First Look: Merlin

Merlin Premieres Sunday, June 21 at 8/7c on NBC

ON THE SET – The series’ actors and creators discuss the magic and mythmaking of Merlin.

Serpent’s Shield – A knight seeks an enchanted shield to win Camelot’s annual tournament.

A King’s Castle – The cast discusses the real-life castle that serves as Camelot.

Press Release:
The Legend of Camelot Is Filtered Through a Modern Lens in ‘Merlin’

However NBC’s 13-part fantasy drama ‘Merlin’ which debuts this Sunday at 8/7c has taken the opportunity to reinvent the story for the 21st century by giving the classic legends a magical new twist.

A powerful wizard must protect a prince and lead him to his destiny on the throne of a mythical kingdom. The legend of Merlin is familiar to many – there’s Guenevere, Morgana, and Lancelot … and, of course, Camelot.

However, NBC’s 13-part fantasy-drama MERLIN, which debuts this Sunday at 8/7c, reinvents the story for the 21st century by giving the classic tale a magical new twist.

“It’s myth and legend, and is based on heresay and opinions – so you can come up with a different way of telling the story,” says acclaimed actor Anthony Head, who as King Uther headlines a talented cast in the new series. In MERLIN, he says, producers “have found a different spin on it: a young spin, a humorous spin, a dark spin. And why not? It’s thrilling, it’s entertaining and it tells a fantastic tale.”

In this modern version, rather than an wizened, aged Merlin meeting a gangly young boy in the woods near Camelot, two strong-headed youths – as similar in age as they are dissimilar in personality – come together for the sake of the kingdom. Other characters, like Morgana and Guenevere, also undergo changes. Yet, says Colin Morgan, who stars as Merlin, the series’ creators have preserved the central myth.

“We’ve got something new to show, something different to tell, which people would not normally associate with these characters,” Morgan says. “You think of Arthurian legend, you think about that period in history – and we’ve twisted that and turned it on its head and made it into something completely new and different.”

Widely known for his role as Rupert Giles in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and his work with the Doctor Who series, Head says the series had to remain rooted in classic legend since the tale of Camelot is British to its core.

“In England, we know the story very well. It gets dressed up in different ways, but it’s always the same tale, and that’s why it has caught the public’s attention,” he says. MERLIN originally premiered on BBC last fall, and became one of the year’s highest-rated programs. “This is a very clever reworking. We all know how it’s going to end. But now, when you see a character like Lancelot turn up, you know it’s going to have repercussions. It gives you an opportunity to be a bit of a voyeur as an audience!”

MERLIN debuts on NBC at 8 p.m., Sunday, June 21, with two episodes – followed by another double-episode Sunday on June 28. Hailed by the Daily Mail as “a well-judged blend of fantasy, humor and excitement,” it stars Colin Morgan, Angel Coulby, Bradley James and Katie McGrath, with Anthony Head and Richard Wilson. MERLIN also features John Hurt as the voice of the Great Dragon.

Learn more about MERLIN by visiting

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