The fifth season (ahem, series) of the medieval wizarding drama Merlin kicks off in the U.K. on Oct. 6 on BBC One, and if you’re a loyal knight like me, you’re counting down the hours — or months if you’re here in the States (where it will later air on Syfy) — until you can gallop back into Camelot. After all, the fourth season (sorry Brits, series) finale left us with a lot to process: How would Guinevere fare as queen? Where would Morgana go after getting ousted from Camelot? And what would become of that white dragon hatchling?!
Not too much is known about the new episodes — though when I spoke to stars Colin Morgan and Katie McGrath at Comic-Con they did let spill that the series would take a three year time jump this year — and producers are staying tight-lipped about major plot details. Still, thanks to a slew of brand new images from the upcoming season, we’ve now got a sense of what our favorite characters will be wearing this year. And for Morgana and Gwen, the wardrobe changes are pretty drastic!
EW got in touch with Merlin‘s costume designer Jane Spicer, who walked us through some of the season’s new looks and a sneak peek at the round table of Camelot. Check them all out by clicking through the next few pages!
Okay, I lied a little bit. Not everyone has brand spankin’ new duds this year, but what did you expect?! “Merlin is really an iconic character,” says Spicer. “His costume never changes, not in significant ways.” And honestly, that’s fine by us! But just because Colin Morgan is typically clad in the same look doesn’t mean he’s only got one servant costume. “We actually have 20 complete Merlin outfits,” says Spicer. “Plus 24 shirts in the Merlin colors!”
Arthur‘s costume may look fairly standard — we’ve certainly seen him in his fighting armor before — but Spicer promises we will see subtle changes in his style this year. “When he is in his private chamber with Gwen, he might be much more casually dressed — just a linen shirt and trousers,” she says. “All other times he is King – chain mailed and armored up and ready for anything at any moment!” Spicer says that the armor worn by Bradley James and the fellow knights is made of lightweight material, but she does confess, “The chain mail is very heavy.” Fortunately, “The actors are very good about wearing it … most of the time.”
Talk about a major makeover! Though we’ve grown accustomed to seeing Guinevere mill about the castle in her servant’s wardrobe over the years, now that she’s the Queen of Camelot, her wardrobe had to be completely overhauled. “This is Gwen’s new, regal look, which we can expect for most of this series,” says Spicer. “[It] was made by Andrea Moon, an extremely talented costume-maker who I went to art school with many years ago.” Gwen’s style will heretofore be marked by “silks and velvets with an antique, embroidered trim,” says Spicer. “She’s got big sleeves, trains, jewelry, crowns and petticoats.” Perhaps unsurprisingly, Spicer says that Angel Coulby has enjoyed her fancy get-ups. “[She] seems to love her new wardrobe and so far has managed it very, very well indeed.”
Next: More Guinevere
You didn’t think we’d show you just one of Guinevere‘s new gowns, did you?! This intricately embroidered dress highlights the Queen’s poise and stature, as well as her — well, let’s just say we have a feeling the necklines weren’t quite as low in the “actual” Camelot. “Both Morgana and Gwen wear corsets with their costumes, which helps to give them the classic “hourglass” shape,” says Spicer. “But when you have two actresses as beautiful as Katie McGrath and Angel Coulby, you don’t have to make costumes ‘sexy’ – they do it for you!”
What on earth is Morgana, who was run out of Camelot in the fourth season finale, doing in the snow? “That, I cannot tell you!” says Spicer. Fortunately, the costume designer can offer some details about Katie McGrath‘s dark outfit, “Morgana’s fur coat here is supposed to be made from one of the wolves that pull her sleigh,” Spicer says. (Wait a second, Morgana has a sleigh now? Is she the new queen of Narnia?) “But don’t worry – in fact, it’s made of faux fur in our workrooms.”
Next: The Round Table
A major part of the fifth season of Merlin will be Arthur’s legendary round table of Camelot, which you get a great glimpse of in the photo above. (For a bigger version of the photo click HERE.) But the brand new set piece meant a whole other obstacle for Spicer and her team. “We made 40 extra Camelot knights’ costumes for that scene!” she says. Fortunately for her, Merlin fans are known for their enthusiasm, so all that hard work won’t go unnoticed.
Also, check out a just-released preview of the new season below:
And here’s my chat with Katie and Colin at Comic-Con.
Tell us, readers. Are you ready for the new season of Merlin to begin? What do you think of all the costumes coming up this season?