From learning his true identity, to being possessed by Lilith, to losing Clary, saving her and losing her again – Jace Herondale went through a lot in the past three years. And thanks to the show’s open ending the fandom was left with plenty of questions about his story. Last summer we got the chance to get some answers. At the Shadowhunters convention in Paris last summer we got to sit down with Dominic Sherwood and talk about Jace’s character development, how to do stunts with a broken collarbone and his own take on how Clary and Jace proceed after their fateful reunion in the series finale.
SDN: Jace’s mental health has always been a theme interwoven throughout the entire series – from being abandoned by his parents to his time as the Owl to eventually losing Clary when she was stripped of her memories. How do you think his way of dealing with grief has changed?
Dominic: Since the beginning, it’s always been very internal. He turns it on himself, and even later towards the end, when he thought Clary died at the end of season 3A, he was in a very self-sacrificial mood. He sort of almost wanted to be killed by that Seelie, that’s why he went in without his backup. And that is a dangerous mental state to have as well, and I think what he learned towards the end was that it’s infinitely more important to rely on the people who care about you and to rely on the people who know who you are. So yeah, it got better towards the end, but a lot of the beginning was just what he would think would be self-reliance, which ended up being self-sacrificial.
SDN: Jace has changed so much throughout the series. His way of loving and his way of giving to other people.
Dominic: Absolutely, yeah.
SDN: It was beautiful to witness and we’re glad that we got to witness it until the end. In the finale, when Meliorn shared his powers – and his inability to lie – with Jace so they could get to Edom, Jace admitted that he admired Simon. What we liked most about that scene was that even though they are so different, Simon and Jace are quite parallel to each other. What has it been like to shape that kind of friendship, the change of it?
Dominic: I actually just said this in the Meet & Greet, I think probably the reason that Jace doesn’t like Simon at the beginning – which is all fake, really, he does care about him, he’s just hiding it – is because they’re so similar, and because their core values are essentially the same. They love unconditionally, they will do anything for the people that they love, they – like I mentioned – are very self-sacrificial when it comes to the people that they care about. Both of them would happily lay down their life for someone like Clary, for example, and now towards the end of the story would both be very happy to do it for Isabelle as well. So I think the molding of that was just done very separately between Alberto and I, and happened to be lines that kept crossing each other because they are such similar people. Even in the beginning, you see these glimmers of Jace wanting to help Simon as much as possible, like burying him for the first time. And it was sort of not insistent, but Jace was the one who carried Simon’s body to the grave. And I think there was a huge amount of empathy from Jace to Simon, because he really felt for this kid who got drawn into this world. And he really did care about him, and if this was the choice that his friend was making – that he was going to come back – then Jace was going to do it as respectfully and as gently as possible. I think they’ve always been very similar people, and that’s probably why they ended up caring about each other so much.
SDN: Do you think they helped each other in dealing with the loss of Clary in the series finale?
Dominic: One hundred percent, yeah, one hundred percent. I mean we saw it in the end of that fight scene. They are friends now and they are discussing the issue that they both lost someone who they really care about. And yeah, Simon is fast becoming the fourth member of the musketeers in that way. The Alec, Jace, and Izzy relationship is now becoming Alec, Jace, Izzy, and Simon, and god willing Clary would be able to come back and join that team as well.
SDN: Yes, hopefully. You just said that Simon and Jace’s characters are very alike. Do you think that they would have been friends anyway if it wasn’t for the factor of Clary?
Dominic: I think without the factor of Clary they never would have met, so I’m not sure. It’d be difficult to say, but yeah, Clary really was the sort of stick in… But then no because at the beginning, he did still find him kind of irritating, superfluous of the Clary relationship. It was more like when you get a new puppy, and it’s like “Oh man, you’re irritating but I kind of like you still,” you know what I mean? I think it was that kind of thing in the beginning, he always did have a soft spot for Simon. I think the only one who didn’t really [like Simon] was probably Alec, who was very like “I don’t want to be around you anymore, I’m done.” But yeah, I think they’ve always been close. You’d like to think sort of in the grand scheme of what fate is and whatever that something would have drawn them together at some point, I just can’t say.
SDN: Well, we would hope so. They’re a great support to each other. The Shadowhunters finale kind of ended in an open way for us, with Clary seemingly remembering Jace. But we didn’t find out how much she remembered. In your opinion, what happened after that moment in the alley, and do you think that Clary gets her memories back and maybe her Shadowhunter powers as well?
