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Cassandra Clare talks ‘Mortal Instruments’ television series

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In case you’ve been living under a rock, news regarding The Mortal Instruments‘ transition from film franchise to television series has been the hot topic in the fandom this past week.

Cassandra Clare took to Tumblr to answer some more questions about The Mortal Instruments television series, including her thoughts on if the original film cast might return for the show, where they might pick up in regards to City of Bones or City of Ashes and the future of an Infernal Devices show.

On learning about TMI TV series:

Well, here’s the thing. I pretty much know what you do. I knew there was discussion about whether to continue with making TMI films or explore the avenue of television. I didn’t know about the definite decision, or who the writer/show runner would be until it was announced at Mipcom and reported in the Hollywood Reporter.

I have no idea what channel it will be on, or what countries it will be shown in (though I have seen some fretting that it will be “only in the US” which seems wildly unlikely since the production company isn’t even American) and no idea at all about …

On if the film’s cast will return for the television show:

So clearly the biggest question about the TV show is “Will they keep the same cast from the film?”

And the answer is unfortunately I don’t know. 

I mean, I can look at the history of television. There are hundreds of movies that were adapted into television shows, some based on books (Friday Night Lights) some not (Buffy the Vampire Slayer.) I can think of only one where they kept anyone from the feature film, and that’s MASH, in which Radar was played by the same actor in the film and the show.

Now that I look at what I just said, I see I’ve made somewhat the same phrasing mistake I see all over, which is about whether they’ll “keep the cast” as if the cast definitively wanted to be in the show, when I am pretty sure none of us knows any such thing. So there’s that.

Now keep in mind I have absolutely no idea whether the cast wants to return, and no idea what the plans of the production company are — but usually the cast of a feature film changes when it becomes television because 1) movie actors often don’t want to do TV 2) contractual obligations can prevent it 3) they may have other commitments that would prevent them from being able to do something as time-consuming as television 4) the ages of the characters in the TV show may not be the same as the ages of the characters in the film 4) any of a million reasons. To be able to keep the same cast a million factors would need to line up perfectly: desires, times, contracts, availability, etc.

So I have no idea. The only position of authority I am speaking from here is as someone who used to work for an entertainment magazine and knows something about the business of TV and movies. That’s it.

On whether the show would start from City of Bones or pick up with City of Ashes:

I have no idea about this one. Buffy started up after the first movie, placing the events of the film squarely in the show’s past, and rarely referring to them (since they didn’t really track with the show.) Teen Wolf recaps the events of the film with a different spin. They could go either way, with the caveat that they’d have to start the show somewhere where people who’d never seen the film could understand it.

On having to wait for an Infernal Devices television series:

There was a rumor that TID was going to be a TV series. I never encountered a single piece of factual evidence that that was happening. (Like, for instance, in this case, when they are developing a TMI TV show, there are multiple articles about it.)

It’s only been about 2 years since TID ended – not much of a wait really. We live in an odd media moment where we expect everything to be fast-tracked, but that’s not really the norm. I think Game of Thrones and Outlander both took about 20 years to become television shows.

If there was a TMI series, and it was successful, it would dramatically increase the chances of a TID film or TV show. If you want a TID show or movie, this is the best news you could get, not the worst. Because I saw no signs a TID show was happening otherwise.

On getting to see characters from the books that didn’t make it into the movie:

One of the nice things about there being a TV show is the opportunity to see characters like Raphael, who was cut from the film, and Maia. I admire both those actresses and would certainly want Maia to be played by an actress of color.

On the fans’ concern about the television series changing things:

I understand being scared about the idea of a TV show instead of more films. You got used to the cast of the films and the look and settings. I like the film cast a lot. I like them as actors and as people.

However I do think that TMI is a better fit for TV than movies because it has a huge amount of backstory, which is nearly impossible to fit into a film, which is why for instance unless you read the books you would never have found out in the first film what the Mortal Cup actually did. TV gives you a chance to see the Circle in detail, the backstories of characters rendered visually, more time for more minor characters (like Magnus) etc. It really gives you time to wallow around in a world. And whatever actors they cast, if they were good choices, I am confident you you would come to love them as well, in the same way it is possible to love both Robert Downey Jr. and Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes, or Martin Freeman and Lucy Liu and Jude Law as Watson. No one actor is ever the only one in the world who can interpret a character — that’s not how acting is supposed to work, really. Even when they are amazing and lovely, as the TMI cast was and is.

