By Jamie RubyMerlin
is a new version of the Athurian Legend, that takes place when Merlin (Colin Morgan) and Arthur (Bradley James) were young men. The story follows Merlin as he helps Arthur, while only using magic in secret, as it has been forbidden by the tyrant king, and Arthur's father, Uther Pendragon (Anthony Head). With the help of Gaius (Richard Wilson) he must also help protect Camelot from the likes of Morgana (Katie McGrath), while also discovering his destiny.
Colin Morgan recently talked to the digital press about the upcoming fourth season of Merlin
, which will air on Syfy next month.
Syfy Conference CallMerlin
December 19, 2011SCIFI VISION:
Can you tell us something about the season, how it's going to be different and what we can expect this year?COLIN MORGAN:
I think one of the first things people will notice will be (unintelligible) it looks very different. It's got a different tone to it this year.
We're shooting on 35 mil, which is what [is used] on movies at the minute. So it's got a real movie look to the French kind of theme and (unintelligible).
Stories have become a lot (more powerful). They've become a lot more complex. They're pushing connectors in directions that really there's no going back on. So big shifts, big steps, big changes.
And of course the (tagline) of the season this year is "the darkest hour is just before the dawn." So that is a hint of the tone of the series. It definitely is much stronger.SCIFI VISION:
I have a question from Twitter. They want to know if you can compare Merlin's friendship with both Arthur and Gwen.COLIN MORGAN:
Yes it's (unintelligible) interest (unintelligible) well, you know, Arthur and Gwen are destined to see the future (unintelligible) of king and queen.
And it's Merlin's destiny to ensure that Arthur becomes the greatest kingdom, you know, the king of the land that (unintelligible) kingdom. Then Gwen is probably the right person for that. And Gwen's a great friend of Merlin's also.
So there's a huge amount of respect and loyalty among the three of them. And I think of things were (unintelligible) things pilot okay and everything goes to plan, you know, the future will be set in stone.
But really this series a lot of things have broken up, certainly about that trio of Arthur to Gwen and Merlin. There's a huge way, a (district) between them, kind of halfway sort of towards the end of the season which is going to be very difficult to repair.QUESTION:
Because it is a lot darker, does that present new challenges for the actors or the writers? Is [it] harder to work in the humor that you guys always get in there?COLIN MORGAN:
What's great this season is that it struck a really good balance. As dark as the stories go they never go off in (unintelligible) the realm of complete darkness.
There's always an element of fun to them there in a sense that the darker it goes almost in a (unintelligible) way to cope and certainly of part of Merlin itself in many situations where maybe (unintelligible) survivors to (unintelligible).
And that's something that I think (unintelligible) really appreciates is that the (unintelligible) always there and that the characters are still themselves as dark as the stories go.QUESTION:
[Do] you prefer going off the legend as we know it? Is that more fun for you guys or is it harder to do that?COLIN MORGAN:
It's always more intriguing actually whenever you get the script done and it's called something quite (unintelligible) like (Lancelot like), you know, that's sort of the (unintelligible).
And (unintelligible) that story of (unintelligible) kind of original kind of legend. So it's good to have develop the preconception of how it's going to be and really (unintelligible) moments (unintelligible) way.
So I think when things veer slightly off of that (unintelligible) and the fantasy way in the way that Merlin (unintelligible) does it, I'm always intrigued by that.
But equally so, whenever those iconic images, Excalibur (unintelligible) are performed right in front of your eyes that's also huge and exciting.
And I think that's what works about the show is the two blend very well together.QUESTION:
One of the big draws for our readers and I guess for a lot of Merlin viewers is Merlin and Arthur's relationship. Can you talk a little bit about how we're going to see that grow and change over the course of series four?COLIN MORGAN:
It's one of the most iconic relationships in (unintelligible). It's very much about bringing Arthur to the point where he can really (unintelligible) that is fit for him and that he's fit for himself.
And in the fourth season we see them grow apart a little bit, actually. There's a new character called Agravaine who's Arthur's uncle who goes on the scene who very quickly he realizes he's not all that he seems. Yet he is Arthur's (unintelligible). He's exactly where Merlin should be. And Merlin very quickly kind of sort of aggravates (unintelligible).