Dominic: I think that the idea of the ending is that it was up to each individual audience member’s perception of what they wanted to project into that future, so we left it as sort of that was our legacy to everyone. We didn’t just finish a story, we finished a story in ten million different ways because ten million people saw it and ten million people will have a different opinion, which is quite beautiful. I think in my opinion that it’s like a slow thing, the same way she lost her memories with the runes starting to go slowly. I think it would be the same thing on the way back, that she would slowly start to gain little pieces with the help of Jace, with the help of Simon, with the help of Izzy. And they’d like piece together the rest of the world and give her accounts of “We did this, and then this happened, bla bla bla, and this is the story,” and then sort of piece it together, almost like a hungover day where you’re like “I don’t really remember being in that bar.” “No, you were. Remember, you did this (…)” and I’m like “Ah yes, right. I do that. Yeah, yeah, ok, cool.” And I think it would be sort of little bits. That’s what I would hope would be their future. But again like I said, what’s so wonderful about the ending of the story is that it can be whatever you want it be, because it ends open-ended in that way.
SDN: Yeah, it’s up for our interpretation. And like you said, it’s nice to see all the different opinions. Filming the finale was obviously very upsetting and emotionally draining for you guys, but you had an absolutely delightful scene that we loved where Jace called Meliorn quite handsome. Despite the sadness of you knowing you were shooting the last episodes of the show, how did it feel to have those kinds of moments in between?
Dominic: I wasn’t sort of overwhelmed with sadness. Like it was bittersweet for sure, but also it’s this huge achievement. I personally… I was talking to the crew about this. There is an element of sadness, but we did 55 episodes of television, and most TV shows genuinely get one. They get the pilot and then people hate it and they get rid of it, and that’s it. If you’re very lucky you might get brought to a season, and then very often those will get cancelled. Three seasons is unheard of, like the hit hit shows that are the biggest shows in the world, will run for ten or fifteen seasons, something silly. And I think three seasons is a huge achievement for us, so I wasn’t just sad about it. I was also very proud of everything that we achieved as a team. We all worked so hard. To do the nice stuff was a joy as well, and especially with Jade, whose comedic timing is really on point, so it was really good fun. It’s always nice to do the light scenes because we just do so much life and death drama all the time, like someone’s dying or the world’s coming to an end. So to take a break from that and do something that’s actually quite fun is nice.
SDN: We can imagine. On top of that, you filmed with a broken collarbone, right?
Dominic: I did, yeah, I filmed with a broken bone.
SDN: How did you do that? You had a lot of fight scenes.
Dominic: They didn’t let me do that stunt in the scene with Meliorn which is the flip off the rock. And I was like “But I can do it!” We have a very good relationship with Darren McGuire, and Dean obviously and the rest of the stunt team. They went “Look, we’ll do it in the studio, and if you can do it then we’ll talk about it.” and I was like “Great, okay.” So they put me up on a box and put a mat down and I did it and he was like “God damn it, I didn’t think you were going to land it, so now I have to tell you no, you’re not allowed to do it.” So we didn’t do that. Everything else, it was all the stunt teams, like they catered everything to match what I could and couldn’t do, so that by the time it was sort of fairly healed – I was still in a bit of pain but it was on its way to healing quite well – and anything sort of above a right angle from my shoulder, I couldn’t really do. So like overhead right-hand blocks, I couldn’t really do that and I couldn’t swing at anyone’s face with my right hand. So we just catered it all. It was good, we put ourselves in a place where Jace had a sword and a dual axe. It was a relatively easy thing to do because things like the motion where he takes off the head of the two demons in the fight with Meliorn, instead of that being with a single-handed right-hand swipe, which it was originally planned to be, we switched it and that way it ended up being all my left hand that went through and my right hand just followed with it. So yeah, those guys are the best stunt team I’ve ever worked with in my entire life, and they made it all work.
SDN: We’re glad, and that it healed well, too. Okay, last question. Thanks to the one-year time jump, we know that Jace still lives at the Institute a year after Clary disappeared. If it were up to you, how would his story continue after that, how would it wrap up, how would it come full circle?
Dominic: I mentioned yesterday that it would be quite cool that we would segway into the other stories that Cassandra Clare wrote, that are centered in Los Angeles, and you’d sort of leave Jace and Clary and Izzy in their little bubble, and then they’d pop in every now and then to that story and we’d get to meet the other characters that Cassandra enveloped in this world. So I thought that would be cool. But I think as far as TV shows go, they’d probably end up being the core Shadowhunters team again the way Alec, Izzy, and Jace were at the beginning of our story. Alec would be the boss, Izzy is sort of the secondary boss, and then Jace, Simon, and Clary as the three soldiers that we met at the beginning and working together in tandem like that. That’s how I would like to see it play out personally.
We hope you enjoyed this interview! Big thanks to Dominic Sherwood for taking the time to talk to us, we can’t wait to see him take on the next chapter of his career with Penny Dreadful: City of Angels. Be sure to follow Dom on Instagram (@domsherwood) to keep up with what’s next for him. And after you do that, don’t forget to come back to the interviews section on our website to read the rest of the interviews with the cast and crew of Shadowhunters!
Oh… it looks like the whole team took part in creating this article!