From a Richard Armitage interview in the “Farewell to Marian” featurette, Robin Hood, Season 2 DVD extras (note: Netflix doesn’t stream bonus features)
– on unmasking the Night Watchman
I can’t believe that Guy never realized (laugh) that Marian wasn’t the Night Watchman or some female person wasn’t the Night Watchman.
– on killing Marian
It was probably one of the most difficult scenes for me because I didn’t really sleep for a couple of nights before shooting it and Lucy [Griffiths] and I had endless conversations because there was so much that they needed to say to each other and [Dominic Minghella] had deliberately not written it.
. . .Because from my point of view, in order to do that to somebody, it has to come out of a moment which isn’t rational.
. . .I don’t think he intended to put a sword through her stomach. I think he grabbed her in a clinch—which is probably the closest they’ve ever come—and the fact that he had a sword in his hand meant that the sword went through her stomach. I don’t think he thought that in that moment: “I’m going to kill you .” I don’t think he intended to kill her at all.
I love how Armitage doesn’t assign malicious intent to the characters he portrays (see his Total Film remarks on playing Nazi Heinz Kruger in Captain America). He wants to explore how overwhelming emotion leads to instinctual reactions in a given situation.
Armitage’s staggering devastation and Griffiths’s swaggering confidence made that final confrontation scene great.
I wish Griffths had given Marian a little more of that type of energy throughout the series.