The Magicians EPs tease season 3's epic quest and 'unusual' pairings

How does the world look without magic? Not great, Bob!

The last time we checked in with Syfy’s The Magicians, the titular spell-casters had all lost the very thing that helped give their lives meaning because the old gods turned magic off in retaliation for Quentin (Jason Ralph) and Julia (Stella Maeve) killing the god Ember. Unfortunately, magic is still gone when season 3 begins, and without it, the world is depressing and colorless.

“[It’s] somewhat dystopian,” executive producer John McNamara tells EW about the world without magic.

“In the first few episodes, we zero in on several magicians, not just our heroes from Brakebills, but also for example Alice’s [Olivia Taylor Dudley] parents,” says fellow EP Sera Gamble. “We check in on people who have been relying on magic in the world, [who], in Quentin’s words, have frankly been taking it for granted. We see how much their lives have changed.”

Seeing as how Quentin and the gang were responsible for the world losing magic, it now falls on them to bring it back. As the trailer revealed, they’ll embark on an “epic quest” to find several keys that may very well help them do that.

“The quest becomes a series of crisscrossing adventures in which characters who have not had any screen time, or very little screen time for a season or more, finally find themselves in pairs and trios.” says McNamara. “You’re going to see some pairings that you’ve never seen before, some reunions, and two or three times you’ll see the core group back together again as a whole.”

For example, Julia and Alice have a major story together in the first half of the season, which has been a long time coming. “I think it’s some of the best work that Stella and Olivia have ever done on the show, and that’s saying a lot,” says Gamble. “They’re both such formidable [characters] and they have both been through so much very separately in the first couple of seasons. …Because of that, there’s a richness and a depth to their relationship that’s interesting to all of us.”

McNamara is looking forward to fans seeing Quentin and Eliot’s “unusual” pairing in episode 5, which has a “peculiar, unique, and, I found, very moving structure,” he says. “It really is one of our more unusual, and, I think, successful pairings.”

In general, season 3 will explore the consequences of taking something wonderous for granted. “For me, this season is about learning how easy it is to dismiss any gift, any aspect of your life that suddenly feels like a given,” says McNamara. “Whether it’s your economic status, your race, the democracy you live in. Whether it’s real or metaphorical, it’s human nature to take for granted and eventually only see the flaws in the lack of goodness or the lack of use in even the most amazing aspect’s one’s life.”

The Magicians returns Wednesday, Jan. 10, at 9 p.m. ET on Syfy.