Rebecca Mader Is Leaving ‘Once Upon a Time’ After Season 6: ‘This Wasn’t My Choice’

The Once Upon a Time cast is losing another fan favorite. Rebecca Mader announced that she won’t be returning to the ABC fantasy series after season 6.

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The 40-year-old actress, who plays the Wicked Witch of the West Zelena, explained that it was the show’s decision to end her character’s story line. “A lot of you have been asking if I will be joining everyone in Season 7, so I wanted to let you know personally that unfortunately I am not,” she wrote. “This wasn’t my choice but a creative decision of the shows that I totally respect and understand.”

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To my Darling Pretties, First of all I would like to start by congratulating Adam, Eddie, Lana, Bobby and Colin on the pick up of Once Upon A Time! I am truly happy for you all and most importantly for the fans that will get to keep tuning in each week to see where they will take us. A lot of you have been asking if I will be joining everyone in Season 7, so I wanted to let you know personally that unfortunately I am not. This wasn’t my choice but a creative decision of the shows that I totally respect and understand. The most important thing is that you all know how much you mean to me. I am told frequently both online and in person that by being a part of such a special show I have in some way changed someone’s life. This is hugely meaningful to me. I am here to let you know that I am the one who has been changed. Not just by playing such a well written multi-dimensional character but by the fandom itself. I have heard your stories, your pain, your struggles, your achievements and I have truly felt you. I have learned. I have grown. I am a better person because of you, the fans and everyone that blessed me with this opportunity to play such an iconic role. Congrats all and thank you! I look forward to the next. I invite you to come with me on this journey. I am forever changed. And I’m wicked. And Wicked Always Wins. Forever yours, Bex 💚

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The Lost alum added that she’s been “blessed” with the opportunity to join the show and with incredible fans. “The most important thing is that you all know how much you mean to me,” she continued. “I am told frequently both online and in person that by being a part of such a special show I have in some way changed someone’s life. This is hugely meaningful to me. I am here to let you know that I am the one who has been changed. Not just by playing such a well written multi-dimensional character but by the fandom itself.”

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Mader’s exit comes a few days after Jennifer Morrison, who stars as Emma Swan, revealed that she is choosing to say goodbye to OUAT. “As I reached the end of my 6 year contract on ONCE UPON A TIME, I was faced with a significant decision. ABC, Eddy Kitsis, and Adam Horowitz very generously invited me to continue as a series regular. After very careful consideration, I have decided that creatively and personally, it is time for me to move on,” she wrote. 

Morrison promised that she will continue to make appearances at fan conventions whenever possible and agreed to appear on one episode of season 7 to wrap up Emma’s story line. 

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