Dear Ms. Dungey and ABC,
I don't know that you will even see this or if it will make a difference in your decision process when it comes to renewing Once Upon a Time for a seventh season, but I feel there is something that you need to consider when contemplating the future of the show. That something is the fate of the Robin Hood, played by Sean Maguire. I assume that you are aware of the upset that the death of the character caused last May. You may also know of the continuing fight fans have undertaken to get the character back for the last eight months. However, you may not understand why the fans, called Hoodies & OutlawQueen'ers, are making such an effort.
Perhaps you are busy and don't have time to investigate or maybe you don't allow yourself to indulge in such sentimentality when it comes to popular characters. Maybe you feel that it is not the place of fans to speak up about what goes on with the storylines of TV shows. All I know is that many of the fans are upset about the turn of events for Robin's character and while he is making a return in the second half of season six, a lot of people have concerns that his return is brief and that it is merely an attempt to placate the fans to shut them up and that Robin will disappear for good once he's served his purpose. I can tell you that all of us fans are a passionate bunch who love this character and what he brings to the show. Speaking for myself, I've always felt that when I become passionate about something, I fully support it and I can't just sit by when I see something happening that I feel is wrong. This article is an effort to give you some insight into the Hoodies & OutlawQueen'ers, why we love Robin and why we fight for him.
In my case, I’ve been a fan of the show since the start, but once Robin joined in 2013, I became truly hooked. Not only have I always enjoyed the legend of Robin Hood, but when he was introduced as the true love of Regina, I was enthralled. Aside from that fact he wasn’t made a regular until this season, I had little to complain about & enjoyed his story with increasing interest. Over the past 3 years, fans were told by Adam Horowitz & Edward Kitsis that Robin & Regina were true love, that we would see them on more adventures together & that there would be much more back-story to both characters. Those promises seemed to be coming true when Sean was made a regular in season five. The first half of that season we had plenty of scenes with him & Regina as well as him taking an active part in the adventures the characters were having. But in the second half, there was a drastic change & he was missing in key scenes where you would expect him to be with Regina & interacting with other characters as well.
Rumors began to swirl that he was going to be killed off & despite assurances from the writers that “the story’s not done yet” and to “have hope” he died in the 2nd to last episode of the 5th season. This not only broke my heart, but the hearts of many others. I was greatly upset because I felt that the writers had engaged in false advertising, had misled me & strung me along. Additionally, the way he was killed off, as a plot device to advance Regina’s story arc & had his soul apparently obliterated with no chance to see his son or Regina again in the afterlife was, I felt, a disservice to this legendary & heroic character. Of course these thoughts were shared by many other fans. We all felt that there are other, more positive ways to advance a character’s story. I also think it was an incredibly unprofessional way to treat Sean Maguire who had uprooted his life & family to move to Vancouver to film the show & always gave 100% in his scenes. Even when he wasn’t given a lot to do, he always let you know what Robin was thinking through body language, gestures & facial expressions.
The writers have always said this show is about hope, love & faith & yet they continually deny Regina, one of the most popular characters, any of these things. Robin & her were both people who had suffered in their lives & were supposed to be each other’s happy ending. Regina had already watched loved ones die and for it to happen again just seemed like character regression. Many other people feel as I do as we already saw Regina lose the first man she loved & turned dark because of it. We were beyond ready to see her happy & not on the constantly receiving end of heartache & pain. Robin was her hope & 2nd chance. All of us watched this relationship grow and develop over 3 years & through it all we were told that it was true love. Plotlines of whole episodes were devoted to it. Multiple characters commented on it. At conventions & in interviews, actors & writers alluded to Robin & Regina being a long-term couple. Even after being exposed to almost constant obstacles that threatened their love, fans who wanted to see more of them with such plans as living & raising their children together & eventually getting married were told consistently by the writers that “we hear you & hang in there” or “exciting things are coming.” Basically hope was dangled at us like a carrot and then ripped away.
