With the conclusion of Merlin’s fourth season airing Friday night, cast members and showrunners take a look back over what Merlin, King Arthur and Morgana have grown into. They also offer a look into season 5 as Arthur deals with the truth about his long-time friend and possibly having to deal with his own, personal prejudices.
Thirteen episodes of sorcery and swordplay, dragons and demons, bewitchings and betrayals comes to a head this Friday when the fourth season of MERLIN culminates in an exhilarating season finale entitled “The Sword in the Stone, Part 2,” premiering March 30 at 10 p.m. ET/PT only on Syfy.
For cast members Colin Morgan (Merlin), Bradley James (Arthur) and Katie McGrath (Morgana), the fourth season has been filled with memorable moments for both the actors and viewers.
Morgan is particularly enthused about developments for the title character, who has gone from the King’s servant to his best friend and closest adviser. The fourth season presented some frustrating speed bumps in that relationship as Arthur’s traitorous uncle Agravaine wielded far more power and influence over the King than Merlin would have seen fit.
“After Uther died, there was an interesting transition within the characters as Arthur put family over friends,” Morgan recalls. “That was a difficult transition for Merlin to overcome. One of the key elements in the finale is Arthur seeing his uncle for who he is, and positively reflecting on Merlin’s valued friendship. Arthur always knew Merlin was a good friend and a trusted guy, but to realize he’s loyally been there the entire time is a big revelation for Arthur and certainly paves the way for where we’re going in Season Five.”
McGrath’s Morgana has experienced a true roller-coaster ride in Season Four, initiating one coup of Camelot after another before finally succeeding – if only for a few brief moments.
“I loved it when you see Morgana sitting on the throne after she has taken Camelot,” McGrath explains. “The difference in her body language and attitude and her presence is miles away from her coronation in Season Three, and even further away from what it had been in earlier years. I think it shows how far she has come and how much she has changed throughout the series.”
The entire series has changed, observes James – for the better, in his estimation. “We’ve gradually gotten closer to the legend, which requires us to get a little bit warped, because the legend is really quite dark. That shift has been fantastic. It’s what the show has needed, and what we have needed as actors because it has really kept our interest alive and provided us with a lot of new fun and challenges.”
Filming has begun on Season Five in Wales and France, and the cast is anxious to see what’s next for their characters and the series. But what do they hope is on the horizon?
“Merlin revealing his magic is definitely going to be the ultimate test for Arthur and Merlin, and I think it might be explored in the fifth season,” Morgan says. “The levels of trust between friends is one thing, but Arthur’s distrust of magic is something that runs longer than he and Merlin have been friends. It will take much more influence and much more work to break and to overcome. Certainly we’re entering into that territory, but it’s never going to be an easy task for Merlin. Still, it has to happen sooner or later.”
Underscoring just how strong all of its characters are, McGrath adds: “I’d like Camelot to realize that Morgana has a point. The persecution is unjust, and that magic has a place in the kingdom.”
MERLIN co-creator and executive producer Johnny Capps also offers a tantalizing possibility of things to come: “I think,” he says, “the return of Mordred would be very interesting.”
“The Sword in the Stone, Part 2,” an all-new episode of MERLIN, airs Friday, March 30 at 10 p.m. ET/PT only on Syfy. All three seasons of MERLIN are now available on DVD and on iTunes. Be sure to follow the latest news on MERLIN at the Official Merlin page on Facebook.