Mary’s reign may be almost over, but this queen is going out with her head held high.
The CW announced yesterday that Reign is ending after the royal drama’s upcoming fourth season. That will draw a curtain on the story of Mary, Queen of Scots (Adelaide Kane), who started out as a young woman on the verge of marrying into the French royal family. Over the course of three seasons, Mary wed Francis (Toby Regbo), mourned his death, and moved back to Scotland to take her rightful throne. Season 4 is currently in production, giving Reign’s writing team a chance to wrap up the series, despite the cancellation. “It’s something we’ve been talking about for a long time, even from beginning of the plotting of this season,” co-creator Laurie McCarthy tells Yahoo TV. “We were aware that it might be our final season.” She hopes fans will “find the end really moving and really satisfying.”
Last time we saw Mary, she was hard at work uniting Scotland under her rule and at odds with her cousin, Queen Elizabeth (Rachel Skarsten). As history buffs know, the real Mary eventually was beheaded at the age of 45 under the order of Elizabeth. So will Reign’s end line up with history? “We talked about where we wanted to end Mary’s life and our current version of a younger queen, knowing that she doesn’t really die until she’s in her 40s,” McCarthy explains. “But luckily for us, and unluckily for the real Mary, Queen of Scots, the moves that she makes at this juncture this season really do position her for where she ends up, which is a kind of fearless demise.”
Those moves include a second marriage to Lord Darnley (Will Kemp), with whom she eventually has a child (the future King James VI). “It was designed as a political marriage, but it becomes a tumultuous marriage,” McCarthy notes. “Ultimately, there were things that she had to do to manage her husband, who was very much someone grasping for power.” Through three seasons, Mary has had to face some tough choices; she’ll have even more coming her way. And though the real Mary’s ending was tragic, this season will just show “a really fierce and proactive queen.”
“The picture that we’re painting of Mary, Queen of Scots, is somebody who didn’t necessarily make a mistake,” McCarthy says. “She really befell the slings and arrows that are cast at a woman in power.”
The 16-episode final season of Reign premieres Feb. 10 at 9 p.m. on The CW.