The Mikaelsons are returning to New Orleans and are ready for blood.

The Originals pulled a shocking move at the end of Season 3 when it took down its central family. Klaus (Joseph Morgan) was stabbed by Marcel (Charles Michael Davis) with the Tunde blade, putting him in a pain induced-coma. Klaus' downfall came after his sick siblings were all tied to his fate and put to sleep so Hayley (Phoebe Tonkin) could find the cure for their ailments. She left New Orleans with four coffins and her daughter in a truck to begin the hardest task she has ever undertaken without the help of her family.

That left Marcel and Vincent (Yusuf Gatewood) in charge of maintaining New Orleans and peace between the witches and vampires. TVGuide.com caught up with The Originals executive producer Michael Narducci to find out where Season 4 will pick up after the fall of the Mikaelsons and what we can expect when the family not only wakes up, but returns home ready for revenge.

Joseph Morgan, <em>The Originals</em>Joseph Morgan, The Originals


We know there's going to be a time jump this season, but how far are we from the events of the Season 3 finale when we open in Season 4?

Michael Narducci: It has been a five year time jump. In that time, Marcel has remained the ruler of New Orleans. He's worked closely with his vampire allies as well Vincent and the New Orleans witches, maintaining a certain level of peace even as he has held -- as collateral -- Klaus Mikaelson in a secret location.

Meanwhile, throughout all of that time, Hayley has been on the run, keeping the Mikaelson family who is slumbering, safe but also looking desperately for the means to cure Elijah and Kol's werewolf bite, as well as the afflictions of Rebekah and Freya. At the same time, keep her daughter [Hope] safe and provide a certain level of normalcy and a happy life even though they have to stay on the run because all of Klaus' enemies are out there. So five years have passed. Hope has grown from a two-year-old to a very curious, wise, beautiful young seven-year-old who has got a lot of questions about her family and wants to know what's going to happen next. When we pick up, Hayley is just about to make a big discovery in that search. Things are going to start to happen very quickly.

Can we expect to see at least some Mikaelsons awake fairly soon into the season?

Narducci: I think the fans demand seeing their favorite characters. What we did was jump past all of those moments where they were out of the picture and now we're coming into the story to tell the story of what final steps can be taken in order to awaken that family. Once they are awoken, what are they going to do next to get their brother who remains in New Orleans. That's going to be part of the first chapter of our season.

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What is the state of New Orleans in the five years since the Mikaelsons have been away?

Narducci: Way back in Season 3, Episode 14, the witches and vampires teamed up to conduct a spell on Elijah and Klaus. Elijah was spared but Klaus was unsired from his vampire sire line, meaning all of those vampires who were linked to Klaus died when he died. They are now free of that link so there are all these vampires all over the world who have a grudge against Klaus. They know that Klaus is being held prisoner in New Orleans and being held by a vampire who is perhaps the most powerful vampire in the world -- that's Marcel. There's this tenuous sense of 'Marcel is in charge.' He's got Klaus tucked away and all of these vampires feel like, 'We don't like that Klaus is still alive, but we're glad that he's incarcerated. It's been five years. We're celebrating the five year anniversary of the fall of Klaus Mikaelson. Hey Marcel, maybe it's time to put him down for good.'

Marcel has all of these out of town vampire foreigners coming in and trying to negotiate a new status quo and he's going to have to deal with that. At the same time, he's dealing with the day-to-day of running his city. There's the vampires that he controls and there's the witches who he's got a long and fraught history with. We're going to explore a little bit this season about what it was like prior to the Mikaelsons return in Season 1 and what was the relationship with Marcel and the witches, and why did things go badly? What does that mean? Are there still ill feelings and ill will between the vampires and witches, and can there ever be a peace. When we begin, there is a certain peace between them but it's always a little bit unsteady.

Speaking of the witches, what is Marcel's relationship with Vincent like at this point?

