The Magicians executive producers Sera Gamble and John McNamara talk about the very dark season finale cliffhanger.
After having finished watching The Magicians season one finale, there’s definitely a lot of explaining to do, and executive producers Sera Gamble and John McNamara will do so, especially since the ending pretty much ends with more questions than answers as it leaves us with a shocking and pretty dark cliffhanger.
I won’t give you the spoilers on the episode, but a lot of crap happens and Julia, oh Julia! And then more crap, and death and hands… yeah, bad stuff. If you’re not caught up yet, you might want to skip this article as Sera and John explain the reason for creating such a dark and emotionally traumatic ending for it’s debut season.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How did you begin to attack this final episode? Did your whiteboard look like Carrie Mathison’s board on Homeland?
JOHN MCNAMARA: We have corkboards. And cards and you can move the cards around. Whiteboards are for suckers. You can quote me on that. We always knew even when we were writing the pilot that we would end on a cliffhanger, of The Beast triumphant, and everyone…
SERA GAMBLE: …F—ed.
When did you decide to structure the episode with Quentin writing his own Fillory novel? Were there any rejected approaches?
GAMBLE: There was a moment where the idea was floating around that Ember would narrate the episode. But at the end of the day the idea that has the real resonance for the show is that Quentin, this character that you met because he’s a super fan of these books that have been narrating his life from a very young age, found himself in that fantasy world. So, of course he would sit down and write the book of his own story.
Throughout the season, the dialogue stays fairly tongue in cheek, even more so than in Lev Grossman’s books. Why’s it so important to keep this tone?
MCNAMARA: I think it might be a little more me than Sera, because I’m not a huge fantasy fan. And if I was going to end up in Fillory, I’d be like Penny or Margo. I’d be like, “Give me a f—ing break.” I’d write myself out. “Can I get a f—ing burrito? ‘You know these shoes were not cobbled for a quest.’ What the f—?” I always thought it would be interesting if you took 2016 characters and put them in Narnia. Because they wouldn’t just be full of wonder, they’d be full of annoyances.
Julia’s big moment at the end where she makes a deal with Martin Chatwin was shocking, given that the rest of the crew lay dying on the floor. How has she changed since the beginning of the season?
GAMBLE: Julia and Quentin both had some hard won maturity by the time they hooked back up again in episode 12. All along they’ve had this festering issue between them, and they outgrew it. I think that’s something that happens when you’re in your early twenties. What ends up happening by the very end of the episode not withstanding, we thought that was a compelling part of the story.
Relative to all of the dark storylines, Julia’s has stood out. And it hit its darkest with the rape scene. In the books, the rapist is an actual animal god, but you humanized him. Why?
GAMBLE: When we were in the creative process of designing that creature, I always went back to asking: What is the version that doesn’t let any of us off the hook? Because if we’re going to tell this story with Julia, then we want to identify with her as closely as we can. We want to understand why this is terrifying and why this is a violation. We want this as formidable a bad guy as possible, and, for me, keeping him somewhat human-feeling helped with that.
There’s more, and you can read the rest of the interview at EW.com