Camelot Will Be Magic

We did wonder if the new US Arthurian TV series Camelot (showrun by former Torchwood writer Chris Chibnall) was going to be SFX territory or not… Now we have our answer

When Camelot , the new Arthurian series being made by the US Starz network, was first announced, we did wonder if it was going to be SFX territory. Okay, so the legend has Merlin and Morgana and all that gubbins, but with the producers citing shows like The Tudors as inspiration, it looked like they may have wanted to go down more the route of the 2004 Clive Owen film King Arthur , which was more just a medieval action film. Thank God they aren’t.

But no. Camelot will be magic. The show’s cast and crew (which includes former Torchwood head writer Chris Chibnall as showrunner) confirmed it at TCA (Television Critics Association) conference in LA.

But, according to The Hollywood Reporter , Joseph Fiennes, who plays Merlin in the series, says that while the series will contain magic elements, it won’t be a major element.

“The magic lies in the political essences of the piece,” Fiennes said. “Yes, there will be in dark arts – you’ll see things disappearing and changing shape – but it’s really about the birth of a legend, a country split by war and greed and the assent of a pure king and noble minds.”

Amusingly, Fiennes has pictures of Obi Wan Kenobi, Luke Skywalker and Willy Wonka on the wall of his dressing room for inspiration, describes Merlin as, “a cross between Obi Wan Kenobi and Donald Rumsfeld.”

The show starts with the birth of Arthur and will feature a sword in the stone sequence unlike any ever seen before, promises Chibnall.

The Hollywood Reporter describes the trailer as, gritty and earthy, violent and sexy, and “more naturalistic and not as extreme as Spartacus .” So Merlin with sex and blood, then.

Dave Golder
Freelance Writer

Dave is a TV and film journalist who specializes in the science fiction and fantasy genres. He's written books about film posters and post-apocalypses, alongside writing for SFX Magazine for many years.