And it's about Merlin trying to regain that position to try to get by Arthur's side to be there for him and to get him to make the right decisions.
Because as things very quickly change and Arthur gains more responsibility and it's exactly what Merlin should be. (Unintelligible) it's about (unintelligible) friendship.QUESTION:
What is your favorite Merlin to play? Is it the clumsy, funny Merlin or the dramatic Merlin or that great Dragoon Merlin?COLIN MORGAN:
I would say it's the variety that I like. It's the facets of the character. It's that part that fascinates me.
I think variety is the spice of life and getting a chance to place yourself in (all) directions being (unintelligible) parts where there is a complexity that I enjoy the most.QUESTION:
So at this point does Merlin believe Morgana is beyond redemption or does he still hope that he can save her from her dark destiny to be her greatest enemy?COLIN MORGAN:
No, she's beyond redemption. I think that Merlin's definitely come to that conclusion. He's given her chances. He's tried to show her the good prop.
Merlin knows that if magic [is] part of you then you choose where to pick it. It doesn't choose you. And he's always chosen the good path.
And she's just gone by further, further. She's a bit power hungry now and she just wants power for herself and she wants the throne and she wants it all for her. And that's (unintelligible) qualities. That's irredeemable. And she is his ultimate nemesis in the series.QUESTION:
And does Merlin continue to resent the fact that he must keep his magical abilities secret or is [he] comfortable hiding in the shadows and being the man behind the great man?COLIN MORGAN:
I think it's very frustrating for Merlin. His great objective, his great dream is to live in a land where magic is free under the rule of the greatest king ever known.
And he wants to be right in the open that people can live and gather, that there isn't the segregation, that there is no hiding anymore.
And yet for him it's usually frustrating because it's a lonely existence and for him to live without (unintelligible) day and night.
So whenever the time comes that (unintelligible) but a lot (unintelligible) the times he was right I think Merlin will grasp with the full hands and ensure the future of magic.QUESTION:
I'm getting the impression from all the things that I'm seeing online right now is that season four is going to be a bit of a game changer in regard to the whole Arthurian legend. I off base on that?
Maybe it might bring the series a little closer to the mainstream stories of Arthur and Merlin?COLIN MORGAN:
Yes, it's definitely moved in that direction I feel because the characters are maturing. It's moving more towards the legends that we know.
And as our characters grow up we're becoming more synchronized with the legends that we know because [as] characters grow older that's when some juicy stuff could start coming along. And we certainly start fading into that stuff in this season.
And there are some huge iconic moments that any (unintelligible) legends will recognize and anybody who doesn't will probably be intrigued to find out a bit more.
But it's definitely driven more towards the legends. But that was never the theme of the producers and the writers anyway.
It was always to have (unintelligible) legend of the business and have a sort of layer to work off and tell stories and you're not expected with. And that's certainly the theme that's carried throughout this season as well.QUESTION:
What attracted me to this series was the fact that growing up I read all the different variations on Camelot and the Arthurian legends. And what I liked about [this show] is that it is focusing on Merlin's back story.
In season four and five will he be taking more of that puppet master role that I was used to seeing in...previous tellings of this legend?COLIN MORGAN:
Yes, that's a big thing coming up in this season because that's absolutely what Merlin's striving towards.
He's gaining wisdom and a certain kind of power in that wisdom and certainly imparts a lot of Arthur. And you've seen Arthur listen to him a lot more. You're seeing Arthur in fact change the way he's thinking sometimes because of what Merlin says.
And you seem to be giving (unintelligible) and that's pretty exciting. But they're also growing a little bit further apart. So Merlin has to work awful hard to try and be heard.
And hopefully by the end of the season you'll see that the relationship has come to the point where maybe they're ready to set rules and set grounds and perhaps become a good team to rule the kingdom.QUESTION:
Why do you think the Camelot legend has such staying power in pop culture?COLIN MORGAN:
I think because its problem (unintelligible) stayed right through the centuries is because it's been retold and retold ,in different ways so you're never saying just the CM legend all the time.
You know, (Unintelligible) started out as a legend then Tennyson did them, the once and future King. We've even got the Disney version of it. We've got everything.
It's just been retold and retold and added to and added to. And that's something that we're doing as well in a (fantasy) setting.
