(SPOILERS) Interview with Pat Shand - Charmed #4

Charmed #4 is out today and it is the biggest issue so far!

Under the cut you can read my interview with Pat Shand talking about the events of the issue.

Please note that #4 contains major spoilers so please avoid to read the interview if you don't want to be spoiled.

Because of spoilers you can find the interview inside this post. Click "Read More" below.

INTERVIEW

The start of the issue shows us Piper and Leo expressing their love and giving courage to each other in Cupid’s Temple before the oncoming battle. As the issue progresses we find the scenery and events changing from those of absolute love to those of absolute death, something I find really interesting. Can you talk to us about this transition?

  • PAT SHAND: It’s the darkest moments that show us who we really are, you know? With the Piper and Leo scene, I wanted to show how far these characters have come and that both of them are truly beyond all of the trials they went through as a couple. They’ve got this impenetrable trust that is unique in the marriages in this series. As much as they love their husbands, neither Paige or Phoebe are quite there yet. But Piper and Leo have earned it with all they’ve been through.
  • And yes, it was the sort of bait and switch moment of lightness right before we go super dark. There will be a lot of mixing of the light/silly with the dark/dramatic stuff. Such is life, right?
  • Also, another major purpose in that scene was that the kids needed to be the hell out of the way. A big part of what the Charmed Ones and their families are going through is that they’ve brought these children in the world, and their lifestyle – and I might get some flack for this, but whatever, it’s true – isn’t the kind of lifestyle that makes parenting an altogether safe choice. They each have multiple children, and those children are in constant danger. That’s scary.

The scene between Cole and Phoebe in the Manor was beautiful and I’m sure every Phole fan will appreciate it. Did you write this scene as a (final?) gift to Phole shippers?

  • PS: Honestly, the scene wasn’t originally there to begin with. They had a moment in the outline, but nothing like what it became. The Cole/Phoebe conversation came from a place of raw honest for me. Through 2013 into early 2014, my life was pretty dominated by a really hard split with my ex, and it had a huge impact on me, my life, my work, everything. I was really torn up about many aspects of it all, but by the time I began writing Charmed, I was sort of coming to terms with what I’d gone through and all of the hurt that surrounded the whole situation. I remember I actually wrote the Phoebe/Cole conversation during #2. I’d stopped writing that issue and started that conversation, because it felt like something I needed to write. When I wrote the rest of the script around it, I barely had to tweak it.
  • I won’t be surprised if people feel like I’ve misled them by playing up Cole’s role in the season and then doing what I did to him at the end of this issue, but make no mistake. Every part of Cole’s arc is very, very, incredibly personal to me and came from a place of me relating to the character and wanting to tell – quite literally – the ultimate Cole story.

What was going through Phoebe’s mind when she was in bed after her conversation with Cole? The way Eliza Feliz drew her expression in that panel I think is very clever because you can’t really tell what she was thinking about but at the same time you can translate it in many different ways.

  • PS: That one should be left to the reader.

We find out that Prue has a contact line connected to the TV with which she can communicate with her sisters. Cole says he has never seen her use it. Paige’s comment especially “Yeah, she’s never had to” made it seem like their communication happens only when really needed (We would expect them or actually want them to use it daily but it is becoming clear that things between them are not like how they used to be). Prue is also not featured in an issue for the first time this season. She feels more and more distant as time goes by. Can you talk to us about this gap in their relationship as the issues go by? Is the climax of this gap coming soon?

  • PS: The distance between Prue and her sisters is very purposeful and it’s one of the main arcs of the season. The end of #5 gives an idea of what’s going on, but no answers. The answer is given in #8, but even then, it’s an ongoing story thread.
  • This is the modern era, so communication is easier than ever. The scene from #2, where Prue has to speak to Leo to get an answer about her sisters ignoring her. It was very purposeful that Leo answered the phone even though he was very clearly in the middle of something – because that’s what Leo does. He drops everything for the people he loves. So it’s odd that Piper especially isn’t even sending Prue a “Sorry, I’m busy” text.

Valen reveals that he has no intention to destroy or be the ruler of the world. He only wants to kill the Charmed Ones. Most villains dealt with the Charmed Ones because they had to get past them to achieve their plans but Valen only wants to destroy them. In past issues he has described his plans to kill the sisters as his destiny, a holy task. What makes him believe this? Is there a personal reason behind it, a back-story we don’t know of yet?

  • PS: There’s no big backstory. He’s like the demonic equivalent of a person who wants to climb Mount Everest. What’s the end goal? To say you’ve done it. That’s Valen in a nutshell.

You know us; Charmed fans are always interested to know the specifics of the powers used. Can you talk to us about Aidel’s newfound power?

