Shadowhunters' epic series finale covered so much ground (from Idris to Toronto to Edom and back), but amidst all the crazy, the finale also paid off storylines and provided some seriously satisfying endings for the core characters.
Isabelle (Emeraude Toubia) ended up as head of the New York Institute while Alec (Matthew Daddario) was promoted to be the Inquisitor — though he still portaled back to New York City every night to greet his very busy husband, Magnus (Harry Shum Jr.). Yep, you read that right! Husband!
The first hour of the finale dealt with rescuing Magnus from Edom and destroying Lillith (Anna Hopkins). Her death actually caused Edom to implode, leaving Jonathan Morgenstern (Luke Baines) as the only threat left to the Shadow World. Clary (Katherine McNamara) ultimately ended her brother with a deadly angelic hug (LOL) with the help of a new rune she'd created. Sadly, she did this after the Angel had warned her via her mother's ghost not to create any more runes since it went against the natural order of things. As punishment, the Angel took her runes and her memory of the Shadow World away, sending her back to her mundane life and forever out of reach of Jace (Dominic Sherwood) and her friends.
Ultimately though, Jace couldn't stay away and was shocked to realize that Clary still somehow had fuzzy memories of him and the gang. The finale ended on the uplifting note that maybe, just maybe, Clary would be able to return to her life as a Shadowhunter after all — with Jace's help.
TV Guide spoke to showrunners Todd Slavkin and Darren Swimmer to break down the finale and discuss how they managed to wrap everything up in just over two hours.
Magnus and Alec's wedding was obviously very highly anticipated this year, so how much pressure did you guys feel to get it right to honor this relationship?
Todd Slavkin: A lot because we knew that it meant an extreme amount to our fans as well as to us. We knew it had to be perfect, and we knew it had to be unique because it wasn't just two men, it was a warlock and a Shadowhunter. So you just couldn't follow the path that was set in the prior wedding on the show. It really had never been done before. We pored over every detail, whether that was the vows or the music or Madzie as the flower girl or where everyone stood and where they danced. It took a long time to write and prep and direct, but I think it was one of the most glorious things we've ever done in our career. We're really proud of it.
What was engraved on those Malec wedding rings?
Darren Swimmer: "Aku Cinta Kamu" and an infinity symbol. As I'm sure you probably know, it means "I love you" in Indonesian.
What was the most fun part about filming that entire sequence, from the ceremony to the reception?
Slavkin: The great news is it was all on the page, so the script — it was all there. That was shot on different days, so the wedding was about four days apart. Both scenes were meticulously planned. There were so many people there, it wasn't just our cast. It was all the other people that had been in the show for so long. Meliorn (Jade Hassouné) and Raphael (David Castro) and Helen (Sydney Meyer) and Aline (Jacky Lai), so it was like herding cattle. You have to be really prepared and know exactly what you're doing or else it would have taken days on end to cover everything that had to be covered. ... That's why I played music on the day. That's so great to hear that for our cast when they're there... it all helped the performances.
Do we feel like kids are in Malec's future in their off-screen happily ever after?
Slavkin: I think so, definitely. If I was writing my fan fiction? In [Episode] 19, in that flashback, it really was this window into their future. You could see how both of them — when Alec was like, "You wouldn't do it alone." That look between them? You were like, "OK, let's do it." What cute kids too!
We also got the culmination of the Sizzy romance, so was it a bit fortuitous for you guys that you spent so much time on them in Season 3? It made their coupling feel very organic and earned.
Swimmer: I think it was more than fortuitous. We'd been planning that for a really long time.
Slavkin: Season 4 was going to be the season of Sizzy. The end of [Episode] 20 was going to be that kiss, where she starts burning. And that was going to be the last scene of Season 3. So then you would pick up and that whole thing of healing her and all that stuff and going to Edom. Everything you saw in Episode 21 was going to be over six episodes or five episodes. So the Sizzy thing was going to go no matter what. What was fun was, it made us accelerate it and we got to do that great couch scene, which I love, with the two of them are talking about how unlucky in love they've been. The actors are so good. Their chemistry is so strong. It's just nice to see them finally let it all go and just be a couple.
I loved linking all the Shadowhunters to the Downworlders. It was probably the most comedic we've ever seen Jace.
Swimmer: Dom has a really incredible sense of humor and because of who his character is, he's such an earnest character. So we don't get to see it as much, and it was really great to get to see him [do that].
Slavkin: We've leaned into his sarcasm because he's been sarcastic on the show, but he and Meliorn are so funny.
Were there any stories or characters you wanted to incorporate down the line but didn't?Swimmer: For me, one of my bigger disappointments in that regard is we'd made the audience wait so long for Sizzy, and we were really being patient with them getting together. And then now that they finally did — luckily we did have those two and a half hours to spend with them, but we imagined so much more than that. And then Helen and Ailene --
Slavkin: Same thing. That was going to be this awesome sapphic relationship that we would do like a Malec thing. We leaned into it a little with Ollie and Sam, when they were secondary characters in Season 2. This was really exciting and, we were like, "This is going to be great and we love those actresses, and they have cute chemistry." So that was unfortunate too. But we were fortunate to get a chance to tie it up... You see all these shows that get canceled and you're just left hanging, you know? It was very nice to just have that ending — to create an ending when you knew it was an ending. That was really nice.
Speaking of the ending, how did you guys decide to end on Clary losing her memories but still maybe finding Jace again?
Swimmer: We knew we wanted to have some dynamics in the finale, and not just make everything a straight line towards the happy ending because that would be less satisfying.
Slavkin: The show is so much about sacrifice. It's a theme that has run since Season 1 of what the Shadowhunters do. I think what intrigued us with Clary was that she really was about sacrifice. She's drawing these runes all the time, and we felt like there's got to be a sacrifice for that. How you kill Jonathan, and we knew we had to kill him if this was the finale, he's our big bad villain, and we knew it would be perfect if she had to do it. We knew how emotionally destructive that would be. So the fact that to save the world she sacrificed being a Shadowhunter was a very Clary Fairchild-Fray thing to do. A great thing the audience could root for. Then we loved the idea that love beats the power of the Angel. That Clace, that love between those two? Like f--- the Angels, excuse my language. No matter what they've done, we can find each other felt so romantic to end the show on and so hopeful. We really wanted the last image to be hopeful and not devastating. ... I think hopefully you finish and you're wiping your eyes, but you're like, "That's cool!" I could see this all coming back.
Obviously this is such a beautiful world you guys have built with so much opportunity still left, so would you ever return to it to tell other stories if given the chance?
Slavkin: We would love to! We'd be there with bells on.
Shadowhunters is currently streaming on Hulu.