“The Magicians” will have a difficult task ahead in Season 4, which was previewed at the Comic-Con panel on Saturday in San Diego. On hand to tease what comes next were co-creators Sera Gamble and John McNamara, stars Jason Ralph, Stella Maeve, Olivia Taylor Dudley, Hale Appleman, and Summer Bishil. Actress and ultimate geek girl Felicia Day, who has guest-starred on the Syfy series, moderated the panel.
“The Magicians” hit reset last season by restoring magic to the world, but it’s controlled and rationed out by the Librarians. Also, the Brakebills students who weren’t able to foil that plan have undergone an unwilling magical witness protection program of sorts in which they each have new identities that even they are fooled by. In short, they’re living new lives under new names with no memory of who they were before. Also, a creature known as the Monster took on the guise of Eliot (Hale Appleman), and he’s been unleashed upon this new, limited magic world with no regard for others. “Will you play with me?” is his one question, and for everyone’s sake, the answer had better be yes.
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Gamble defended breaking the world (yet again for “The Magicians”) in the finale because it’s a proven — if gutsy — strategy to get picked up for another season. “[We] just fuck everybody as hard as you possibly can. This was our solution this time… It’s good to be stuck, it’s good to run out of story because hopefully, you [the viewer] don’t know what’s going to happen.”
McNamara, who had determined the new personas for each of the characters, said that he wasn’t inspired by any particular creative goal but by his desire to go on vacation. “I just blasted through those like a hooker on Saturday night. ‘This is a Season 4 problem, and I am out of here.'”
The writers then got to “spitballing” ideas to dig themselves out of that narrative hole, and what resulted was the upcoming season. Apparently, in lieu of an actual trailer, the Syfy marketing department conceived of a video for Comic-Con that further confused matters while only spilling minor spoilers. Take a look at the “mockumentary” that even confused Felicia Day:
Drawing from the video and the panel itself, here’s what we can expect for each character:
Quentin Goldwater/Brian (Jason Ralph)
In describing his new persona, Ralph was enthusiastic and beaming. “I call Brian, Bri-Guy. He has a sunny disposition and is different from anything I’ve done before,” he said, adding that smiling that widely “hurts so much.”
Julia Wicker/Kim (Stella Maeve)
“Julia is Kim, or Kim is Julia… or is she?” said Maeve, not helping the matter of her character’s identity at all after we see her make a presentation in a boardroom. The teaser video did confirm what was hinted at in the finale though: Kim is an architect.
Alice Quinn (Olivia Taylor Dudley)
Dudley wasn’t as thrilled with how she ended up in the finale because she did not get to a new identity like the rest of the cast. “Why do I have to stay the same miserable character?” she said. “I have to stay Alice in a cell with ill-fitting clothing.” She also added that this season, Alice is more like she was at the beginning of the series. “She no longer has the answers and is a little more innocent,” Dudley said.
Reflecting on the past season, she added that the musical episode was the most rewarding and then hinted, “I might sing again, maybe.”
Eliot Waugh/Monster (Hale Appleman)
Although a fan asked if Eliot and Quentin might continue the romantic relationship that was seen in the episode “Life in a Day,” Appleman couldn’t even speculate. “I haven’t seen Eliot so far this season in the scripts,” he said, indicating that so far, they’ve shot five episodes of Season 4. “The monster and Bri Guy have a close bond, according to the Monster at least.”
That said, Appleman wanted to emphasize that even though the Monster looks like Eliot, he is not Eliot. “He’s not a human being… I think he’s a collector and looking at other experiences people are having,” he said. “He doesn’t have the actual human gene so he can’t quite get there.”
Margo Hanson/Janet (Summer Bishil)
At the end of last season, Bishil’s new persona was a very fashionable lady named Janet. She calls an Uber, and her driver ends up being Isaac (Trevor Einhorn), whom we know better as Josh. Season 4 appears to continue that hilarious interaction.
In the video, Bishil said that the two have “comedic chemistry” this year. As Janet, “they keep calling her High King. She’s kind of fashion royalty,” she said. To explain why Janet might have an eye patch, Bishil said that she might have a “pre-existing eye condition.”
Kady Orloff-Diaz/Sam (Jade Tailor)
In last season’s finale, it appeared that Kady had gotten the short end of the stick when it came to new personas. She was seen in raggedy clothing purchasing what appeared to be drugs from a guy in a car. But the teaser video offered additional insight. Tailor’s character is Sam Cunningham, a woman who wields a gun and is a “badass” who “punches people.” Looks like this new Kady is most likely a cop or some other undercover operative.
Penny Adiyodi/DJ Hansel (Arjun Gupta)
McNamara told IndieWire at the end of last season about Penny’s new persona already. “This is a slight spoiler, but whatever. Arjun is the one who is the least going to want to leave [his new life] because he really was a successful DJ. He’s really famous,” said McNamara. “It’s like if you told Calvin Harris, ‘Yeah, you’re actually a grad student at Columbia,’ or ‘You’re a fucking graduate student at a college that no one’s ever heard of.’”
It turns out that the name of Penny’s new identity is DJ Hansel who is “curious when this magic comes along.”
Dean Fogg (Rick Worthy)
Fogg’s decision to help the Library control the magic and imprison Alice seemed baffling to some since it appeared he had betrayed his students. Gamble explained, “He really wants things to be orderly and to work and for students to stop blowing themselves up with magic… I sympathize with a lot of people who subscribe to authoritarianism [with good intentions]… How far will you go?”
“The Magicians” returns for a 13-episode fourth season sometime in 2019 on Syfy.