British Merlin fans were able to get their series 5 DVD box sets today, and might have already listened to the commentary track for “The Diamond of the Day, Part 2,” which features Katie McGrath (Morgana) and Julian Murphy.

This track marks the first and so far only time in which one of the Merlin showrunners have spoken out about the way in which the show ended, and as such, we are sure that fans of the show will be curious to find out what he had to say.

The commentary is a very enjoyable listen; they seem to have a lot of fun discussing the show and playing with innuendos and fan assumptions. If possible, do listen to the whole thing yourself, because we’re sure it’s more enjoyable to hear Murphy and McGrath themselves rather than reading about it!

Here are some of the biggest reveals for easy consumption:

The magic reveal almost didn’t happen

One of the first things which Murphy reveals is that in one version of the finale script, “Arthur never found out about Merlin’s magic.” This was definitely shocking, since that has been what fans have probably been anticipating the most for the past five years.

Murphy also acknowledges here that they were, in fact, never planning to reveal Merlin’s magic before the end of the series. Luckily they decided to include it in the finale after all, as not doing it at all “felt like a cheat to the audience.”

The finale was “a love story between two men”

Merlin and Arthur’s friendship has obviously been one of the driving forces of the series, and the perceived ambiguity of their relationship has been a main focus for the fandom. In this commentary, Murphy and McGrath share some really interesting thoughts (and some very funny jokes) about the pair of them, and while a lot of what they say is definitely not meant to be taken seriously, we did find some of their comments worth pointing out.

Most notably, the showrunner confirms that Merlin and Arthur did indeed grow to love each other by the end of the series, calling it a “pure” love. “We did, very genuinely, think of the episode as a love story between two men. Which is what I think it is, jokes and innuendo aside,” he says. McGrath adds that, “you can’t deny that Merlin and Arthur do love each other, you know? In whatever love way you want to think, there is no denying.”

Their jokes in the commentary largely revolve around the idea that magic (and the magic reveal) is a metaphor for homosexuality – an idea which Merlin fans have been throwing around for years, and we were therefore surprised to hear the way in which McGrath and Murphy address it. Murphy says things like, “on no level is magic metaphorical in this show,” to which McGrath will respond, “it’s funny, I don’t actually feel like you’re being sincere.” This leaves us to wonder to what extent they were, in fact, making these metaphors on a more conscious level than perhaps the average viewer (who wasn’t necessarily looking for the subtext) might have assumed.

Murphy points to the moment where Arthur finally dies as what the entire series has been building towards. At the “just hold me,” Murphy justifies to a shocked McGrath that, “well, he’s dying, the man he loves is dying, so he’s holding him.”

“I think you maybe just confirmed what a lot of people thought,” McGrath says at the end of the commentary. “And I’m glad that Julian could do it, because he’s probably the only one who could have gotten away with that commentary.”

We also want to point to a hilarious line by Murphy, even if it is said in joke (when Arthur passes his seal to Gaius), “That’s the last vestige of his heterosexu– I mean sorry, that’s the last vestige of his marriage.” Well, now that the show is over, we guess they can finally make jokes like this, right?

Gwen and Leon? Morgana and… Morgause?

Now, here is a ship which never really sailed, but which this writer in particular might have developed a bit of a penchant for. And evidently, so has Katie McGrath. Murphy jokes about Gwen being a “scorned wife,” and McGrath replies, “but she has Sir Leon!” Although Murphy’s response (“ah, see, that’s another undercurrent in Merlin“) sounds like a joke, we’ll take it. Gweon, are we calling it?

McGrath also complains that she never got a love interest, and Murphy pays homage to another fan pairing: “I gave you Morgause. Incestuous lesbianism, what more do you want?” Although he maintains that it was McGrath and Emilia Fox who brought that element of their relationship across. Sadly though, the Gwen/Morgana mud wrestling scene never got greenlit. “It’s a family show,” Murphy says. “Not in your head,” McGrath replies.

Choosing to end the series with tragedy

“I felt a horrible pressure doing these [last] two [episodes],” Murphy admits. “Because you gotta pay off the series.” Because they based the show on such an iconic legend, and because people have an expectation for the ending and Arthur’s death, “it has that weight of history, and yet you have to make it fresh.”

Ultimately, the showrunner calls the finale “simple,” just Merlin and Arthur on this final journey together. He also allows that, “obviously the ending is tragic, basically, Arthur dies and he fails,” adding, “I don’t know how the nation’s gonna feel on Christmas eve. It’s pretty gut-wrenching.” But Murphy explains that he just couldn’t find a way to give the show a happy ending, because “people would feel cheated.” So he couldn’t find a way out of the tragedy, except for adding in the final flash forward moment at the very end.

Finally, Murphy clears up a few things which fans might have been left wondering about: when they fly to Avalon on the dragon, Arthur was indeed completely dead. And the hand coming out of the lake was the Lady of the Lake’s, not Arthur’s.

We’ll leave you on a high with McGrath’s vision of the ending, which sounds like something straight out of a fanfic – and we have to admit, we kind of love it: “I had the most amazing ending where Arthur is lying mortally wounded on the battlefield. Merlin comes up and cradles him in his arms. Merlin to Arthur: ‘I have magic.’ Arthur takes Merlin’s face in his hands. ‘I know. I think I’ve always known.'”

What do you think about Julian Murphy’s quotes? Now that you’ve had some time to process, how do you feel about the way in which Merlin ended?

