Quentin Coldwater is dead, leaving fans of the Syfy fantasy drama series The Magicians shocked by the unexpected exit of the show’s protagonist.
Coldwater’s death means that the series star and fan-favorite actor Jason Ralph is leaving the show.
After seeing Quentin die in the Season 4 finale of The Magicians, titled No Better to be Safe Than Sorry, some fans continued clinging to the hope that a magical and supernatural show like The Magicians could still find a way to bring Jason Ralph and his character back.
However, a statement released by the executive producers John McNamara, Sera Gamble, and Henry Alonso Myers (see full text of the statement below) indicates that Quentin’s Season 4 finale death marks the end of his journey in the show, and that Jason Ralph’s exit is final.
The Magicians has always been a fantastical show about real life — with a generous dose of magic to keep it all feeling less like bitter medicine and more like raiding a weirdly delicious pantry at 2am (probably while a bit drunk). That has been our approach to Season 4, knowing that we want to explore the most confounding, harsh and messy aspects of adulthood in our story. At the top of that list: Facing your own mortality, and experiencing the death of someone you love.
Before we began this season, we entered into a creative conversation that included the writers, executive producer and director Chris Fisher, Lev Grossman, our partners at UCP and SYFY, and Jason Ralph. The choice for Jason to leave the show was arrived at mutually, with much respect for the story, fans of the show, and a shared sense of deliberate, essential creative risk.
When we first met Quentin Coldwater, he was in a mental hospital, contending with painful questions of life and death. This season, we saw the rare opportunity to complete his arc, bringing him to a real understanding of the incalculable value of his own life. Quentin, and we, got to see the truth: There is no such thing as a Minor Mending. The smallest action can ripple out in powerful ways we may never fully know.
Quentin Coldwater’s exit will have a profound impact on the plot and storyline of The Magicians going forward. Since the show premiered on Syfy in December 2015, Quentin has been the protagonist. He is one of several young people attending Brakebills University of Magical Pedagogy to learn the dark magical arts and fight evil supernatural entities that threaten humanity.
He was shocked to discover during the course of his training at Brakebills that the stories from his favorite childhood novel series, Fillory and Further, were, in fact, based on truth.
In The Magicians, Quentin and his friends at Brakebills fight an evil deity and ended up getting all magic eliminated. They are able to restore magic by unlocking the fountain at the Wellspring. But the Library gains control of all magic after Dean Fogg and Alice double-cross them and erase their memories.
A monster that escapes from Blackspire possesses Elliot (Hale Appleman), finds Quentin and holds him hostage.
Season 4 picked up where Season 3 left off. The young magicians are still mind-wiped and have forgotten their real magical identifies. But they soon begin to regain their memories.
In Season 4, Quentin also discovers that he has special powers for repairing things. He and his friends find themselves in a struggle against dangerous monsters. They succeed in expelling the monsters from Julia (Stella Maeve) and Elliot and trap them in a vessel.
Quentin, Alice (Olivia Taylor Dudley) and Penny-23 then take the bottled monsters to the mirror world and try to get rid of them permanently by leaving them in the junction between the two worlds called the Seam. But the librarian Everett (Brian Markinson), who wants to acquire godlike powers by absorbing the monsters, follows them to the mirror world.
The Librarian tries to thwart the young magicians by breaking the portal to the mirror world. But Quentin miraculously repairs the portal and they finally defeat the monsters. But tragically, Quentin’s act of repairing the portal backfires because he is not allowed to use magic in the mirror world.
His life is extinguished in a shower of sparks.
In his afterlife, Quentin finds himself questioning the motives behind the actions that led to his death. Penny-40 (Arjun Gupta) assures him that his actions were motivated by a genuine desire to save his friends. Penny leads him back to Earth and he sees his friends saying goodbye to their dead friend in a memorial bonfire ceremony, singing A-ha’s Take On Me.
The answers to his questions give him closure, and he is able to peacefully pass through from this life into the afterlife.