It seems to be a timeless topic that people constantly seem to be inspired by and moved by.
It's just a platform for a lot of different things - magic, (unintelligible) loyalty, friendship. It covers all the grounds. And that's something that I think works in any time in any age.QUESTION:
In what ways have you seen Merlin further grow and develop as a character in season four? And have you discovered any new acting challenges associated with that growth?COLIN MORGAN:
A big thing is the maturity of the character this year. He's really, really studying what Arthur is going through.
You know, he's actually in a way experiencing what Arthur is experiencing. Arthur has got so much on his plate.
And the kingdom is in its most dire need of strength at this stage. And it's very much about Merlin engaging in exactly where he is and what he should be doing.
At one point in season four he gets the biggest opportunity he's ever going to get to change Arthur's opinion about magic. And he takes it and it's a big risk and he does and it's one of the boldest decisions he's made.
And as an actor it's interesting to really study the emotion that he's going through. And in terms of friendship, what do you do for a good friend when they're going through hell and yet you've got such a motive to make sure he gets through the other side to the future? And for again a little bit of selfish reasons because Merlin wants to live in a land where he can be free.
And so he's got to keep everything as a balance and he's got a lot on his plate. He's literally juggling plates at one point.
But there are bigger stakes and bigger objectives. And I don't think Arthur's ever been in as much need of Merlin as he is now. The only problem is he doesn't realize it.
Steve Eramo: I also wanted to ask you about Merlin's relationship with Gaius in season four. Maybe you could tell us a little bit about that and also what's it been like working with Richard Wilson in the series?COLIN MORGAN:
Richard Wilson is an absolute gentleman. You speak to anybody on set or any of the cast members and they will have nothing but praise for him. He is a pleasure to work with and an (honor).
And the relationship between Merlin and Gaius is one that I love hugely. I think it's fantastic.
And what's great, there's an episode this season which takes the two of them away from each other for a while. And it's really interesting to see how Merlin reacts when Gaius isn't around because maybe you don't realize how much he needed him until he's gone.
And it's a really interesting episode about their relationship and the love that they have for each other.
And my guess [is] at some point Merlin is going to use Gaius and he's not going to be around forever. And it's just a taste of what that will look like and how it will be like.
At the minute Gaius is the only one that really Merlin can confide in. So if Gaius wasn't around it - life becomes even more lonely.
So it's a really good relationship. It's a father-son relationship. Merlin was always a father relationship and it's always been missing in his life. And Gaius and him are very much a surrogate father and son.QUESTION:
One of the mantras I guess for season four is magic and more magic. Will we see Merlin's powers evolve a little more this season?COLIN MORGAN:
We do quite a bit. I think one of the big things is the power of his words and - in this season and understanding that magic is good for a lot of things but sometimes you've got to talk to your friends and you got to understand what they're going through and think more and use things more wisely.
I think from previous seasons we've seen him use magic very sporadically and very instinctually. And although it is his instinct, sometimes he needs to put the brakes on and say hold on, what's best for me, what's best for Arthur? What's best for the kingdom?
And those are questions. He's becoming up a lot wiser now. He's becoming a lot more clued in to when he should use his logic and how he should. So that's something that's really, really interesting.QUESTION:
And have you heard anything about season five? I know you're going to start shooting in a little while.COLIN MORGAN:
Yes, in fact we know nothing about it. They keep things so secret from us for quite a while. We only find out really like three episodes at a time.
So when we started season four I only knew episodes one, two and three. And then once we finish shooting those we get four, five and six.
So I know nothing about season five. I only know that season four ends on such an intriguing note that they cannot do a fifth season and you'd have a lot of very upset people if we ended on that note.QUESTION:
You were talking a little bit about how things are going to be changing and getting darker this season. Has Merlin had any regrets as far as when Morgana really needed him he turned his back on her?COLIN MORGAN:
Yes, yes. I mean it's a difficult call because Merlin has tried a lot to show her the right (prop). And it became very clear early on that he was told that Morgana would be his downfall and his doom and would be the one who is in direct opposition to all his goals and his destiny.
And that's been his most important thing about his focus. As difficult as it is or has been he's had to so much aside for the future of his kind and if that means sacrificing her or anyone, as ruthless as it is, that's what he signed up for when he came to Camelot. That was the deal.
