'Merlin': Colin Morgan and Katie McGrath on Season 4

Colin-Morgan-Merlin.jpg"Merlin" is back on Syfy tonight (Jan. 6th) with a whole new season. Fans were shocked to see Uther's ( Anthony Head) death in the trailer, along with a much darker tone. Zap2it got to chat with stars Colin Morgan who plays Merlin and Katie McGrath who plays his archenemy Morgana about what's coming up for fans of the show.

Morgan said, "The 4th season definitely ups the game a lot, even in terms of how it looks ... it gets a little bit darker each year. This is the darkest it's become." The show has had dark episodes before, but they've always been balanced out with silly ones to break the tension. That's not really happening this year. The show has grown up, just like the characters.

Morgan explained, "There's no, what I'd describe as funny episodes. There's definitely some stuff that's presented in a funny way, but there's actually quite a darkness to them. Particularly one episode where Merlin's almost turned into a really bad assassin. He's captured by Morgana and he's got a snake in his brain, which is controlling his thoughts. It's making him want to kill the King. It's quite a dark thing. It's done very funnily, but it's really quite sinister."

McGrath, who is a self-confessed geek girl (she was thrilled that she got to meet "Star Trek: The Next Generation" stars Michael Dorn and Marina Sirtis and that Sirtis knew who she was) told us that in her head, Morgana isn't actually evil.

"You see it from my point of view, she's justified. I know it's difficult when you're talking to someone who's played the character for four years and they identify with them," she said. "I'm worse than most because I absolutely adore her. But through the four years, I can totally see the chain of events that have caused her to be where she is. In my head she's entirely justified."

We get to see what Merlin will look like as the old wizard we've come to know and Morgan told us that it's about a four-and-a-half hour process to get the age makeup on. "It's great fun to go through that process ... Merlin actually uses it in a great way ... no one's going to argue with a crotchety old man."

We asked if Merlin was going to be able to use his magic in the open after Uther's death. "Yes!" he said. "You will. In fact, Merlin gets the biggest chance he's going to get this season, to open Arthur's ( Bradley James) eyes and show him that it can be used as a force for good. Merlin uses magic very openly."

McGrath reacted to Anthony Head leaving the show. "It's horrible!" she said of Head's departure. "It's just not the same not having him there. He's wonderful, he's brilliant, he's all of those things. But Tony's been there since the beginning and the dynamic has very much changed without having him around."

The cast has a new addition this season. Arthur's uncle Sir Agravaine is played by Nathaniel Parker and McGrath said he's wonderful to work with. "I don't know if you've seen any of the outtakes on YouTube, but the man has the most infectious giggle. He's so composed and he's such a wonderful actor and he's got such gravitas, but when he collapses, he becomes a five-year-old child. And it's so utterly endearing to the rest of the cast and crew, that it just spreads like wildfire.

"Merlin" returns to Syfy on January 6th. We've seen the first two episodes of the season and believe us, you have got to watch!
Photo/Video credit: Syfy/BBC
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