As much as we love any chance to chat with the creative minds behind The Magicians, that proved more difficult than usual at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con. Why? Well, with the way Season 3 of the hit SYFY show left off, anything could happen – and the cast and EPs weren’t quite ready to spill the beans. That said, we did manage to get some interesting teasers for Season 4 from writers and Executive Producers Sera Gamble and John McNamara – including some hints at returning characters and whether we can expect as many genre-bending experimental episodes going forward.
The Season 3 finale left most of our favorite magicians as civilians with totally new identities. Gotta love magic, right? Gamble shared how that opens a lot of possibilities for the show – but doesn’t mean they’ll be going entirely off-book. “Because we start the season with most of our characters having no idea who they are, we have a lot of stuff to play with that is not in the books,” she said. “So it’s kind of business as usual for us, which is to use the source material as inspiration and do the greatest hits, and then also go off on tangents.”
Speaking of tangents, fans were treated to a series of genre-bending episodes during the last season that many consider to be among the show’s best. Whether we were singing along with the musical episode or watching Quentin & Co. live out a life in a day, there were so many interesting avenues to explore. While The Magicians won’t be giving up that quirky creativity any time soon, the new season will be taking a slightly different path.
“[We realized] that we really had a long run where it was one experimental episode after another […] We didn’t go into that self-consciously. We didn’t say we were going to try to break form in every episode – there just was a lot of creativity in the room and we’re bored easily. We were very grateful that that was received so well,” Gamble said.
While there will be some changes moving forward, the lessons the writers took away from the success of these more out-there episodes will continue to inform the show. “It made me aware that we needed as writers to have permission to do something else this season,” Sera explained. “We right away went in the room and told the writers they were under no obligation to try to replicate anything in particular about Season 3. I think that’s when you start to get in trouble – when you try to repeat your greatest hits.”
So what should we expect when The Magicians returns? “I think Season 4 is interesting in a different way,” Gamble said. “The thing that is front and center is character growth and development.”
We are definitely here for more time spent developing the central characters – but we’re also looking forward to meeting new ones and seeing returning faves in the guest star department as well. John McNamara teased one new creature we’ll be meeting early on: “He’s the lord of all freshwater aquatic creatures, but he calls himself Lord Fresh. He is himself an aquatic animal.”
In addition to Lord Fresh, we can expect to see some returning faces. Sera hinted that she and John “strongly suspect” that Felicia Day “might return” as Poppy, a Brakebills Draconology grad student who had been stranded in Fillory for months when she met Quentin & Co. last season. John also teased that there are some loose ends with a Season 1 character – a “very bad guy” – who might be making an appearance. Get your guesses in now.
Watch our full interview with Executive Producers / writers Sera Gamble and John McNamara below for more on The Magicians and John’s pitch for a musical crossover with The Handmaid’s Tale. (“Those people need to laugh. That place is a bummer.”)
The Magicians Season 4 premieres in 2019 on SYFY.