And it says a lot about him as a character, the fact that sometimes your emotions have to be shoved aside and you've got to do that.
And Morgana is definitely - they're definitely beyond redemption. She has chosen that path. As far as Merlin's concerned she's had her chances. And I think you try to build a boundary in what you're definitely going to get burned.
And I think Merlin's stopped building the (banner) and he's ready to just really just put it out. And he's very focused on that this season.
And Morgana has (dropped off) a huge spear of this figure called Amerous, who is what Merlin is known as among the Druids.
And as she has an image of (Amerous) as old Merlin, so throughout the season whenever Merlin changes into old Merlin she has this terrible, terrible fear of him.
And he doesn't quite understand it but of course it's great from his point of view because we don't often get to see Morgana in such a state of distress. And as ruthless as she is, she has a huge fear of (Amerous) as well. And that's a real strong subplot throughout the whole season, too.QUESTION:
There's going to be confrontation obviously between Merlin and Morgana. Can you talk about shooting some of those scenes with (Kay)?COLIN MORGAN:
Yes, what's great is we get the mix so as old Merlin. And it's fun because as Merlin gets the opportunity to use magic openly to say what he's really thinking and the interaction between Morgana and the old Merlin is a confrontation that takes place which is now pretty epic.
Between Merlin as himself and Morgana there's such a history there, it's everything of the betrayal of hope, of love, of friendship. It's very, very complicated.
And so when they come to a head in this season as they do on a number of occasions it's fueled with such a back story of complications that it's sort of charged with electricity.
The only problem is Merlin can't use his magic at this stage and it's hugely frustrating. But we see him pushed to the brink and we see him in (unintelligible) situations where he overcomes that fact. And we think this a powerful wizard that he's going to become.QUESTION:
Do you foresee the series exploring any of the backstory of Gaius or Uther? To me that seems like very interesting material [that has] just been touched on on the surface.COLIN MORGAN:
Yes I think that's a really, really interesting thing. The (unintelligible) of it might be (unintelligible) and (unintelligible) that has happened in the past. And we've heard hints of what went on.
I think a flashback episode would be fantastic just to get a glimpse of what it was like back then, details or circumstances under which Camelot became that really paranoid state and paranoid of magic and (unintelligible).
I think it'll also be very interesting to even get a glimpse of Merlin's circumstances because when he first came to Camelot his past was a little bit shrouded in mystery and we didn't quite know what that is.
So I think it'd be interesting to again explore those aspects a little bit more and certainly get a good ground of exactly where these animosities built up and their frustration.
So yes, I think that'd be good (unintelligible).QUESTION:
I think that there's always some danger in storytelling when you take a heroic iconic figure like Arthur and make him a bumbling fool in the sense that he doesn't recognize Merlin's power.
Is there any conscious effort to balance that a little bit to keep Arthur heroic despite the fact that we're trying to build Merlin up as a hero?COLIN MORGAN:
Well I think obviously big changes with this season certainly because I think as an audience (unintelligible) we're in the know. We know that Merlin has magic. We know that he's the one who is doing all the behind-the-scenes stuff.
But to everyone else there's absolutely no way they wouldn't suspect Merlin. You can (unintelligible) there's - so I don't think there's any sort of dumbing down of the character as such and because I think certainly since series one Arthur has grown significantly and he's a lot more mature and he's certainly dealing - willing towards that (unintelligible) that he can become.
So and you're certainly seeing the transition period. And I think this season's a lot (unintelligible) transitions the characters make.QUESTION:
There is room for two heroes then.COLIN MORGAN:
Oh yes, I think so.QUESTION:
Since the whole season's already aired over on the BBC and now that it's just airing over here in the States, does it feel like it's a year-round thing for you? Because you're not really getting too much of a break in between the different airings, is it just like Merlin all the time for you now?COLIN MORGAN:
Yes, we film for eight months of the year so it's quite a long filming period. And then there's quite a lot of publicity and promotion to do around that as well.
We get a chance to chill out and have a break. And I've run some projects in previous years in between so you get a chance to have a bit of variety as well.