I’m not trying to convince anyone to like the idea of a TV series if you don’t. I’m just saying that as someone with no more control over the situation than you, I think this is a good thing. Maybe they would have made a City of Ashes movie. Maybe not. I’d rather know something is happening than not know if anything is happening. And in Hollywood, what breeds development is success. If a TV show were successful, they’d probably be more likely to make a CoA or TDA or TID movie, not less. If what you want is to see movies and TV of the books you like, than the worst thing that can happen isn’t a movie when you wanted a TV show or a TV show when you wanted a movie, or a radio play when you wanted a musical. It’s nothing.

Anyway, I’ll be going out this November to see the production company and TV folks, so I may have more information then. We will see!

Sounds like maybe we’ll hear some more news come next month!

About Alyssa Barbieri (2800 Articles)
Alyssa is the Managing Editor for Bears Wire. You can reach her at or follow her on Twitter @AlyssaBarbieri

43 Comments on Cassandra Clare talks ‘Mortal Instruments’ television series

  1. How exciting! I was talking with my sister after the movie came out and we thought it would have been so much better as a tv series because of all the stuff that happens you just can’t fit into a movie! Unless its like Lord of the Rings and is three hours long… I’m sooooooooooooooooooooo excited for a television series! 😀 Same cast or different cast, I’m excited either way! I just hope it’s more like the books! ^^

  2. Mrs Michaela Herondale // October 20, 2014 at 1:56 AM // Reply

    This is so exciting, I just hope they don’t change it too much… They’re my favourite books ever!

  3. I hope they show it in New Zealand!

  4. Reblogged this on By Hook Or By Book and commented:
    More news from the upcoming Mortal Instruments tv series! Since for me the movie was a huge disappointment I really hope this series lives up to the books!

  5. wiiiiiii THIS IS GREAT!!!!! I can’t wait ^.^

  6. it really realy pisses me off that cassandra clare takes a backseat in how her stories are told on screen. I personally think that is a big reason the movie failed. (Twilght was closely monitored by stephanie meyer, as was the authors in harry potter, divergent, the hunger games ect) Her response to her fans are always simply idk. The original cast of City of Bones are really getting a crappy deal here. Don’t get me wrong I LOOOOOOOOOVVVVVVEEE The TMI series and TID series I’m first in line to read the Dark Artifices. But i Hate cassandra clare. She is all about profit! Will i be watching the tv series you bet. Do i have high hopes for it no i don’t. I really hope i’m wrong I have spent alot of hours reading and re reading these books. I wish she would do her fans and her own work more justice by standing by eaither one of them a little more.

    • There is always a down side of selling the rights of a book series away. Even if Cassie had thoughts, comments, or suggestions on the script, set design, or anything else involving the movie, the producers did not have to listen to a thing she says. Compared with Twilight, HP, THG, Divergent is that the movie makers did listen to the Authors even though they didn’t legally have to. Hopefully the producers and the show runner of the TMI tv show will involve Cassandra Clare more in the production of the series. If they do I really think the show will be a success.

    • I agree with Loren. From what I remember, CC had a lot of say in what happened, or not happened, with the movie. When the movie came out she changed her mind about it. Even the producers discussed how she had helped them. If she sold the subsidiary rights, and had no say in the movie, then why did the producers say something completely different?
      I would have hoped she didn’t do that, it just made her look bad. I like her stories, but some things that have happened make her questions her motives.

      On the other hand, I hope the show is better than the movie. I love the actors in it, but the script was pretty bad.

  7. What we want? a better cast. The cast of the previous movie sucks. Except Simon, the other were too old and look at nothing like the characters. If they find actors (even unknowing) who are equals to the characters like Cassandra draw them in the codex or make them equal using make-up then it would be perfect. Then, they need to stay true to the books and using the same plot and the same lines without cut everything. I hope the special effects will at least be at the level of tv show like The Flash or Supernatural

  8. This may come out harsh but Cassandra has got to be the most left in the dark author in the history of book to media adaptations. I mean she never really shares any useful info to note. I find it just mind blowing that she has no idea what is happening in regards to her works. I understand she sold all the rights to Constantin and she has no control over what they do with it but a normal author would still be informed somewhat on the direction they are taking. She always says she finds out when we find out. Really? Is she trying to imply that she can’t get answers from them or is it that she just doesn’t care to find out? I find it hard to believe that as the author of the series, if she asked, they wouldn’t let her know basic info about what they plan on doing or where they are heading. And then she always takes to Tumblr to say she doesn’t know anything. Well if she doesn’t know anything then why even post about the movie just to say you know nothing? I really like her as an author and I love TMI, TID and all her shadowhunter series. I just find it really odd that she can’t offer more info or insight about any of the projects.

