Irish actor Colin Morgan plays the title character in the BBC production of Merlin, now airing on the Syfy Network. This make the fourth season for the show that spotlights the relationship between the wizard and King Arthur. This series updates the dramatic Camelot for a whole new generation.
Windy City Times went overseas to talk to the magic man.
WCT: (Jerry Nunn) Hi, Colin. Congrats on a new season. What can we expect this time out?
CM: (Colin Morgan) The first thing people will notice is a very different tone this time. We are shooting on 35-millimeter [film]. The stories have become more complex and more powerful. The tagline of the season is "the darkest hour is before the dawn."
WCT: I have heard talk of Arthur and Merlin being gay icons. What is your feeling on Brokeback Camelot?
CM: 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.
But if you're looking for anything in any show in any form you can find it. It's certainly something we stick very clearly to the scripts and play them for what they are. And there's certainly no kind of like overtone or pretext that we're trying to show.
WCT: It has definitely helped with viewers, such as on Xena. So are there any love interests for Merlin this season?
CM: Sorry to disappoint, but there are no love interests this season for Merlin. It's not something the writers have explored.
WCT: Can you compare Merlin's friendship with Gwen and Arthur?
CM: Gwen and Arthur are destined to be the future king and queen. It is Merlin's destiny to ensure that Arthur becomes the greatest king of the land for the kingdom. Gwen is a great friend of Merlin's. There's a huge amount of respect and loyalty among the three of them. There's a conflict between them halfway through the first season that will be hard to prepare.
WCT: Does Merlin believe Morgana is beyond redemption or can he save her from being his greatest enemy?
CM: No, she's beyond redemption. I think that Merlin's definitely come to that conclusion. He's given her chances. She is his ultimate nemesis in the series.
WCT: Seems like everyone is growing up.
CM: 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. As our characters grow up, that's when some juicy stuff could start coming along.
WCT: So Merlin is developed more…
CM: A big thing is the maturity of the character this year. He's really, really studying what Arthur is going through. The kingdom is in its most dire need of his strength now. At one point in the season he gets to change Arthur's opinion about magic.
As an actor it is very interesting to study what he is going through.
WCT: What is it like working with Richard Wilson, who plays Gaius?
CM: 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.
WCT: How do those characters develop?
CM: The relationship between the two of them is one I love hugely. I think its fantastic. What's great is there's an episode this season, which takes the two of them away from each other for a while. It's really interesting to see how Merlin reacts when Gaius isn't around maybe because you don't realize how much he needed him until he's gone.
It's a really interesting episode about their relationship and the love that they have for each other. Gaius and him are very much a sort of surrogate father and son.
WCT: Have you heard anything about season five? I heard you are about to film it.
CM: 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 I know nothing about season five. I only know that season four ends on such an intriguing note that they had to make a fifth season or you'd have a lot of very upset people if we ended on that I note.
WCT: How about visiting Chicago for Comic-Con?
CM: Well, hopefully, 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.
Merlin pops onto television screens for a premiere Jan. 6. For listing and details visit www.syfy.com.