Merlin - Season 5


weaver of the unseen
Aug 21, 2007
I have another odd bag of feelings about this one, but one thing is relatively sure, they're going to continue the darker and more mature theme and you can definitely see that if you watch the DVD's.

We caught up with Merlin co-creators Johnny Capps and Julian Murphy to discuss the future of Merlin…

How will the finale of season 4 affect what happen next series?

JC: The end of season four promises to be a very, very exciting climax to this series and I think the fans will really enjoy what happens.

JM: There’s a surprising twist at the end of this series that becomes a big part of series five. It’s fair to say that a character we’ve met before returns, an evil character, and I think people can probably guess who that is.

Will there be monsters?

JM: We definitely have other monsters, in the first couple of episodes we have two new creatures and obviously we have two dragons on the scene now so that takes a very interesting turn.

JC: We’re opening again with a two-parter and season five will have lots of surprising twists and turns and I think it will go in a direction that the audience wont be expecting.

You’ve always had a five-series plan, so would you ever go beyond that?

JM: The answer to that is always the audience and the broadcaster to some extent. It’s a franchise where you could definitely keep going. It works really well, season four’s the most successful we’ve ever made. I think it’s grown into an older, more sophisticated slot. We go out now after 8pm not 6.15 and I think that suits the program. As we have got closer to the legend, the stories have inevitably got richer and more interesting and the power of that legend counts for more when Arthur becomes King and the knights of the roundtable take over. It happened because we developed our thoughts, the actors got older and the legend became richer.

JC: Also I think with high concept shows it takes a while for audiences to warm to it; when Merlin first came out we were off the back of Robin Hood and we had a perception problem of people thinking ‘oh it’s just another Robin Hood’. That Saturday night slot is very tough, you’re going up against Doctor Who which has been running for nearly 50 years, so it’s difficult to get into an audience’s awareness.
I believe it suffers for being the poor relation of Dr. Who. It was created as a scheduling replacement of Dr. Who and as Johnny Capps points out it is always going to be the little brother. They may have moved the timeslot to an older audience, but the writers still don't seem to be able to decide whether it is an adult show with dark themes or a slapstick comedy for kids with toilet jokes. It cannot be both.
Nail on the head there, Dave.
And the best of it is, the kids can cope with the more mature characters, the writers just need to be more confident about it all. On another note, when's excalibur coming out of the stone? Since Arthur's king now, doesn't he need a decent sword?
Who's the evil character we've met before who returns?!
I'd guess Mordred, the little boy. The trailer for next weeks episode shows a boy (a little older) but then the actor will have grown since we last saw him.
I thought Mordred, but I was thinking it was maybe too obscure for what they're making it sound like in that interview. You could be right though, Perp.
I believe it suffers for being the poor relation of Dr. Who. It was created as a scheduling replacement of Dr. Who and as Johnny Capps points out it is always going to be the little brother. They may have moved the timeslot to an older audience, but the writers still don't seem to be able to decide whether it is an adult show with dark themes or a slapstick comedy for kids with toilet jokes. It cannot be both.

Agreed, the other problem is that the comedy relief character when it is done is also the lead character of the story. For little bits here and there its ok, but in general you can't make your series into a more adult and dark world if your main lead is also your main fool at the same time.

I also get the feeling that a lot of filler episodes are written for series like this and that these fillers also degrade the overall story - as if the writers only ever think about the start and finish of a series and then just throw in random bits attached to small changes in the story inbetween.
4th series has broken this somewhat with more meaningful changes, though it still suffers from a good few plotholes (eg why is Morganna still alive when she'd been beaten twice and knocked out, and the second time by a priest fully capable of killing her; why is she still living in the same home when its security is already breached; why hasn't she had her agent slip poison into the wine at the dinner table and be rid of everyone ;)).
Here in the States we're just getting ready to start Season 4 but I have friends who keep me posted. Very disappointed to hear that Arthur still does not have any clue about Merlin's powers. There are many variations of the Legend of King Arthur and I have enjoyed most of the twists the writers have taken with the story, but I am not aware of any of those variations where Arthur does not know of Merlin's powers. It's time for Arthur to know the truth and the writers could go a number of directions to start this process. Now that Lance is gone Gwen could be the first person to discover the secret. It's time to move this thread forward instead of another monster of the week or wronged wizard or witch out for revenge.
Following Doctor Who’s lead, the creators of Merlin are also looking to hit Hollywood. “It’s something we’re actively discussing,” co-creator Julian Murphy exclusively tells SciFiNow. “I think it lends itself to being a movie. One of the difficulties, though, is it’s slightly tricky to develop a movie while the television series is still on for obvious reasons.” When pressed for more details, Murphy couldn’t say whether they would be using the present cast. “It’s all tied up with plans for the TV series, and you’ve got to be careful that the movie sits in a place where it doesn’t conflict with the series.