  9. On the question of the cast, whoever they’d get would be too old to be believable by the conclusion. I seem to remember that an animated Star Trek series was quite successful. Wonder if they could work out a deal with the current cast to use their images and do something like that?

    By the way, whatever happened to the last installment of “After the Bridge?”

    • I read the full story of ‘After the Bridge’ on Cassie’s tumblr, I guess it just wasn’t posted here. If you just google ‘Cassandra Clare After the Bridge the full story’ it should come up, it worked for me anyway. Enjoy, I did 😉

    • no way

  10. by the angel i hope they dont change the cast but i really love the idea of the tv series since they had to cut so much out of the movie. im so exited about it and it would be better not to change the cast cuz they were perfect and the show would get more ratings keeping them. i hope the do it for The Infernal Devices and The Dark Artifices too!!!! XD

  11. This is starting to become a very, very, very, bad idea. I’m not so sure I have a good feeling about this. Maybe I’ll just stick with the books and forget both the movie and TV series. I’m not much on change, and you’d think since Cassie loved the cast (and even had wonderful things to say about Godfrey and even fought for him to be cast) that she’d just throw them away this easily. If I were them, I’d not come back either after this treatment their being given by both author and production company. Oh well, business is business to them all I suppose. Sigh.

  12. mortalinstrumentslover // November 23, 2014 at 5:37 AM // Reply

    soooooooooooooooo amazing i cant stop reading the books watching the movie my obsetion drives all my mates mad but i dont care and once i found out there was a TMI tv serise ive been crazy its all ive talked about. Plz keep the same cast and PLZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ make a TID tv show

    • I’m just like you…can’t stop reading the books over and over again, and watching the movie even if it’s not an exact copy of the book. I also don’t want the cast to change, actually I don’t like any of the options they are giving to interpret Clary: all three are so dull. Please keep the same cast!!!!

    • I really hope that they keep the same cast!!! They were amazing and I was awake half the night angry that they probably wouldn’t and sad if they didn’t. Please please please keep the same cast. Lily and Jamie were perfect together and had amazing chemistry. KEEP SAME CAST PLEASE!!!!!

  13. i rlly hope there will be a tv series. and can they do it fasteeeeeeer like im dying of waiting

  14. I’m really exited about this. I have a few personal wishes for the show which I hope can come true.
    – Closer to the book
    – Raphael and Maia
    – Valentine needs blonde/white hair (I did like the actor)
    -Luke and Mangus keep their actors(don’t mind if they change their designs as long as they keep the actors)
    -Someone younger for Alec
    -Fair Folk!

  15. When I first found out they weren’t doing the movies I was totally bummed, but I got REALLY excited when they said they were going to turn them into a TV series. I only have ONE huge and MAJOR concern. There was another great book series I loved (the Sword of Truth series) that was filmed as a TV show called Legend of the Seeker . During the first few episodes I was really happy and was getting super excited because I’d read all of the books multiple times. But then they started to completely mess up the books timeline. I mean they FUBARed it. It was like the Hollywood producers or whoever was in charge took all the books story lines and decided to shuffle them like a deck of cards. Once they did that I not only lost interest in the TV show, I was disgusted enough and told all my friends and family to quit watching it and to just stick to the books. It was truly unfortunate, because it really had the potential to be as great or even grater than the TV shows Xina Warrior Princess and Hercules were during their hay-day. They’d gotten a great cast & director. Other than the messed up story timelines they even had great writers. If and I mean IF they do The Mortal Instruments as a TV show some one NEEDS to keep them as true to the books as possible. I’m not naive I realize they’ll have to make some changes to fit within ‘Hollywood’s’ TV show formats. Hopefully Cassandra Clare will be able to become a producer or get a position with enough “pull” to keep them on point. All the best movies that came from a book had the author’s input (i.e. Harry Potter)

  16. Can we all as fellow fans of the books agree to unite and contact Constantin and the producers and tell them we will not watch the series unless we get the following:
    1. better cast literally just scrap the whole cast we can find someone else just as boyishly cute to play simon I don’t want the other actor to age out.
    2. the series needs to follow the same timeline the books did
    3. the actress who plays maia needs to be black no if ands or buts about it REPRESENTATION MATTERS!! (A hispanic actor needs to play Raphael as well)
    4. characters who match the physical descriptions in the book
    *reminder we are the fans we will be the ones watching they are making this for us. make them give us what we ask for because without our support the series will fail just like the movies!*

  17. Change the cast!!! They were horrible the only ones that was actually closet the their characters were Simon and Jocelyn. Jace looked horribly skinny and nothing like I expected him to be. He looked to old and scruffy. Alex was to muscular, guessing he is meant to be fairly slim, and oh god don’t even get me started on valentine I mean what on earth happened to him!!!! Isabelle looked a bit like the person I had imagined but her personality was all wrong, Luke wasn’t like I had expected, Hodge was okay but not brilliant, and Magnus was nothing like I had expected but his personality was on point, but overall nothing like I expected and most didn’t catch the characters personality very well. You had a go with that cast and it was a flop, start fresh with new cast!!

