While The Magicians has never been about just one character, the cast and crew who came to San Diego Comic-Con agree that season 5 will most definitely have the loss of Quentin at its thematic core. The show was in the middle of filming the fourth episode of the season when the convention began, but even in the early stages of the new story, it’s clear that Jason Ralph’s character touched each of the others in a way that’s bound to have a lasting effect even as magic comes coursing back into their lives.
New showrunner Henry Alonso Myers noted that the common loss has had a way of unifying the story that would be otherwise difficult to do. “In an interesting way it’s always been the struggle and challenge of the show from our perspective to find ways to bring our massive group of characters together,” Myers said. “[Quentin] was often that guy, and in many ways, he still ends up being that guy even in death… we’re really blessed to have such a terrific ensemble that we can lean on to explore all kinds of things that would be tough to do on a single lead show.”
Executive producer Sera Gamble agreed that Quentin’s death was a great way to bring everyone’s stories together, but she promised that it wouldn’t be at all predictable. “We knew that grief would be a huge theme in season 5, handled in a way that only The Magicians can handle it,” she told us. “Quentin’s death touches every character on the show in unusual and unexpected ways. It will bring some of them closer together; it will put some of them at odds, and it brings things out in these characters that’s really deep and specific. And it’s stuff we were really looking forward to writing.”
Executive producer John McNamara considered the opportunity to explore the theme of grief a unique one for The Magicians season 5. “Quentin was one of the few characters who touched every other character almost equally,” he elaborated. “Rarely does a show ever kill the character who’s the center of the wheel where all the spokes go out. One of the reasons to do that was to fully explore grief from nine other points of view, and everyone’s experience is different.”
That being said, Gamble noted that The Magicians has always been about how magic touches the lives of the characters in the show, and season 5 will be no different. “There was one season where there was no magic! There was a season where magic was tightly regulated, so there was a scarcity of magic. And we knew that season 5 would be the season of too much magic, and we would be exploring what happens when there are some surges,” Gamble said. “What happens when you’re just learning how to handle something that powerful and that dangerous, and it’s being shoved at you too quick?”
With the cast and crew of The Magicians about to head into their panel, there are sure to be many more announcements coming out of San Diego Comic Con about season 5, including a first look trailer. But it’s somehow satisfying to know that the show will not simply move past the loss of Quentin Coldwater, who was certainly central to the Lev Grossman novels even if the ensemble has come to the forefront in the television adaptation. There are certainly plenty more stories to tell, however, that will merely springboard from Quentin’s legacy in ways that will pay him proper tribute.
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Chris Longo is the deputy editor and print editor of Den of Geek. You can find him on Twitter @east_coastbias.