The Magicians was something of a surprise success for Syfy (Corporate parent of Blastr - Ed), delivering an adaptation of Lev Grossman's popular fantasy books while also developing its own character and branching out from the source material in some interesting ways. With Season 2 looming, the cast and creators took to the stage at New York Comic Con to connect with fans and tease what's to come.
Things certainly started out on an interesting note, with freestyle rap group Freestyle Love Supreme introducing each member of the panel with a rhyme. The stage was then quickly taken over by moderator Aisha Tyler (Archer, Criminal Minds), apparently a huge fan of the show, who was, no lie, the most entertaining part of the proceedings. Seriously, if she doesn't have a much more robust moderation schedule in the future, someone's not paying attention.
But, of course, the main attraction was the cast and creative team from the show. Cast members included Jason Ralph (Quentin Coldwater), Stella Maeve (Julia Wicker), Olivia Taylor Dudley (Alice Quinn), Hale Appleman (Eliot Waugh), Arjun Gupta (Penny), Summer Bishil (Margo Hanson), Rick Worthy (Dean Fogg), and Jade Tailor (Kady Orloff-Diaz), and they were joined by producers Sera Gamble and John McNamara. The vibe was celebratory and convivial, the cast obviously having developed a personal chemistry that mirrors that of their characters - except without all the fighting, cheating, and magical shenanigans, of course (probably). There were also plenty of F-bombs dropped, making it seem the team has no reservations about being one of the racier offerings on non-premium cable (check out the unedited version of Season 1 for proof).
Of course, the crowd was most interested to see what we could expect out of Season 2, and the panel obliged with two videos. The first was a behind-the-scenes featurette showcasing the increased presence of Fillory in the upcoming season - an elaborate throne room set with fire pillars (an Applebaum favorite) along with sweeping outdoor vistas courtesy of the Vancouver shooting location. There was also some fun, self-aware dialogue on display, with one of Fillory's new rulers asking, "What if we're the comic relief?" and discussion of a "big bad." This was reinforced in the second video, a full-on Season 2 preview containing a Ned Stark name-drop. The general feeling was that the skewering of modern fantasy tropes is going to continue to be a thing for The Magicians, coupled with some actual epic fantasy. When we interviewed the cast of the show, one of the things Arjun Gupta mentioned was that the series felt more confident in Season 2, and it definitely felt like they were feeling their oats based on what was shown (but not released online) here.
As with most con panels, no major spoilers were revealed, but Sera Gamble did let slip a couple of tidbits:
The Beast: We'll definitely get to see some interesting interplay between Julia and The Beast, as the former plots her revenge for the horrible things done to her in Season 1.
Singing! "There are several musical numbers in Season 2." YMMV.
Bigger and better: One definitely gets the feeling that the people behind the show feel an ownership of this story, now, and that the key focus moving forward is finding a way to both honor Grossman's work AND develop the original threads that were woven in Season 1. Whether they can pull it off is anyone's guess, but fans of the show and the books will want to stay tuned to see what worlds will be explored when the show returns in 2017.