So much has happened in this first season of The Magicians we cannot contain ourselves! The cast attended its first Comic-Con this year to our utter joy. We got to sit down with some of them at their round table session and pick their brains about what we can expect for next season.
If you read Lev Grossman's book of the same name, you know what's coming...generally speaking. But the show has taken some interesting turns from the original magical adventure of Quentin and Co.
So what CAN we expect from this next season? We sat down with the writers, cast members, and Lev Grossman himself to find out!
Sera Gamble, John McNamara, & Lev Grossman
So can you guys tease anything about season two?
Gamble: Of course! There's a lot of Fillory in season two. You'll be seeing all of our beautiful cast—of course, they've been Instagraming from set every single day—but we cannot promise they will be in the same form as when we left them last season because things went very bad for them in the finale. The Beast is still a threat and if they make it to Castle Whitespire they have a whole world to run, which sounds awesome but it's a difficult job. What else?
Grossman: They're doctors, but they're kind of jerks.
Dang! Looks like our heroes (and ROYALS—looking at you, Eliot) will be taking care of their own healing for the most part. But what about the people who didn't get to go to Fillory but still know about it? Henry certainly went through the ringer at the hands of the Beast (literally) and Penny has been tossed around through space-time. What about them?
Arjun Gupta (Penny) & Rick Worthy (Dean Henry Fogg)
Before we get too deep into the nitty gritty, were there any cool magical effects you particularly enjoyed filming?
Gupta: There are two I will speak to. One is fire because I play a bit of a pyrotechnic aspect of myself. In the sixth episode we had to set this oil on fire, and it was so cool. The special effects team came in and devised a way with chemistry—because science is cool!—so we could have colored flames. And that was all real—no CGI! It was remarkable. And then I got to send a magic missile in the eighth episode. But we got to set actual things on fire and that was cool.
Worthy: I love when Alice and Quentin are trying to break into the party. When she takes the little beam of light and focuses it and burns a hold through the door. Then he comes in and says, "Phosphomancy, bitches!" It was fun and cool and telling of just how powerful Alice really is.
Both Penny and Henry have been through a lot. Do either of you think Henry will seek revenge on the Beast for what he has done?
Gupta: Well for me it's always been about survival. So for me it's not really about revenge.
Worthy: I think [Henry] is getting pissed off at the Beast/ Martin Chapman. He wants the issue to go away as quickly as possible. As the episode "39 Times" says, we've been through this 39 times. This is the last time. Jane's dead and it can't be reset. So he's really frustrated—there has to be a solution to this at some point. There's a great scene when the Dean is in the hospital and Jane comes to visit him. She's really kind and everything, but he says, "This is your problem! You fix it!" If I could have said the F word I would have.
Gupta: They save all the F bombs for Penny.
Well, not to burst your bubble, but there are some F bombs from other characters, too. Margot and Eliot say it often, for example, and their friendship is legendary both on and off the page.
Summer Bishil (Margo) & Hale Appleman (Eliot)
So besides what we've already been told, what can you tell us about season two?
Bishil: Not much. I actually just got in trouble for teasing some.
Appleman: No, we can tease...nothing.
Bishil: Absolutely nothing. But it's going to be great.
Appleman: I think the question is what can YOU tease about season two? People keep asking me, "Are you dead? Are you alive?" and I just want to say...what do you think, really?
Lev Grossman's world is so big and complex and fun. How closely do you guys follow the books, and have you all read them?
Appleman: The whole cast has read all three books.
Bishil: Everybody, yes. We use them on set to just keep the tone and the spirit of the novels alive. But the series, from the start of season one, has always incorporated them all. We've borrowed from book two and some stories from book one and then we're going to touch on book three. But we get to jump around, and that's the beauty of it.
Appleman: We also utilize the story of television to fill in certain gaps about certain characters who we might not have gotten a complete picture of in the books. It's an interesting hybrid.
The majority of season one sees Quentin pining after Fillory while being stuck on Earth. But with the season finale, we now know Eliot has more reason than any of his friends to stay on Fillory. We already know we're going to get to see more of it, but how much will be because of Eliot's new status?
Appleman: I think Fillory is an important character in the show. But you'll have to see.
Bishil: Fillory is beautiful, and introducing that other character that it is is stunning.
Appleman: It appears to be even more cinematic as the show is being shot overall, and there is attention to the different aesthetic in how it is being shot.
But aside from being stuck in Fillory because he has royal blood, how will Eliot's new marriage and responsibility tie into the season?
Appleman: At the end of season one Eliot was obviously struggling and spiraling down a really dark path. He was essentially ready to die before Margo saves him. He's recognizing that, on some level, there is a greater purpose to fight, and there are more things to live for than being afraid of who he truly is. I think these elements are really important in the evolution of his character.
