Spoilers for upcoming magicians
While some fans may be shocked by what happened to the cast of The Magicians after the show ended in 2020, even more were surprised by what happened to one of the main characters while the show was still running.
Quentin Coldwater’s death at the end of the show’s penultimate season was downright surprising. And it was final. Unlike a few other deaths on the show, which saw some sort of character reinvention/reintroduction, Quentin’s was final. While heroic and dramatic, it sparked a ton of speculation as to what was really going on behind the scenes.
Of course, tempers turned to the behind-the-scenes drama. But that doesn’t seem to be the case. During an interview with Vulturethe series creators have addressed the shocking and controversial story decision and shed some light on their true rationale.
Why did they get rid of Quentin On The Magicians?
During an interview with Vulture, co-executive producers and showrunners Sera Gamble, John McNamara and Henry Alonso Myers shed light on the controversial decision to kill Quentin. According to Sera, this decision was the one we were playing with at the end of season three. But it wasn’t just something that happened behind the scenes. The creators also involved the actor who played him, Jason Ralph.
Sera claimed it was a creative decision that excited both them and Jason himself. Of course he wouldn’t be the only one actor who wanted his beloved character killed off.
“The next person we sat down and talked to was Lev Grossman. [the author of the book trilogy that Magicians is based on]who was also very excited to explore this possibility,” Sera told Vulture.
“To be totally candid about this, we opened the series with a scene with Quentin in a mental hospital, struggling with his own feelings about his life and death and what it all means. For me, a lot of what was intriguing about [Jason] when he auditioned, it was because he played Quentin in this way who was active in the search for an answer, searching for a deeper human truth inside his own depression. If you have the privilege of telling a story long enough, you want to close that circle. If we’re going to do drama and magic and high stakes, we want to do deeply human things. And it didn’t go any deeper than that for us.”
The controversy surrounding Quentin’s disappearance
While many heralded the creative decision, the execution of the episode may have indirectly triggered a controversial message. As Vulture pointed out, some might have seen the way Quentin sacrifices himself by endorsing the act itself.
“I absolutely do not want to write pro-s*icide television. It’s irresponsible, and it’s frankly too simplistic,” John McNamara told Vulture.
“Someone who is incredibly heroic in the moment, and also has subconscious tendencies to self-destruct, makes for interesting, non-caricatured drama. For anyone who really wants to touch on all the layers of what Quentin has done, the best way to do that is to not kill yourself. Stay alive and debate this issue.
John went on to explain that the reason he put an as*icide hotline notice on the episode was because he didn’t want to trigger people.
“That’s not our intention. Our intention is to really rigorously and realistically explore human behavior, and if the show simplifies human behavior to the point of making it a cartoon, you’re doing the world a bigger disservice. world of mental health.”
Did Jason Ralph want to be kicked out of magicians?
Unlike many other shows, deaths on The Magicians had to be final. They had to have stakes. And that meant not seeing another version of Quentin, whether in a flashback or another timeline.
“We killed Alice, and she came back changed. But we killed Penny, and we tried to offer a different perspective on that, and so Penny left. Part of our feeling for season five is that you risk losing your audience’s trust if you never kill anyone for real. It’s very important for us to explore the authentic emotions that come with death,” Henry Alonso Myers told Vulture.
“They all become adults, and that’s a fundamental part of adulthood that we didn’t want to neglect, that we want to explore. It’s important.”
The permanent decision ultimately had fans wondering if Jason Ralph really wanted to be cut from the show altogether. But the creators maintained that it was a mutual decision.
“Jason [left] the show under great circumstances,” John said. “It was a mutual decision. He will confirm it.”