  • PS: At this point, Aidel can emit toxic smoke. Not deathly toxic, but toxic enough to cause a problem to anyone standing right next to him. Nifty little power, but it’s not something he can readily access. In this past issue, Valen clobbers him before it can really cause any harm.

The moment Valen is about to destroy Aidel’s soul Coop comes to the rescue but Valen gets the upper hand and throws the Athame at him. Now what comes next is in my opinion the most shocking moment in the comics so far that will leave everyone reading it breathless or screaming (I was screaming). Cole gets in front of Coop and gets hit by the Athame.

  • PS: Yeah. I remember at Wizard World Philly 2012, I met up with Paul and we grabbed some Starbucks. I asked him if he thought I was going to get in deep shit over this Cole storyline. It was in place even way back then.

What went through Cole’s mind when he saw Coop in danger? Cole’s selflessness is something Prue starts recognizing in him in #2 and a value Cole wants to achieve. Would Cole sacrifice himself if this happened before the conversation he had with Phoebe earlier in the issue?

  • PS: Cole was always going to get stabbed, but when I introduced the conversation and starting writing the scene, it made sense to me for Cole to be more proactive. Cole’s sacrifice is a direct result of the conversation with Phoebe. I’d maybe even shy away from calling it a sacrifice – it’s a split second decision. He sees Coop – who he perceives as the cause for the happiness Phoebe told him she’d discovered, and he sees that Coop is about to be killed. His reaction is more, “Get Coop away from this thing” at the moment, and the direct result is Cole getting stabbed by it.

You’ve said the Athame is the end, the soul is gone for good, but is it really the end of Cole? It’s hard to believe it.

  • PS: I did say that, and I did mean it.

Two issues ago we saw Cole wanting to resurrect his father. Will we see Prue continuing this task, since she is the only one who knows about it?

  • PS: Answers in #5. Prue didn’t seem to think it was a good idea, but that’ll all be addressed.

You’ve said Cole is one of your favorite Charmed characters. How hard was the decision to make him the victim of the Athame?

  • PS: Super hard. I love writing him and I think the energy he added is super unique. But I wouldn’t change the story. The shadow that this casts over the rest of the season shows how important of a character Cole is.

The summary of the next issue mentions Cole having a decision to make. Did you include this line as a decoy so fans wouldn’t think Cole would be the one to die or will we really see this line as part of the next issue’s events?

  • PS: No, I wouldn’t lie to fans in a solicit. I did, however, lie when I said that Cole was no longer the focus of #5. I remember that I’d said that there is a huge death at the end of this arc, and separately I said that Cole was the focus of #5. I panicked a bit when I realized that people might piece together what that meant, so I downplayed Cole’s role. #5 is the ultimate Cole story. It’s about who Cole is and a decision that he makes is certainly the heart of the issue.

With the events of #4 now known, can you reveal the title for #5?

  • PS: “Whatever Happened to the Demon with a Soul.”
  • Something I wanted to do was have a title that pays homage to other comic books. When Alan Moore wrote the “final” Superman story, it was called “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?” and when Neil Gaiman did the same for Batman, it was “Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?” Both of those stories are incredibly important to me and both of them reduced me to a blubbering pile of emotion. I hope this story can do either or both of those to someone.

Thank you very much for your answers, Pat. Is there anything else you would like to add or share with the fans reading the interview?

  • PS: This is just the beginning.

You can find Pat on Twitter and Tumblr.

Write a comment

Comments: 53
  • #1

    Marina (Wednesday, 21 January 2015 18:36)

    However thanks.
    But i'm done. Seriously? 3rd time?

  • #2

    Lana (Wednesday, 21 January 2015 19:01)

    Cole's death hit me really hard. I really hope his soul is not really destroyed but has moved on permanently to the higher realm.

  • #3

    Julie (Wednesday, 21 January 2015 19:14)

    What a waste to the Cole storyline you should've killed a less important character than his. Congratulations you just pissed off all the Cole fans now and less readers . Pray if we get a season 11 the writer fixes this, make this a dream season or something. How many times has Superman or any superhero die, only to be brought back to life the next season.

  • #4

    P4fab4ever (Wednesday, 21 January 2015 19:51)

    I could have sworn pat mentioned something about writing a scene for leo and cole in future episodes... If u didnt write it on tumblr or twitter he said it in the commentary interview ... This ring a bell for anyone else?

