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.
► 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?