Rape is often a tired and unnecessary trope in television shows, often drawing strong criticism from both fans and critics alike on how it is used and what happens to the victim character afterward.
Therefore, much credit is due to the writing staff of The Magicians, who responsibly put some thought into Julia Wicker’s sexual assault to accurately portray a rape survivor narrative that resonates. Julia is raped by trickster demon Reynard the Fox in Lev Grossman’s books, which are the source material for the SYFY series. As a result, Julia immediately goes on a journey to seek revenge, which is explored in Season 2.
We caught up with Stella Maeve, who plays Julia, at New York Comic Con and asked her what it was like not only portraying that difficult scene but also portraying the effects of that trauma.
“It was really gratifying to be a part of something that reaches a lot of people. We reached out to RAINN [Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network], who said their call centers went up 70 percent after that episode aired," Maeve explained.
"It's dealing with things that happen all the time and sexual assaults that do happen, whether it was a trickster god, or whether it was a person, it was handled as if it was and is a real assault. So getting to experience that and bring that to the screen and let people know they're not alone, that's something that they should be able to talk about, felt really good."
Maeve had more to say about the experience and the effect it had on viewers in our interview, the dark places Julia went in Season 2 as a result, and what's in store for Season 3. Check out our interview with The Magicians' star as well as executive producer Sera Gamble, who talked about writing that scene, the thought put into it, and the aftermath.
Additional reporting by Ernie Estrella.