Syfy’s hit series “The Magicians” returns for a third season January 10 at 9 p.m. ET.
Based on the popular novels by Lev Grossman, the show has remained relatively faithful to its source material, but will continue to forge its own path as an original television series in the season ahead as the enchanted characters struggle to find their way in the magic-less (and fairy-full) world of Fillory.
Xfinity caught up with the cast and creators of “The Magicians” at San Diego Comic-Con 2017 in July to get the scoop on season three. Here are seven things you need to know before the premiere:
THE MAGIC IS DEAD
At the end of season two, Quentin (Jason Ralph) and Julia (Stella Maeve) kill a god named Ember, which sparks a chain of events effectively ending magical powers across the universe just as a horde of fairies invade the realm.
“We sort of killed magic a little bit,” said showrunner Sera Gamble. “Good news for us, bad news for Margo and Eliot.”
BUT THE MAGIC ISN’T REALLY DEAD
“Julia has magic,” explained Gamble. “That’s a mystery we get into right at the beginning of the season.”
“The fairies have magic,” added showrunner John Mcnamara.
And while our heroes would benefit from offsetting their lack of powers by aligning with magical creatures—aside from the Fillory-invading fairies—the beasts and monsters are not entirely enthusiastic about the notion.
“They have no interest in helping, not only just humans, but they’re especially ant-magician,” said Gamble. “It’s an extra bad situation. But at the same time, there’s enough magical stuff in the show that the show still looks and feels really cool every week. It would be a bummer to make a show called ‘The Magicians’ and not have any access to magic. We’re just keeping it away from our characters.”
THERE’S A BOAT
“There is a boat,” confirmed Gamble. “Unlike any boat you’ve ever seen, especially on the inside.”
Much of season three will take place aboard a living, magical boat called the Muntjac, which will be especially familiar to fans of the book series. However, not all of “The Magicians” cast members are looking forward to their time at sea.
“I get sea sick, so I bought a bunch of Dramamine, and I’m hoping for the best,” quipped star Olivia Taylor Dudley, who plays Alice Quinn.
ALICE IS HUMAN, AND NOT HAPPY ABOUT IT
After sacrificing herself at the beginning of season two and subsequently rising from the dead as an all-powerful niffin, Alice was once again thrown a curve ball by truly returning to the land of the living in the penultimate episode.
“Alice is really angry,” explained Dudley. “We get to play such strong females on this show, which is why I love it and I wanted to sign on for it. And I really f***ing love magic. [laughs] This season, she’s really mad that [Quentin] brought her back to Earth and made her a human and told her what she’s supposed to be. There’s a side of Alice that’s angry as a woman that she was learning to be the most powerful thing in the universe—a niffin—so she’s very pissed off. Now, she’s forgetting what it’s like to be a niffin as well, and she’s becoming human. I’m kind of going backwards and shifting gears into being a human again this season, which is fun and tricky and challenging.”
SEASON 3 MAY BE THE FUNNIEST YET
Expect plenty of biting wit and sarcasm from “The Magicians’” lovably snarky duo, Margo Hanson (Summer Bishil) and Eliot Waugh (Hale Appleman).
“It almost gets more intense,” said Bishil. “They get funnier, I think. We just did a scene that has got to be the funniest scene we’ve ever had together.”
“There’s a self-awareness to their humor and to the writing,” Appleman added. “I have this nagging feeling that Eliot’s starting to wonder if he’s on a TV show or something. There’s such a meta aspect to ‘The Magicians’ as books and ‘The Magicians’ also as a television show, and I think that self-awareness sometimes bleeds through into interpersonal moments as well.”
THE SHOW IS VERY SELF-AWARE
“There is a character who says that a quest will solve this [magic] problem,” recalled Mcnamara. “And one of the characters says, ‘Well, how long is the quest?’ And he says, ‘Oh, about a season.’”
THE STAKES ARE HIGHER THAN EVER
“We’re just sort of dealing with bigger things than just our basic relationship problems, because we’re under occupation,” said Bishil of the fairy invasion.
“There’s a bigger threat,” explained Appleman. “We’re ruling our kingdom, and we’re simultaneously being ruled. That’s the first step, is how to navigate that. I think overall this season, there’s kind of a unity to the overall arc of the season for all of the characters in that we’re united in one big common intention, big quest. I think that will really ground the show in and of itself, and all of the various storylines are all working towards the same goal, which I think is really exciting. It gives the show a new kind of balance that I think will serve it really well.”
Catch the season 3 premiere of “The Magicians” on Syfy this Wednesday, January 10 at 9 p.m. ET.