THE MAGICIANS Cast Talks Creating an Authentically Diverse World

For the past three years, the students of Brakebills University for Magical Pedagogy have been falling in love, battling evil, saving the world, and coming to terms with all of the horrors that the mortal and magical realms have to offer. When we visited the incredible academy on the Vancouver set of The Magicians as they filmed the fourth season, the cast was quick to gush about how the show has enabled them to create a vibrantly diverse and authentic world.For Arjun Gupta, who plays everyone’s favorite magical traveler Penny, the push toward diversity is at the core of everything he does. “It’s the most important thing we can do, it’s our responsibility as artists,” Gupta said. “I’m of the Tony Kushner school of art where everything is political, art is politics. Not that it’s specifically political, just that it has a message and has influence and therefore you should be conscious of it.”Gupta feels as though he’s surrounded by a team with similar values. “It’s remarkable to be part of cast and crew where that is conscious for us all,” he said. “I think that there’s always room to improve and that there’s ways for our show to improve going forward. But you can see from the first to the second to the third [season] the way that we have improved and I think that’s a testament to a group of artists that want to influence. And it’s also a legacy of Lev’s.”One particular experience on the show stood out to Stella Maeve, who plays Julia, as very special. “In season one, Julia teams up with the free traders, and I love that one of the actors is trans but it was never spoken of and it wasn’t a spectacle,” Maeve said. “It was just there and it was just open and real.”As Gupta shared with us, the show is just as dedicated to to creating inclusivity behind the scenes too. “The work that Chris Fisher [Producing Direct] has done to bring in a more diverse group of directors, so this year we have more women directing and last year we had two amazing women of color who returned this year. So it’s kind of everything that you could want from a work environment.”Fan favorite Eliot has been one of the stand outs since the second season of the magical series. Hale Appleman, who brings him to life, shared that playing the witty, brilliant, and fantastical character has been satisfying on multiple levels. “I’d be lying if I didn’t say that being the queer king of a fantasy kingdom wasn’t a fantasy of mine, so on that level it fulfilled something personal for me,” Appleman said. “But it’s been really beautiful to see the response from the true fans of the show and what that means to them as well.”Trevor Einhorn, who plays the enigmatic and adventurous Josh, shares this sentiment. “It’s totally awesome that we can attack real issues even with this magical backdrop,” he said. “Honestly it’s not that much crazier than what’s going on today. We don’t shy away from anything and if something can be relatable in magic world, it’s definitely relatable on a human level.”The brilliant Rick Worthy, who plays Brakebills’ Dean Fogg, summed up why The Magicians is so beloved and so necessary right now. “There’s been a paradigm shift and people really want something diverse and unique,” he said. “The show is ahead of its time. There are probably other shows that had tried to do that, but John and Sarah in particular have taken the lead in making a show that’s right. It’s a show where we can have two men kissing and it’s not a big deal. It’s just normal, it’s just life. It’s racially diverse, it’s sexually diverse, and I think that people really appreciate that.”The Magicians returns to SYFY on January 23.

Images: SYFY

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