It’s official. BBC’s highly watched series ‘Merlin’ will be coming to a close and will end in its run in the UK this Christmas with the climatic and dramatic fight for Camelot.

‘Merlin’ has been a Saturday night fan favorite for the BBC over the past 5 years averaging 6 million viewers with this past season peaking at 7.1 million.

In a press release announcing the show’s ending, executive producers and co-creators Johnny Capps and Julian Murphy explained the reasoning behind the decision:

“This is the series where the storylines truly reach their apex. We always felt the story of the legend was best told across five series, leading to a spectacular finale that draws on the best known elements of this much-loved story and brings to a conclusion the battle for Camelot.”

BBC Controller Danny Cohen has said, “Merlin’s mix of magic, adventure and humor quickly became a hit with BBC One audiences and has continued to thrill families over the last five years on Saturday nights. I admire the creators’ decision to end Merlin on a high, but also know that we will miss it in the BBC One schedule.”

Merlin’ is loosely based on the legendary tale of King Arthur and his distinguished wizard who has been destined to be by his side. The beginnings of the series started with the tale of how Merlin comes to Camelot and becomes the manservant for the then young Prince Arthur while all the time making sure Arthur’s destiny (and his) is fulfilled. Over the years the series and characters have grown and in this final season, everything Merlin has tried to protect is now in danger. Who will survive and what will become of Camelot?

While this Christmas may mark the end of ‘Merlin’ the TV series, it may not mark the end of the franchise as it’s being reported that Capps and Murphy are currently considering not only having a spin-off series but also producing feature-length films:

“We’re hopefully going to do a trilogy – three movies. We will focus on them when we finish season five. One idea we’ve been playing around with is to reboot the whole series [for the films]. We would go back in time and start the story again and show different parts that you didn’t see in the series. The other idea is to do a continuation, but we haven’t decided yet.”

As of yet, neither the spin off nor the films would involve any of the current actors in the present series.

For fans across the pond, season 5 won’t begin airing until January 4th on the Syfy channel, so they’ll have to wait another month before beginning to say goodbye to Arthur, Merlin, Gaius, Gwen and Morgana.

Until then, here’s the Season 5 promo for you to watch followed by statements from the cast thanking the fans during the show’s run:

‘Merlin’ – Season 5 Teaser:

Colin Morgan (Merlin): “From the beginning this was always going to be a five year journey that we embarked on and I think the show has run its natural course. The show has grown and grown each year and now we’ve arrived at its strongest point and we’ve achieved what we set out to do… I know this is the end, and I know this is goodbye, but thank you for being there on the journey with us because it has been a lot of fun!”

Bradley James (King Arthur): “The Merlin years have provided me with fond memories, great experiences and beloved friends and all the while we were supported by a devoted fan base who made the show a unique, surreal and special experience. My words won’t do justice to the honour of being King Arthur so I shall just say that it has been an exceptional one and that knowing the show has been a part of so many people’s lives, has been humbling.”

Katie McGrath (Morgana): “I have always said the success of the show has stemmed from our audience being able to relate to the characters on different levels – being based on the universally loved Arthurian legend is only a tiny part of its success – it’s a story about acceptance and growing up. The breathtaking finale of this series leaves you with no doubt that characters have been on their journeys and had their stories told – it’s completely the right time to draw our telling of the story to a close.”

Angel Coulby (Guinevere): “It has been a very special and memorable five years making Merlin. I feel extremely proud to have been part of such a brilliant show and such a great team. I think we’ve told the story we set out to tell, which ends with the fantastic two-part finale by the way! I believe the key to any successful show is making sure you leave people wanting more!”

Richard Wilson (Gaius): “Firstly, I would like to say that I’m extremely sad that Merlin has come to an end. Speaking as Gaius, I feel I have mentored the young wizard as far as I can – he is much smarter and greater than me now and I am simply exhausted!”