But it's definitely a massive commitment and one that's hugely rewarding by the end of it. It's a lot of hard work but it's really worth it.QUESTION:
In the third season you actually got to wear the old man makeup and all that kind of stuff. Did that freak you out a little bit?COLIN MORGAN:
I think it freaked a lot of other people out more than me, or people in the corridors and people catching glimpses of me because I got a couple of breaks in-between there where they're putting it on. It takes me 4-1/2 hours to put it on.
And it's at one stage where before they put the wig and the hair on walking about bald. And that kind of freaks a lot of people out. But I had a lot of fun doing that.QUESTION:
I had talked to Katie over the weekend...and she had mentioned that you and Bradley are quite big jokesters and pranksters. Do you think that helps your relationship on screen?COLIN MORGAN:
Yes. I think it helps that we like to have a bit of fun and have a bit of a laugh whenever it's needed for scenes. But also, equally is important is to focus and concentrate on scenes that are a bit more emotional or require a bit more focus. So it's about making the calls in the day and, yes it's not all fun and games but it's not all serious either.QUESTION:
Since the dragon basically escaped in season three, we haven't really seen much of it. Are you guys going to be showing [it] or are we going to see more aspects of Merlin's dragon lord side?COLIN MORGAN:
Yes for sure. That's something that's really explored in season four as well because Merlin - this is maybe what Merlin's (part) is about, the dragon lord.
And it also shows his separation, his independence from the dragon in a way as well. Because at the beginning in season one the dragon was a confidante, someone that Merlin needed help from.
And slowly and slowly they grew apart and the dragon's motives became slightly jarred and slightly unclear. And so there's been all these questions of trust between them.
But the dragon is a creature of magic as much as Merlin is. And there's that connection between them. And Merlin having very few people to confide in, the dragon is one that he can also confide in too.
So the relationships are always going to be strong between them. But as dragon (unintelligible) he can always command the dragon which is a great quality. And certainly Merlin and everyone think that in (prior) situations and when the dragon's help was needed.
What's going to be interesting to see is if Arthur ever meets the dragon what his reaction to him would be.QUESTION:
You've done a bunch of different spells during the show. Is there any spell that you'd love Merlin to be able to do or power that he doesn't have that you'd love him to have?COLIN MORGAN:
Possibly, let me think. I always thought teleportation would be a great one which he hasn't figured out how to do yet. I think that would be a really good one. It might cut out on all the quests that we have to go on, though. That might be a shame. But yes, I think teleportation would be a great one.QUESTION:
Merlin had this really sweet storyline with (Faya) last season. And I was just wondering if maybe you'll have another romantic encounter this season?COLIN MORGAN:
Sorry to disappoint but no, there's not going to be any love interest for Merlin this season, unfortunately. It's not something that the writers have explored.
But I think maybe in legends, Merlin was notoriously messed over by all the girls. So maybe they decided to keep him well away. But maybe I can have a few words and try to get someone going for the fifth season.QUESTION:
Good idea. And also you guys have had some really [great] guest stars in seasons past. Is there anybody this season that we should look forward to?COLIN MORGAN:
Yes there's a (grit) due coming up with (Van Daniels) and (Maranda Risenbay) that had (Tristan Amazolda) who [is] going to make an appearance later on in the series.
They are fantastic, they really are. They've got really such a good dynamic amongst each other and are really a lot of fun to have around on set as well. And yes, that's one to really look forward to, I think.QUESTION:
Is there anyone you'd like to see guest star, maybe a dream actor?COLIN MORGAN:
Oh I've got way too many. Living or dead?QUESTION:
Either one.COLIN MORGAN:
One of my favorite actors of all time is definitely Paul Newman. I've got so many favorite actors like Sean Penn but yes, I'm not so sure we could get them on the show.QUESTION:
Yes, [you] could have them be a rival king or something.COLIN MORGAN:
Yes, why not? It'd be great.QUESTION:
There's been a lot of talk about Arthur [and] Merlin being gay icons. And I've heard Brokeback Camelot -- things like that. What's your feeling on this kind of talk?COLIN MORGAN:
I keep myself pretty separate from it, to be honest. I'm not a big Internet user. I don't do blogs or Facebook or Twitter or anything like that. The only thing I have is an email account.
