Interview with Summer Bishil, Margo in The Magicians

Summer Bishil stars as ‘Margo Hanson’ in SyFy’s The Magicians currently in its third season airing new episodes on Wednesdays at 9/8c. 

Summer Bishil 1024x683 - Interview with Summer Bishil, Margo in The Magicians
Photo by Riker Brothers


  1. How do you feel about the changes your character has undergone in the past three years? She went from being the Queen of Brakebills University to High Queen of an actual world, with actual responsibilities and people who rely on her. What has it been like to play her maturity growth?

Margo’s maturation has been stimulating to play.  Obviously, your hope as an actor is to find consistent work that challenges you and Margo has challenged me. In season one, she starts off as a girl who is interested in themes that appear to be quite basic, but as the layers slowly peel back, you see that she is a fiercely loyal and very intelligent girl. She has no filter, but she is never presented as lacking intelligence and that’s what I’ve always liked about her. By the end of season two, she is espousing some rather fanatical ideas on how to govern Fillory without magic. By season three she is confronted with the same fanatic ideas she espoused, but those ideas are now being applied to her by the Fairy Queen. She is learning her grand lesson that she should watch what she says, and how she says it, because Margo’s whims in application are not what true leadership is about.

  1. You’ve obviously had most scenes with Hale, as your characters are inseparable. Is there any other colleague that you love working with the most? Or is there someone from the cast that you would love to work with more?

I enjoy working with Jason Ralph.  He’s a talented performer and also makes very intelligent choices. I enjoy scenes with him. Also, Trevor Einhorn – he is extremely enjoyable to work with; he is as hilarious as Josh and a joy to be around.

  1. Man, those fairies are crazy. What can we expect from that storyline this season? Will Margo finally be Margo and start talking back to that queen who’s usurping her throne?

The fairy storyline will surprise you – that is all I can say. Margo will find a way to gain leverage because that’s who she is, but she will also gain other traits and insights. She will evolve.

  1. What’s your favorite part about shooting the quest storyline? Did you guys film on an actual boat?

We did film on an actual boat and that was obviously my favorite element about the quest. It’s also worth noting that the quest storyline serves to further expand the world we are playing in and the boat is that vehicle. An expanded world means new, interesting characters and new variables.

  1. What are your favorite moments from season 1 and 2? I think mine might just be the coronation and the bank robbery?

Those might be my favorite moments as well.  Big group scenes are challenging and they usually mean longer days, but they always come out lovely. Having so many unique characters thrown together lends itself to great comedy and drama. Also, it’s just fun to work with the whole gang, it brings the energy up and it always ends up being a good time.

  1. Can you talk a little bit about what it was like to film the musical episode last year?  Congratulations, by the way, fans loved it. You guys need to do another one!

The musical was amazing to be a part of. I loved it! I’m not a singer so I just had fun with it. I didn’t put too much pressure on it. Hale Appleman and Brittany Curran carried it vocally, and they did a tremendous job!

  1. Is there anything that Margo has done in the past that you would have done differently?

I would never have made a deal with the fairies, and I would have been a lot more inclusive in my decision-making process.  I would have had conversations on how to solve problems. I would never have just tried to solve them on my own without others’ consent.

  1. Margo has never really had a proper love interest, and I love that about her. Do you wish the writers gave you one, so you could explore that aspect of her life further or do you wish to see her freewheeling and wild forever?

I do hope Margo gets a love interest. I really do actually. I think it could serve to tell us a lot about who Margo is. I would like to see her be in love and explore some of the other dimensions to her. What I like about Margo is the flexibility I have to explore her dimensions. I would like to see who she is when she is in love and what that would look like.

  1. You are probably aware that most fans think of Margo as bisexual. What do you think about that? As the person playing her, you have the biggest say in that since her sexuality has never been stated.

She is bisexual; she is fluid in her sexuality. She is also emancipated from any guilt surrounding her sexuality, and I like that about her. I like that she doesn’t let Quentin blame her or shame her for the threesome. It was important to play that moment for me. Too often, women are shamed for enjoying sex or participating in sex, which is not an interesting theme for me to play into and the writers certainly don’t play into that either.

  1. Sexual orientation aside, Margo is amazing representation for strong women who use their wit and confidence to win every battle, without ever once apologizing for who she is, and I think that’s what everyone loves about her. What can you say about that aspect of her character?

First of all, thank you! The writers have really made sure of that in the way they write for my character. One of the reasons why she is funny and why the jokes work is because she’s smart. Without that, Margo wouldn’t work. Her intelligence is what makes her an appealing character to play. What I wonder is how she got there? I’m curious to know more about her past and what made her so fearless? Was it innate or learned?

  1. Last but not least, we love all the pop culture references. Deep down, Margo is a true nerd and she’s not afraid to show it. What’s your favorite sassy one-liner that Margo has said? Either a nerdy joke or a bitchy remark.

I think my favorite line illustrating her nerdiness is when she references the Fillory books to Quentin in season one. It showed that she too loves fantasy and fantasy gives her something valuable too. Everybody wants to believe that anything is possible. I feel it’s a universal desire.

Thank you Summer! 
Watch The Magicians on SyFy, Wednesdays at 9/8c.
Photo Credit: Diana Ragland