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Shadowhunters' Isaiah Mustafa talks Luke's guilt, romance and Infinity War

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May 1, 2018

Tonight's Shadowhunters landed on our hearts like Clary landing on that car after Jase pushed her off the roof. Not only is the group trying to free Jase from the clutches of wicked Lillith, but Luke's now dealing with the guilt of his partner, Ollie, befalling the same fate.

SYFY FANGRRLS talked to Isaiah Mustafa about Luke's guilt, the potential for romance, and, of course, a little movie called Avengers: Infinity War (even in the face of ancient evil, it's all any of us can talk about).

This week, we saw Lillith has Ollie. Ollie's killed her mother, she says she's going to kill Luke and her girlfriend Sam—how is Luke dealing with that guilt, that he put her in this position?

Yeah. It's one of those things where he reluctantly agreed to let her in on this whole big huge secret, and then said, “OK, fine. You know, you've done your detective work. You're one of those things that are a little annoying at times, but you're still my partner, so I have to respect that, and I let you in on this.” And the fact that he lets her in on it, now she's gotten taken and possessed. So, in a way, it's like a different version of what's going on with Clary, with him and Clary. Clary was able to get in on the Shadow World, but she's handling it different because her mother was in it also, so she's almost grandfathered in. She's able kind of to navigate that world and learned some things and she has all these skills and talents. Whereas, Ollie didn't have all that. She's just a mundane. And she doesn't know, she didn't have any angel blood to back her up or anything, so it's a huge responsibility for him. But, it's an extra responsibility he's taking on.

It's like he's got a pack of one with Ollie, you know? He's got his wolf pack he has to worry about, but he also now has to worry about her and her well being, and also, her partner's well being, like Sam. He has to think about, what would it be like if Ollie didn't come home. He'd be responsible. When she gets taken, it's like all these things are coming true. And he's like, “I can't believe — I warned her about this. And I shouldn't have," and now, he feels this guilt of like, “Ah! I should have just trusted my instincts and not told her, but now, we have this situation so now I have to deal with it."

Yeah, Luke and Clary are kind of having similar stories in this episode, because she's dealing with her guilt about what's happened to Jase. And then Luke's dealing with Ollie.  

Yeah, those two trains run parallel a lot of times.  

When I talked to Kat before the season premiere, we talked about how there are different pairings this season. People are teaming up that we really hadn't seen do that before, and you've been with Simon a lot this season. What's that relationship been like to build?

It's a good relationship between those two. You know, it's almost a stronger bond than a father-son bond because I think, Luke, he knows that death is right at the fingertips. It can happen at any time because Simon's got this new thing going on, right? So we have to kind of coach him through that and be like “Listen, you're a vampire, and you're a day-lighter, but just be careful, you gotta watch out, things happen quickly and before you know it, you could find yourself on the wrong end of a dagger or something.” So, it's just very close, he's trying to teach him things to help him survive, like give him little pearls of information to help him survive in the shadow world but, he doesn't want to give him too much or overload him with all this information considering he's got, he's also still dealing with the fact that 'Whoa, five months ago I wasn't a vampire and today I'm a vampire and I gotta deal with that.' 

What's the dynamic for the cast, with Jase being the bad guy for the last few episodes? 

It wasn't too bad. It was kinda fun for Dom I suppose. He seemed to really get into the Owl. I think he kinda liked it. It's interesting because we normally had a villain who was a villain to start with, you know, someone who wasn't one of our own, so having Jase as the villain, you have to take a little more care in how you approach fighting that because you don't want to hurt the person inside. 

Last week we got kind of a glimpse of maybe some romance in the future with Luke and Maryse. Will we see that develop?

Yeah they definitely have a good foundation. I think what you saw in [Season 3, Episode 6, "A Window into an Empty Room] was because they had some history, as far as the show, what people have seen, she's pretty much kicked him out of the institute every time he was in there and going back further, in the Circle, they are completely at odds. When they were younger, they competed a lot. So they've had this kind of contemptuous relationship that, yes, you could call it a friendship in the beginning but then it became this intense rivalry. 

Now the playing field is evened. Let's get all the bad energy and the bad stuff behind us and lets just move forward and wipe the slate clean and say, "Alright, from here on out, because I know what you're going through." Luke was saying, “Because I know what you're going through, I just want to be able to offer you assistance, and let you know that you're not alone and we're both different people than from what we were when we were put in the Circle, and if you need help, I'm here for you."

Now, one thing that's less Shadowhunters related, but I know that you're into comics. What are you reading right now? 

Oh man, I just saw Infinity War last night. Whoa. The movie's awesome. So, literally last night, it was probably 1 in the morning because I saw the 10:50 showing, I was thinking "That was literally a comic book on screen. Everything in that was such a comic frame, like all the stories and how they put it together." And I thought, I kinda want to go back and read that. Like and see maybe "Infinity Gauntlet" and see what that was all about. I remember when I was like—this was like back in what, '91-92? I believe that's when it was. I was in high school. I remember that was like a big thing, "The Infinity Gauntlet." I think I'm gonna go back and check that out. 

If you could play a superhero, who would it be? 

Man, there are so many good superheroes out there, it's such a tough question. I always feel like by saying "I wanna play this guy" then the casting department is like "Let's NOT cast him as THIS guy." So I'm gonna choose someone who is not someone I'd actually like to play. [laughs] But, I wouldn't mind playing a super villain, to tell you the truth. I think that would be more fun. Any one of the villains in the Marvel Universe would be great. I can't think of any more off the top of my head that—oh, I can think of one guy but I don't want to say it because I'd actually love to play it.  

Have you ever played a villain before?

Have I? I have played a villain once I think, and it wasn't really a villain. It was just kind of like an anti-hero. Kinda like, I guess Luke's an anti-hero too because he's got a little bit of that demon blood in him also.  

Is that fun to play? Walking that line between good and the potential of bad? 

If you're invested in the character and invested in what you're doing, it's constantly—it can be frustrating because you're torn between the good and the bad all the time, and so you're constantly walking this tightrope and you know you can't lean too far in one direction, otherwise you'll fall off into that. It can be frustrating at times because there's times when you really wanna—you think "Well wouldn't he be just viscous as a werewolf, wouldn't he just be full werewolf in this moment right now?" Then you have to remember, "He would if he was just a werewolf. But, he's not. He's a former Shadowhunter and a father figure so he's gotta remember that." It's kinda like when you grow up, you think, "Oh I'd like to just do that," and you go, "Wait, I'm to old for that." 

Shadowhunters airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on Freeform.