After the revelations of series four, Murphy says this will become a big part of the 13-episode fifth series. “It’s fair to say that an evil character we’ve met before returns, and I think people can probably guess who that is,” he says. “I hope the next series will be as warm-hearted as it always is, but obviously the legendary story of King Arthur and the battle for Camelot is hotting up, so it will have, I hope, a lot of drama and danger.”
Merlin co-creators Johnny Capps and Julian Murphy talk exclusively to SciFiNow about the future of the show and why there will never be “blood and incest” in this Arthurian legend retelling…

You’ve always said there’s been a five series plan for Merlin, why was that?

JC: Because at the time we were pitching the series and talking to Judy Gardener about it we thought that we want to be ambitious and do a five year plan, it doesn’t mean to say it will only last for five series, it was just how we conceived it at the time. It was all about slow-burning all the character arcs and the legends and the mythology of the series so we didn’t do that thing that happens in British drama a lot, which is piling up the story and burning the character arc too quickly so it certainly doesn’t mean that Merlin will only run for five series.

Do you have an idea of where you’re going each series?

JM: We have a pretty good idea of where we’re heading each series but how we get there grows and changes in an organic fashion. With this series we have largely followed what we set out to do and that’s unusual, most of the series change quite radically during their making.

JC: And you write to the actor’s strengths. We’re really lucky that our young cast have really grown as actors so we literally throw them any challenge and we’re not working around their shortcomings. I think one thing that has developed in a great way, the way we always hoped it would, is the banter between Arthur and Merlin, Colin (Morgan) and Bradley (James) have a great comic relationship onscreen so we certainly enjoy writing for that and doing more of that. It’s the heart of the show.

It feels as though the series has definitely grown more adult, was that a conscious decision?

JM: Colin is not the innocent figure that walked into season one, he’s been on an immense journey as Merlin and we have to reflect that or we’re not going to be true to the drama.

JC: Just look at the Harry Potter franchise which is a great example, you watch these characters grow up and the films get darker and there’s that same sense with Merlin. We talk about it getting darker but the thing that’s really important to us is that there’s still an air of innocence about it, there’s still a warm heart and comedy.

There are plenty of bloody, gritty medieval dramas out there at the moment; would you consider going in that direction?

JC: No, to be brutally honest. I’m not sure it would appeal to us. What’s great about Merlin is it has that sense of wonder and magic and I think to tell the real version of king Arthur and all it’s blood and incest is not something that would appeal to us. Game of Thrones is a little bit different in that it is a genuine fantasy, a more violent one than Merlin, we’re great admirers of it but it’s a totally different thing. What we’re trying to be is like a PG-13 Hollywood film and I don’t think we’ll ever take the program to a place that isn’t that

If you would like to drop a question or fifteen to the creators, then please follow the link !!!
When Merlin returns to our Saturday nights later this year, it will open with a two-parter and follow the show’s tradition of jumping forward in time. “All the characters will have moved on a lot,” explains Merlin co-creator Johnny Capps, “and we will see that Gwen is now the Queen of Camelot and has a very different role than she’s had in previous seasons. When we start series 5 I think everone will be surprised where all the characters are.”

Now that the former maid has fulfilled Morgana’s visions of becoming royalty despite several thwarted attempts to prevent it, Gwen will play a more prominent role as Arthur’s confidant. For those concerned that this might affect the bromance and banter between Merlin and Arthur, though, they needn’t be worried.

“I don’t think it will change the relationship between them, because Gwen and Merlin have always been close, and there’s been a bond there,” says Julian Murphy. “I hope it will make it a greater dynamic; three often shakes it up and makes it richer, and without it trying to, I think the writing will do that.”

