There are going to be some big changes on Syfy's Merlin in the show's fourth season, which will mean there's going to be no going back for the characters, said star Colin Morgan, who plays the lead role.
By the end of the season, "everything and everyone will have changed," said Irish actor Morgan in an exclusive interview with Blastr. "Particularly for Merlin, I think it's always a growing-up tale for him and where he is. We meet him at the beginning of the series in a very happy place and a very grounded place. But, as is wont with Merlin, things very quickly change. They change for the better, but not for the better of Merlin, I don't think, himself."
For the last three seasons, Merlin has hidden his magic from King Uther and Prince Arthur, all the while often saving the kingdom from an array of magical bad guys. The latest threat comes from Morgana, a powerful sorceress, who feels she's been betrayed by Uther and Arthur. In season four, which premieres tonight on Syfy at 10 p.m. ET, Morgana unleashes her wrath full force as she tries to take over the kingdom.
"He gets the greatest opportunity he's ever going to get to change Arthur's view and logic, and he takes it with both hands," said Morgan. "And very early on you see the consequences of that, and was it really worth it? And that's one of the biggest things this series. But we're seeing Merlin trying to hold onto his relationship with Arthur. Things change quite a lot. There's a new character called Agravaine, who's Arthur's uncle, who steps up to the plate and almost takes Merlin's place. He's a big wedge in the future as well. So Merlin's got a lot to overcome." Agravaine is played by Nathaniel Parker.
Merlin is "a lot less naive than he was before. That's as a result of betrayals and deaths and power and knowledge and using that to his advantage and learning how to live in the world and accepting his destiny. He does have the odd little rant and the odd little complain about his life, but realistically he knows it's what he's supposed to do. He knows that the bigger and the stronger thing to do, as far as it may be, is to put his needs aside and focus on the future," he said.
However, things happen that force Merlin away from Arthur's side and the friendship is almost questioned, said Morgan. It becomes clear early on that Arthur's uncle, Agravaine, is not what he seems to be. The question for Merlin is, "Does family outweigh friendship?"
"Merlin's always been a lonely character, but things are getting a lot more serious. We're dealing with bigger stakes here. Not just something going wrong, but something going so badly wrong that the future is changed forever. And he's learned in the past that you don't mess with things that are meant to be. You don't try to change the past, because it'll ruin the future. So he has to ride that wave, and he's gained so much knowledge now that he's making better decisions. He's sticking with his guns. You'll seen an instinctual kind of knowledge and wisdom that's coming from somewhere that I don't even think he understands," said Morgan.
Beyond Merlin's challenges, we're going to see some "really, really iconic moments from the Arthurian legend that are played out which we haven't seen before, particularly with Lancelot. Certainly with Arthur and Guinevere. That's a huge theme of the show. The famous love triangle. The future of the dragons is also called into question pretty early on. The question of, 'Is the great dragon Kilgharrah actually going to be the last of his kind?' And that's a really, really interesting Indiana Jones-style episode. And also the very final episode, the finale, is called 'The Sword and the Stone.' So that gives a big clue as to where the series is going and what you can expect. So yeah, lots to come up. I think it's been the most successful [season] so far. The ratings here have been huge [in the U.K.], and we've had a fantastic response. Personally, I've really, really enjoyed each episode this year. I've felt the writers and producers have pushed it in a new direction, and there's a bit more of a serialized feel to it, as well, this year."
For Morgan, he feels "that the characters have grown with us as we have grown as actors. Because it was always going to be a massive journey from the beginning. To arrive at the end of a fourth series and to still love it, to still enjoy working with the people that you work with, to still feel passionate about the stories, to enjoy talking about the stories with people across the world, and to understand the appeal that it has and to experience the support, that's what's special about the show for me. And I think I'll always have that. It's a huge part of our lives that I think we're all very thankful for."
Here's a sneak peek at tonight's Merlin:
Are you ready for season four of Merlin? And is it time for Merlin to tell Arthur he's a wizard?