'Shadowhunters' Showrunners Explain All From the Heartfelt Series Finale
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for the two-part Series Finale of Shadowhunters, "Alliance” and “All Good Things..."]
That's a wrap on the series finale of Freeform's Shadowhunters but, as any fan of the show could have predicted, there's still much to talk about, right? The Magnus/Alec wedding? Sizzy sizzling? Raphael turning up? Luke's clean-shaven face? Clary losing her powers and memory? And those final moments between Clary and Jace?
While we're all sad the series has wrapped up, we're happy showrunners Todd Slavkin and Darren Swimmer hopped on the phone with TV Insider to talk about everything we saw in the finale. So let's jump right to their answers to all our questions!
The finale was chockfull but before I dive into specifics, which scene was the toughest for you guys to write?
Todd Slavkin: Good question! I think that what we spent the most time on honestly were the vows at the wedding and also the Jocelyn scene…
Darren Swimmer: …once we got the story right…
Slavkin: …it just flowed.
Speaking of the Jocelyn moment, had you been looking for a way to bring Maxim Roy back for awhile?
Slavkin: Yes! We had a great moment for her — in Season 2 Episode16 — when Clary (Katherine McNamara) was hallucinating, and she saw the angel Ithuriel in her vision. That was going to be Jocelyn and the same kind of a thing where the angel was using that visage. But Maxim Roy is a very busy actress so we couldn't make it work. Luckily, we could this time and it was perfect.
Agreed! Going right to the Malec wedding, which was really beautiful. Why was it Magnus (Harry Shum Jr) walking down the aisle to Alec (Matthew Daddario) instead of the other way around? I’m just curious about that choice.
Slavkin: There's so many different permutations but it was because seeing Maryse (Nicola Correia Damude) walk down the aisle with Magnus was such an emotional moment for us that I think the fans are going to feel that too.
It also takes you back to Alec's first wedding in the first season where Maryse isn't happy about Magnus at all, right?
Slavkin: Exactly. It's a full end-o-round, the complete 180 of her character. And the hug at the end…I just love that hug that she gives Magnus before she says goodbye.
And you guys didn't go the traditional route with wedding vows. Was that something you went back and forth on?
Slavkin: We knew it had to be original vows and that they would write it themselves we weren't going to take it from something else.
Swimmer: Anytime you do a wedding scene in a television show, movie, anything, it's hard to make it original because the minute it starts getting too out there, it feels like we're doing some off the wall or gimmicky thing. And it was important for us to make this feel in some ways like the traditional wedding that they both always wanted to have and yet, completely different than any wedding you've ever been to.
Luke (Isaiah Mustafa) going from werewolf to Shadowhunter, can you talk about that and that fact that it happened in the finale?
Swimmer: That was something we decided fairly early when we were talking about how we're going to move into Season 4 when we thought there was going to be a Season 4. And Luke had been the cop who helps out the Shadowhunters and we were thinking, what more interesting way to have Luke become a part of all of the action than to have him become a Shadowhunter and live at the Institute? That's one of those things we wanted to do for the whole season.
Slavkin: And it was such a great way to use that heavenly fire serum. We knew someone had to get that serum. You couldn't just dangle and not pay it off so it was perfect that it ended up being Luke.
For the sake of anyone who may not know, why was Luke clean-shaven for the finale?
Slavkin: Because of his role in It 2. In fact, both Alisha Wainwright (Maia) and Isaiah, because of their shooting schedules on other projects, were limited in their involvement in the finale and their availability. We had bigger plans for them in this finale but Isaiah was doing It 2 and Alisha was doing Raising Dion with Michael B. Jordan.
Swimmer: I don't think a lot of people know that because these last two episodes [of the series] came out of the blue, we had to grab everybody from around the world from wherever they were and reassemble the band. And we were actually lucky that most of our people were available.
