'Shadowhunters' Series Finale: Bosses Explain Clary's Cliffhanger and Malec's Near Perfect Wedding (Exclusive)
By Leanne Aguilera
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WARNING: If you have not watched the series finale of Shadowhunters, then grab your stele and escape through the nearest portal. For everyone else, grab that extra box of tissues and listen up...
After three action-packed seasons filled with gut-wrenching twists and heart-pounding turns, Shadowhunters has come to an end.
The series finale of the Freeform drama has just bowed on our screens, but if you're anything like us, then a lot of questions must be racing through your minds as you try to catch your breath through a river of tears.
In one last quest for answers – and perhaps a bit of closure – ET called up Shadowhunters executive producers, Todd Slavkin and Darren Swimmer, and asked the co-showrunners to explain our most burning questions after that two and a half hour finale.
Read on for exclusive explanations about Clary's shocking cliffhanger, the few things missing from Malec's near "perfect" wedding, and one last answer to the question that every fan has been asking: Is this really the end of Shadowhunters?
ETonline: How important was it for you deliver a Shadowhunters series finale that you knew fans would be proud of?
Todd Slavkin: It was hugely important. We poured our hearts into this finale and we wanted every moment to count – especially Malec’s wedding. That was a big moment for a fandom that had been waiting a long time to see it and it had to be really, really special.
Let’s talk about Malec’s wedding – it was gorgeous. What little details did you make sure were included in the Malec wedding, so it could be perfect for the fans?
TS: The flower girl was really important in that it had to be Madzie. Maryse walking Magnus down the aisle was a really powerful statement after all they’ve been through and knowing what the wedding was like in season one. It felt important that it was full circle and that hug between them still breaks my heart when she sends him up on the stage. The vows needed to be perfect – every single word needed to count. There was a little fun behind-the-scenes moment where it felt right that Alec would be very nervous – more nervous than Magnus. After all, this is The Institute, this is The Clave and there’s a great moment where he’s nervous and Harry just gives him a little nod like, “Its okay. You’re going to get through it.” And it felt so right and so honest and like a lot of weddings that I’ve been to. Just capturing those human moments – the whole show has really been about that. Even in this heightened reality, these human emotions and moments really mean a lot to all of us.
Darren Swimmer: We wanted to populate the wedding with as many of the characters in the overall series as we could. So anybody who wasn't at the wedding, you can be pretty sure was not available due to scheduling, or they were deceased on the show, or a villain.
Speaking of deceased villains – Let’s talk about Jonathan. How did you guys decide that Clary would create one last rune in order to take down her brother?
TS: Well, it felt so right that the ultimate sacrifice that Clary had to do would be killing her brother and saving the world at the same time. We knew that he couldn't die by anyone else’s hand. And we knew that it would be incredibly heartbreaking that his sister – this human that he’s loved so much and he’s wanted her love for so long – is the one who finally wanted to take his life. The idea of creating this new rune and using this winged embrace to kill him just felt like such a perfect moment. Rhyming the wings that we had seen before and with white conquering darkness and all of that.
Even though Clary used this new rune to save the world and take down Jonathan, Ithuriel still stripped her of her Shadowhunter status. We had a one-year time-jump and a cliffhanger ending with mundane Clary recognizing Jace and seeing his runes. Can you explain the meaning of that last scene?
TS: The expression of the love between Jace and Clary is such an integral part of the series and we knew we had to pay it off in a huge way. The idea that the love that they have is even more powerful than the wrath of the angel Ithuriel is just such a great statement. Love conquers all. Love conquers darkness.
DS: I would also add that we see the inevitability of Clary as a Shadowhunter. At the end of the day, her fate is that she’ll be a Shadowhunter. We don’t completely answer that question or present that, but I think that’s what the takeaway is. She’ll be a Shadowhunter.
Take me past that cliffhanger of an ending. What do you envision what happens next? Does Clary need to re-learn her training? Does she need to re-form those bonds with all these people? Does she need to re-fall in love with Jace?
DS: I don’t want to give too much away because we want to make it something that the fans can think about in their imagination. But in the fourth season that we were hoping might somehow materialize itself when we wrote this, we would see Clary and Jace working together to sort of re-train her and get her to back to Shadowhunters status 100 percent.
TS: We’d have this new Clary with the cool hair, and the awesome outfit, and she’s kind of like a strong young woman who’s found herself as an artist, but knows there’s something missing in her life. Even just like in the pilot, there was this feeling that would just start all over, but they would be more adult now.
In this potential future for “new” Clary, is there a possibility that she would get her memories back?
TS: Yes. In the Shadow World anything can happen.
It was so amazing to see Clary ask Izzy to be her Parabatai. It made it even more gut-wrenching to realize that this wasn’t going to happen once Clary lost her memory. Can you talk about dangling that conversation over the fans and then your decision to have that not come to fruition?
