There's just over a month left until The Originals returns for Season 4, but the darkness is already starting to rise in the Mikaelson absence.
A brief catchup: At the end of Season 3, all of the Mikaelsons were incapacitated. Klaus (Joseph Morgan) is in a coma after being stabbed by Marcel (Charles Michael Davis) with the Tunde blade. Rebekah (Claire Holt) is cursed to become a ripper; Freya (Riley Voelkel) is poisoned; and both Elijah (Daniel Gillies) and Kol (Nathaniel Buzolic) have been bitten with no cure for that bite. The latter four Mikaelsons have tied their souls in a spell so that they won't wake until their brother does. In the meantime, Hayley (Phoebe Tonkin) is on the road trying to find a cure for all of their ailments while Marcel has taken over New Orleans.
The Mikaelsons are still nowhere to be found in TVGuide.com's exclusive look at the key art for Season 4. Instead, there's an innocent looking girl surrounded by a ring of dead birds as she walks toward a tree with giant serpent-like roots. "Evil walks with us...always and forever.." reads the tag line of the poster.
Executive producer Michael Narducci told us at the end of Season 3 that there will be a time jump of several months to almost a year when Season 4 returns. Is that enough time for Hayley and Klaus' daughter Hope to be the girl in the middle of the circle? It would be a dire twist if the most innocent member of the Mikaelson family became their greatest foe.
The bigger question posed by the poster though is: What do they mean by evil? Does that mean the Mikaelsons are still following those that betrayed them and are coming back for revenge? We know that at least some of the family has to be woken up or else this isn't The Originals, and you can bet that all of them are ready to come for Marcel after he took them down -- but do we really consider the Mikaelsons evil? That's been the central dilemma since the show began.
Perhaps there's an even bigger evil out there than Marcel is ready to handle and he himself will have to pull the Tunde blade out of Klaus because he needs the Mikaelsons' help to defeat whatever new fresh hell has descended upon his city. Marcel would have to invent an entirely new level of groveling to be able to pull that off and to convince the family to work with -- and trust him -- again. If anything could pull them together though, it would be the need to save New Orleans from a bigger threat than themselves.
What do you think the poster means?
The Originals premieres March 17 at 8/7c on the CW.
(Full disclosure: TVGuide.com is owned by CBS, one of the CW's parent companies)