After being told & shown all of this, to have the show do a complete 180 & kill him off defied logic. What was the point of all this development if they were just going to throw it away? To take this wonderful man (who not only loved & defended Regina as well as fighting for others around him) and reduce him & his loss to a hardship she must overcome is demeaning to a legendary hero who, if you go by all incarnations of the character in movies & books, would have fought to protect his loved one & helped them to battle their demons. I can’t say this enough, but Once Upon a Time has only benefited from having a great actor like Sean Maguire on the show because not only is he talented, but is also an extremely nice man & Robin’s death is a huge waste of that talent & a loss for the fans and the show. Not to mention the loss of a beautiful storyline for Regina & the chemistry of Sean & Lana Parrilla, which was electric.
As stated earlier, there have been numerous, ongoing efforts to get Robin back on the show. For example:
1. Online petitions:
https://www.change.org/p/the-once-upon-a-time-fan-base-bring-robin-hood-from-once-upon-a-time-back 2,995 fans have signed.
http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/saverobinhood-2?utm_medium=email&utm_source=system&utm_campaign=Send%2Bto%2BFriend 211 fans have signed.
https://www.change.org/p/sign-the-petition-bring-robin-back-to-once-upon-a-time?recruiter=2231343&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=share_twitter_responsive 824 fans have signed
4,020 total fan signatures!
2. Letter writing campaign.
Back in May and through June, myself and many other fans took part in a letter writing campaign to you and other ABC executives. It was organized via this website http://bringbackrobinhood.weebly.com/ and had many participants. Here are some of their thoughts that they posted on the websites comments section:
3. Twitter trends.
Since Robin's death on May 8th, there have been multiple Twitter trends involving Robin, Sean Maguire and OutlawQueen. Please see the images below for examples:
There have also been several twitter tributes organized. Among them are #7DaysOfOutlawQueen which was organized by @DreamshadeIvy and went from June 1st until August 28th.
There was #Seantember organized by @angry_fish that recognized/paid tribute to Sean in a different way each day of the month.
Another tribute was done on on October 29th, 2016 for International Robin Hood Day. Every hour I saw hundreds of tweets praising Sean Maguire and celebrating him as Robin Hood. The few pictures below are only a small sample of the love that was shown that day.
One of the most current twitter tributes is #55DaysWaitingForOutlawQueen, where every day, from January 9th until March 4th (when OUAT returns from hiatus), fans tweet something about Robin and Outlaw Queen that they love.
4. Online polls:
Robin and Outlaw Queen have always done well in online polls since the relationship started on OUAT. However, since Robin's demise, there has been a sharp uptake in the creation of polls with Robin, Sean & Outlaw Queen sweeping the competition in various categories. Please see the following images for evidence of this.
5. Convention support:
Over the summer of 2016, many fans took the opportunity to show support to Sean in person at the conventions he went to after Robin's demise. These demonstrations happened in the US, Brazil & Europe. Please see the examples below. The first photo is from Italian Outlaw Queen Fans. The first two videos are of fans singing to Sean after his Q & A's in New Jersey & Brazil. The 3rd video is from the Fairy Tales 4 convention in Paris. During the closing ceremony, Sean got emotional while thanking fans for their love & kindness and he got a group hug from the cast and fans cheered his name! The last image is a photo of a signed banner from the fans that was presented to Sean in Paris.
6. Cast support:
Another important point is that the cast loves Sean as well. Ever since May, many of the cast members have, via Twitter, interviews and convention appearances, expressed their disappointment at his departure and have stated how much he is loved and missed. The pictures below illustrate that very well.
In the above video from July 2016, Lana becomes quite emotional when talking about Sean's departure and how he's a member of the family and one of the best romantic partners she had worked with. She also expresses sadness that Regina lost love again. This starts 30 seconds in and goes to a minute and 40 seconds.
7. Support via art, creativity, the written word & good causes:
One of the things that's truly amazed me about this fight for Robin is how it has inspired others to engage in more expressive types of support. Now Robin and Outlaw Queen have been moving people to create beautiful things since OUAT introduced them, but in the eight months since Robin's death, there has been a marked increase in imaginative & stunning tributes to these characters & their relationship. I only regret that I cannot include everything that's out there, but if I tried the length of this article would rival Gone With the Wind (which is 1,037 pages by the way).
