SDCC Interview: Summer Bishil from THE MAGICIANS

THE MAGICIANS’ Summer Bishil talks about the differences and similarities between Margo and Janet and becoming High King of Fillory. 

Summer Bishil from Syfy’s The Magicians plays probably the fiercest of the group, male or female, but this upcoming season, we’re going to meet a different person altogether, because Margo’s memory has been erased and now knows herself as Janet. What do we know about Janet aside from her looking like Margo? Does she have the same attitude as Margo? Is she sassy? Can Janet be a High King of Fillory?

 

“It’s strange, but also what I’ve been telling everybody today. Although I am Janet, and I am living under this new guise, who she is at her core, because it’s safe to assume that the only that’s been wiped from her memory is magic or any memory of it existing in the world or relating to her, so there’s a huge enormous part of her identity that has been extricated against her will,” said Summer. “But who she is and how she sees the world and her observation through her eyes is still the same. She’s still the same soul, human, just does not remember anything about her life as a magician. It’s safe to assume she had an identity constructed for magic, so there’s a lot of similarities, more than I thought there would be.”

One of the things we love about Margo is her sassyness and her wicked sense of humor, and Summer assures us that hasn’t gone away. “I’ve decided that’s one of her core qualities,” Bishil said, “so I retained that and so did the writers, which is lovely. Her knack for cultural references, it’s all still there.” 

Obviously, Janet isn’t going to be exactly the same as Margo. One of the major differences between the two will likely be noticed right away and that although Janet may be similarly sassy, Margo is still the fearless one, but there’s a good reason why.

“I think the confrontations that Margo’s had because of magic being in her life has exposed her to much more life-threatening situations than a typical job would have. So I think her fearlessness, some of her courage, was probably developed over time with being a magician,” Bishil explained, “and Janet has not had those experiences. So she still jumps at something spooky. She still reacts to things in a more fearful way.”

Before she lost her memory, though, Margo was elected as High King of Fillory, taking the position away from Tick Pickwick, and mostly by write-in votes since she wasn’t even on the ballot. What we saw was a very emotional moment for the tough and fearless, but that wasn’t how Summer first played out the scene.

“To me, I read it as very comedic on my first take, and it was really just another comedic scene and quick, but I quickly directed to the place I arrived at, and I didn’t expect it to play that way,” stated Bishil. “But it just felt right, and it just kinda happened in my body to react emotionally like that, I didn’t even think I would. It was an interesting, interesting experience.”

For much of season three, Summer had to play Margo with an eyepatch due to the loss of her eye by the Fairy Queen. But now Summer will be patchless and we asked her how it felt to be able to see through both eyes again.

“It’s amazing,” she exclaimed. “I feel like there’s this edge that I always had season one, season two, season three, and I’m still ball and nerves about my performance, but there was always this sort of exhaustion edge that I had in season three. I liked it, it reminded me that I was doing everything in my power to have a good performance, like after a good workout, that I don’t have this year, because there’s no eye-patch. I’m still doing a good job, I just have two eyes now. It’s not as challenging as it was necessarily.”

 

The Magicians returns with season four on Syfy in 2019.

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Southern California native who likes movies (Star Wars, Marvel, Love Simon), books (Shadowhunter Chronicles, NA, YA fantasy, Red Rising series), TV shows (Supernatural, The 100), food (sushi, seafood, steak, all kinds really), and San Diego Comic-Con. I also like to write, but don't get to do much of that aside from on here.

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