Shadowhunters: Showrunner Ed Decter Previews The Freeform Series Shadowhunters: Showrunner Ed Decter Previews The Freeform Series
Interview with Ed Decter, showrunner of the Freeform television series Shadowhunters Shadowhunters: Showrunner Ed Decter Previews The Freeform Series

We are only four days away from the Freeform series premiere of Shadowhunters based on The Mortal Instruments book series by Cassandra Clare, and here on KSiteTV, we’ve been sharing cast interviews from the set over the last few days… however, today, we’re doing something a little bit different, as we have some intel from the show’s Executive Producer and Showrunner, Ed Decter, offering some insights about what is coming up on the show.

You can find the interview below; we do ask, however, that this interview not be duplicated in full on other websites. Instead, please just link people to this page. Thanks! Video interviews will return tomorrow!

Shadowhunters FreeformKSITETV’s CRAIG BYRNE: What was it about The Mortal Instruments that appealed to you and made you think that it would be a great fit for television?

Of course the mythology and the world and the scope of it was fantastic, but a very simple thing appealed to me, which was that in the first book, the mom has done everything in the world to shelter her child from learning that she [Clary] is part of the Shadow world. She wanted to save her from the knowledge of who her father was, and all of that, and I felt that that was a really terrific thing to latch on to; in the human way… with all of these fantastic things that were happening in the world, I really hooked onto that. I have an 18 year old daughter, and I understand that compulsion to protect your kids as much as possible. Ultimately, you can’t do it, and that’s really what the metaphor was in the books, too.

Clary and JaceThe way this show is structured, will each season be based on a particular book by Cassandra Clare, or will the series jump around?

No. We’re borrowing liberally from the whole canon when we need to. It’s a fairly complicated world, so we need to expand a little bit from the storytelling that Cassandra did in the books, for the simple reason that she stays very, very close to Clary, and we learn about a lot of the larger things that happened in the world through discussions with Clary, and we, of course, have to show those things. So, just by the normal visualizing of the story, we are borrowing from things, but we’re going to be hitting the giant landmarks that the audience for the books is expecting, but still keeping surprises for them about how we get to certain things, because it was already made into a movie. We had to make some surprises for the audience, so we’re not really following one book, two book, three book, because Book Two takes place in the span of, like, a week or something, so we would need more material than that. So, I think Season Two is mostly Book Two and Book Three, if we’re so fortunate to have a Season Two.

Magnus BaneCould elements from The Infernal Devices or the Magnus Bane series be brought into the show?

We use those when we want to think of an artifact or a history between the families, or things like that. Yes, we do use the other series, and there are three or four assistants on the staff who have become ultra-experts in every corner of the “world.” So, we call upon them to research. If we need to relate a story about something that happened several hundred years ago, those are in the Dark Artifices. We find little details that help us in the present.

Shadowhunters Kat McNamaraCan you talk about the show’s take on Clary and what Katherine McNamara brings to the role?

We believe we’re staying very, very true to Cassandra’s vision of Clary as fiery, impassioned, artistic… someone who doesn’t know why they have all the courage that they have, and then discovers why she is so courageous. The great thing about Katherine McNamara is that she brings that as a person to the role. It’s pretty amazing. She doesn’t have to feign being the smartest, fastest moving person in the room, because that’s who she is as a person.

I think she graduated college when she was 16. She’s quite a savant, and she is also an incredibly fast runner, and most of the cast has trouble keeping up with her. She is an incredibly fast learner, and she knows everyone’s lines, so when we go off on a line on stage, even if it’s somebody that’s not Katherine, she knows the lines. It’s amazing.

Visiting the set of Shadowhunters in August, I was amazed by the Institute set and how incredible it is. Can you talk about that?

The Institute set is beautiful. In the books, it was a little bit like the outer walls of our set, and then we added a layer of modernization inside. I think the combination looks pretty spectacular.

McG had a large hand in inspiring the production designer to make it something really, really special.

The sad thing, in Season 2 if we’re so lucky… in Season 2 we go to Idris, so we’re not at that set for long.

MalecWill audiences have to wait long for “Malec” to happen on the show?

I’ll put this way: They will be getting hints of it very, very soon. They will get what they’re waiting for soon, in terms of the building awareness between the two men.

How long will it be before we’ll be seeing Max and the Lightwood parents?

The Lightwood parents are absolutely a presence, and Max is a presence. He is a delightful young man, and they cast related to him just beautifully.

ALBERTO ROSENDE, KAITLYN LEEBIs Simon’s path going to diverge from the books at all?

His backstory is only altered slightly. We combined a few characters… very similar to what you have to do in any adaptation. In a book, you can have 27 characters roaming around in a chapter, and we can’t. So, we combined his fan, Maureen, into a girlfriend for him that’s a member of the band, so that way, that story could be told very compactly, as opposed to introducing some new characters later into the series.

Will we be seeing Camille and Raphael in Season 1?

For certain, Camille and Raphael make appearances in the show in major ways.

Can you talk about the threat of Valentine, and what he brings to the table?

Cassandra created a great character, because he’s truly, truly evil with a twisted logic. He’s a believer in the purity of Shadowhunter blood, and a lot of horrific danger and terror comes from that belief. The belief that the Mundanes – the humans – are weak, and the belief that the other Downworlders – anybody who has any demon blood – are worth less than the Shadowhunters. From that stance comes the root of his evil.

There’s a wonderful episode where we really dig into the past, of the origins of his theory. We really delve into it, and get to understand how this idea was not in him from birth; it was a creative idea later in his life.

Will there be any new characters introduced in the series?

We’ve created a character to symbolize the Clave, a new character called Lydia who, again, we got her name from all of Cassandra’s books… but the reason why we created her was, we weren’t going to show Idris and the Clave this season; we wanted something to hold for next season, to reveal a whole new world, so we needed a representative to arrive. With her comes an amazing storyline and an amazing twist in the plot. That’s someone to look forward to. She’s played by Stephanie Bennett.

Emeraude ToubiaWhich of the characters surprised you the most when you were putting together Season 1?

It’s very funny you ask that. Each day, we would say “Oh. The breakout character is going to be X.” And then the next day, we’d be filming and say “Oh. The character people are going to like most is going to be Y.” I will say this: Emeraude Toubia is obviously a very beautiful woman, and she’s super smart. She’s bilingual; she’s really savvy and everything… and the arc that [Isabelle] goes through on the show, I think people are going to really appreciate it.

Do you have any last words for the fans who will reading this?

I have said this at Comic-Con, too: We love the novel series and we honor it. We are going to get to all these incredible high point moments; we’re just going to sometimes get there a little bit differently. So, if they’re a little patient, I’m hoping that the fans will go “Oh! They did get there!”

[For example], there was some hubbub on the Internet about Isabelle and her necklace… you’ll see a very interesting way that we treat the necklace. The fans will be very satisfied by the time that they see it.

Browse KSiteTV for more Shadowhunters content here and don’t miss the series premiere Tuesday, January 12 on Freeform… the new name of ABC Family!

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Craig Byrne, Editor-In-Chief

KSiteTV Editor-In-Chief Craig Byrne has been writing about TV on the internet since 1995. He is also the author of several published books, including Smallville: The Visual Guide and the show's Official Companions for Seasons 4-7.