We had the great pleasure of joining in on the press interviews for BBC’s Merlin at SDCC on July 15, 2012. Executive Producers Julian Murphy and Johnny Capps sat with us, as did stars Colin Morgan (“Merlin”), Katie McGrath (“Morgana”) and Angel Coulby (“Guinevere”). As big fans of the show ourselves, this was an incredible opportunity!
Some news of note: We’re happy to report that Merlin has another means of enchanting you with a new Facebook game created by the clever folks at Bossa Studios. For a chance to play Merlin The Game in closed beta, sign up now at www.merlingame.com
And don’t forget to check out the newly relaunched Merlin YouTube channel. Season 5 will be a whole new level of adventure and intrigue, so be sure to Subscribe here to stay in the loop: www.YouTube.com/MerlinOfficial.
The cast and producers were warm, welcoming and still overwhelmed by the support and enthusiasm fans had for them at SDCC. Their energy was catching, which says a lot considering their jet lag! Julian told our press table that they had literally hustled off to the airport as soon as they had their short break in filming, long enough to come to SDCC for their press events and panel, and then had to fly right back to work. Talk about dedication and appreciation of the fans. Now, on to the interviews.
Angel Coulby “Guinevere” – BBC Merlin – Comic-Con 2012 Pre-Panel
Angel was probably the most shell shocked, as this was her first trip to the Con, but she was loving every minute of it. She tells the table that she’s slipped into the role of Queen Gwen pretty easily, and that she and Arthur have come to terms with incidents from her apparent betrayal in Season 4. When Whedonopolis asked her if she felt Gwen’s relationship with Merlin has changed, she admitted that you do see some change, but that Merlin is still her friend and confidant (she even reveres him and finds him amazing!). We also asked if she felt, as an actress, that she had to adjust her approach to the role knowing three years had passed behind the scenes and Gwen is now Queen of Camelot. She said it seemed a natural progression for Gwen, and considering her own upbringing, was an easy transition to such a regal position. Watch the interview for more from Angel as she discusses Season 5.
Katie McGrath “Morgana” – BBC Merlin – Comic-Con 2012 Pre-Panel
Katie was her usual boisterous, sweetly sassy and funny self. She hinted that Morgana would be even more bitter and more vengeful towards Arthur, Gwen and anyone who she feels stands in her way as true heir to the throne of Camelot. And we get to look forward to Morgana using her wiles to gain access to Camelot itself, to no doubt wreak more havoc for Arthur and his Knights. Whedonopolis wanted to know if new allies will return to aid her in her goal for ruling Albion and she explained that Morgana, while certainly using others in her plans, is herself the Big Bad for Season 5. This puts more focus on her and not so much the “villain of the week” as before. (This can only mean very tense and exciting encounters with the others, and we can’t wait!). Check out the interview for more on season 5 from Katie.
Colin Morgan “Merlin” – BBC Merlin – Comic-Con 2012 Pre-Panel Interview
Colin could not be more enthused about the con, the press event (and yes, it’s true, our table had more cameras and recorders than any other he’d seen) and of course the panel, where he would be able to interact with his fans from all over the world in one spot. He knew what to expect and it still overwhelms him, but we assured him that everyone would be there supporting him as, after all, he was the man of the hour! In regards to Merlin, Colin told the table that his relationship with the Knights changes as he enters into a stage of manhood, that elements of his character still surprise him and that he has to up his game in Season 5. Whedonopolis asked Colin if Merlin will be tempted by the darker side of magic in the new season, and Colin confirmed that he would indeed. That it’s a huge topic this year as they explore Merlin using more magic than he did last season. We followed up commenting on a particularly intense scene from the final episode of Season 4, when Merlin has to kill Agravaine: We see the flash of conflict on Merlin’s face as he made a choice and decided it must be done. This appeared to be a line that Merlin had to cross at the end of the season, and Colin said that yes, in fact, it was a key reference for him into the new season and that it was a tipping point into a side of Merlin that was scary even for himself. (Later that morning in the panel, Colin shared this reply with those attendees, making note that his killing of Agravaine changed Merlin, that there was a fear of what he did and it set the stage for his actions in Season 5. Watch the interview for more insight from Colin.
Julian Murphy, Executive Producer – BBC Merlin – Comic-Con 2012
We welcomed Julian Murphy, and after he told the table about the very tight schedule and just making SDCC fit in this year, he discussed the darker, more mature tone of Season 5. For example, Gwen plays the politics of her role as Queen, Arthur is the King he always dreamt of being and Merlin is a much stronger character – his naiveté is gone. Whedonopolis asked Julian if they had a bigger budget (there’s not an assumed increase in budget when a show gets popular in the UK, as it usually does here) would they have filmed different stories. He compared Merlin to Game of Thrones, where their budget was obviously increased, but that they sometimes have to reject stories that they like but simply can’t film due to budget constraints. We also asked him for his reaction to fan feedback. He admits he personally can’t get drawn into that because it would just overwhelm him, but he does catch up after the season is completed. Watch the interview for more info from Julian.
Johnny Capps, Executive Producer – BBC Merlin – Comic-Con 2012
Johnny Capps gave us all some insight into the production side of the show. They’ve brought all the CGI in-house, they can film on ambitious locations and story-wise, they’re now telling multi-stranded episodes where the p.o.v. isn’t all Merlin’s. He admits the show will grow up, as the fan base has. Whedonopolis wanted to know if this darker more mature feel will still have room for the levity we’ve also loved in the show. He assures us that yes, although it’s darker, it’s always counterbalanced with humor. We were also curious to know if allies from the past were coming to Merlin and Arthur’s aid, and he confirms there will be a number of old friends and allies returning and there is a sense that this will reunite the whole kingdom. Find out more by watching the interview.
Many thanks to Colin Morgan, Angel Coulby, Katie McGrath, Julian Murphy and Johnny Capps for taking the time to attend SDCC; Helen Yu at designmaus.com for our video editing, the awesome fans at http://colinmorgan.site.cx/ and Merlin Network (@mn_comiccon) for keeping the fans up to date with SDCC Merlin happenings, and especially to John and Gary at J2 Communications for making it all happen!