And so I never have anything like that going on. If you're looking for anything in any show in any form you can find it. We stick very clearly to the scripts and play them for what they are. And there's certainly no overtone or pretext that we're trying to show.QUESTION:
When are you coming back to America or maybe possibly Chicago for a Comic-Con here?COLIN MORGAN:
I'd love to come back again next year. We went to do Comic-Con in San Diego actually in the summer. And that was fantastic. We had such a blast. So hopefully we get to go again next year. It'd be brilliant.QUESTION:
Can you talk about the creatures Merlin and Arthur will have to fight this season?COLIN MORGAN:
Yes, in the opening two-parter of the season there's a really - one of the darkest things we've had come on called the (Rocka,) which are these free roaming spirits from the underworld.
At the beginning of the episode there's a festival called (Sowen) which celebrates the day of the dead. And it's at a time when the (veil) supposedly between the real world and the underworld is at its thinnest.
And Morgana takes advantage of that and creates a (tear) which releases all these demons out. And they only function at night. They are repelled by light. And they literally kill and freeze people in a second.
And the big thing that is one of the scariest things about these creatures is that Merlin's completely powerless against them. They literally absorb his power. So they are one of the most formidable creatures I think they've come across. And that's right in the opening episode.QUESTION:
What does it do to Merlin when he discovers he has to make a huge sacrifice to save Camelot from Morgana?COLIN MORGAN:
Merlin is completely focused on his destiny. He will do whatever it takes. He has to put a lot of his emotions aside. He has to not think about himself, not think in a way about his personal consequences and think about the consequences of what it will do for Arthur and for the kingdom and for the future of magic.
And he has to cast aside a lot of the personal feelings in a way. And Morgana has had her chances in a way. She's been given more than enough chances to prove that she could be good and that she could turn things around. So Merlin will do whatever it takes.QUESTION:
Merlin obviously believes in his destiny and Arthur's destiny and like you said he's willing to do anything to make those happen. But at this point does Arthur believe in his own destiny to that extent as well?COLIN MORGAN:
Yes, it's a good point actually. That's one of the huge things of this season, is that Arthur's raising a lot of belief in himself. And he's listening a lot and gaining a lot of advice from his uncle.
And Uther at the beginning of the series, of the season is really a shadow of himself. He's really gone a little bit mad. He's not in his right mind at all. And so the responsibilities fall to Arthur to make big decisions.
And but he's not confident in himself at all. I don't think he feels ready. He doesn't feel that he can make these decisions alone. He wants to make his father proud and not so difficult that (unintelligible) edge. And Merlin's trying to be there for him. Merlin's trying to make him see that things are right. But Arthur has a stronger bond with his family, his uncle over his friend.
And that's a difficult thing for Merlin to try and overcome because he knows that regardless of circumstances Merlin needs to be where Arthur's uncle is, and that's by his side being his most trusted advisor.
And that's a big, big challenge for Merlin this season, to try and get Arthur to accept him as well.QUESTION:
And we've also seen throughout the series other knights like Lancelot and so forth that eventually become the Knights of the Roundtable drift through the series.
Is there going to be a point where Merlin maybe realizes that he needs to start positioning or gathering these other knights around Arthur?COLIN MORGAN:
Yes, that's a big thing. I guess it comes to a point whenever you (well) to Arthur has his strong bond of knights.
And what's good about this season as well is we're really seeing that very, very strongly and knight quests that Arthur and Merlin go on together or used to go on together by themselves, they're not accompanied by a whole gang of knights. And Lancelot, Percival, Leon, Elyan, Gwen. They all come along. So there's actually a real camaraderie and band of brothers feel to a lot of the episodes this year. So you're definitely seeing the Knights of the Roundtable take information already and without Merlin's influence, and so that's pretty exciting to see that happening.QUESTION:
The season finale is shaping up to be pretty epic and pretty heart-wrenching. So exactly how much should I expect to cry on Christmas Eve?COLIN MORGAN:
I think there might be some tears of joy, to be honest. There's some pretty iconic moments happening in the season finale, season four.
It's huge epic moments, in terms of visually, what you're going to see is iconic if you can imagine. The finale's called "The Sword in the Stone," so you can guess.
