‘The Magicians’ cast describes becoming a bunch of muggles at Comic-Con

What happens when you have a show about spellcasters who can’t do magic? We’ll find out in Season 3 of Syfy’s The Magicians. Jason Ralph (Quentin), Stella Maeve (Julia), Hale Appleman (Eliot), Summer Bishil (Margo), Olivia Taylor Dudley (Alice), and showrunners John McNamara and Sera Gamble spoke to reporters at San Diego Comic-Con about how the Plumber turning off magic will affect the world.

Season 2 just ended in April and Season 3 won’t return until 2018, so there weren’t a ton of spoilers about the fallout. We did learn a few tidbits, though. “It will kind of be our Fury Road season,” said McNamara. “No resources.” That means no bouncing between worlds, for one thing. “We get to see new combinations of people; we get to watch them work together,” said Ralph. Julia, Quentin, and Josh (Trevor Einhorn) are all together, trying to figure out how to contact an old god. “He would love a conversation with an old god to convince that god that he should turn magic back on, but it’s not that easy to get to them,” said Gamble of Quentin.

If that doesn’t work, maybe some sort of magical object could help. When asked about the role of music in the third season, McNamara said there may be a battle of the bands-style contest. “The losers die, and the winners get a thing that our characters want to help turn back on magic,” he said. (We couldn’t tell if he was joking.)

In Filorie, Margo and Eliot are besieged by unfriendly fairies. “The fairy queen pulls a fast one on us and has some omniscient perspective on the world, and we don’t understand how she knows all of our deepest darkest secrets,” said Appleman. Not only is Eliot magic-less, he may be more sober this season. “I think he’s learning to be a more well-rounded person, and I think that he will be asked to look inward in a way that he hasn’t before,” he said.

Perhaps his impending fatherhood has something to do with it — something Eliot isn’t exactly looking forward to, said Appleman: “I don’t think it’s something he can see as a reality until it’s really right in front of him.” We saw some of the differences in Eliot’s and Margo’s ruling styles, the latter winding up with Margo promising Eliot’s first born to the fairies. “I think Fen getting banished to the fairy realm by Margo was an act of betrayal,” said Appleman. Gamble thinks Margo was reacting to a dire situation. “I think of it as just a sign that Margo has a lot of responsibility,” she said. “Sometimes, when you are a person with responsibility, there’s actually no perfect answer. There’s no way that you can thread that needle and come up with a solution where no one gets hurt.”

Those who have read the Magician’s book series will remember the Muntjac, the revived ship Quentin commissions to help collect back taxes. “It is a magic creature,” said McNamara. “It’s alive.” The crew sounds slightly different in the show, though, as Margo and Eliot are both on board. That means fabulous costumes for the pair. “They’re not your everyday eye patches,” said Bishil. Appleman said his look is “seafaring captain Eliot,” which he describes as “fantasy meets military, perhaps elements of a Jean Genet influence.”

High seas aside, the world is still a dangerous place — especially if you just angered a bunch of beings while you were a niffin.  “The consequences are pretty dire for Alice, what she did when she was a niffin, but that’s not even the hardest thing she’d dealing with this season,” said Gamble. As someone who defined herself by her magic, Alice needs to figure out who she is without it. Plus, as she was very recently pure magical energy, Alice might miss that power.

“I think there’s a lot of secrets in Alice’s head that we haven’t heard yet about what that experience is like,” said Taylor Dudley. “I wouldn’t trust her. I think that even though she’s human again, there’s a version of her in her head and in her heart that’s still niffin.”  We’d say maybe a trip home would help, but Alice’s parents would likely do more harm than good. That doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be an interesting visit, though. “They’re so fucked up and such weird people, I’m really curious to see what they’re like without magic,” she said.

Whether or not the team manages to turn magic back on this season, we’ll still [put] a bit in every episode, said Gamble: “It’s still called The Magicians, so we felt a certain responsibility to bring something cool and magical. It just comes from completely unexpected and different places in Season 3.”

The Magicians returns to Syfy in 2018. Stay tuned for all our San Diego Comic-Con news.