Tell us about the events between series two and three
“At the end of series two, France and Spain go to war. Three of the Musketeers, Athos, Portos and D’Artagnan, go off to the front to fight that war and they visit Aramis in the monastery to tell him they are going. They think it might change his mind, but he decided to stay. At the beginning of series three, they are fighting these ridiculous battles, with generals who don’t know what they are doing. The Musketeers go on a mission to fight these battles and head off to find Aramis again.”
Tell us about the war…
“The battle that opens the first episode is an important one, but it’s one they win against the odds. I think there is a feeling that when they are in Paris they are their own machine, but in war you have to knuckle down and you don’t know who the enemies are as individuals, you are fighting countries. It’s not about good and evil, it’s about duty. Athos has already taken the law into his hands in a catastrophic way in the past; he’s already evolved into a more nuanced being.”
What happens when the Musketeers return to Paris?
“They go back to Paris and realise it has gone very downhill. Treville needs some good men back in Paris to figure out what’s going on. Once again, there are some corrupting powers that work in the palace and on the streets. Some cadet Musketeers and Constance have been maintaining the garrison; it’s become Constance’s ship. There is a class divide that we have already punctured away at in the first two series, which has grown more extreme, and there is also a sense of people now standing up to that. The Musketeers look at that and, on one hand they have to stand up for the crown, and on another hand they are sympathetic to these people.”
Does Athos have a new role?
“Athos is the captain of the Musketeers, but his whole experience is being on the front line at war. And his experience before that wasn’t being captain; it was being very much on the missions with the others. Initially, when they get back to Paris, he is mounting up with everyone else and riding out. Treville has to have a word about being in charge and making sure he is covering all the bases instead of running after one. He hasn’t seen Milady de Winter in many years – he is haunted by that to a degree – but very quickly into the first episode he is haunted by something entirely new. On the battlefield after the first victory, he sees a figure that looks like death, and that stays with him. That figure ends up being someone real, something that isn’t supernatural, it’s a concrete threat. He does meet another woman and Athos being Athos kind of dives right in there. It’s been a while! It quite quickly takes him over and he struggles to know where to let that sit in between his duties as captain.”
What sets this series apart from the others?
“I don’t tend to read reviews, but I came across a review from the first series and it said there’s bravery to the Musketeers but a tightrope between taking it seriously and not taking itself too seriously. It’s been negotiated one step at a time, but I think we have achieved a good balance between something with depth and something quite fun.”