The above video shows a book of fan photos taken by Sean/Robin Hood supporters that was organized by Kristin Ameruoso and given to Sean at a convention last fall.
This second video, made by YouTube user "Amazing Colin O ́Donoghue & Sean Maguire" is a compilation of OutlawQueen fanart .
The following acticles/blogs have been written by fans in the 8 months that have passed since Robin's death. Some are short, others are several pages. Some are tributes to the character & to Sean while others are open appeals to the writers to bring him while providing reasons for what they should. The common themes between these articles are the Sean is missed and that loved and respected as is the character of Robin.
13 Reasons Why Robin Hood Shouldn’t Have Died On Once Upon A Time. By Nicole Lee May 10, 2016 https://www.buzzfeed.com/nicolelee93/13-reasons-why-robin-hood-shouldnt-have-died-on-o-25bk2
Once Upon A Time - Why [Spoiler]'s Unfair Upcoming Death Means My Ultimate Goodbye To The Show. By Christina Pimenta. May 2016 https://voiceoftv.com/once-upon-a-time-why-spoilers-unfair-upcoming-death-means-my-ultimate-goodbye-to-the-show
An Open Letter Of Appreciation To The Robin Hood of Our Hearts, Mr. Sean Maguire. By Christina Pimenta. May 2016 https://voiceoftv.com/an-open-letter-of-appreciation-to-the-robin-hood-of-our-hearts-mr-sean-maguire
How Sean Maguire Stole The Hearts Of Fans Everywhere. #IChooseSean. By Nicole Lee. May 22, 2016, https://www.buzzfeed.com/nicolelee93/how-sean-maguire-stole-the-hearts-of-fans-25bk2
Letter To Adam Horowitz. JUNE 3, 2016 https://catnoirsite.wordpress.com/
To “End” A Hero… And To Save Him? June 11, 2016 https://viewershipblog.wordpress.com/
Robin Hood Fans Fight On by Kat McKinney June 19th, 2016 https://www.buzzfeed.com/katmck82/robin-hood-fans-fight-on-by-kat-mckinney-2fp3v
Fighting the Good Fight June 27, 2016 https://awriterjourney.wordpress.com/2016/06/27/fighting-the-good-fight/#more-927
To Hope Or Not To Hope: The Fight To Bring Back Robin Hood! Story by ReganC. July 2nd, 2016 https://creators.co/posts/3987018
Robin Hood Fans Fight On (Updated) by Kat McKinney July 25th, 2016 https://creators.co/posts/4010971
An Open Letter to Adam Horowitz & Edward Kitsis by Kat McKinney August 8th, 2016 https://creators.co/posts/4025990
Dear Adam And Eddy, Reasons To Bring Back Robin Hood! By: Lucy Crock September 1st, 2016 https://creators.co/@LucyLovesOQ/4032146
When Fans Win! October 4th, 2016. A Writer’s Journey Blog. https://awriterjourney.wordpress.com/2016/10/04/when-fans-win/
The Return of Robin Hood. October 4th, 2016. My Little Corner Blog. http://musicalangel12.blogspot.com/2016/10/the-return-of-robin-hood.html
And People Called Him Robin Hood by Kate McKinney. November 26th, 2016. https://creators.co/posts/4129995
8. Personal Stories:
One of the most touching things that has come out during this time are the stories of what a positive difference that Lana, Sean & the Robin & Regina relationship has made in other people's lives. I've read many moving stories from fans, who found that, whatever troubles they were having, the fact that Robin and Regina had experienced darkness in their lives and had found happiness & love, gave them hope. Lana & Sean themselves helped fans with their kindness and by sending out words of support and inspiration via Twitter and interviews. Additionally, fans have been grateful to the Outlaw Queen relationship because it has brought many people together who have become friends and supported each other. The images below are just a few of the multitude of stories that are out there.
9. Sean's Return:
While fans were truly dedicated to the fight to get Robin back on the show, there were many who were unsure of its having a successful outcome, given how the writers didn't show a desire to bring him back by making statements like "dead is dead" in interviews and at conventions. So when news of his return was announced on September 27th, it was met with surprise, but also unbridled joy. My personal reaction was to both laugh and cry with happiness which made me a little breathless. I'm including a few pictures of tweets that I saw online, but trust me when I saw they are the tip of the iceburg when it comes to the excitement his return generated.
