Sunday night, Freeform’s ‘Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments’ took home Teen Choice Awards for Choice Sci-Fi/Fantasy Series and Choice Sci-Fi/Fantasy Actor for star Matthew Daddario. This capped an emotional spring and summer that followed Freeform’s decision to cancel the expensive series, splitting its final batch of episodes in two, with ten episodes pushed back to next spring. These episodes, described as “heartbreaking and joyful” will lead to a two-hour movie meant to serve as the series finale.
But ‘Shadowhunters’ fans haven’t taken the cancellation lying down. They have gone so far as to fly a plane with a banner reading “#saveshadowhunters” over Netflix headquarters, purchased an expensive ad to play in New York’s Time Square, launched a bus campaign in London and perhaps most impressively, raised over $20,000 in the name of the show for The Trevor Project. But while shows like ‘The Expanse’ and ‘Lucifer’ (plus non-genre shows like ‘Like Man Standing’ and ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’) all found new homes on different networks or streaming services after their original homes cancelled them, no savior seems to have come forward to rescue this one.
The cast spoke to TV Guide and provided their reaction to the outpouring of emotion from the #saveshadowhunters initiative and thanked fans for their continued support:
“Thank you to the fans. They’ve really gone way beyond with everything they’ve done,” said Emeraude Toubia, who plays Isabelle Lightwood. “They sent cupcakes the other day to set! I had like three of them [laughs]. But yeah, the billboards and Times Square and Comic-Con and flying a freaking plane around Netflix headquarters… They’re rock stars.”
Matthew Daddario, a.k.a. Alec Lightwood, agreed that the fans’ enthusiasm is shocking. “The enthusiasm is a beautiful thing, and we’ve been increasingly shocked every time we see something new come out that they’ve done,” he stated. He also added that he and the cast found it “touching” that the fans extended their reach to charity. “It’s not just, ‘We want our show back’, it’s also, ‘Look we have this show that we bonded over, and we’re going to try to do something for the community, and really support something that’s good for all people.”
Dominic Sherwood, who plays hero Jace Wayland, agreed, calling the charitable endeavors the most “gratifying” and “heartwarming” part of the #saveshadowhunters movement. “I think that’s what we should keep doing. The Trevor Project, [the fans] raised a lot of money for that, which was fantastic, and I think if we can keep doing that in the name of Shadowhunters then that’s the best legacy we can leave.”
Alberto Rosende, who plays Simon Lewis called it a “gift” and “humbling” to have inspired an international community of people, not just dedicated to rescuing a beloved show, but to, as he put it “strive for a better world” and “pushing for things they want to see, trying to educate the world, trying to change their environment in a positive way.”
At this point, sadly even after all the fan stumping, it appears that ‘Shadowhunters’ will not get a rescue like ‘The Expanse’ or ‘Lucifer‘. But at least, like ‘Timeless‘ it will get a proper conclusion and fans will be able to relive their enjoyment over and over, which was something Harry Shum Jr. (Magnus Bane) stressed.
“The beauty is that they have this beautiful story that amounts to like 56 episodes or something like that, of being able to go back to it and relive those moments that a lot of these fans have expressed to us have helped them so much with their own personal lives, whether it be their sexuality or their confidence. I remember meeting a couple fans, going to a convention and them just crying and saying how much it meant to them and how it was such a beautiful thing for them to watch the show and see people that they kind of really related to and felt like they wanted to be just as strong as these characters were on the screen. That in itself is what makes the show worth it to me to be part of.”
As for the series lead, Katherine McNamara who plays Clary Fray, she is happy that at least ‘Shadowhunters’ is getting a proper ending. “Having this last 2-hour episode, it really allows us to go out with a bang not a fizzle, which is I think the biggest blessing in all of that,” she said. “This show has been such a celebration of all of these beautiful things, the fact that we get to wrap it up our way is really beautiful.”
She went on to add:
“I started this show when I was 19 and I’ll be 23 by the time it ends… I have a family here now, and I’ll always be grateful for that. And for the fandom as well, who’s worked tirelessly to really come together as a group in a world that is so divisive. It’s amazing to see people who celebrate each others’ artwork and who come together and welcomed us into their fandom for something that’s ultimately all about love and acceptance and unity.”