You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Felicia Day Previews Her ‘Magicians’ Character’s Motivations

The Brakebills group is getting some unexpected help on their quest to restore magic to Earth and Fillory.

While sailing to sea on the Muntjac in search of the fourth of seven keys that will bring back magic, Quentin (Jason Ralph) happens upon Poppy, played by Felicia Day, a Brakebills Draconology grad student who’s been stranded in Fillory for months.

“Poppy has the key Quentin’s looking for, which solves his problem, but that brings other problems,” Day tells Variety about her new character on Syfy’s “The Magicians.” “Poppy’s motivations in the episode are not completely altruistic.”

Ahead of her debut on “The Magicians,” Day spoke with Variety about bringing Poppy to life, her run-in with Quentin, and whether she’ll meet Josh (Trevor Einhorn).

How familiar were you “The Magicians” books, or Poppy, before getting cast?

I had actually read the books many years ago when they first came out. The author, Lev Grossman, actually interviewed me for my first big interview in Time Magazine many years ago about “The Guild.” We kept in touch over the years and he sent me “The Magicians” when it first came out, but it has been many years since I’ve read the books.

You’re no stranger to joining, or creating, shows with passionate fan bases. Were you nervous to bring Poppy to life?

I wasn’t nervous at all because I met with the producers, and Sera [Gamble] and John [McNamara] are wonderful artists. I had worked with Sera on “Supernatural” while she was showrunning. They described the character to me, and I knew their voice would match something that I could do and fit in their world really well. When I got the pages I was bowled over, because not only did I know exactly how to play her but it was a lot of different things that I haven’t done before.

What is it about Poppy that appeals to you?

I love that she’s so commanding. She drives any scene that she’s in. She has a lot of layers – she’s not exactly what you’d expect on the surface. She’s a little twisted underneath, and that’s what the show does really well. It takes the genre world and adds like a seven layer bean dip to every character.

“The Magicians” often changes things from the books to the screen. Did you notice any of those differences with Poppy?

In my recollection of Poppy from the books, I think she has a similar surface quality. She’s very optimistic, very knowledgeable, kind of a know-it-all – but the layers the show gives her are a little more twisted. There’s more darkness and maybe a little more narcissism and untrustworthiness.

What is the dynamic like between Poppy and Quentin when they first meet?

Poppy throws him off a lot. She’s very straightforward, she’s very experienced. She’s a grad student. I love the fact that she throws him off in a way that let some layers emerge in Quentin that you don’t normally see when he’s with other characters on the show. That’s what I love about Poppy – she brings a different color but fits really well into the world.

What is Poppy bringing to the rest of the group as she joins them to hunt down the remainder of the Seven Keys?

Definitely her breadth of knowledge. She’s a traveler and knows a lot about a lot different things. And she’s an expert in dragons! That might become useful as the episodes go on.

In the books, Poppy ends up marrying Josh. Is there anything you can tease about them meeting in the show?

I can only say that the books have their trajectory, and Sera and John throw a lot of curveballs based on the source material. The architecture is there, but they don’t follow the path of the books completely.

“The Magicians” airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on Syfy.

More TV

  • Writers Guild Posts Scathing Video Attack

    Writers Guild Posts Scathing Video Attack on Agency Packaging

    The Writers Guild of America, which is threatening to require members to fire their agents, has posted a scathing video attacking how major agencies conduct packaging. Titled “Agency Conflicts of Interest,” the video explains that compensation for writers has declined by 23% between 2014 and 2016 and blames the agencies for taking packaging fees on [...]

  • TV News Roundup: 'Million Dollar Mile'

    TV News Roundup: 'Million Dollar Mile' Debuts Exclusive First Look

    In today’s roundup, “Million Dollar Mile” releases an exclusive clip and CBS announces premiere dates for three shows.  DATES CBS has announced premiere dates for one new series and two returning series. The new action adventure series “Blood and Treasure” will debut with a two-hour episode Tuesday, May 21 at 9 p.m. right after the [...]

  • WGA Agents Contract Tug of War

    Agents Accuse Writers Guild of Threatening to Throw 'Industry Into Chaos'

    UPDATE – The dealmakers appear to be getting nowhere. Negotiators for Hollywood agents and the Writers Guild of America have achieved little progress at their seventh session on Tuesday, with a chaotic scenario looming on April 7. “When Guild leadership is ready to move on from their declared threatening phase, we stand ready to work [...]

  • Jussie Smollett Empire

    Assessing 'Empire' Options After Jussie Smollett Charges Dropped

    The shocking Jussie Smollett saga took another twist on Tuesday after prosecutors announced they have dropped all charges against the “Empire” star. Smollett had been indicted on 16 counts of filing a false police report, but now that those counts have all disappeared, studio 20th Century Fox finds itself in a sticky situation as to [...]

  • Jussie Smollett

    Jussie Smollett's Legal Drama Eclipses the Rest of His Story (Column)

    Like so many other stories these days, the Jussie Smollett legal saga seemed governed not by coherent logic, but by chaos, and, in its absence of narrative, invites any observer to find in it the story they prefer hearing. Smollett, the “Empire” star who had been in legal jeopardy due to allegations of staging a [...]

  • Contract Placeholder Business WGA ATA Agent

    Writers Guild Plans for Agency Pact Expiration: 'There Will Be Difficult Moments'

    Leaders of the Writers Guild of America have sent members contingency plans for the possible expiration of its agency franchise agreement on April 7 — and admitted that it may be a rocky road. Members received the letter Tuesday from the guild’s negotiating committee as the WGA and agents were about the hold their seventh [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content