Cast members also expressed their happiness at Sean's return, including Sean himself.
10. Some numbers:
As a business woman, I'm sure that one thing that factors into your decisions are the numbers of such things as ratings, money, ect,. I've already given you some from the polls, petitions & trends, but I'm going to provide you with a few more numbers I've learned since Robin's death.
On May 16th, 2016, Variety.com also reported the lower finale ratings for OUAT saying "According to preliminary national estimates from Nielsen, ABC was paced Sunday by the two-hour season finale of “Once Upon a Time” (1.2 rating/4 share in adults 18-49, 4.1 million viewers overall), which started at the earlier time of 7. It was down sharply from its year-ago (2015) closer from 8 to 10 p.m. (1.8 in 18-49, 5.5 million)." http://variety.com/2016/tv/news/ratings-abc-once-upon-a-time-the-family-quantico-edge-up-in-finales-1201775775/. Given what I read on Twitter, the low ratings can partly be due to the mass exodus of Outlaw Queen fans swearing to not watch. I was one of them.
I don't know about you, but the timing of the ratings going down doesn't seem like a coincidence. Then there's some numerical feedback from social media that should be taken into account. Please see the following pictures for examples.
Lastly in an interview with EW.com ( http://ew.com/article/2016/09/27/once-upon-time-sean-maguire-returning-season-6/) on September 27th, 2016 the writers acknowledged the fight for Robin's comeback saying, " “We see those tweets every day — all 3,000 of them, every two seconds." Now that's a lot and I'm sure its an estimate on their part, but let's look at the math for a second.
In a blog called "A Writer's Journey" by mackenziew posted on October 4th, 2016, the author said that those "3000 tweets every 2 seconds, every day for 4 months" (from when Robin died in May until the EW article in September) "added up to 129,600,000 tweets." That's pretty impressive in itself, but let's explore this further.
It has been another 4 months since that EW interview came out and fans promised that they wouldn't relax in their fight for Robin or cease tweeting to the writers despite the news of his comeback. Assuming that the previously mentioned frequency of tweets remained consistent, that would mean the writers have received another 129,600,000 tweets in those 4 months. Totaling all that together, it's 259,200,000 tweets sent to the writers in 8 months. I don't know about you, but I find that impressive, amazing and powerful all rolled into one! If you can look at all this passion & dedication for Robin and Sean and not understand why we are fighting for him, then you are willfully ignoring what a HUGE part of the fanbase wants and being shortsighted for the future of OUAT.
11. Direct Appeal:
I'm going to speak to you now, not as a fan to a network head, but as a TV junkie to a TV junkie. I'm asking you to think of a character/couple that you LOVED and rooted for. Characters you were so dedicated to that they were the reason you watched the show every week. Now think about how you would feel that, after being told by the writers for 3 years that good things were coming for the characters, to have hope, that there would be backstory & further adventure and a happy ending for two soulmates, it was all taken away suddenly with no logic and barely any explanation. If sadness, confusion, anger and frustration come to mind then you know how we all feel about Robin and Outlaw Queen.
Now if you did experience a loss of a favorite character or love story, did you wish that it didn't happen? Did you maybe wish you had the chance to appeal to those in charge to fix it? Did you wonder, "oh if only I had the opportunity to tell and show them how much these characters mean to me and other people, they might bring them back?" Well this is how we feel and since the Internet now makes it easier to communicate with writers and people like you, we are doing all we can to express our feelings and hopes to you.
At any rate, the point of this is that I & many of the fans want to see Robin & Sean Maguire brought back on the show for good. To me, there are 3 main reasons to bring Robin back: One, the relationship with Regina is such a powerful & inspiring thing to see. It should be celebrated & promoted, not brushed aside. They trusted each other, fought for & saved each other on multiple occasions & loved each other through both good & bad moments. We all need love like that & we should see more of it.
