Once Upon a Time is officially coming to an end, which means we'll have to say goodbye to some of our favourite characters by the end of this season. While I've grown to love each and every fairytale character over the past few years, I've always really admired Regina Mills, aka the Evil Queen. Not only is she incredibly fierce, but she really does personify everything the show is about: hope. And the actress who plays her certainly agrees. When I spoke with Lana Parrilla about her directorial debut earlier this season, she talked about why her character resonates so much with fans, her favourite story arc over the past seven seasons, and what she'll miss most about playing the one and only Regina.
While Regina has certainly had a tough life and experienced a lot of loss, she finds a way to come out on the other side a better person. Sure, it isn't an easy battle, but she eventually finds a way to balance her good and dark side. "She's had a lot of inner struggles and inner demons that have surfaced that she's not been able to control," Parrilla explained. "But through love, friendship, and family she found the courage and strength to confront her darkness and overcome it, and also learn to embrace it and accept it."
The message that "good can come from something broken" is perhaps what Parrilla finds so powerful about Regina's story. "It's a very inspiring story," she added. "It's a very powerful message to put out in the world." In fact, it was Regina's arc about learning to accept her past as the Evil Queen that was probably her favourite storyline. While many of Regina's past stories have been about her relationships with other people, she added that her relationship with herself proved to be the most important, overall. "That story and how far she came to literally hold herself and say, 'I love you and I accept you as you are,' is very powerful," she said. "She walked the walk. She didn't just talk the talk."
After playing Regina for so long, Parrilla admitted that it's really been difficult saying goodbye to the character. "She's still a part of me," she said. "There's a lot of lessons that I've learned from Regina. A lot of mistakes she has made have taught me some great big lessons in my own life. So, I'm going to miss her. I'm going to miss everything about her."
She's certainly not alone. Long live the queen.