During San Diego Comic Con 2017, I sat down with the cast and crew of the Freeform hit television series Shadowhunters to ask them about the changing relationships, their amazing fans, and what it’s like to be on a GLAAD award-winning show with three prominent queer characters.
At the roundtables were Katherine McNamara (Clary), Dominic Sherwood (Jace), Alberto Rosende (Simon), Emeraude Toubia (Isabelle), Matthew Daddario (Alec), Harry Shum Jr. (Magnus), Isaiah Mustafa (Luke), and Producers Todd Slavkin, Darren Swimmer, and Matt Hastings.
We’ve combined text and video to give you a peek into the hilarious and exciting interview session at SDCC. Plus, don’t forget to check out our interview with author Cassandra Clare, the mind behind the Shadowhunters universe… and see the end of the post for a giveaway!
So BAM, let’s jump right in!
What is it like playing a character like Isabelle and forming a potential relationship with Raphael, who’s asexual?
EMERAUDE: Well, she didn’t understand what it was. She had never been with somebody who was like that. So it was a character getting to learn how to feel love in a different way… more romantic.
ALBERTO: One thing I think the show did really was was highlight that [being asexual] doesn’t mean you can’t have a relationship. Relationships aren’t based around sex, they’re based around connection. And then sex comes from that connection, or it doesn’t, but that’s not what the relationship is about.
EMERAUDE: I know that the writers got together with people who explained how it is, how Raphael explained himself to Isabel. They worked with people from that community to make sure they were representing it the right way.
I know the Malec relationship is really huge with the fans, but portraying a queer couple on TV, have you gotten reaction from queer fans who are just really excited to see that representation on screen?
MATTHEW: Yes. And I’ll say this again and again: it’s a tremendous honor to have that response, because, you know, you’re trying to do right. And we feel a tremendous amount of responsibility. And there could be no response, and that means you’re doing it wrong, or something isn’t working. Or may it’s that people aren’t ready for it, or they don’t want what you’re doing. And in this case, because of that encouragement, this is an honor.
HARRY: I think that’s what’s incredible is hearing this feedback, is in certain situations some people say, “No, I haven’t been through this” and other people say, “Well I have.” So it’s this conflict that happens, that’s actually a positive thing, because you hear from different sides and perspectives, and that can help shape the stories.
ISAIAH: So I have a question actually, because I’ve had it explained two different ways, and I’m completely confused. So I’d love to know, when you say “LGBTQ”—“Q”, queer, who exactly does that encompass?
So, the full acronym that we use on our site is “LGBTQIA+”, which is queer, genderqueer, intersex, and asexual—like Raphael. But “LGBTQ” is shortened out, and queer sort of encompasses–
HARRY: –all the rest.
ISAIAH: Ah, got it. Because I had it explained to me that “Q” is basically like asexual, and that’s what is included in the “Q”.
I think anyone who’s in the spectrum can claim the word ‘queer’ if they want to.
ISAIAH: Okay, cool. Thank you!
In terms of seeing same sex couples in their love scenes… Obviously we saw Malec together, but it kind of faded-to-black. And I know a lot of fans were angry about that, especially because in the same episode you see Jace get it on with some random girl. So what can you say about censorship, and what you’re allowed to show vs. what you’re not.
TODD: There’s no censorship at all. So let’s just put that to bed: no one is censoring us.
DARREN: The show has the be 42 minutes long. We make decisions based on getting to that 42 minutes. But we’re working on that. Keep watching the show, we’re working on it. But no one’s looking over our shoulder. Freeform, if anything, is the most encouraging network I’ve ever been with in terms of all of what you’re talking about.
It’s just, speaking of that specific show, I’d never seen Jace with a random girl before. Ever. So why would we shortchange a character moment? You’re describing it as sex, but it was a character moment showing how lost he was. I’ve seen Malec intimate—I’m not defending it, because I would have liked to see more of that, but that was a side of Jace we hadn’t seen before. But there are deeper character discussions [taking place].
But it’s hurtful, because I don’t want people to feel bad, and I get it completely. From that community, feeling less represented, it upsets me, and we’re working on it.
If you follow our site, you know that I love giving things away. So I’d love to give away this gorgeous Shadowhunters tote back to one lucky winner… and a couple of rune pins to decorate it with!
There are multiple ways to enter:
- Leave a comment on this post and tell us who your favorite character in the Shadowhunter Chronicles is! (Don’t forget to leave an email!)
- Leave a comment on Part 1 of our interview (with Cassandra Clare)!
- Follow us on twitter and retweet our giveaway link!
So that’s three chances to win!
A few rules: must be 18 or older, and have a U.S. shipping address (sorry!). Contest will run until 11:59 PM on September 8, 2017. If selected as the winner, you must respond within 48 hours or another winner will be chosen.
Cassandra Clare was born to American parents in Teheran, Iran and spent much of her childhood travelling the world with her family, including one trek through the Himalayas as a toddler where she spent a month living in her father’s backpack. She lived in France, England and Switzerland before she was ten years old.
Cassie’s first professional writing sale was a short story called “The Girl’s Guide to Defeating the Dark Lord” in a Baen anthology of humor fantasy. Cassie hates working at home alone because she always gets distracted by reality TV shows and the antics of her two cats, so she usually sets out to write in local coffee shops and restaurants. She likes to work in the company of her friends, who see that she sticks to her deadlines.
City of Bones was her first novel.