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Syfy’s The Magicians is spellbinding at SDCC 2017

The cast and creators tells us why the show is so very...magical

“If someone’s like it’s too dirty, it’s too stupid, it’s too personal, it’s too weird…there’s no such thing on this show.”

Syfy’s hit fantasy series The Magicians, based on the book series of the same name by Lev Grossman, brought their unique brand of magic to SDCC 2017 on Saturday, July 22nd. Fresh off the startling events of the season 2 finale, the show’s cast and creators came together for a panel to discussion the repercussions of a world without magic. Series stars Jason Ralph, Stella Maeve, Olivia Taylor Dudley, Hale Appleman, Arjun Gupta, Summer Bishil, and executive producers Sera Gamble and John McNamara talked about the future for Quentin and his friends, with Chris Hardwick moderating the panel.


We had a chance to sit down and speak with everyone after the panel, and we learned a lot of interesting things from Jason, Stella, Olivia, Hale, Summer, Sera, and John. Unfortunately, Arjun was not able to be in attendance, but we still got some juicy information for you ahead!
With a show as creative and fantastical as The Magicians, we had to ask showrunners Sera and John about the brainstorming process that goes into each episode. While John jokingly demonstrated the sessions by putting his head in his hands, Sera said

“One of my favorite things in the writers’ room is when I spot one of the writers laughing to themselves – often it’s you (referring to John) – John, what’s so funny? No, I can’t repeat it, it’s too stupid. And inevitably, it becomes a huge plot point of the season.”

John later adds,

“Drama doesn’t exist without conflict. Inner conflict is fine, but it can’t stay inside…that’s not a good scene. Thankfully, Lev has written some amazing dramatic scenes – I can think of half a dozen right off the top of my head…”

When asked why Julia’s encounter with Reynard in the season finale did not follow the books, Sera answered that

“To us it came down to, because we were trying to explore the trauma she was going through and the post traumatic stress she was going through in a real and mature way, it’s sort of disingenuous to say okay, if you kill the guy that raped you, you’re going to be fine.”

As Jason and Stella came by the table, they joked about his tendency to always cover his face with his hair. Jason was quick to state that

“It’s a character. It’s a reflection of his inner life. It’s strategic…when it’s in his face, there’s a reason, and when it’s not, there’s also a reason.”

Speaking about the almost complete reversal of fortune between Quentin and Julia in season one versus season two and how she is the one with the only magic, Stella said

“I don’t think there’s really a jealousy, jealous thing, not consciously. They’ve kind of come together to team up and sort of figure out why Julia has this magic and how to harness it and propel it into something bigger universally so everyone can have magic.”

Jason additionally commented that

“It’s (magic) been around so long that it’s intrinsic to this world, and you take that away and it’s an energy crisis, and so there’s a responsibility to the global community to fix thing. Yes, they love magic and it’s a part of their personality and who they are but it’s bigger than that.”

We had a chance to chat with Summer and Hale next, and we asked the former how her character Margo will approach life in the third season. Summer answered

“I hope that there will be a more independent drive for her this year, and I think there will be. We haven’t seen a lot of the scripts yet…I’m most excited about working with Candis Cayne. I think she’s such a strong actress and has such a strong presence and I did a scene with her last week and I got so excited about that power struggle.”

Hale commented on the relationship between Eliot and Margo, saying

“I think Eliot and Margo fill a void in terms of family and the love of a family member that they really didn’t have growing up. There’s a deep need for each other…they’re starting to reorient themselves in their new context.”

Speaking to the other woman in his character’s life, Hale tells us

“I think Eliot becomes endeared to Fen in a way because she is someone he would have completely overlooked, and the surprise lies in the fact that her open-heartedness kind of takes him off his mark in a way. Not in a romantic sense, necessarily, but as a person in this world…Her innate goodness is something that he learns from.”

Olivia joined us last, and we asked her where she thinks her character Alice is going into season three.

“She’s very angry, in she got to be a primal beast and she got to experience magic on a level that none of the other characters have. She made a lot of people angry when she was a niffin, and I think this season we’re going to find out who that was and what she did, I hope. She wants magic back, everybody wants magic back, I think that’s the theme of this season.”

She also gave us some insight into her own feelings on Alice, stating

“She’s a very intelligent woman, and that’s what drew me to her character. Even if she’s afraid of them, her fear does not dispel her from the task at hand. I think she’ll work through the fear.”

If this doesn’t get you excited for season three of The Magicians, we don’t know what will! We can’t wait to see how the High Queens and Kings of Fillory handle the fairy occupation, and whether or not magic will finally return to Earth!


TVAfterDark and Hello Nerdeek are bringing you all the biggest panels, trailers, exhibit hall exclusives, and cosplay from SDCC 2017, so watch out for more!


Wondering if the magic is gone? Check out our full video interview below and find out!

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About The Author
Jennifer Yen
I'm a mind-reading geek MD during the day and Amazon bestselling author of YA fantasy series The Avalon Relics by night. I am a lover of great books, binger of television series, and enthusiastic fanfiction creator. I enjoy all things science fiction and fantasy, Marvel, and Disney/Pixar related. I'm a Trekkie, Jedi, Whovian, X-Phile, Shadowhunter, Stitcher, Potterhead, Browncoat, Tribute, Austenite, and so much more. I support diversity in all media and want to keep smart shows where they belong - on the air!
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