“Once Upon a Time’s” Lana Parrilla says the actors behind Adult Henry and Young Henry are *exactly* alike

Going into Season 7 of Once Upon a Time, Andrew J. West has the unique challenge of taking over the role of Henry. It makes sense, then, that the actor (Greek, Middle Man) found the task of coming into an established world and playing a well-defined character a bit daunting.

Daunting, yes — but also exciting.

That’s because enough time has passed in Once Upon a Time‘s world for he and the team to be able to play with who Henry is and where he’s at in life.

"There's six years of work and foundations that are there that you have to take into account," he told reporters at Comic-Con. "This is an established character, played beautifully by Jared Gilmore for years. It's been exciting, but what's cool about it is that enough time has passed. He's changed in some really fundamental ways, so we can play with who this person has become and how he's different from what he was when we last saw him at the end of Season 6."

West added, teasing the season ahead: “He’s gone through some very significant changes, which will be explored early on in Season 7. They’re surprising and exciting.” Well, our curiosity is piqued…

It should be noted that Season 7 won’t be the first time we’ve seen West as Adult Henry.

He appeared in the role at the end of Season 6, and really seemed to capture the essence of his predecessor.

“I’m sure that there was some sort of subconscious influence,” West said of the younger Henry’s mannerisms. “I mean. I’ve certainly been very steeped in the show ever since I got the job. I’ve been watching the episodes constantly — going back, looking at the pilot. I didn’t make a conscious effort to capture mannerisms, but I’m sure a lot of that influenced what I was doing.”

But more than that, West looked to Henry’s relationships to inform his choices. “I really wanted to take a lot of inspiration from the dynamic of the relationship between Emma and Henry, and Regina and Henry — really let those dynamics inspire what I was doing. That’s essentially where this person came from, you know? That’s what molded him into the person that he is.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2cHN1K_BlWY

While West might not have actively been trying to tap into Gilmore’s mannerisms, Lana Parrilla — who plays Regina/Evil Queen — said that West and Gilmore are actually quite similar.

"I was telling Andrew after our panel, I said, 'I had a moment with you,'" Parrilla told reporters. "He didn't even know it, but I looked at him and all of a sudden I saw Jared. They kind of resemble, but he actually does things and says things exactly the way Jared would. It's really bizarre. For a moment I just thought, 'Oh my God, I can absolutely see this man being my son — even though we're seven years apart.'"

Considering, Parrilla feels confident that this is a relationship that’s going to work. She’s already taken steps to find their groove, and asked West for help in that process. “I said, ‘I hope you’re comfortable with me touching your face and doing things that I used to do with Jared because I’ve known Jared since he was 10 years old. Jared is like my boy.’ Andrew was very open to it. He was like, ‘Do whatever you need to do to recreate that relationship with me.’”

Parrilla added, “I have a lot of faith in Andrew. I think he already organically possesses a sort of Jared-like quality.” Well, talk about an endorsement! That’s certainly got us excited for the season ahead, and Adult Henry’s arc in particular.

Once Upon a Time returns to ABC on October 6th.