The third season of Shadowhunters starts tonight (March 20) at 8PM ET/PT on Freeform — and in anticipation of that big premiere, we talked to “Clary” herself, Katherine McNamara, who sees her character becoming a full-fledged Shadowhunter in the Season 3 premiere, which is called “On Infernal Ground.”
New secrets, new threats, new runes, and more can be seen in Season 3, and it all begins tonight. Beware some spoilers might be discussed in this interview!
KATHERINE McNAMARA: It’s very interesting, because for the first two seasons we’ve watched her fight for people to accept her, and to take her seriously as a Shadowhunter, and now that she’s been through all of this, she’s proven herself, in a sense. And although she has a lot to learn and she’s aware of that, it’s sort of a dream come true, because she is finally accepted, and she’s officially a Shadowhunter. Even Alec Lightwood, who up until this point has pushed her aside, in a sense, as the newbie, is really accepting her, and really treating her as part of the team, and giving her responsibilities.
So moving forward, we get to see her find a place in the Shadow World, and at the Institute. But all of that has a bit of a damper on it, because there is this secret, and Clary knows that she’s responsible for whatever Jace is going through, and that that’s going to have greater effects moving forward. It’s only a matter of time before everyone finds out what she’s done.
Is it fun to play a more confident and powerful Clary?
It is great to finally have her come into her own as a fighter and as a Shadowhunter. We see this sense of maturity in her this year. She’s been through a lot. She’s lost her mother; she’s found and lost her brother. She’s killed her own father, and the love of her life has died and come back… and that changes a person. So instead of looking at the Shadow World as this magical land of wonder and Seeleys and werewolves and vampires, she sees it for what it is, which is a cold, cutting, deadly world that is unforgiving and unrelenting, with the pain that it can provide, and the consequences that can come from any seemingly innocuous action.
Clary has lost others in her life. Do you think there was a temptation to use the wish on anyone else, or did it always have to be Jace?
Actually, we debated that for a long time. There were pitches flying around that maybe we’d bring that into it, and really make her choose in that sense, instead of just making it a choice, but ultimately, it was a choice of passion that was made in the moment, with all of the adrenaline that was coursing through her veins, and then the shock of having just killed her father, and everything that happened… seeing Jace dead on that beach, there was no other choice in her mind. All she could think of was to fix it, and save Jace, and get back the one person in her life that loved her, and that accepts her for who she is. Because at that point she has no biological family left. Her mother, her brother, and her father are all gone, and it leaves her alone. And who else does she have except Jace?
I mean, yes, she also has Magnus. She has Luke. She has Simon. She has the Lightwoods. But they weren’t there dead on that beach.
Can you talk about Clary getting to choose her weapon in the season premiere?
That’s one of my favorite aspects, especially in the first episode.
Part of becoming a Shadowhunter is getting to choose your own weapon, and when Clary’s in the weapons room, she’s drawn to this set of kindjal daggers. She just feels a kinship to these weapons, and feels connected to them, in a sense. They’re small and deadly, just like her!
She finds out later on that there’s a greater significance to these weapons, and a greater connection. There’s a reason she was drawn to those two daggers.
What can you tease about Lilith?
Lilith is the mother of all demons. She is the Queen of Hell, and she is the biggest Big Bad we’ve seen yet. I mean, we’ve seen a plethora of different kinds of demons. We’ve seen rogue vampires. We’ve seen evil Shadowhunters. But we haven’t seen anything yet. Lilith has a rage and a depth of dark power that we have yet to even be able to fathom. And because Jace and Clary were responsible for hurting the closest thing she’s ever had to a child, we’ve made her mad, we’ve made her list, and forgiveness and mercy are not high on her agenda.
The season starts with Clary in Idris. Can you talk about that, and how much of that location was green screen?
Everything was green screen. I’ll be posting a picture during the premiere that I have from when we shot it. We have a 360 green and/or blue screen on our sound stage. They built the pillars and the arch way, and the bare bones of that ceremony hall, and then there was just a giant blue screen around the rest of it. We had to create this world for ourselves, but it’s more about the relationships in that moment, and then you have the epic shot of flying over Alacante, the capital city of Idris, as you’re coming into the ceremony space. It’s just so cool! Our VFX team is amazing. Folks VFX, they do all of our special effects, and they do all of our visual effects. They kill it every single time. They exceed our expectations. We love them to death.
But anyway, it really does create this world of wonder… it really sets the tone. You see all of the relationships, and how this affects them, particularly with Inquisitor Herondale. Previously, she has always called Clary “Miss Morgenstern” and “Valentine’s daughter” and things like this, and now she’s accepted Clary as one of the Shadowhunters, and as someone who is a force for good who is on her side.
As an actor, do you dread when your character gets more runes because you have to spend more time in the makeup chair?
No. It’s actually kind of fun, because you really get to start to build it like a fingerprint. Every Shadowhunter has a different pattern of runes, and those runes tell the story of where they’ve been, and what they’ve done, and what battles they’ve won and lost, and the tools that they’ve needed for their journey.
It’s kind of exciting, because not only is it personal for the characters, but it’s also personal for us, as actors. We wear these runes every day. And yeah, it might take a little extra time, but we don’t wear all of the runes every day. We only wear what you see outside of our wardrobes, and we get really clever sometimes.
What else do you have to say for fans on why they should watch Season 3?
You should tun in to Season 3 because it is bloody good. It dives in to this new force of evil that we have, and to the real darknees and the bloodiness, if you will, that is the Shadow World. The demons are coming for us, and every single character has their own demons that they’re facing, and either you fight and defeat the demon, or it will break you.