It’s been rumored for awhile but the news is official: BBC’s hit fantasy drama Merlin will be ending its 5 year run with a two-part finale this Christmas.
Since 2008, the show has seen massive international acclaim being sold to over 50 broadcasters in 183 countries. Usually when a show ends in the US, it’s typically due to falling ratings. But that’s not the case here as series 5 is averaging almost 7 million viewers a week. So why end it now?
Co-creators Johnny Capps and Julian Murphy say that “This is the series where the storylines truly reach their apex. We always felt the story of the legend was best told across five series, leading to a spectacular finale that draws on the best known elements of this much-loved story and brings to a conclusion the battle for Camelot.”
One of the biggest factors in Merlin’s success was the fantastic casting of Colin Morgan (Merlin) and Bradley James (Arthur) along with Katie McGrath (Morgana) and Angel Coulby (Guinevere), Anthony Head (Uther), Richard Wilson (Gaius) and John Hurt (Kilgarrah, The Great Dragon) rounding out the main cast.
As many before have said, the chemistry between Morgan and James is something that doesn’t come along often and when you leave a job, it’s always bittersweet; here’s what they had to say about the end of Merlin
“From the beginning this was always going to be a five year journey that we embarked on and I think the show has run its natural course. The show has grown and grown each year and now we’ve arrived at its strongest point and we’ve achieved what we set out to do… I know this is the end, and I know this is goodbye, but thank you for being there on the journey with us because it has been a lot of fun!” See video of Colin’s thoughts HERE.
“The Merlin years have provided me with fond memories, great experiences and beloved friends and all the while we were supported by a devoted fan base who made the show a unique, surreal and special experience. My words won’t do justice to the honour of being King Arthur so I shall just say that it has been an exceptional one and that knowing the show has been a part of so many people’s lives, has been humbling.”
“I have always said the success of the show has stemmed from our audience being able to relate to the characters on different levels – being based on the universally loved Arthurian legend is only a tiny part of its success – it’s a story about acceptance and growing up. The breathtaking finale of this series leaves you with no doubt that characters have been on their journeys and had their stories told – it’s completely the right time to draw our telling of the story to a close.”
“It has been a very special and memorable five years making Merlin. I feel extremely proud to have been part of such a brilliant show and such a great team. I think we’ve told the story we set out to tell, which ends with the fantastic two part finale by the way! I believe the key to any successful show is making sure you leave people wanting more!”
“Firstly I would like to say that I’m extremely sad that Merlin has come to an end. Speaking as Gaius, I feel I have mentored the young wizard as far as I can – he is much smarter and greater than me now and I am simply exhausted!”
The addition of Alexander Vlahos (Mordred) was another great move and bringing in the brave Knights of the Round Table brought the show full circle: Rupert Young (Sir Leon), Eoin Macken (Sir Gwaine), Tom Hopper (Sir Percival), and Adetomiwa Edun (Sir Elyan).
Merlin has also enjoyed an incredible array of guests including Michelle Ryan, Santiago Cabrera, Emilia Fox, Asa Butterfield, Mackenzie Crook, Adrian Lester, Warwick Davis, Miriam Margoyles, Will Mellor, Georgia King, Lindsay Duncan, Janet Montgomery, James Fox, Tom Ellis, Nathanial Parker, Charles Dance, Sarah Parish, Miranda Raison, Ben Daniels and John Lynch.
And lastly, we have a thank you from the creators:
We’d like to thank the amazing cast and crew for their professionalism and dedication, the BBC, FME and all of our partners globally for their incredible support and encouragement across the last five series. But chiefly, our thanks go to Merlin’s remarkable and loyal audience around the world for their enthusiasm for the characters and Camelot universe.
There’s been no news on the proposed post-series films so we’ll keep an ear to the ground but what has been the best series of Merlin for you?
Let us know your thoughts – favorite episodes, characters, missed opportunities in the comments and don’t miss the last ever episodes and the dramatic conclusion of Merlin on BBC One, Saturdays at 8pm and starting in the US January 4th, 2013 on Syfy.