Why Shadowhunters season 4 will always be more than a mirage

Will the real Shadowhunters season 4 be the friends we made along the way?

At first, it’s easy to look at a phrase like that and think that it’s rather glib and jokey, but in this case, it really isn’t meant to be. The future of this show is friendship, and the lifespan of this show is limitless.

Tonight, Freeform is delivering the season 3 finale of the series in the form of an epic movie event. The goal here is to offer reasons for smiles, tears of joy, plenty of drama, and maybe a little fear mixed in. It’s everything you love about Shadowhunters wedged into two and a half hours. If the cast and crew have done their job (which we are pretty darn certain that they have), this will be a celebration of everything that this show has been, and everything that this show has meant.

Based on all evidence that is out there, there is no plan at present for a season 4. Production company Constantin Film took the series out to other possible buyers last year and, per their statement, they come up empty-handed. The reasons for its original cancellation are complicated, and there is no reason to rehash them here. There’s also no reason for false hope. There are no plans for more Shadowhunters at present, but that doesn’t necessarily mean forever.

The thing about television is that it’s such a strange, unpredictable ecosystem. Ask the cast of Will & Grace several years ago if they felt like they would ever be doing full seasons of the sitcom again, or look at what we saw with Murphy Brown. Heck, even a couple of JAG characters are coming back on NCIS: Los Angeles this coming weekend after more than ten years away. You never say never within this world. Shadowhunters could take on a new life over the years to come and if that happens and the right financial model comes into place, you could see something more. You cannot guarantee it, but you certainly cannot rule it out.

The more important thing to note, as opposed to charting a course ahead to five or ten years in the future, is where we are right now and what Shadowhunters season 4 can be right now. It can be a community. It can exist in fanfiction, fanart, tribute videos, compilations, social-media posts, cosplay, constant conversation, and so much more. Tonight represents the showrunners handing the keys over to the fans to paint whatever picture that they want for what’s next. It won’t be the same medium, but these are stories that still matter.

The work of Shadowhunters is immeasurable. It has inspired unprecedented creativity among its fans in many forms, whether it be in billboards all over the country or fan campaigns to save it or individual creations in the worlds of art and fiction. It’s opened up imaginations and made everyone feel a little more accepted. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you call your home, the doors of the ShadowFam are always there. That’s another message for this big, nebulous season 4 — family. We’ve all been in this together. We’ll continue to be in this together.

So yes, it’s okay to feel sad that there is no proper season 4 coming and tonight may be the end — but it’s not the end. Memories are what last with a TV show. It’s not always the amount of time that is on the air. Leading up to these final hours of Shadowhunters, let’s rejoice in the fact that we’ve gotten to spend the past few years within this world and that we’ve gotten to meet such fantastic, inspirational characters. Meanwhile, let’s rejoice in the fact that we’ve all met each other. Our creativity has flourished, our lives are collectively different, and there will be many more chances to celebrate Shadowhunters moving forward. There are more awards shows to fight for and more work featuring the cast elsewhere to enjoy.

Shadowhunters isn’t over. It’s just the end of one chapter and, yes, it really is about the friends we’ve made along the way. That will continue to make all of the legends true with each passing day, week, and year.

How will you celebrate and commemorate Shadowhunters following the events of tonight’s finale? Be sure to share in the comments, and be sure to check back soon for some other news.

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