  • #5

    Jak (Wednesday, 21 January 2015 20:09)

    I think people are overreacting about Cole's death. Yes, it was a tad reptetive that he died again, but I think this time feels more worthy of him. He wasn't vanquished as a demon, he was killed as a good man protecting Phoebe's happiness, which is exactly what we could have expected from Cole by this point; just wanting to save Phoebe from the heartache of losing love again.
    I doubt this will have lost readers. If anything, I think it might encourage people to turn their focus to the comics. Such a big event will always attract people.
    Yes, he was a character we're all sad to lose, but his death will bring about some really interesting developments. Phoebe will have to deal with losing him again, Coop may begin to feel inadequate to Cole's memory for Phoebe, Prue will have to cope with pretty much total isolation without Cole and debate over his father's soul.
    I, for one, hope Cole remains dead for good now. I think another resurrection will feel even more repetitive than his deaths. And isn't the point of the Athame that once it kills, the person is dead? No coming back, no resurrection or reversal? I can't see a scenario in which his death could be undone. Unless they do go down the tacky it-was-all-a-dream road.
    This was a fitting end for Cole. He died to protect the woman he loves from any hurt (and saved PJ and Parker from losing their father). It's like Cole finally proved that he was just as good and just as much a hero as the rest of the cast, and that feels right.

  • #6

    Henry (Wednesday, 21 January 2015 20:17)

    I don't understand.. Everyone can see that story in his/her own way but please don't say that's repetitive! This is not a simple death.. If the Athame worked, Cole is gone forever! And personally it would be so stupid introduce a weapon like this just to kill off a secondary character.. It has to be someone very important for the story.. And the way Cole died (if he really did) was epic! He saved the husband of the love of his life just to protect Phoebe's happiness.. I think we are far away from the Cole who changed the world just for his obsession.. The same obsession that killed him last time.. Pat could use Cole for a stupid love triangle (Cole/Phoebe/Coop or Prue/Cole/Phoeb) instead he showed us how much he's changed! I know that it's personal, but I loved this story and I don't understand how a real Charmed fan can just think to leave the comics for an epic death! It's just my opinion, I don't want to blame you

  • #7

    Bigbear (Wednesday, 21 January 2015 20:27)

    I feel like Cole's death should be permanent this time around cause he already cheated death twice and for him to survive a third would be ridiculous, but on the other hand I can't help but think that killing him now is such a waste!

    It's so unfair that the most interesting character in the series has to die while Coop gets to live and bore the pants off me.

  • #8

    gc (Wednesday, 21 January 2015 20:59)

    I am...just devastated. For Cole and for Prue.

  • #9

    Lilchi721 (Wednesday, 21 January 2015 22:14)

    I was just wondering why can't they just do a spell or use cupids ring to turn back time and fix all this like what writers did in five and also in eight?

  • #10

    NiklausDarko (Thursday, 22 January 2015 00:09)

    I totally agree with Jak and Henry. Cole died as a HERO. For love. Sad but awesome!

  • #11

    Julie (Thursday, 22 January 2015 00:27)

    Why would you bring him back into the fold just to kill him off again?

  • #12

    pruefan4life (Thursday, 22 January 2015 05:09)

    @Jak @Henry totally agree. well said.

  • #13

    Scott21 (Thursday, 22 January 2015 11:23)

    My theory is that Prue is going to put Cole's dad soul into Cole's body, so they can keep Julian likness

  • #14

    cyma (Thursday, 22 January 2015 12:25)

    @Scott21: But Cole was already dead. The athame killed his soul, so no body for his dad to possess.

  • #15

    Jean (Thursday, 22 January 2015 14:02)

    I honestly, think Cole is just going to reunite with his dad in issue 5 and go off into the afterlife with him. That will probably be the best closure for Cole.

  • #16

    TomTom (Thursday, 22 January 2015 14:16)

    I think season 10 does everything right so far.
    It is not odd to kill Cole in season 10. It was odd to bring him back in season 9! Now this is fixed.
    In my opinion season 9 was like a abstruse fan fiction. Now we have "Charmed" back how I know and love it.
    Damn this is gonna be so gooood. :D

  • #17

    Julie (Thursday, 22 January 2015 15:15)

    If Cole died a hero there would be an afterlife waiting for him but there isn't since he got stabbed with that athame that destroyed his soul so it's a waste he died for nothing.

  • #18

    scott21 (Thursday, 22 January 2015 15:37)

    I just dont understand why couldn't Paige orbed the atheme into her hand immediatelly they teleported to the cemetery? Or why couldnt Piper blow Valen up?

  • #19

    pruesthebest (Thursday, 22 January 2015 16:17)

    I understand where @julie is coming from and i feel that coles death was the ultimate sacrifice which i also feel will make the season more darker... prue, who now has no one to talk, will become more irate... his death changes everything and who knows how this will affect phoebe seeing as though he was her first true love

  • #20

    Alice (Thursday, 22 January 2015 16:32)

    Your right Prue is all alone now, and they said the sisters ignoring her is a whole season arc. I really want to know what they have planned for Prue.

  • #21

    Jay (Thursday, 22 January 2015 16:36)

    Awesome Interview! Great questions and great answers! It felt like Director's Commentary which I always love. I added a link to the interview in my review of this issue. Thank you for a great interview and the support!