Narducci: Vincent is a great character because he really does function from the point of view of he wants what's best for the most people. He wants what's best for his covens. He knows that all-out vampire-witch war would be bad for everybody. There's going to be a lot of innocent people who are killed in that war. He's trying to maintain a very delicate peace and that means, just as we're seeing in our own real life, sometimes you have to make alliances and forge diplomatic relationships with people you don't necessarily agree with. When we come in, Vincent has kept close eye on Marcel and the vampire community. He's not above doing a favor for them here or there if it means his people get what they need too. They have this kind of begrudging respect between Vincent and Marcel that I think is really interesting. Whether or not that progresses and becomes even a a friendship is something we definitely want to see dramatized.

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What is the relationship between the Mikaelsons as they wake up? They are obviously going to have one common goal, but does that unite them or is there still some tension within the family?

Narducci: That's a great question. What we can imagine is that Rebekah, Freya, Kol and Elijah spent five years together in a kind of dream world. It was this little utopia where they were able to be together and get along. It was kind of magical and when Hayley raises them, ultimately they're going to have one thing in mind. That is we have to save the brother who allowed us to survive. That is going to give them common purpose. Down the line, if that common purpose is carried out -- and we can imagine if Klaus is rescued -- what then necessitates the family to stay together? That's going to force Kol, Rebekah and Elijah to ask certain questions about what the family now means to them after all this time.

For Freya, we know that she was looking for her family for as long as she's been able to escape the clutches of Dahlia. Now that she's found them, she's not likely to wander off, especially because she has, as a witch, such a key role to play in the life of seven-year-old Hope, who is also a witch. There's a certain matter of the family dealing with what their obligations are to one another.

There's so much drama going on between the characters already. Are we going to live with that this season or can we expect another overarching "Big Bad" to show up?

Narducci: I think these shows function best when there is both an overt external force that they need to deal with and the internal conflict within the family. What we knew going into this season with 13 episodes was that we really needed to resolve some of the storylines from Season 3 and then we wanted very much to dramatize where the family was and all these different relationships. It's not just Elijah and Klaus, the two brothers, or any single romantic relationship. It truly is a family dynamic. There's Kol, there's Rebekah, there's Elijah, there's Klaus, there's Freya and how Hayley connects to this family as the mother of this child. Then there's how each of these people feels about this seven-year-old girl, Hope.

Then over that, this overarching umbrella of this season is what we have called in the writer's room a, "very powerful ghost story." It's a haunting that takes place, but instead of a house this is a haunting of a city. Certain things, which took place last season and we will reexamine, have lead to this haunting in the current time that we will be dramatizing on our show this season. There is going to be that Big Bad that you spoke of, for sure.

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With the Vampire Diaries wrapped up, is there room for any of those characters to show up in New Orleans this season?

Narducci: We've already written, shot and put together all 13 episodes of the show. It's already wrapped. I can tell you what the last word of the last episode is, which is a unique experience. We are usually writing and creating our stories as the season goes. I can tell you there are definitely a few references to the Vampire Diaries world and what's going on in Mystic Falls. Then there's definitely an episode where we will see one character from The Vampire Diaries' universe. That's already in the media. Alaric Saltzman will play a key role in an episode. By checking in with him, we will also get a sense of what's going on in the world of the Vampire Diaries at the time that our show takes place, which is five years in the future.

What are you most excited for fans to see in this new season?

Narducci: We really were very fortunate to cast Summer Fontana as Hope Mikaelson. She just turned eight, but she's just a superb actor who brought so much life to this role. Seeing a child, especially a child as powerful and wise to the ways of the world -- [Hope] is very much a Mikaelson. She's the product of Hayley and Klaus, but someone who has with everything that she inherited from Esther and MIkael. She's an incredibly powerful presence on our show. Seeing how that impacts the other characters is really a lot of fun.

The other big question coming out of Season 3 is what happened between the relationship of Klaus and Marcel and Elijah and Marcel was just awful and tragic. Marcel was killed because they believed they had to kill him in order to protect the family from this prophecy -- but Marcel is alive. Marcel is in charge and Marcel is more powerful than anything they've ever had to deal with. What will be the nature of that relationship? We get to dig into the history of those characters and explore where they're at. Our actors did such an amazing job with that material that I am very excited for our fans to get to see that.

The Originals airs Fridays at 8/7c on The CW.

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