Jason Ralph (Quentin) & Olivia Taylor Dudley (Alice)
At the beginning of our magical adventure to Brakebills, we see Quentin pull of some pretty interesting card tricks. But can he do those in real life?
Ralph: Yeah, the show is 99% me. It's important because so much of the magic that we do would be CGI and establishing what "real magic" would be in the real world. It's stuff that I carry around with me and it's an important part of who Quentin is and where he came from.
Everyone has there favorite book or thing growing up, and Quentin is no different. But can we honestly say we can love anything as much as Quentin loves Fillory?
Ralph: I mean...Harry Potter. I feel like I grew up with him; I went to all the book signings and the midnight releases and dressing up as Professor Lupin. I even made a Harry Potter fan film.
Dudley: I didn't know that about you! Can we find it somewhere?
Ralph: I took it down. It wouldn't be good for my career.
We would think something that shows your love for the magical world would only help your career on a show that's all about magic!
Ralph: I mean the work in the film.
Joking aside, having something like that in your arsenal could only serve to show how far you've come as an actor. But we'll let that go (for now). [Quentin] love for Harry Potter and all things mystical explains why he was drawn to The Magicians, but what about the others?
Dudley: I fell in love with Alice. I think she's an incredibly intelligent woman. She's not always the comic relief on the show, but she's driven and smart and that's something that really drew me to her. You don't often get to play women like that, and I think they've done some really great decisions and some smart writing on the show. I was excited about that. And she's a total introvert, which I relate to.
Quentin and Alice have had a roller coaster of a relationship. What are some things you guys are looking forward to doing or seeing in season two?
Ralph: I like this question. I think in this season we're going to be dealing with the question of what happens when you get everything you theoretically want. All the things that you said would make you happy. You're sitting atop a throne of your accomplishments and you're still said and youre still depressed and you're still that person you kind of hate. What then? I love that then what question.
Eliot is now tied to Fillory, but how much time will Quentin—who has spent most of his life adamantly believing in it— spend there this season?
Dudley: We're going to get to see a lot more Fillory. It's a vast land and we get to explore it. We shoot up in Vancouver and the locations are so stunning. It's really exciting when we get to go to the different worlds and every one of them is so different. It's really fun when we get a script and we're there and then we get to shoot it—and all of a sudden I realize I'm shooting something that was in the books and it's exactly what I thought it would be.
We've already heard that we are going to be getting some centaurs in Fillory next season, but what are some of your dream creatures you'd like to see on the show?
Dudley: I mean, I wish I could ride a unicorn on the show. But we can't all have what we want – and I ask often.
Not so complicated a request to us! But Alice and Quentin's relationship, both platonic and romantic, has become anything but simple. Is there any chance the two could get back together, or at least back to being friends?
Dudley: Their relationship is complicated.
Ralph: And it will only get more complicated. I can't talk about it.
That cleared SO MUCH up for us. Not.
Dudley: I mean hopefully we'll see, but a lot of this hasn't been written yet.
Jade Tailor (Kady) & Stella Maeve (Julia)
Kady and Julia have been through some crazy stuff this last season, both together as hedge witches and on their own as just women. What do you ladies think is going to happen to them this next season? Will it get any better?
Maeve: I would love to get to the part in the books where Julia gets to Fillory and gets to speak with animals and kind of just enters into her goddess.
Tailor: My character isn't in the books, so I'm just excited to see where she goes. But I'm really just hoping to see a lot of depth and layers and what she's capable of this season—both magically and otherwise.
Kady and Julia are complex characters in their own right, and get even more complicated the more they become entwined with other characters on the show. What drew you to these particular characters?
Tailor: The books, I would say, because I'm such a fan of Lev and his work. But I'd never read the books prior to getting the material. I read the script first. So for me the script really enticed me. I actually remember reading the first script when Katie died and I thought that was the end for me. But then I got the next script and she doesn't, so I got really excited about it. The writing and the material is just brilliant.
Maeve: For me it was the novels and getting to depict this character that had already been created in these books. This female powerhouse who is not liked by everyone and has tons of flaws and endures an immense amount of pain. That's incredible to get my hands on and dive in and explore. Seeing this woman in her journey and everything she goes through—and then to come out and play a goddess! That's the dream.
We certainly cannot wait to see what happens in season two—even if the centaurs do turn out to be jerks with stethoscopes.
The Magicians is based off of Lev Grossman's best selling trilogy. You can buy these books online and in store, and catch the show Monday nights on SyFy.
Stay tuned for more awesome San Diego Comic-Con coverage!