With its focus on power dynamics and war, The Originals appears to be the grown-up version of The Vampire Diaries. But executive producer Julie Plec promises the show will be chock-full of romance and angst too.
"The maturity of The Originals is rooted in a lot of that mafia-like tone, but when all is said and done, it's got not only the power of the family drama, but a romantic and bro-mantic history amongst all these characters."
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Set in New Orleans, The Originals begins with Klaus (Joseph Morgan) and Elijah (Daniel Gillies) returning to the city they helped build centuries ago with the help of Klaus' protégé Marcel (Charles Michael Davis), who now runs the show. Although they recently put down roots in The Vampire Diaries' Mystic Falls, the Original brothers are lured to the Big Easy when they're warned that a witch has plotted against them. Once there, as viewers saw in last year's backdoor pilot, Klaus becomes aware that his one-night- stand with werewolf Hayley (Phoebe Tonkin) has resulted in pregnancy. With a (hybrid vampire-werewolf?) baby on the way, Klaus has decided to remain in New Orleans and reclaim control of the city that was once his.
Read on for scoop from Plec and the cast about the familiar faces from The Vampire Diaries spin-off as well as the new characters being introduced.
The Original Family
Fans of The Vampire Diaries are well aware of the contentious and extremely complicated relationship between Klaus, his brother Elijah and their sister Rebekah (Claire Holt). But newcomers will quickly catch on to that during the premiere, which mirrors last year's backdoor pilot but is told from Elijah's point-of-view. "The family is [still] somewhat divided although ...we're trying to stay under the same roof," Morgan says. "There is the usual tempestuous dynamic between Klaus and Rebekah, and Elijah and Klaus have tried to come together and had their disagreements as well. So, it's a struggle. Ultimately, they all have the same goal. They just have different ideas of how to get there."
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As for how the characters have changed since their transition to the new city and the baby bombshell was dropped, Plec says, "I think Elijah will find himself making more controversial decisions as he gets deeper into his desire to make sure the baby remains safe. It might shift Elijah's allegiance to Klaus a little bit, and then we'll have to work at maybe Klaus winning his brother back. The baby is going to make people behave in ways that are different than they would naturally behave." And Rebekah's signature sass that started to dwindle a bit at the end of her arc on TheVampire Diaries? "It's totally back," Holt says. "The arc last season lead her more towards the 'nice girl' Rebekah... but she's getting spunky again."
As the current king of New Orleans, Marcel has managed to rule both the vampires and the witches. But what happens when his old mentor returns determined to take him down? "He's got his inner circle to protect him," Davis says. That's something that will throw the always-in-control Klaus for a loop. "Klaus has a tendency to run in like a bull in a china shop — make a scene and throw a tantrum, toss his power around and then exit," Plec says. "He's going to learn very quickly that's not easy to do in Marcel's world. That kind of display of power does more to alienate than to inspire, so he's going to have to exercise his intellectual muscles to be more strategic, to be more restrained. Part of the fun will be how he does that and then what his history with Marcel does to him emotionally, even as he's plotting to take this man's life over."
And then there's the history between Marcel and Rebekah that will further throw a wrench into things. (What is it with Rebekah hooking up with her brother's friends?!) "There's still a really strong attraction between Marcel and Rebekah," Holt says. "There's a really long history there, and I don't think when you have a deep forbidden love that just goes away."
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Hayley's future after the bambino is born isn't looking so bright. "One of the first things Rebekah says to Haley is that 'Klaus is the kind of guy who puts his family members in a box so probably when you give birth you'll end up in one of your own,'" Plec say. With that in mind, how does the lone werewolf plan to protect herself? "Hayley is smartening up to the fact that there are people after her, so she's building allies a bit," Tonkin says. "She's gotten close to Rebekah and Elijah, who is very protective of her. It's important for Hayley to let other people, especially those in the Original family who are the most powerful, help her."
Tonkin says Hayley and Klaus' relationship, will, despite being a bit combative, have its shining moments. "They're both in this together and are in situations they didn't ask for," she says. "They come together and realize they're now the parents of something else and they can't be as selfish."
As the only human of the cast, Cami (Leah Pipes) is the most vulnerable in a city full of supernaturals. Fortunately, she seems to make allies fast, perhaps using her looks to gain them. "I wish I, in life, got as much male attention as Cami does on this show," Pipes jokes. But will she turn Marcel's head? "He is looking for a classy lady that meets all of his standards," she says. "So he is going to test the waters to see if Cami really is that person for him." Also expect her and Klaus to get close, which will put the blonde bartender in quite the predicament.
On-the-Set Video: Will "Sensitive Klaus" resurface on The Originals?
As seen in the premiere, Sophie (Daniella Pineda) is the witch embroiled in the battle between Klaus and Marcel. And now that she's gotten mixed up in Hayley's baby drama, she probably wishes she'd never gotten involved. "She was never terribly invested in all of this and it's all come down on her [since Marcel killed her sister]," Pineda says. "She's under a terrible amount of pressure, but she's being so careful and she's so calculating that even though she's terrified, she's not going to show it. She's also more powerful than people think."
The only character not in last year's backdoor pilot, Davina (Danielle Campbell) is a naughty little witch, Tonkin jokes. Although we don't know too much about her other than the fact that she's Marcel's secret weapon, Plec says, "We'll have the ability to tell our young adult stories through Davina's world."
Are you excited for The Originals? Who are you rooting for? And don't forget to watch our interviews with Morgan and Tonkin below:
The Originals premieres on Thursday, Oct. 3 at 9/8c on The CW and then moves to its regular slot on Tuesdays at 8/7c.
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