'The Magicians' Season 3 Is a "Unified Quest" to Restore Magic

Everyone is united.

Getty Images / Nicholas Hunt

With magic gone for The Magicians Season 3, each of the would-be magicians on the show has to re-evaluate not only who they are as people, but who they can be without relying on magic to define their experiences. Inverse caught up with the cast and executive producers of the show at New York Comic Con, and they teased a third season that brings all-new character dynamics to the table in a world without magic.

Penny has a death sentence, Alice is being hunted, and the Fillorian royalty is in all sorts of jeopardy. Despite these and other more personal concerns, the loss of magic compels everyone on a “unified quest” that will take them across worlds and to the high seas. Some characters will board the Muntjac, a living Fillorian ship prominently featured in Lev Grossman’s second Magicians novel. And considering the Season 3 logo featured during the panel shows a keyhole and a golden key, chances are high the Fable of the Seven Golden Keys will factor into the next season, probably as a way to restore magic.

In an exclusive round of press interviews, Stella Maeve and Jason Ralph talked their excitement regarding Quentin and Julia’s evolving dynamic in Season 3. It might mirror a stretch of The Magician King, in which Julia and Quentin wind up back on Earth in need of help.

How closely will their journey resemble 'The Magician King'?


Jason Ralph also promises a “different kind of Quentin” in Season 3. He’s become a bit bolder, taking more risks out of a desperate need to complete this quest of restoring magic. It’s not about seeking out thrills — which causes problems aboard the Muntjac in The Magician King, but it shouldn’t in Season 3.

During a scene revealed later at the New York Comic panel for The Magicians, Quentin and Julia party with Bacchus, god of revelry. They want information from the ridiculous-looking bro of a god regarding the nature of magic, and how they might restore it. Bacchus just forces them to do shots and doses Quentin with what we can only assume is godly ecstasy.

“Julia and Quentin almost circle back to who they were as kids,” John McNamara notes that their reunion more or less restores their BFF status. Aside from partying with a god, we get to see them revisit a lifelong friendship and get over past grievances.

Jason Ralph and Stella Maeve spoke enthusiastically about the unexpected nature of Quentin and Julia’s relationship, which started as the tired unrequited love trope but evolved into something much more interesting. Jason Ralph said during the panel, “It’s really gratifying to get back together.”

The quest to revive magic will also lead to some unlikely pairings for the cast. Sure, we get some expected combos like Eliot with Margo or Quentin with Julia, but Sera Gamble teased during The Magicians NYCC panel that we’ll see more scenes with Julia and Alice together in Season 3. Julia’s relationship to the strange new magic she discovered evolves over the season in unexpected ways, and perhaps it’ll take Alice to help her figure it out.

Alice herself will go through the “worst quarter-life crisis ever,” according to Taylor Dudley. Alice died, became a niffin, sort of died again, and when finally reunited with her Shade, she then had magic taken away completely. Alice will be in a weird emotional spot when the season kicks off, especially considering she’s being hunted by an enemy she made while a niffin.

Arjun Gupta, who plays Penny, promises a whole new version of the character that fans might be surprised to see. He’s even got a new wardrobe that Executive Producer John McNamara says is inspired by Cary Grant’s character in North by Northwest.

McNamara, along with fellow Executive Producer Sera Gamble confirms that The Magicians Season 3 will continue the multi-genre nature of the show. If you loved the Les Mis musical number from Season 2, then look for equally as musical performances that will probably come from Hale Appleman’s Eliot. “Eliot fans will be excited for that one,” Appleman says of Episode 5, which may or may not have the number in questions.

Arjun Gupta says that in Season 3 the worlds are bigger, the story takes more risks, and the show itself has “really found its voice.” He, along with Olivia Taylor Dudley, call this the best season yet, with murmurs of agreement among the rest of the cast.

If some of them wind up at a legitimate Bacchanalia, then things are already off to a great start.

The Magicians Season 3 is expected to release early in 2018.

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