Two, Robin is loyal, brave, fights for what is right & he’s a good father. In my opinion, we need men like him on TV. Oh let me just be blunt and say we need him. Third, Sean Maguire is not only a talented actor, but is also a great, kind and funny man and he brought all those things to Robin & made him come alive. His friendships with the cast showed through and when he was gone in the season finale, the loss of his presence was clearly palpable.
This show is supposed to be about faith, love & hope, but how can that be true if the writers go against their promises & basically negate the message of the show by ending one of the most popular couples who exemplified those things? And the thing is that if the writers think that just bringing Robin and Sean back for a few episodes in an effort to placate fans with whatever they decide is closure is like putting a band aid on a bullet wound. It also shows a complete disconnect to the fans after 8 months of us telling them we want him back permanently. It's clear that from all the polls, trends, fan creations and suchlike, that there are huge numbers of Robin & Regina fans out there who, just by engaging with others and talking about these characters & their relationship, generate free publicity for OUAT & got others to watch. I just fail to understand why, after knowing how popular Robin & Regina are, the writers would risk that viewership & future publicity by throwing that relationship away.
I can tell you that many including myself are only watching right now because we support Sean and want to see Robin & Regina together again. I had actually bailed on watching season 6 and it was only after it was confirmed that Sean was returning that I began to tune in again so I would now what was happening with other plots. From what I've been seeing online and what I feel personally is that if this whole thing of bringing Robin back was a ploy to entice Robin & Outlaw Queen fans back to boost the ratings and that he just gets tossed away after he's no longer needed, it will alienate any remaining Robin & Regina viewers and this is not exaggeration.
The exact reasons for this may vary. People have said they are tired of being strung along with false promises in certain storylines (Robin & Regina). I heard some say they are tired of Regina's happiness being taken away. Some mentioned that for a family show about fairy tales, OUAT has had way too much death & family drama to be enjoyable anymore. Still more have said the loss of Robin and how it goes completely against the whole point of the show (hope, faith & happy endings) was the straw that broke the camel's back. For me, its a combination of all four and if Robin does not remain permanently, I not only will not watch a 7th season (if there is one), I also will not watch the remaining episodes of season 6. I just refuse to give my time and viewership to a program that would show such disregard for what a large portion of their fanbase wants.
On that note, I am aware that soon you will be meeting with the writers to discuss the possibility for there being a 7th season and what direction they plan to go. So I humbly ask that you keep all that I have written in mind when you meet with them. Know that Hoodies, EvilRegals, OutlawQueen’ers, & Merry Ladies beg you to look into your heart & listen to us & use your influence to bring Robin Hood back for good. Please restore our faith & hope!
Thank you to Michelle Ponce @SkilledArcher, Barbara Avallone @Barby_AV, Sandpiper @n0m_de_plum, Lena @lsculnick1, @MajorOlicity aka @politeregal, @FlaviaOttaviane, @BiaAylesworth, @DreamshadeIvy,@ester_grace_j, & Katia @JcmylsKatia who knew ahead of time that I was writing this and offered encouragement, support & use of their Tweets.
Thank you to @AniStreep5 @starscythe @AndryPresh @stargate_barbie @KarolaLocksley @papertruths @quiller_queen @tragicheartss, @madnephelite, @ouater, @Wellinever123, @trinadeckerr, @angry_fish, @struckbyColfer, @Maguiretini, @BRSeanMaguire, @queenrxgina, @chiccazero8, @frivolouswhim, @FictionallySpeakinggg, @EVILREGALKATY, @evilqueenart, @stargazingM31, @RegalHoodie17, @ZildJoan03, @UnicornioEmma, @Crisbravo03, @tatcacereslive, @MsAlexandratwo,@veromatos2002, @Karen_Gomez_P, @LanaCandice87, @NoemiItaly1, @prrillaspurpose, @SomewhereApart, @623EvilRegal, @MeganKimber1, @Iridescentdaze, @Thayabraao, @OutlawQueenTeam, @SaraDallArgine, @luxuxurious, @Marisabianchini, @queenrxgina for the use of their art, tweets and other things to assist me providing evidence of our fight for Robin.
Lastly, thank you to Lana Parrilla and to Sean Maguire for bringing two characters & their love story to life and whose kindness, talent and dedication make them and their characters worth fighting for.