“Once Upon a Time” star Elliot Knight is making history as TV’s first black Merlin, a move for which he applauds the show and ABC.
“Like with all shows, people nowadays want to see more diversity, and I think that’s great, obviously,” the actor told TheWrap’s Greg Gilman in the latest episode of Drinking With the Stars.
“And I’m just so appreciative that the guys in casting had such an open mind. Enough to be like, ‘No one has ever portrayed this character in this way before, ever. But we’re going to.'”
“And not as a stunt, and not to get press and be shocking, but just because why not?” he said.
It’s not a role Knight takes lightly. He may be the first black actor to play the character, but Merlin is an iconic role with centuries of history. “When I watched the final episode of Season 4, that’s when it dropped for me,” Knight said. “There’s so much pressure.”
But the show’s creators seem to have faith that Knight will be able to do Merlin justice, because they were the ones who reached out and offered him the role after seeing him in the British TV series “Sinbad.”
“I just got asked to go in and meet Eddie [Kitsis] and Adam [Horowitz], the creators,” Knight explained. “I went in and they just told me that they had this idea for this character called Merlin, and all the things they had in mind for him and what they wanted him to be.”