SDCC 2018: ‘The Magicians’ Cast & EPs Share S4 Secrets

With the mystical SYFY show leaving its heroes with no magic or memories at the end of last season, The Magicians cast and crew had a lot of explaining to do at San Diego Comic Con last. Check out the videos below and find out what’s in store for the now ex-students of Brakebills.

First, creators Sera Gamble and John McNamara discussed the overall theme and tone of the season, which Gamble described as, “a little more 1984.” She went on to explain that there’s a “definite element of authoritarianism, in that magic has been returned but it’s under the control of the Library.” Once again The Magicians has taken to commenting on modern-day American society through magical metaphor. McNamara explained the process of remaining honest about the political realities of our time while sticking to the show’s tone, saying he asked himself, “How does it feel to sense that if perhaps my rights aren’t being curtailed, friends of mine’s rights are being curtailed?”

As for the events of the show itself? “They don’t know magic is real; they don’t even look like themselves,” Gamble revealed about the main characters. “These witness protection identities are on a collision course with the monster inhabiting Eliot.” While they were not at liberty to disclose the details of this season’s musical episode, both producers confirmed that there would indeed be one. “There is an episode this season where the circumstances that one of our characters find themselves in are highly hallucinatory,” Gamble teased, which will result in a whole heck of a lot of singing.

Since the current Big Bad of The Magicians has taken over Eliot’s body, what hope is there for the man himself to make it out alive? “Luckily we like Hale a lot,” McNamara joked.

Speaking of Hale Appleman, who played Eliot Waugh up until the tragic events of the finale, he had “no words of encouragement or support to offer” us. The actor admitted that there was “no trace of [the real Eliot]” up through episode 4 of the new season. “In the meantime, I’m hoping you all fall in love with the monster.”

The monster is “surprisingly different than Eliot,” Appleman added. “He’s sort of like a child with a complete lack of empathy or impulse control. Hopefully he’ll mature as the season moves forward.” While the majority of his interactions are with Quentin (or Bryan), the monster will also interact with Margo a little bit and try to rally the rest of the cast in order to enact vengeance upon them.

Appleman makes up one half of the best onscreen duo with Summer Bishil, and the separation of Eliot and Margo is one of the more tragic elements going into The Magicians‘ fourth season. He described working with Bishil as the monster rather different and weird. “The connection and the chemistry remains, but they have very different agendas,” the expanded. “There’s a little bit of bittersweetness, because it’s Margo looking at this person that she loves[…] And he’s just happy to be there.”

After giving a beautiful and heartfelt introduction to Covenant House, an organization with combats teen homelessness, actor Jason Ralph proceeded to explain Quentin Coldwater’s journey in Season 4 and how his alter ego Bryan would differ from him. “Quentin doesn’t exist,” Ralph laughed, commenting that Bryan “has a sunny disposition.” Quentin felt like he was suffering often and expected magic to be a quick fix, only to find it was an unfulfilling disappointment. “Bryan’s relationship with magic, on the other hand, I don’t think he’s someone who ever even thought about magic.” Ralph added.

The Magicians has also given Quentin his fair share of romantic adventures, but Ralph declined to specifically choose one ship. “I think he’s on a solo journey for a minute,” he decided. “He’s a very different person than when he started, and Alice has gone through an equally complicated journey.” But Alice and Quentin aren’t the only couple who are intrinsically tied, as Quentin and Eliot lived an entire life together – and their bond was evident even in the actors’ interactions in the video above. While Ralph couldn’t confirm that ‘Bryan’ would eventually remember he was Quentin, the actor did suppose that hypothetically “someone might devote their lives to trying to get their friend [Eliot] back.”

He also spoke very eloquently about the importance of tackling mental health issues, and how seriously the cast and writers approach those subjects. “It’s nice to know as an artist that the things that we are fighting for are coming across,” he concluded. “And that it’s worthwhile.”

Stella Maeve, who stars as Julia Wicker, had a lot of feelings about how The Magicians ended last season. “Disappointing, right?” she asked. “I wish I had Julia’s reaction, [that] this is for the greater good.” Now that she’s Kim instead, “she’s an architect, she’s a little but clumsy, and she might not be a brunette,” Maeve hinted.

Once the show moves back the alternate identity switcheroo, though, the actresses that that “Julia gets a little bit of a romantic life. I don’t know how far it goes, [but] you may or may not know this suitor.” She also specified that it’s a he, which leaves the door open for Penny-23 to win her over sometime in the near future.

Julia’s goal this season is much the same as her fellow magicians, according to Maeve. “Getting their identities back. And once they’ve secured their identities, getting magic back.” One important part of Julia’s identity has been her friendship with Kady, which the actress has missed so far this season. “It’s very much not a catty friendship,” she explained. “The trivial things can’t compromise what they’ve built.”

Finally, Olivia Taylor-Dudley’s Alice Quinn has the distinction of being one of the only main characters who knows what’s going on with magic, and the actress wasn’t shy about discussing what that meant for her journey. “Right now, she’s just trying to escape jail,” the actress teased. “She’s trying to get a word, a line, anything out to the outside world.” In order to do that, she’ll rely on her wits even if she doesn’t have any allies quite yet.

Alice has also gone through several transformations, and the Niffin in particular was darker than most. “I think that will be her forever struggle,” Taylor-Dudley remarked. “[dealing with] what she did as Niffin.” She also noted that Eliot will probably struggle with the same guilt if he ever recovers his agency after being the monster. As for her actions last season, she joked that “the fans are mad at me for it,” but added that she stands by her attempts to keep the Library from controlling magic. Nevertheless, Alice will start off The Magicians‘ fourth season in a pretty depressed state. “I think it’s going to take a while before she gets on her feet and starts letting the wheels turn.”

The Magicians returns to SYFY in early 2019. Remember to come back to withanaccent.com for more interviews with your favorite casts!