Fans of L.J. Smith's The Secret Circle novels will be pleased to learn that elements of her trilogy will live on in the new CW series. But just like with The Vampire Diaries, the producers have taken liberties in the show's creation.
An example? The Secret Circle (spoiler alert!) kills off someone who survived the entire book series within the first five minutes of the premiere. While that won't be the only difference from the source material, executive producer Kevin Williamson says they "hope to be as true to the story as we can."
"[The books are] a great place to jump off from," Williamson told fans at Saturday's Comic-Con panel, which was moderated by this reporter. "It's a great story. It's rich in mythology, it's rich in character, it's rich in relationships. ... It's a wonderful world, which I hope I could add to it, spin it around and let go."
In CW's Secret Circle, Cassie Blake (Britt Robertson) relocates to Chance Harbor, Wash., after the death of her mother. Upon her arrival, she discovers that she's not just an ordinary teenager. She's a witch, and a powerful one at that — especially after she joins a secret coven, which includes Phoebe Tonkin's Faye, Thomas Dekker's Adam and Shelley Hennig's Diana.
One of the main differences from the books is that the parents of the witches are much more developed in the series. For instance, Faye's mother, Dawn Chamberlain (Natasha Henstridge), is now the principal of the school, which, Henstridge says with a devious grin, "is a very wonderful place to keep an eye on everything in the town and with the circle. I kind of think of her as the Wizard of Oz — sort of the man behind the curtain, except she's not hiding anything. She's the one who's keeping her eye on everything that's going on and stirring the pot."
As for what will be the same: Cassie is torn between whether she's truly good, like her mother, or evil, like her father. "Initially, the struggle for Cassie is deciding to embrace the witchcraft or run from it like her mom did," Robertson said. "Going further, you'll find that her dad and her past have a more evil side. So there's that pull inside of her and she's not sure where to go with it."
Yes, her father, the seemingly immortal witch Black John, will be part of the series, though we may not see him for a while. Williamson likens the wait to the slow introduction of Vampire Diaries' Klaus. "His presence will be felt in the show, specifically by Cassie, who is linked to him whether she wants to admit it or not," executive producer Andrew Miller added. "Having lost her mother, there's going to be a part of her that needs to explore that side of her that comes from her dad. In that exploration, we're going to learn much more about this guy and be very afraid."
The love triangle between Cassie, Diana and Adam is another book element that will carry on in the series. Fans of the Twilight series may enjoy that Dekker likes to think of his character as the male Bella Swan of Secret Circle. "I've never seen the Twilight movies, but I'm in love with both girls, so it's the same problem," he said. "I can't decide!"
Though Adam has always been, and will continue to be, the pillar of good, Williamson and Dekker have shaped the character into something more original to help build future stories. Still, Dekker hopes to eventually get to play evil. "I would love to, just for a little bit, turn dark," he said.
Tonkin, who plays Faye, the resident evil witch of the coven, said she hopes to capture the character's devilish behavior from the books — and she's even adopted Faye's signature style. "I've got the red nails," she said. "That's the one thing I always said, 'I need to have red nails!' [Also,] I don't know if we'll go that far, but how they all dress up as their favorite goddess, I think that is cool. I think it's sexy, naughty and witchy."
The Secret Circle premieres Thursday, Sept. 15 at 9/8c on the CW.