  • #22

    pruefan4life (Friday, 23 January 2015 13:17)

    @jak I have a feeling we'll see Prue's decision regarding Cole's father's soul be the focus of issue 10. What we know of the title so far is "The Curious Case of [Spoilers]." The redacted part, I think, is "Benjamin Turner," making the title a pun of F. Scott Fitzgerald's story "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," about a man who ages backwards.

  • #23

    Julie (Sunday, 25 January 2015 20:51)

    Is there a reason why the Source didn't destroy that athame after one of his own demons tried to stab him with it or why didn't the source just use that athame to destroy the charmed ones instead of using the hollow in the first place? Some questions to ponder on.

  • #24

    Tima (Tuesday, 27 January 2015 00:35)

    I haven't read the comic yet, but couldn't resist spoiling myself. Personally I don't see where else they could have taken Cole. Besides his obsession with Phoebe his problem was his dark side and how he couldn't seem to over come it. With this death he did overcome it and truly put Phoebe's happiness first. It's a fitting death and I can live with it.

  • #25

    pruefan4life (Tuesday, 27 January 2015 07:15)

    @Tima I very much agree, Cole's death is fitting, although a small part of me does wish he had lived. Not so that he could end up with Phoebe, because that would be undoing his and Phoebe's growth, but so that Prue wouldn't have to be so alone. I've always harbored fantasies that Cole and Prue would find redemption (not necessarily romance) in each other.

  • #26

    Julie (Tuesday, 27 January 2015 17:39)

    Well hopefully he's not totally gone for good I hope but who knows .

  • #27

    Barron (Tuesday, 27 January 2015 23:08)

    I do like that it was an important character that was killed off, but I really wish it was Coop. To me, it was a tough situation.

    If Pat killed off Coop, it would give hope to Phole fans and likely Phoebe and Cole would've gotten back together. We would see how Phoebe deals with another deal and how Cole would still be there for her. That would probably be it.

    But since it's Cole, we actually get many different possibilities from him dying. Is Cole actually dead? How will Prue deal with it? How will Phoebe cope? How will Cole's death affect Coop?

    I wish it was Coop that died, but I do realize that Cole is very interesting and a great character. Coop's death wouldn't have hit us readers like it has by Cole dying. We would've just moved on and stop talking about it. Tbh, I feel that the start of the next issue will feature Phoebe trying to bring back Cole.

  • #28

    Barron (Tuesday, 27 January 2015 23:14)

    Also, I just thought of something. I thought Cole didn't have a soul?

  • #29

    p3nathan (Tuesday, 27 January 2015 23:17)

    "Coop's death wouldn't have hit us readers like it has by Cole dying. We would've just moved on and stop talking about it."

    Exactly. I thought it was going to be Coop too, but such a large part of the fanbase are so apathetic about Coop; would anyone have cared all that much? And by cared, I mean cared about his death, not about who Phoebe could hook up with after.

    Personally I think Paul did a good job at giving Coop some backstory and Pat seems to be giving him a little more edge, what with him going after Valen this issue. Maybe the character has more development ahead and perhaps we'll like him more one day.

    Plus if he had died, then the inconsistency with the flash forward would have to be explained somehow. With CBS having to okay everything, that might not even be an option.

  • #30

    Brodie Dk (Wednesday, 28 January 2015 13:59)

    I think Coles death was perfect, it showed he had truly developed as a character, not to mention how many story oppertunities this opens up, i loved everything they have done in the comic so far, the storylines have just been perfect.

  • #31

    Julie (Wednesday, 28 January 2015 22:10)

    Kinda hoping Cole's not truly dead that maybe someday in the future Coop would do the same thing if they get into a situation like what happen in issue 4.

  • #32

    Zoe (Sunday, 01 February 2015 00:27)

    I am very disappointed, it makes no sense, why killing a character that most people love. Ok you had no intention of putting him with Phoebe but there are many people which like this character why did they have to kill him. You leave a character like Coop, which most people consider him boring, uninteresting I don't understand. I really hope they fix this.

  • #33

    Mihai (Sunday, 01 February 2015 23:43)

    Maybe they would have liked to see how a furious fan base looks like. Zoe we shall wait for the reason maybe then we will get some answers.I hope so

  • #34

    Julie (Monday, 02 February 2015 17:50)

    I guess it's easier to stick with what's easier to work with. I guess since the comics are canon to the series they know Coop will be around for the third child being born but after that we really don't know if Phoebe and Coops relationship goes beyond that since Wyatt didn't seem recognize Coop without his cupid ring and he suddenly blurts it out to everyone also never saw them in their old age. Maybe the writers want the fans to be the judge on that part.

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