The fourth series of Merlin comes to the United Kingdom later this year and hits the Syfy channel in the U. S. in early 2012. Leading the cast as the title character is the extremely friendly Colin Morgan.
We participated in a roundtable discussion with Mr. Morgan prior to the Merlin panel at last weekend’s Comic-Con International in San Diego. Colin spoke a bit about what’s to come for the series, and revealed a treasure trove of Series 4 spoilers. Enjoy!
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How are things going as Merlin enters its fourth series?
As you can tell by the posters, it’s gone in a different direction. The style of it’s changed and the look of it’s feeling quite different. It will still have that charm and the creativity and the surprises that it’s always had. In fact, it feels
that this series, to me, is the most surprising. It’s the most surprised I’ve been, reading the scripts. “Are we really going in this direction? Are we actually doing this?” And it’s got more of a serial feel to it, so episodes aren’t as stand-alone. There’s no going back. Each episode takes a progression as a piece of a jigsaw that has to be completed. There’s no reverse going on.
We’ve got a new villain coming in right from the beginning, a guy called Agravaine who’s Arthur’s uncle, and Uther is a state that the producers have said is very much like “the Madness of King George” type feel, when someone is no longer capable of doing the job that they’re supposed to do, that everyone relies on. What happens? That’s explored. Merlin gets the biggest chance that he’s ever going to get to set the future in the direction that he wants, the destiny that he is set to achieve. He wants to see magic return to the kingdom. He wants to live in a world where he is free and magic is free under the rule of the greatest King the land has ever seen. And he gets the biggest opportunity he’s going to get to do that. So the tagline of “Keep the magic a secret” – I don’t know how long that’ll last now. We’ll see.
What is he discovering about himself and what is he discovering about his magic?
He’s discovering more and more how lost he is, which is kind of anti-discovery in a way, because the more you’ve found out, the more you lose. He’s finding out that as everyone else is slotting into place, he’s suddenly in the middle, going “Where do I fit in?” And he’s never fitted in, but this is when he feels it the most. And when family ties and loyalty and royalty overrule friendship, that’s a big blow to him. Throughout the series, Merlin’s very much left in a limbo.
So there are big changes in Merlin and Arthur’s relationship?
I think so, yeah. There’s a serious tone now going on, and you often have some situations where Merlin’s trying to get that friendship going on and is met with a wall, and he’s not sure how to deal with that, so there’s a lot going on there. When it’s time to put the childhood things away, how do you move on, maybe when you’re not ready to do that? That’s the big theme that’s explored in this series.
So Season 4 is more moving into the adult age?
It feels like it. It’s like Toy Story 3. I’m Woody. [laughs]
[We assume that would make Arthur Buzz Lightyear]
The relationship started to get more playful again toward the end of Season 3.
There will always be the charm of the show. That’s something the producers and the writers are big on.