One of the most promising shows to come out of Syfy last season was its urban fantasy romp, The Magicians. Set in a world where magic is real and there’s a secret school to help students learn it (but with a lot more sex than Hogwarts), the show proved itself to be a fan favorite by the end of Season 1.
Now, following a finale that left almost everyone broken at the hands of the Beast, showrunners Sera Gamble and John McNamara break down what we can expect from the show’s highly anticipated second season.
Shit went off at the end of Season 1, so where are we starting in the premiere?
Gamble: Like seconds later.
How hard is it going to be for the gang to recover from straight up failing to kill the Beast?
Gamble: Our goal was to fuck them up as much as possible by the end of the season, put them in true dire straits, and they’re trying to pick up from there.
We were introduced to Fillory last season. On top of that, we still have magical Earth, which includes Brakebills, and the regular, boring-ass, non-magical Earth, so how much time are we getting in each? Does one locale become more dominant as the season goes on?
Gamble: It’s even-ish … which is to say, a ton of Fillory. I mean, certainly compared to Season 1. There’s a lot of movement between our three worlds.
The students treat magic very nonchalantly, whereas someone like Julia hustles for every spell. Are we going to see any cases where taking magic for granted comes back to bite someone?
Gamble: Definitely. Because these characters are young and are encountering things for the first time, they’re not always aware of areas in which they have tremendous privilege. Then, they get into a situation where that’s taken away from them, or they face a consequence and have to grow up.
What can you tease about where we’re going with Quentin this season?
Gamble: He learns a lot of lessons the hard way. If in Season 1 he discovered who he might be, in Season 2 he’s learning what the reality of being an adult in that world really is.
How are you going to be approaching the Beast this season?
Gamble: We literally took the mask off, and now we get to meet Martin Chatwin.
McNamara: And the voice, the sarcasm, the tone, the Britishness, is all in the book. So when we’re writing him, we’re just putting that character in other situations.
What was the mantra for Season 2?
McNamara: If Season 1 was about magic, Season 2 is about fate. Is fate accidental? Or is fate the design of someone or something that has cruel intentions?
The god Julia summoned is still out in the world. How long are we gonna have to wait to see that get addressed?
Gamble: You won’t have to wait at all. The first conversation she has with the Beast is about him. The reason she does what she does in the finale is because she needs to do something about the fact Reynard is still out there. This is a terrible problem she feels she caused.
As far as Penny and the fact that you cut his hands off, how are you going to be addressing that?
Gamble: The one thing we knew we weren’t going to do was just magically give him new hands and be done, because losing his hands in the books starts him on a path. He never goes back to the Penny he was before.
How does Eliot deal with ruling as the High King of Fillory, especially considering that he can never go back to Earth?
Gamble: Nobody wants to be left behind, especially in a world that doesn’t have champagne. He has to invent champagne for Fillory.
McNamara: He has to be monogamous.
McNamara: And heterosexual.
Gamble: He’s been forced into heterosexual monogamy as part of this deal, which is not really his jam. He’s a character who was in a very desperate situation when he made that choice.
What about Margo? How will she handle her best friend being stuck in Fillory?
McNamara: They get to spend some time together in Fillory as rulers. She’s High Queen.
Finally, what’s the biggest thing you want to tease about Season 2 to fans?
McNamara: No power in the universe can change fate.
The Magicians Season 2 premieres January 25 on Syfy.
This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.