The hosts of Hypable’s Merlin podcast Talks of Camelot share their thoughts on the ending and the final season as a whole on the latest episode of the podcast! Listen, enjoy, and leave us your feedback.

Cassandra Clare keeps expanding the Shadowhunters’ universe, with the first adult books of the chronicles just announced!

Clare announced via press release this morning that she’ll publish a trilogy about Magnus Bane, the fan-favorite warlock who’s appeared in every single one of her books and already received a collection of eleven spin-off novellas all about him (The Bane Chronicles). There is no word yet on whether the new books will tie in with the stories told in The Bane Chronicles.

Interestingly, this trilogy will be Clare’s first foray into adult literature, after writing extensively in the YA realm. She always pushed the boundaries of YA, though, with the inclusion of “Dirty Sexy Balcony Scenes” and the like. The first Shadowhunter book, City of Bones, was published in 2007, and the teens who picked it up back then will feel right at home in the adult section of a bookstore today.

Also of note, the series will be co-written with Wesley Chu (author of The Lives of Tao). Clare seems to like having co-writers when dealing with Magnus Bane; The Bane Chronicles are the only other Shadowhunter books that have other authors attached.

The first Magnus Bane book is expected to be published in November 2017. This means that Cassandra Clare will have three Shadowhunters series being published concurrently… The Dark Artifices, The Last Hours, and this Magnus Bane series.

If various sources are to be believed, all three will have an installment published in 2017. The second Dark Artifices book, Lord of Shadows, is expected in April. The Magnus Bane book, as mentioned above, is due in November. And the official site of the Shadowhunter Chronicles still says that the first Last Hours book, Chain of Thorns, is expected in 2017. Clare has a sixth series planned after getting some of these finished, The Wicked Powers, so there’ll be more Shadowhunters coming to a bookstore near you at least through the early 2020s.

Perhaps the decision to publish the Magnus Bane trilogy was based on the character’s success on the Shadowhunters TV show, where the fan favorite is portrayed by Harry Shum Jr. Shadowhunters was renewed for a second season by ABC Family, and it looks like they may have many seasons ahead of them.

Clare said, “Over the years writing the Shadowhunter books, Magnus Bane has emerged as one of the most fun and fascinating characters for me to bring to life… There are so many things we don’t know about Magnus, from the story of his first love to the secrets of his parentage, to the beginning of his relationship with Alec. All those are things I was able to touch on in The Bane Chronicles, but I’m excited to dig in even more deeply in these three volumes devoted to Magnus, his past, his future, and his present.”

Are you excited for three books all about Magnus Bane, or is this Shadowhunter overkill?

The Boxcar Children are heading to the big screen for a new movie series.

Many of us grew up with the wonderful Boxcar Children book series when we were kids. The stories by Gertrude Chandler Warner follow Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny, who live in a train boxcar as they search for a home. As kids we all wanted to live in that boxcar (or at least I did — I thought it was so cool to live in a train car with friends!).

According to a press release from Shout! Factory Studios and Legacy Classics, work on a new Boxcar Children animated movie series is well underway, with the first movie aiming for a release in 2017 (which marks the 75th anniversary of Boxcar Children #1). Two more Boxcar Children stories are also in development.

If the animation quality is at the Sunday-morning-cartoon level I probably won’t be very excited about it, but if it’s a more mature animation style (like a Pixar or a Coraline) I can imagine myself loving it.

boxcar-children-books

The Boxcar Children movie series is poised to do well thanks to the overall success of the books they’re based on. The novels have collectively sold over 70 million copies worldwide, with over 160 books (?!) in its arsenal. The two most recent books are titled The Legend of the Irish Castle and The Celebrity Cat Caper, which were both published this year. Looking through the history of the series, roughly four Boxcar Children books have been published annually. The original author, Gertrude Chandler Warner, only wrote the first 19.

A low-budget animated Boxcar Children film debuted two years ago, but today’s announcement marks a reboot with a new studio at the helm.

Arrested Development‘s fourth season aired three years ago today. To celebrate its legacy (and to try to forget how much we’re missing it right now), let’s rank the best recurring Arrested Development jokes!

It’s really no secret that Arrested Development has some of the best recurring jokes and gags of all time. Even people who don’t watch the show are familiar with things like “There’s always money in the banana stand” and “I’ve made a huge mistake.” The jokes in this show are just so understated and catchy that it would’ve been crazy had they not have caught on. Thanks to Arrested Development‘s recurring jokes, pop culture has never been quite the same.

To celebrate our undying love for Arrested Development, we decided to forgo the banner (sorry, everyone) and instead put together a list of all of the gags and jokes that we think are the best ones the show’s ever done. Not only that, but we’re leaving it up to you to rank them!

How to play: Love a certain joke and think that it should be at the top of the list? Upvote it. Really hate another joke and don’t understand how it got on the list in the first place? Hit that little downward-facing arrow. Don’t care either way for some of these gags? Then you can just leave them untouched. It’s all good! We just want to know what YOU think! With everyone participating we’ll be able to build a definitive list of the best Arrested Development jokes!

So, grab your denim cut-offs and hot ham water, and maybe even do a little chicken dance to get yourself pumped up (but not with the hot ham water in your hand, please). If you’re an Arrested Development fan, you’re sure to love ranking these jokes.

(Just be careful about which arrow you hit. You don’t want to hit the wrong one and find yourself saying “I’ve made a huge mistake.”)

Are there any ‘Arrested Development’ jokes missing from the list? Add them below!

 
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