Shadowhunters bosses break down the series finale, explain that ending
Spoiler alert: This post contains plot details from the series finale of Shadowhunters.
A wedding. A sacrifice. A glimpse of hope. The Shadowhunters series finale was packed full of moments, both happy and sad, for fans of the beloved Freeform series. EW talked with showrunners Darren Swimmer and Todd Slavkin about crafting their farewell, characters they would’ve liked to see again, and that final scene.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: When you sat down to write the finale, was the Malec wedding the first, obvious thing to include?
DARREN SWIMMER: Of course that was going to happen. There’s no way we wouldn’t go to that place. And we did luckily have an idea of where we were going with the show in season 4. The daunting task was: How in God’s name would we reduce that to two hours when it’s supposed to be 10 or 13 or 20 hours? We thought about what the most important points were and what things we needed to achieve to make it satisfying. We got a little group of writers — we couldn’t get everybody back, but we got a lot of the writers — and we were really happy with the process and what we came up with.
Did you all know your ending before you sat down to write this?
TODD SLAVKIN: There are six books, so book 6 was up next in terms of the development of the show. In terms of how we would end the show, that never crossed our mind. (A) We didn’t think it was on the horizon. (B) There were so many different avenues you could go down. It’s endless in the sci-fi/fantasy world that is the Shadow World. So having to end, in a weird way, was inspiring, and it gave us this drive and this immediacy. Even though it was tragic because the show was canceled, it was the most exhilarating time of writing and creating two episodes of TV.
Were there any characters you wanted to bring back that you weren’t able to?
SLAVKIN: We wanted to bring back Cain when they were in Edom but couldn’t make that work. We wanted to bring Lydia to the wedding, we thought that would be a great shout-out to season 1, but the scheduling didn’t work. Availability was such an issue in this finale. But we did manage to get a lot. Those were the two characters that specifically for the finale we wanted to see.
Seeing Clary’s mom again was a great full-circle moment.
SLAVKIN: We tried to get her back before, and we couldn’t with scheduling. We thought it was such a cool idea that Raziel, who’s this wrathful angel, that little bastard would use the mother to manipulate Clary and to give her this warning knowing that Clary would listen to her mom. It was manipulative in that Raziel way that felt right.
What went into the decision to have Clary kill Jonathan, and to do it in such an emotional way?
SLAVKIN: It had to be Clary. We knew that Clary was going to take him down, and it would be even more intense because she would sacrifice the Shadow World because she would be using her last rune. We always thought Jonathan had this likability of looking for a family but never being loved. He was the abused child from both sides. At his core, he was just a product of the environment because he’s Clary brother, so we always knew that. You really love him.
SWIMMER: You feel sorry for him.
SLAVKIN: And we always wanted the wings to come back. There was that vision when you saw Jonathan with dark wings and Jace with the white wings, and the notion that Clary would hug her brother to kill him was so powerful to us. It was this showing of love that quickly turns into a suffocation and draining the life force.
That final scene between Clary and Jace felt like it was filled with hope, but you also left it a bit open to interpretation. What’s your interpretation of that moment?
SLAVKIN: What I think is so cool about that last scene is that you see such a twinkle in both of their eyes. There’s this love that cracks through. So you can interpret it differently, but I think most people walk away going, “Okay, it’s starting. It’s positive.” These two aren’t just going to walk away. I don’t know how it’s going to move forward, but it’s going to move forward and most likely, if she can see those runes, welcome to the Shadow World and here we go again.
SWIMMER: When we wrote that last scene, we were thinking there might be a slim chance that somehow we could continue the show on some other venue or in some other form, so we wanted to leave an open end to it.