    • That were*

    • I agree that Jace is too thin but I think that Lily Collins as Clary was excellent the problem being now that she looks way older than supposed to. I don’t agree with you about Alec though I think that he was perfect for that role.

  18. I LOVED the Mortal Instruments series. The only fantasy novel, for me, which drew me into the world. I praise Clare, for creating such a world. Since the novels have so much detail and imagination, if a TV series was to be created, which took into consideration, each and every detail that Clare mentions, of characters, the runes, magic, battle and romance. The TV series would be, the best creation to be seen on tv. Movies would take too long and would leave too much out. BUT, if the creators of the series can re-create the novel, I will bow down to them. I enjoyed the movie, the effects and the characters. YES, there were major components missing, but few of the main characters of the film, really came to my liking. When a person reads a book they create the character in their minds. Jace, Clare, Simon and Magnus, were similar the the characters in the novel. Jamie’s acting was perfect for Jace, as was Lily for Clary, but something felt missing. Alec and Isabelle didn’t seem to be the character in the novel, however Jace, Simon, Magnus, Luke and a few others were perfect for the roles. It would be AMAZING if the series would turn out just the way Clare created in her novel! I am beyond EXCITED!!

    • mortalinstrumentslover // January 15, 2015 at 1:44 PM // Reply

      the books were amazing the movie was a bit of a disapointment but they can pick it up with the tv show i hope they dont change the cast i thought they were perfect for there roles other than valentine 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  19. The Mortal Instruments books series was fantabulous. I read all six books in a matter of a few weeks the only thing slowing me down was actually not owning the books. The TMI movie was a bit of a let down but it was still a great movie I enjoyed watching, when I found out they weren’t going to be making a second movie and that they were turning it into a tv series I was glad. At least now they can add the more important characters real personality to it and add the not so important characters at all. Jace needs to be bulker and less skinny and a few other characters need to be altered other than that putting Lily Collins in as the role as Clary was possibly the best thing they couldve done. You dont have to agree with me and the majority of you won’t but she made the whole movie worth watching. I understand she might not be returning but she should be applauded by the great job she did with becoming one with Clary Fray/Fairchild/Morgernstern.

    • I also think that if they want the latest 3 of the books to go good into tv series they are going to have to find someone that matches the description of Sebastian almost exact.

    • The books were amazing! I own all of them and I’ve probably read them 5 times each. I really wish they would at least keep the Actors and Actresses for Jace, Clary, Izzy, Alec, Magnus and Simon. These are the people who are normally always part of the book, and the men and women that played them I think did amazing. I’m excited for a TV series that might do the books better justice.

  20. Hey guys you should follow this awesome facebook page all about The Mortal Instruments and The infernal devices for all the newest updates and best quote, games, and more!

  21. I would love to have a TV series!! Why? Because it is much much longer than a Movie and you can focus on all details!! (Don´t … NEVER.. ignore the cats!! XD) I loved the cast so at least for the main characters it would be like a dream come true if the keep them X3 .. And yes please start from the beginning because I loved the movies visuals but the story was kind of raped.. why change a perfect story?? TMI is still my favorite book series and I am excited about a TV show anyway!!

  22. Pleeeeeeease, keep the same cast !

  23. I loved the series and can’t wait for the Tv show to come out this year.

  24. Spot on with this write-up, I truly believe this site needs far more attention. I’ll
    probably be returning to read through more, thanks for the

  25. I honestly loved the movie even though it left something’s out of the book. I had not read the books and the movie encouraged me to. So I read all of the books. If they change the cast it will be horrible. The original cast was the best even though everyone hates them.

  26. Where is it going to be showed first? Will it be showed in NZ last?

  27. I absolutely loved the movie and I really hope they keep the same cast please keep the cast, I am literally begging. They did amazing I mean Lily’s hair did have red in it. Granted some things weren’t exactly like the book and they should be fixed but that can be done with the same cast. Please please please keep them. I would be very excited for the TV show if it were the same cast. Lily and Jamie had amazing chemistry and played the roles perfectly.

  28. not sure she did not tell us much

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