When you're watching the Season 3 premiere The Magicians tonight, make sure to tweet at stars Hale Appleman and Summer Bishil. Whether you get a response or no reply at all, just know that they take notice, and it helps inspire and inform their performances.
"Fan interaction and some of the fan outreach has been some of the most important and loving changes in the last few years," Appleman, who plays Eliot on the show, said during an interview this week on The Fandom Files podcast. "A lot of them take these characters very seriously, personally, and are protective of them. I think that there's a lot at stake there, and I have had several interactions with fans, who have reached out privately to me, to express certain feelings or certain fears. I think Eliot is, for a certain number of people, a character whom they can relate and identify with on a very deep level.
"I think it's important for there to be a queer hero on a fantasy genre show," Appleman continued. "I certainly didn't grow up with that, and a lot of these fans didn't either, so it means something special to them. If I am a part of that, in any way, I'm proud of that."
Eliot is the High King of Fillory, an endangered kingdom that is now without its magical enchantment. Margo is his High Queen — and platonic best friend — and the character has inspired similar interactions for Bishil, whose mother is part Mexican and father is Indian.
"When I auditioned for it, it was hard for women of my ethnicity to find roles that lived outside of stereotypes," Bishil said. "Roles like Margo were always characters I wanted to play, but that I was never seen appropriate for playing. So it's changed the types of roles that I can be seen for now. I think it's important to have women of color in these types of roles, like Margo is. She's a woman in power, and she's emancipated of ethnic stereotypes and limitation and barriers that a lot of television shows placed on us years ago."
Not every fan interaction is of the same vein — and some are a bit, well, less focused on the serious issues of representation.
"We have the most amazing fan art," Appleman said. "Oh my God. Some of it is not safe for work. "Ze_pict, love you, if you're listening. Really dedicated, really graphic, really beautiful. There are volumes out there."
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