“We felt like this character’s journey was coming to an end. I could feel it in my bones and Jason felt the same way. Quentin came in with a very specific purpose and a very specific set of life goals and challenges, and in a way, I’m not sure what we would have done with the character had he lived. It felt like the major question in his life is, ‘Is my life truly worth living? Was it a good thing that I didn’t succeed in killing myself at 15 or 18?’ He now has that answer: he mattered to these other people, and their lives are never going to be the same for knowing him,” McNamara said. READ FULL INTERVIEW
Warning: This post contains spoilers from The Magicians season 4 finale. Read at your own risk!
One question has loomed over The Magicians since season 4’s seventh episode: Who is in the Underworld elevator? At the end of episode 7, titled “The Side Effect,” Penny-40 (Arjun Gupta), who was working for “Secrets Taken to the Grave,” greeted someone he knew as they got off the elevator, implying that one of the SYFY fantasy drama’s main characters was going to die in the near future. Well, we finally know it is…
In the season 4 finale, titled “No Better to be Safe Than Sorry,” the Brakebills gang successfully expelled the murderous ancient monsters from Julia (Stella Maeve) and Eliot’s (Hale Appleman) bodies and bottled them up. To permanently rid the world of the monsters, Quentin, Alice (Olivia Taylor Dudley), and Penny-23 had to travel to the mirror world and throw them in the Seam, the space between worlds. This is The Magicians, though, so there was obviously another twist waiting for them.
Below, EW chats with Ralph about Quentin’s death, keeping his exit from the series from the entire cast until this past weekend, and what he’ll miss about the show.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: So are you actually leaving the show?
JASON RALPH: Yes, this is the closing of Quentin Coldwater’s journey on The Magicians.
How did your exit come about? Was it your decision, the producers’, or a combination?
It’s funny, it all felt kind of natural when we started talking about it before the season started. [The show] starts with this person who is really questioning his worth in the world and if life is even worth living. And the journey of him in the show, and in the books, is him coming to the realization that it is, just maybe not in the way that he always expected. It’s kind of a story about a person who always wanted to be the main character of the story [realizing] that he’s not and finding a way to be okay with that and finding his own place inside of the world, and [learning] there really are no heroes, not in the real world anyway and confronting the disappointing reality of that. That’s naturally where we ended up finding Quentin at the top of the season and engraining those lessons through it. READ FULL INTERVIEW
Below, showrunners John McNamara, Sera Gamble and Henry Alonso Myers talk about Quentin’s departure — his portrayer Jason Ralph will not return as a series regular in Season 5 — and what comes next for Q’s friends.
TVLINE | So this is the last we see of Quentin?
JOHN MCNAMARA | This is the last we see of Quentin, although you’ve seen The Magicians…
HENRY ALONSO MYERS | He may appear in other forms.
MCNAMARA | Yeah, but this is the last you will see of Jason playing Quentin. And I’m not being coy. As far as we’re concerned at the moment, it’s the last we’ll see of Quentin. READ FULL INTERVIEW
Before we began this season, we entered into a creative conversation that included the writers, executive producer and director Chris Fisher, Lev Grossman, our partners at UCP and SYFY, and Jason Ralph. The choice for Jason to leave the show was arrived at mutually, with much respect for the story, fans of the show, and a shared sense of deliberate, essential creative risk. We want The Magicians to visit strange and fascinating new places, and we know we can’t get there by treading the same garden path others have before us. So, we did the thing you’re not supposed to do — we killed the character who’s supposed to be ‘safe.’ In real life, none of us are safe.” READ FULL INTERVIEW
At what stage did you decide to kill Quentin?
Gamble: We started talking about it at the end of season three with Jason Ralph. We had a wonderful creative conversation about Quentin’s arc as a character throughout the series, and where the end of that arc might be. John and Henry and I tend to take very seriously ideas that scare us, and this is a creatively scary idea. So we explored it, and we called Lev Grossman [author of The Magicians novels] and we said, “We have this idea, what do you think about killing Quentin?'” It was a very long pause, and then he said he thought it was a really great and intriguing and rich idea, and he started pitching ideas for the other characters based on what would happen. So we realized that we were onto something. READ FULL INTERVIEW