From an interview with the ABC executive producers Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis:
Is Sheriff Graham really gone?
When Emma arrived in town, Henry told her she was the prophecy and the savior. He went onto to say if there is a battle going to start, then there has to be stakes. Unfortunately, sometimes those stakes are people’s lives.
Are you afraid of killing off a main character?
According to the executive producers, it was purely for shock value. They want the stakes to be real. The show is supposed to be dramatic and exciting. They also felt that seven hours into the show the audience should see what is at stake is really that big. It all comes down to life and death. The show is supposed to give the audience a feel of Fairytale Land and Storybrooke, where they both have dangers. Dangers that are real.
An emotionally charged ending and then going into break. What can we look forward to when the show returns?
They said, “We are excited about exploring characters.” We are coming up to revealing the origin of Rumpelstiltskin’s story. That is what the audience has to look forward to after the break. They also revealed the excitement to show what we didn’t know about Hansel and Gretel. Not only that, about Belle and “Beauty and the Beast” will have their own surprises.
Will there be a chance to see Lewis Carroll showing up in the show?
In the book, there was a glimpse of hookah smoking caterpillar. This would be in reference to Alice in Wonderland. The producers said they are sneaky like that. They put it out there before one can have a chance to ask the question.
Whether we get into this season with Alice in Wonderland is another question. However, they teased about a bar in town called The Rabbit Hole. It will show up on episode 12, the Valentine’s Day episode.