it was a nice touch that whether you wanted to see him as Merlin or maybe you don't, is an interesting thing. I don't think it has to be one way or another. But it was definitely me, Elliot, on screen."
As Entertainment Weekly has reported, OUAT's executive producer, Edward Kitsis, has teased that an explanation is coming.
"He warned Emma not to pull the sword. We saw Arthur pull the sword, and we realize the Dark One dagger [and] Excalibur were meant to be whole. We're going to explain to you why that is, why Merlin is where he is."
In the premiere, after a knight tried to pull Excalibur to steal the throne from Arthur, he was turned to dust. When Arthur succeeded in taking the sword from the stone, he discovered that part of it was missing, and that's when they showed that the Dark One's dagger, with Emma's name on it, is the rest of it.

Executive producer Adam Horowitz has also promised that answers about that scene are coming sooner rather than later. "Why he was warning Emma all those years before, it's not something we're going to make you wait the whole half season for," he said.

Once Upon a Time Season 5 airs Sundays at 8 p.m. on ABC.

[Images via ABC]