It doesn’t seem like love will be on the cards for Merlin, though, at least not yet…. “It’s interesting with Merlin,” says Murphy, “because historically and in the legends – although there are legends that relate to certain romances and seduction – I think in our consciousness he’s a curiously non-romantic figure. In our mind he’s never associated with women, and I guess we stay true to that, but we’d never rule it out. and there are some interesting stories about Merlin being seduced away from the path.
Alana_Morgana asks: Are you going to introduce any new characters from the legends in Series 5?

"We are introducing more, yes. We’re doing some more legends, to be fair. I think that’s a better way of putting it. There’s plenty of legends appearing, although we always want to put a different spin on it.

"It’s interesting, I think you guys did a ‘stories we’d like to see’ piece – well, at least two of those you will see, although perhaps not quite as you expect!"

You’ve got Liam Cunningham (Game of Thrones) guest starring this year, along with Lindsay Duncan and Janet Montgomery returning too. Do you have a list of dream guest stars for the show?

"We do! We also increasingly hear about people who want to be in it and sometimes that gloriously matches the part. It’s all about lucky really. We’re genuinely surprised and delighted when we hear who wants to do it.

"The problem we have is that as our character base gets stronger and larger and richer, we actually have less guest stars. We now don’t have anything like as many meaty guest roles as we did in the first two series.

"We’ve got a big cast now. We’ve got a whole bunch of Knights who very developed characters in their own right and want to develop them further. There’s plenty of regular characters that we feel we want to write about.

"But we have some fantastic people in this year. We’re happy to officially say that Alexander Vlahos is playing the older Mordred."

Will Mordred be around for a while in Series 5?

"Yes, he’s in a lot of it."
When you first started the show and had a rough five-year plan, did you have a wish list of characters from the legends that you wanted to cover?

"When we first started the show, we were more conscious of what we couldn’t do than what we could, in fact. Because at its heart the legend is very dark, when we began Merlin – and we were in an earlier transmission slot back then, going out at about 6.15pm – we felt we had to be very careful about which ones we did and had to change quite a lot.

"Now that we have King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, it’s actually far easier to plunder those legends."

The show’s been getting slightly darker each year, will that pattern continue with Series 5?

"Probably yes, I think that’s fair to say. We don’t anticipate transmitting any earlier in the evening than we did last year, so we’ve got to deliver a show that works for an audience in that slot."
I'm definitely interested in seeing who they are going to introduce in the next series and how exactly they are going to move things forward. The betrayal of Gwen with Lancelot didn't happen exactly as I pictured it, but then again it is television and there is a bit of creative license involved.

How they handle the reveal of Merlin's powers to Arthur will be interesting, especially considering Arthur's current views on magic after what happened with Uther.
Wow. Still in first page. We'll see if that changes over the next couple of months.

When Merlin returns for its fifth series, Camelot would have lept forward in time three years. Actress Katie McGrath reveals Morgana has spent the majority of that time locked up.

“For Morgana’s story, the most important part is what you don’t see, the time off,” she says. “You discover that she has spent quite a large part of those three years imprisoned, so Morgana’s worst fear about what would happen if anyone found out that she was magical, has come true.”

Naturally, she’s livid about it. So much so, she’s changed her gameplan: “It’s no longer just about getting the throne for her now, it’s about revenge,” McGrath continues. “It’s her personal crusade for her to get back at the people she thinks have done this to her, and I think she thinks Arthur is behind a lot of that. If you thought she was bad before… she’s badder.”

Last year, Morgana was busily plotting with Arthur’s uncle Agravaine, but now he’s dead she’ll have more time to hang out with the rest of the gang. “This year I’m getting to interact with Angel (Coulby) and Colin (Morgan) and Bradley (James) a lot more. I was isolated last year. In a very clever way, I get to interact with the people in Camelot this year.”

Mmmm many things bug me about Mordred in this, mainly his parentage and the whole mucking about with that that the writers have done, Hah I could write essays on what angers me about it, but I still watch it with a morbid fascination and enjoy pointing out sandwiches which haven't been invented yet and trying to work out when important things (like excalibur) will appear, the only way I get my head around their "legend" is the humour, terrible or not, it at least makes it feel as if they know they are mucking it about a bit and using filler episodes and apologise with a few humurous pieces...
Kind of forgot about Merlin. Watching that trailer I was a bit confused as to whether that was new or if I had seen it all already.
There's a better quality version of this trailer on the bbc merlin website. I think it looks great and I'm really looking forward to it.
I was a little unhappy with how Season 4 went, so ive not bought the DVD set. However, I will probably watch this season. Its still nice viewing :D
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