And in a way that I think's very surprising. And also there's a bit of a cliffhanger, I think which people will be very intrigued by. I was certainly intrigued by [it]. I think it's the most intriguing ending we've probably ever had for a season.
And that leaves a lot of questions for where we're going to go in season five. So we've come to a really nice conclusion but at the end it's thrown up in the air a bit as well.
So that [is] maybe I think probably just tease you enough as I can without saying too much.QUESTION:
When do you think it becomes imperative that Merlin has to reveal his magic to Arthur? At what point does it become that their relationship doesn't survive once he's been lying for so long?COLIN MORGAN:
Yes, I think it needs to come to the point Merlin needs to be absolutely 100% sure that if he - that at this stage, if Merlin was to say that he had magic he would no doubt be either educated or exiled for his betrayal, for his abuse and for his ability not to be trusted. And that would be a big problem.
The one thing that's keeping him focused on his path for the destiny is the fact that he's just regarded as a servant. So he can act secretly and he can do that.
The minute that he comes out that he has magic is a huge risk, so he would be stupid to do it at that stage.
Arthur needs to not be (unintelligible). And once stains of change are shown, once it looks like Arthur won't be a reincarnation of Uther as a king, that's when Merlin can do it.
And you're definitely seeing a progression of that and the (grounding) of Arthur at season four.QUESTION:
Merlin has put so much into making the hopes of the future being Arthur. And now we have Uther mad.
I wonder if Merlin worries at all [about] "like father, like son." If Arthur could turn out to be not such a great bet or whether he just thinks it's magic and if he could get Uther in some way he could cure him?COLIN MORGAN:
Yes, it's a big thing. I think Merlin's got a lot of fears. Of course he wants Arthur to be the best king that he can be. But so many factors are taken into consideration, the fact that Arthur's got so little confidence in himself, the fact that he wants to do his father proud, that his father is just losing rep and reality and the effect that that has on a son and (unintelligible) it's a hard thing to watch. It's a hard thing to go through. And no doubt Arthur probably has those fears for himself as well.
I think Merlin's pretty steadfast and pretty confident in his belief in Arthur that he's always believed he'll be the greatest king. He's always believed he's got the qualities. His qualities just need to be encouraged and they need to be pushed to the foreground, not buried underneath bad decisions and bad advice, which is exactly what Agravaine is doing.
So it's really imperative that Merlin fights through and battles through and stays strong for Arthur, even if Arthur's feeling at his most weakest.
And certainly Uther going down the path he's going down, it's not encouraging and it's not good.
So Merlin does get a chance to redeem things there. And he does take his chance and for Uther, which is a really interesting decision I think to make, that if Uther can some way be healed or cured by magic then Arthur will believe in magic and trust in it and see it as a force for good.
And that's something that's brought very early on in the series. And it's a great opportunity and Merlin takes advantage of it.QUESTION:
With Merlin wielding the magical sword for the first time in an effective way, did he have time? Did he have fun with it? Did he think, "Wow, this is something I'd love to be able to do more of?"COLIN MORGAN:
Yes, I think he was very lucky not to have [Excalibur] because I think with a normal sword he doesn't handle it so well.
I think possibly [I] as Colin enjoyed it a lot more than me as Merlin, because I think it is something that was great. But I have to make it look a little bit clumsy and a little bit alien to me. But realistically, magic is Merlin's talent and he should probably stick to that.QUESTION:
It seems to me that Merlin is smarter than Arthur, or is it just that he has more information and that he has magic? Which do you think it is?COLIN MORGAN:
Maybe a little bit a combination of all. I think Merlin's in the know in terms of what (unintelligible) where Arthur's going that - and what must take (unintelligible) for Arthur to be in that position (unintelligible) that position of that perfect king.
But also the slightness of Merlin (unintelligible) magic and with Arthur never fully realizing that he's got out of a situation because of Merlin and because Merlin's been there.
And yet Arthur, he regards him as [a] the servant, the one that's there just to carry the luggage, I suppose, to actually carry the weight of the situation.
And the humor comes in the fact that Merlin's the one who probably has the biggest problem of them all. And as an audience member we're clued into that.
But [to] those in the world of Camelot, Merlin...is just Merlin. And that's an interesting thing, I think, for an audience to watch. And it hopefully doesn't make the other characters look too dumbed-down or anything.