Slavkin: And for the wedding, we wanted to invite all these people that had been on the show, so you can only imagine the availability of it all. Raphael (David Castro) and Lorenzo (Javier Munoz), all those people. It took a while to work.
Speaking of Raphael, I thought that was such a nice sense of closure that you guys gave him for the character.
Slavkin: The whole finale was like ‘what's the push off on all these people that we lived with for the last three seasons?’ I thought the idea of him going to the seminary was just awesome. He was a kid that was just always into Catholicism and the fact that that meant so much to him and he couldn't be in a church for so long as a vampire, that was so perfect as a payoff. Also, Lorenzo and Underhill (Steve Byers) and the push off of that [potential relationship] and creating all these beginnings of hopefully fan fiction that fans in their own mind are putting down on paper and can envision these people doing in the future and beyond.
And since we’ve heard fans clamoring for Sizzy — aka Simon (Alberto Rosende) and Izzy (Emeraude Toubia) — since the pilot, how did you go about making sure to satisfy that with a sexy, steamy scene between them?
Swimmer: I think the way to build that into a big moment is the slow burn up to it. Everybody was patiently waiting for them to get together, including us, because, oh yes, we wanted to do that much earlier. But we just knew that the later we can push it, the more special it would be and thinking that we had a whole season or more to have them together in a relationship, we figured we would move it to the very end of Season 3B.
Slavkin: And we had to jam it in. We were going to spread that over a season but at the end of the day, we just had to do it. And the wedding was good because if you see them together, it made it obvious that the time flashes in the future when you see them it’s like ‘Oh, they're really a couple!’ They have that comfort level at the very end of the show so I think the push off of that is that these two will be together.
There were so many great character moments like Simon and Clary, Izzy and Clary’s parabatai moment and more. How hard was it to make sure all those moments made it into the episode?
Slavkin: The great news is Freeform gave us an extra 22 minutes to do the show once we assembled our cut and showed them. For a minute there, we were pretty terrified because we're like, ‘How do we fit this into two episodes?’ Our editor, out of the blue, was like, 'Why don't you just ask the network and see what they'll say?' And sure enough, we asked and they looked at [the cut] and they said yes. It was a great lesson because it never hurts to as!
In case you want to watch again, here's that moment where Magnus and Alec talk over getting married...at the Institute?
For someone like me who isn’t an expert on the books as well as many of the fans, how important was it to include more moments from Cassandra’s source material?
Slavkin: So many book moments! The dance with Jace and Clary at the end when she's talking about that love and that whole speech is just straight from the book.
Swimmer: The notion of an alliance rune and the notion that a new Shadowhunter has to line up with an older one…
Slavkin: The relationship between Jonathan (Luke Baines) and the Seelie Queen…in the books that's much longer, that romantic relationship. But in the finale, we had to rush that but that's really from the books as well. And plenty little Easter eggs along the way for book lovers.
Swimmer: And in the book, Simon loses his memories. But it wasn't as if that came out of nowhere, that idea but for us, just with Clary, the sacrifice of it all felt right.
Why the one-year time jump as opposed to whatever other time it could have been? Why one year?
Slavkin: I think we needed it to be soon enough that we weren't jumping so far into the future.
Swimmer: So it was still sort of relevant to the storyline.
Slavkin: And we could pick people up like Maia at the restaurant, Taki's, for example.
In that flash-forward, why was it that moment when Clary is able to see Jace (Dominic Sherwood)? It reminded me of that pilot moment so much! But why did she see him at that moment when we know he’s been keeping an eye on her?
Slavkin: It's fully circular knowing that that happened in the pilot, and the reason is because Jace always kept his distance from her. He had been sneaking up and watching her but she had never seen him because he was being smart. And in this moment, he stood there and he was caught. He was enraptured by her and lost in love. She connected with the eyes and the whole point being that their love is more powerful than the wrath of the angels. And we thought that was just such a nice way to end the series and that hopefulness between them that love could really truly conquer all was a nice moment.
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