DS: The two of them becoming Parabatai was something that we always imagined we would work towards, but it was something that we also thought needed to be extended and pushed as late as we possibly could. So when we knew that we only had two episodes left, we wanted to take advantage of that and present it here.
TS: But the great then is when Clary recognized Jace at the end, you’re like, “Wow! Okay I could see that happening again for sure.” That [bond] is not going to go away.
Izzy and Simon’s slow-burn of relationship was sped up quite a bit in that series finale. What was your goal when it came to showing the love story of these two characters?
DS: We have to thank the Sizzy fans for being so patient while we laid the groundwork over this season for their relationship. We always felt that the longer we pushed it off, the more powerful it would be once they got together – and then suddenly we ran out of runway. I still think there was enough of the lead in, and the start of their relationship happens basically when we wanted it to happen. We just didn’t get to see as much as we wanted.
TS: The original end of season three was their kiss and then fire consumes Izzy. That was going to be the end of season three and then we would've spent the entire season four having to heal lizzy and there would still be more of a slow burn. So in a weird way, Sizzy fans got it early. They lucked out because we had to jump the gun.
DS: Yeah, how many times can you have the two of them start to kiss and then have an alarm go off? [Laughs]
What is a loose end that you guys wish you could’ve tied up differently?
TS: That’s a really good question. I feel like the loose ends were tied up really nicely. There’s a little bit of stuff that we would’ve wanted to see and we would’ve wanted to explore more.
DS: We tied things together, but we would've wanted to tie them together in a little bit longer way. The wedding wouldn’t have been planned in one day.
TS: But you know after thinking about it, I would've loved at the wedding if we would've seen a conversation between Jace and Magnus being like, “Thank you. I couldn't have asked for any one better to take care of my Parabatai.” And I would’ve loved to have seen Robert Lightwood say to Maryse, “I’m so happy for you that you’ve found love again.” And I wish Luke Garroway was at that wedding and I wish Maia was at that wedding. There are those little things. That wedding could’ve been an entire episode. It could have been a full 42 minutes and I think the fans would've loved it just as much and we could have had all of these moments that would have just gone on and on and on. We just were limited.
Was Clary losing her memory always part of the plan or was that conceptualized once you knew that the show was ending?
TS: It was conceptualized once we knew the show was ending.
Had the show not ended – and Clary never lost her memories – what would’ve been Clary’s fate as we moved into season four?
TS: Great question! I think she would have really been healing over the guilt she felt over Dark Clary and the terrible things she did and would’ve been cleaning up that mess. And Jace would have been helping her, like, get back to normal. I think Jace and Clary could’ve had this normalized relationship – at least for Shadowhunters. A peak in the normalcy and I think the fandom would have craved that a little. Those moments that we’ve had when they’ve gone out on their dates – like the ice skating moment and the moment in early in season three when they went to dinner with Simon. These are these great human moments that stand out and again I think we would've leaned into that more.
Would we have seen a Clace wedding?
The series finale of Shadowhunters is here, but the fans have not stopped fighting to save the show. Is this the official end of Shadowhunters?
TS: I think it’s the end of Shadowhunters in this permutation. Those books live on and the rights live on. Darren and I don’t have the rights and we don't control the rights. I think we’re all kind of going onto other things, but having said that – you never say never. What I wouldn't rule out and what I don't think is impossible is doing, like, a future movie. Where you could get everyone together for a few weeks and do like a two-hour, or a four-hour, or a limited six-episode thing. Maybe with the same cast, but you never know. Weird thing happen in today’s TV world.
DS: The only reason that it seems like it would be a long shot to [continue this show] in this permutation is that everything has been disassembled. The sets have been sold, and all the props, and that stuff [is gone.] It’s not like we could ever come back and just continue it where it is. It would be starting from scratch.
TS: Yeah they auctioned off props, like, in August or September. It was crazy and horrible.
The fans have been asking, “What more could we have done to save Shadowhunters?” What do you want to say to them?
DS: The fans did everything right.
TS: It’s an incredibly passionate, creative, strong fandom that should be so proud of themselves because this won't be forgotten and it’s bigger than a TV show. What this fandom is preaching is inclusion, and love for all, and all these positive things in life and I think that’s a rarity. I think that will go down in history.
DS: And I was just going to add that without this incredible fan base, we might not have had a two-parter [finale] at all. The show might have just been canceled. But knowing that there was such a devoted fanbase, the powers-that-be decided to do this two-hour finale.
Shadowhunters fans! Katherine McNamara is joining us for a LIVE interview on Tuesday, May 7 at 10:30 AM PST on Entertainment Tonight's YouTube Channel to discuss the Shadowhunters series finale. Watch live and she might answer one of your questions!