The CW’s TV take-over begins in earnest with their eagerly anticipated Vampire Diaries spin-off The Originals– airing from 22 October 2013 on Syfy in the UK – which follows the original clan of bloodsuckers in their New Orleans bastion. But with Klaus (Joseph Morgan) heading up the new show, what does this mean for his romance with Caroline (Candice Accola)? And how much will the shows cross over? Co-creator and showrunner Julie Plec explains….
What excites you the most about the first season of The Originals?
The Originals feels deeply connected to The Vampire Diaries. It’s essentially everything I love about the show; it’s a launching platform for all the same wonderful people and the same things, but you get to open up the world a lot more. All of the rules we make for ourselves on The Vampire Diaries don’t apply on The Originals. It’s like a playground of opportunity. The Originals is emotional and scary, as well as sexy and powerful – but it is also deeply emotional and I’m really excited about that.
What is the core of the story of The Originals?
For us, The Originals is about a brother, Elijah, who has watched his family fracture over and over and over again for a thousand years. In particular, he has watched his brother go dark and really, really crumble psychologically over centuries – but he gets a glimpse of a chance at redemption. And this redemption is not just for his brother, but also for his entire family legacy.
Everything is going to be built around him wanting to bring the family back together and reinvigorate the power of his family. There’s a reason they stayed together this long in spite of all the terrible things they’ve done to each other. It’s like the salvation of the family unit amidst of a war that is happening over the control of a town, as opposed to vampires trying to control girls. It’s about trying to win the power of New Orleans.
How much is the baby going to factor into the story?
The baby is the smoking gun, the bullet that got fired. That’s Elijah’s catalyst; his call to arms. It will be the thing that inspires him. It will also be what mystifies him. The baby will be a source of mystery for everybody because it’s a hybrid baby and what does that mean? Let’s not forget there’s a lot of history of bloodlines all coming into this one child. We haven’t even started talking about what the werewolves are going to say about it.
Which of the characters has surprised you the most in the writing room for the show?
You know what? I’ll be honest with you… Some people will roll their eyes at this answer and some people will be very happy – but Hayley is a thrilling character to write because she is the ultimate challenge. She is a character that we know very little about. She is a lost girl who never had parents that loved her and now she’s stuck in a situation where she is going to be this mother. Nobody asked her if she wanted it, and yet she’s the pawn in the whole chess game.
The idea of being able to explore her and give her character a rich, deep life history has been so much fun for us. She’s been the biggest surprise, as far as opportunity goes.
What storylines can you tease from the first few episodes of The Originals?
The first episode of The Originals will take place on the same night as the pilot. This time, it will be seen through Elijah’s point of view, which will be really exciting. And then, when we get to episode two, Rebekah comes roaring into town very angry about something that launches into a series of flashbacks – and that shows us a glimpse of Klaus and Marcel meeting for the first time back in the early 1800s.
We dive straight in and we’re not going to hold anything back. We’re going to tell backstories. We’re going to show flashbacks. We’re going to introduce new characters. We’re going to build up this really powerful ensemble of witches, and eventually werewolves, as well as the human element of the French Quarter who agreed to look the other way as Marcel and his vampires run rampant over parts of the streets. I’m excited about all of that good stuff.
How quickly will we learn about Marcel’s backstory?
The flashback showing Klaus and Marcel meeting for the very first time shows Marcel as a 10-year-old boy – but we’re going to unfold a lot of their story over the first season. Slowly but surely, we’re going to give you little pieces of information on how this friendship was born. We’re going to discover what the friendship meant to Klaus, how it ended and why them coming back together has brought so many different emotions: jealously, love, loyalty and betrayal.
At what point are you going to address the romantic relationship between Caroline and Klaus? They appear on two different shows now, so does that mean they can’t be together?
In the very beginning, Caroline is like a ghost in Klaus’ psyche. She may or may not get mentioned right away because ultimately he’s not thinking about love. He’s not thinking about romance, he’s thinking about revenge. He’s thinking about taking down Marcel and he’s a little distracted by the whole baby scenario, too. However, we will get to see her again and it’s sooner rather than later. If logistics don’t facilitate that, then we will certainly let him work through it in the narrative of the show because he had a powerful, powerful feeling for her and we’re not going to pretend like it never happened.
A lot of other relationships cross over between The Originals and The Vampire Diaries. How are you going to tackle them?
As writers on the show, we have plans for Matt, Rebekah, Caroline and Klaus. In a perfect world, we’ve even got plans for Catherine and Elijah. We want to revisit these pairings, but we haven’t got to that section of the story yet to know if they will fit in or not. When we find out, that’s when we will make the phone call, “Oh, do you want to do this? But we can only pay you that, and it’s going to mean you working eight days in a row.” That’s when it becomes out of our hands and it becomes their choice. We’ll have to see what happens.
The characters in The Originals are more mature than the characters in The Vampire Diaries. What kind of freedom does that give you?
We’re pretty bold and risqué in The Vampire Diaries, so we’ve never felt truly constricted. The freedom that we do have with The Originals is the fact that these are not humans that start kind or need to be protected in any way. These are vampires and they’ve been vampires for a thousand years. They have killed people and they have eaten people – and they are at the top of the food chain. We have freedom of behaviour because they can do whatever they want, so there is a lot of opportunity for bad behaviour. I mean that in big, epic, bold moves, sweeping you to more conflicts that will be really fun to explore.
What were your toughest challenges in bringing the show to the small screen?
Well, this is a show about vampires and they can’t be fooled – but they are not necessarily inherently likeable folk. How do you take a group of not inherently, instantly likeable folk and make the audience root for this family to find their way with each other? That’s been interesting.
How tough is it to juggle two shows?
To be honest, it hasn’t been tough at all. Ultimately, we’re shooting both shows 10 miles apart from each other, so I think we’ll make it. I think we’ll survive. My goal is to nurture the launch of this new show as though it is my baby and yet never betray, abandon or sacrifice my first baby. It might put me in the hospital but until that happens, that’s the challenge. I want to do right by both shows, so that’s what I’m going to do.