Arjun Gupta is having a great week. The actor, 28, will celebrate the season 2 finale of his SyFy series, The Magicians, on Wednesday, April 19, and he and his castmates just got some even better news: The fantasy drama show has just been renewed for a third season, which is set to begin filming this summer in Vancouver.
"I’m thrilled for the opportunity to tell more of this story,” Gupta (who plays talented but edgy traveler magician Penny on the series) tells Us Weekly of continuing with the show, which is based on the bestselling book trilogy by Lev Grossman. “I’m excited for the chance to keep working with these amazing people that I get to work with on a daily basis. It’s a beautiful day. We’re very pleased and buoyed by the support that we’ve gotten from the fans and the way that we’ve been able to grow this season."
The fan support, says the Indian-American actor, is what’s made being a part of the novels turned television series so satisfying. "Overall the fans of the books have been incredibly supportive,” Gupta says. “We [the cast] went to New York Comic-Con before the first season came out in 2015. We were filming the first season then and we got the chance to meet the fans and let them know that the show was written by two writers who are passionate about the books, and you have six actors who are deeply committed to honoring these stories.” The actors, Gupta says, have fully joined the fandom as well. “Now we’re as big of fans of the books as everyone else, so it’s definitely intimidating,” Gupta admits, “because you don’t know how people are going to respond — people have ownership because they’ve imagined certain things while they were reading. But overall the feedback has been incredibly supportive. There are differences, for sure, but overall people seem to like it."
Gupta is pretty sure the fans do like it — because he talks to them himself! The actor is known for his spirited weekly live-tweets of episodes, but admits he didn’t understand the social media world at first. "I’ll be honest, I was a little resistant and hesitant about live tweeting,” Gupta says, “Because I thought, I didn’t want to distract people that were watching! It was all new to me.” Now, he says, the tweeting comes naturally. “I love connecting with fans on Twitter,” Gupta tells Us. “I come from a theater background, and I consider the theater a sacred space partially because of that immediate reaction between actor and audience. So I like Twitter because it feels like that immediate reaction, I get to witness people witnessing the show."
The actor says he expects his Twitter feed to be on fire during the season finale this week. Keeping fans in suspense, Gupta plays coy with Us and teases the big ending. "When I read the script for 12,” the actor says, "I thought, “Wait a minute, did I skip an episode? This feels like a finale!” Then I read the script for episode 13, and I was like, 'Oh wow.‘ It was a huge surprise.” He goes on to explain, "It feels like there are six different endings during the episode. It’s definitely the biggest episode of our series to date. And we’ve had a lot of big episodes.” The biggest ever?! Gupta says he’s not exaggerating. “It’s not even a risk saying it, I’m not even stepping out on a limb saying it — this is by far definitively the biggest episode. There’s a death, there’s blood, there’s unlikely heroes. If you could put everything into one episode this is what that would be.”
Luckily, Gupta says, he isn’t worried that they’ll run out of material from the books for future seasons. "I think there’s a wealth of material for us to use,” he says. "There are elements of the third book in this season – so we’ve kind of opened up the books non-linearly and used landmarks to tell the story.” He says he isn’t sure where Penny will go next, but he knows it’ll be somewhere exciting. "I’m grateful of the storyline I’ve gotten as Penny,” says Gupta, whose character has been fleshed-out significantly in the TV adaption. "I feel particularly lucky in Penny’s arc and story so I trust whatever happens will be fun for me to do.” He does have one wish for season 3: more dragons! "In the books, Penny goes off and works with dragons to fight these big gods. I think that would be pretty cool to show on the show!”
The Magicians season 2 finale airs on SyFy on April 19 at 9 p.m. ET