Warning: This story includes spoilers from the Wednesday, April 17, finale of The Magicians.
Didn’t see that coming? Neither did the cast of The Magicians. During the season 4 finale, Jason Ralph‘s Quentin Coldwater — who has led the series since its debut in 2015 — sacrificed himself in order to save everyone he cared about. Upon arriving in the Underworld, Penny-40 let him watch the funeral, of sorts, his friends were having — which included an incredible musical number and everyone saying goodbye. (Cue the tissues!)
However, none of the cast knew Ralph, 33, wouldn’t be returning to the series or that his character was dead … until this week.
“There was a dummy scene at the end of the script that washed all of that away and found a way for Quentin to survive,” the actor told Entertainment Weekly. “So, everyone — the crew and [the cast] — was under the impression that’s what was actually going to happen. They were playing it like he died for real. They just didn’t know it was going to be a forever decision.”
Ahead of season 4, coshowrunners John McNamara and Sera Gamble spoke with Ralph about the idea of killing Quentin. After a conversation with the author of the Magicians books, Lev Grossman, they all agreed it was a good idea. So, Ralph was sworn to secrecy for about a year.
“It certainly informed my choices through the season, and trying to get Quentin to a place that would be cathartic and that we hadn’t left too many loose ends about who he is at its core,” the Broadway alum told EW. “There’s a lot of plot stuff, but the journey of this person needed to feel complete. Having the heads up to kind of craft that was really important, and I thank the [showrunners] for that.”
Fans of the series know that just because someone dies, doesn’t mean they’re gone. However, Ralph will not be returning. The Younger alum has the option to return in a flashback but will not be a series regular again.
“It’s not that Quentin’s story is done on The Magicians. It is that Jason Ralph is no longer a series regular on the show, and Quentin Coldwater is dead on the show, and the story moving forward is about the aftermath of that,” Gamble told The Hollywood Reporter. “Jason has left the show, and Quentin is dead, and a lot of season 5 is about what happens next, just as when somebody dies in our lives, the next season of our life is about what happens.”
For now, Ralph is back in New York with wife Rachel Brosnahan and is looking forward to what’s next. “I’m ready to move on and to be try on some new characters,” he told TV Insider. “It’ll be nice to get home, get back to the theater.”
The Magicians has been renewed for season 5.