‘The Magicians’ – Olivia Taylor Dudley on Season 4 and Alice’s Predicament

Magic’s gone as season four of Syfy’s hit drama, The Magicians, begins. The new season is set to premiere on January 23, 2019 and will find Eliot inhabited by The Monster and our favorite Brakebills students unaware of their pasts and with new non-magical identities. Plus, Alice (played by Olivia Taylor Dudley) is imprisoned by the Library.

The cast and executive producers of The Magicians took part in a Q&A at the San Diego Comic Con and also participated in roundtable interviews. During our interview, Olivia Taylor Dudley talked about what’s happening with Alice in the new season, Alice’s relationship with Quentin, and how she approaches the different versions of Alice.

Is “Dark Alice” truly evil?

Olivia Taylor Dudley: “No. I think you’re referring to Niffin Alice when she’s like off. I think that that will be her forever struggle is what she did as niffin. But I think that she became somebody different. Like, Elliot right now is a monster so when he comes back from being a monster – if that ever happens, I don’t know – he’ll probably struggle with the same thing: what did his physical body do while it was off being somebody else?

I think Alice is definitely not an evil person. I think that that is going to be her forever struggle is dealing with the guilt of that. This season is a big redemption story for her with her friends and trying to redeem her decisions from last season. I still stand by what she did. I think she did the right thing. The fans sure don’t. (Laughing) They’re still mad at me for it. But she was just trying to save everybody and save everybody the pain and heartache that magic causes. Nobody else seemed to be interested in that.”

Do you view these different Alices as separate characters?

Olivia Taylor Dudley: “Yes and no. I mean, they gave me such gifts by letting me play different versions of Alice, but the challenge is to make sure I keep the spirit of Alice throughout. When she was a niffin, she was very different, I thought. But, I don’t know. It’s the same girl. Just like every one of us has different parts of our brain, you can be very different with different people, I think it’s just an exploration of that.”

Where will catch up with Alice as season four begins? She knows what happened, but her friends don’t.

Olivia Taylor Dudley: “Right now, she’s just trying to escape jail. We pick it up right where we left off so she’s in library jail and it’s a dark place…unflattering clothing. She’s just trying to get word, a line, anything out to the outside world. I spend a lot of the beginning of this season alone trying to find anybody who can help her. But Alice is really smart. She’s the smartest and she relies on her wits to get her in and out of every situation, so that kicks in.”

What kind of state do we find her in mentally and emotionally in season four?

Olivia Taylor Dudley: “She’s very depressed. She doesn’t know where they are. She knows that she’s the only one who knows what happened. She’s fearful of all their lives and her own, so it’s very dark for Alice at the beginning of the season. I think it’s going to take a little while before she gets on her feet and starts letting the wheels turn.”

The Magicians Season 4 Olivia Taylor Dudley
Olivia Taylor Dudley as Alice in ‘The Magicians’ season 4 (Photo by: Eric Milner/SYFY)

Do you feel comfortable after playing her for four seasons to talk to the writers if there’s something you don’t think feels like Alice?

Olivia Taylor Dudley: “Yeah, for sure. It’s rare that they would ever write something like that. I think the only thing they would ever make me uncomfortable as Alice is if they made her too funny. I know it’s not a fan favorite to not be funny, but Alice isn’t funny. She has dry humor which is the only kind of humor I like.

I used to do a lot of comedy and Alice can’t be the funny man in the room. There’s not enough room for it, so if something is too funny, I’d probably speak up about that. Whereas it’s the opposite with Elliot and Margo, you just punch it up all the time. But if they were too serious it wouldn’t work either.”

What about her relationship with Quentin?

Olivia Taylor Dudley: “Their relationship is my favorite thing about the books and the show. I miss it. I wish they were still together, but I think it’s a long journey for them. We’ll see – depending on how many seasons we get! (Laughing) But I think they’re magnets. No matter what, they’re going to always love each other. Right now, in this fourth season we’re filming they’re not together at the moment, but I’m sure that we’ll explore that relationship. We never haven’t explored it so I’m sure we will at some point.

I wish they were together. I love them together. I miss Alice and Quentin season one. They were innocent and sh*t happens and people get hard and mean and lonely. (Laughing) I don’t know.”

What have you learned from playing Alice? Has she taught you anything?

Olivia Taylor Dudley: “She’s taught me a lot. She’s given me a chance to play somebody who I normally don’t get to play. She’s definitely not typecast for me. I normally play something very different, but she’s the kind of character I’m interested in, so I don’t know.

She’s taught me to be very smart. Not that I’m dumb but she’s helped me be okay with respecting a smart woman, if that makes sense. Like instead of playing into some of the tropes of females on TV and film, she lets me be comfortable in just being smart. That’s what she has to offer and don’t ask for anything else or she’ll get real mad about it. I don’t know. I have a lot of respect for Alice. I think she’s really determined, which I really love about her.”