Matthew Daddario talks Malec, leadership roles, heroic moments (and dancing) in Season 2B


Matthew Daddario teases Alec’s responsibilities at the Institute, the “upward trend” of Malec, and heroic moments in ‘Shadowhunters’ Season 2B.

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We sat down with Matthew Daddario, who plays Alec Lightwood on Freeform’s Shadowhunters, to try and learn more about where Alec is headed when the series returns on June 5.

In the 2A finale, Alec worked closely with Aldertree to try and stop Valentine from activating the Soul-Sword, but Aldertree is presumably out of the picture when Season 2B returns, and many fans are curious to know if Alec will have a greater leadership role at the NY Institute. “We’re going to see that Alec gets further involved in the Institute and maybe perhaps in a leadership role,” Daddario said. On the topic of who will be the Head of the Institute though, Daddario hinted that we shouldn’t expect Alec to be taking over — at least not right away. “Unfortunately, the Clave is very… they’re kind of sticklers for who’s in charge of the Institute and people sometimes come and go very quickly,” he said. “We’ve seen quite a few people at the head of the Institute: my mother, and also my ex-fiancé, and Aldertree, who was a delight. Maybe Alec can get into that role… I think it will take some time though.”

We know that there will be political tension this season between Shadowhunters and the Downworld, and Alec will likely be working to help bridge and unite both sides. Daddario explained that the Clave and the Downworld each have their own issues that will need to be addressed this season. “The Clave itself is obviously not a very upstanding organization. They have significant issues with control and they have issues with how they handle people outside of their organization, and the Downworld is not a bunch of saints either; they’re involved in sort of a number of sort of illicit issues,” he said. “The question is: how much of that is caused by the Clave’s authority or how much of that is caused by just problems that are resulting from Valentine? So, I think that Alec is going to try and work with both sides, if possible, and maybe get passed the variety of issues that the Clave presents and that the Downworld presents, and maybe we can all just learn to get along.”

“That doesn’t mean necessarily that everything’s going to be perfect all the time because you need to grow, and to grow you need these kind of little errors…”

One of our favorite definitive moments in the 2A finale was the “I love you” scene between Alec and Magnus following the massacre in the Institute. We asked Daddario if this means we can expect the Malec relationship to become even stronger throughout the rest of Season 2. “The Malec relationship is on a constant upward trend I think, and I believe that’s how it should be,” he said. Though he also teased that not everything will go smoothly. “That doesn’t mean necessarily that everything’s going to be perfect all the time because you need to grow, and to grow you need these kind of little errors so you guys can adapt and learn how to work with each other, and I think that we’re going to see some of that in the second half of the season,” he said.

Photo Credit: Freeform, Acquired From ShadowhuntersTV

When we spoke with Daddario on set, the cast was preparing to start filming episode 17, and they hadn’t finished reading the scripts for the rest of Season 2. So when it comes to Malec at the end of 2B, Daddario could only predict what he thought was likely to happen. “I don’t actually fully know because I haven’t seen the end,” he said. “But I can see that we might have some fun moments there, but we also have some really nice sweet moments, and it’s great; it’s actually really great.” As many fans have already seen from the teaser trailer released by Freeform, Alec and Magnus will maybe have some disagreeing moments when it comes to political decisions and trust this season. Daddario explained that “Alec is mistake prone, but not by his own fault because Alec is the best of everyone. It’s just that sometimes he… things are difficult, man.”

We’ve also seen from teaser trailers that Izzy will be working as a Shadowhunter again, and Daddario assured us that the Lightwood duo will be back to hunt demons this summer. “We can pretend… this whole yin fen thing led to the end of [Alec and Izzy’s] relationship,” he said. “But c’mon, that’s not how it works. That’s not how it works. No, Izzy and Alec are a dynamic duo. You can’t put a stop to them. They’re partners.”

Photo Credit: Freeform, Acquired From Freeform

We also wanted to ask Daddario about newcomer Will Tudor’s character Sebastian. From our interview with Will, we know that he will be making his way into the NY Institute and working closely with the team. Daddario couldn’t say much about how Sebastian might affect Alec this season, but clearly he had some things to hide. “Well, [Sebastian’s] very helpful from the get go,” he teased. “He gets right on in there, and he’s accepted by everyone. You know, Shadowhunters don’t really need to vet other Shadowhunters. They’re Shadowhunters, right? So, that’s all I’ll say about that. We’ll see…”

Earlier this year, one of the showrunners for the series tweeted that we would see Magnus dance this season, and so we thought it was only fair to ask Matthew Daddario if that meant Alec might also be dancing on-screen. We’re not quite sure what his answer means for Alec, and at first Daddario said “no,” but maybe don’t rule it out altogether. “You know, the thing about dancing is, all different kinds of dancing happens, and lots of different things can be interpreted as dance,” he explained.

“…either way, as long as nobody’s getting hurt, dance is just fine. Try to make sense of that one!”

“There’s also things that can be interpreted as dirty dancing, like that movie, and there’s also things that can just be viewed as like platonic dancing,” he said. “But either way, as long as nobody’s getting hurt, dance is just fine. Try to make sense of that one!” We teased with him that we’d be sure to look out for Alec’s dance moves, to which he responded, “Oh, there’s always dancing.” So, what could this mean?! Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Another character fans are hoping to see Alec reunite with in Season 2B is Madzie, the young warlock girl he first met at Iris Rouse’s home who later protected him at the Institute. Daddario confirmed that she will be back (which we’ve now seen via social media since we spoke with him), but he also opened up about why the two characters have a connection. “She spared my life because Alec was sweet to her because one thing about Alec, and I’m being very serious here, Alec is very caring for people that he views as… that they need help,” he shared. “He likes to help those who have — maybe there’s something wrong or maybe there’s some issue he can’t quite tell — but he wants to know, and he wants to be able to make them comfortable.”

Photo Credit: Freeform/John Medland, Acquired From Freeform Press Site

Alec’s “cool gills” compliment became a very memorable scene for his character in 2A, and Daddario explained how that helped establish their mutual friendship. “He showed her kindness and sweetness from the when he first met her and onward as he would, so she can’t bring herself to harm him,” he said. “I think it’s likely that we will see more Madzie in the future, and I know the fans do seem to really like her because she is so cute, and also kind of lethal in a kind of really scary way. It’s kind of sad actually because she was used in that awful way… so hopefully good things happen to her.”

When asked if he had a scene from 2B he was most excited to see play out on-screen, Daddario immediately recalled a particular moment, but he unfortunately couldn’t tell us much about what actually happens. “Yes. Yes there is,” he said. “Alec gets a really great hero moment. Yes, but then! Well, I can’t… but it’s not! Hmm, he’s like ‘Yeah, Look what I did!’ and maybe he’s really proud of it, but maybe also things aren’t quite as they seem for him, but the audience will know. You’ll see…”

Next: Will Tudor reveals how Sebastian “infiltrates” the NY Institute

Watch the full interview above to learn more from Matthew Daddario about Season 2B of Shadowhunters, and be sure to follow Matthew Daddario and Shadowhunters to join in the #ShadowhuntersChat each Monday. (Seriously, he has some of the most hilarious live tweets). Shadowhunters returns with “Mea Maxima Culpa” June 5 at 8/7c on Freeform and the Freeform App.