The Magicians bosses preview '80s cocaine-level magic' in season 5
There hasn’t been enough magic on The Magicians for the past few seasons. In season 5, the opposite will be case because now there’s too much of it.
“The analogy that I like to use is: In season 5, there’s more magic on Earth than there was cocaine on Wall Street in the ‘80s,” executive producer/co-showrunner John McNamara gleefully tells EW.
The excess of magic in the world is the result of Everett (Brian Markinson), the megalomaniacal librarian who consumed an entire reservoir of magic, dying in the devastating season 4 finale (RIP Jason Ralph’s Quentin, who heroically sacrificed himself to save the day). Following Everett’s destruction, all of that magic had to go somewhere, and so it spilled back into our Earth via the mirrors.
The finale’s closing moments teased the effect that has on the world: Dean Fogg’s (Rick Worthy) magic-tracking globe lit up like a Christmas tree, and one of Professor Lipson’s (Keegan Connor Tracy) simple spells went haywire in the middle of the class. When the show returns, we’ll learn that having too much will also be the source of many headaches, too.
“That starts to cause problems as there are some infusions of essentially too much magic, and that needs to be contended with. Too much of a good thing is also a problem,” says EP/co-showrunner Sera Gamble. “We joke that if we’re on the air long enough, we may eventually do a season where there’s just exactly the right amount of music.”
“We’re approaching magic in a completely different way from any way that we have approached it on the show prior to this,” says EP/co-showrunner Henry Alonso Myers. “Every season, magic has shifted in some massive way and our characters have had to struggle in order to deal with those changes and that continues to happen in season 5.”
The season finale also ended with Eliot (Hale Appleman) and Margo (Summer Bishil) returning to Fillory — except, to their surprise, they found themselves 300 years in the future and learned that Acting High King Fen (Brittany Curran) and Josh (Trevor Einhorn) were deposed. Needless to say, this situation is less than ideal.
“It’s radically changed,” says Myers, with McNamara adding, “You gotta know that Fillory 300 years in the future is not going to be a fun place. It’s incredibly fun to torture the characters who are having to deal with it.”
As was the case with last year’s magical identity erasing, the showrunners didn’t have a plan for this story when they wrote the finale. In fact, they spent last week figuring it out.
“We have a philosophy in the writers’ room, which is that we like to write ourselves into a corner that we do not know how we’re going to get out of. The only way to make sure the audience is surprised is that we’re surprised. When we wrote that, we had no idea how we’re going to get out of it. We actually spent this week untangling that web. I can say with a lot of confidence that there is an interesting and difficult way out that I’m excited to get to share with the world,” says Myers.
Overall, the showrunners hope The Magicians’ fifth season, which is being broken right now, continues to mix gloriously insane moments with heartbreakingly real and emotional ones. Says Gamble: “We wanted to make sure that the show, fundamentally every week, was setup to bring you stuff that was deep and emotional, but also not a f—ing bummer. We think you can talk about anything on The Magicians. You can go to a lot of places that are very vulnerable and sensitive inside of the human condition. But we also want sexually transmitted lycanthropy, saucy fairies, and ‘80s cocaine-level magic. We find that if we give ourselves a good dose of crazy magic, then we’ll find ways to talk about the other stuff that feels deep but not so dark that you want to just crawl under your bed and hibernate.”
The Magicians will return for its fifth season in 2020 on Syfy.
Based on Lev Grossman’s book trilogy, this fantasy Syfy series follows the adventures of students at Brakebills University, a graduate school specializing in magic.