The villainous Original Family is setting up shop on The CW on Tuesday nights, and it's going to be war. The Vampire Diaries spinoff series, The Originals, offers up a battleground that co-executive producer Michael Narducci feels is along the lines of Nazi-occupied France, and the Original Family are right in the middle of all the action as they're forced to take sides.
“On The Originals, we have some pretty mind-blowing ideas for where we're building towards, at least for the first half of the season, and then some pretty cool ideas for where things might end up. It's very helpful to have those maps or stars in the sky to guide and navigate by,” said Narducci in an exclusive interview with Blastr.
We originally met vampire/werewolf hybrid and big-time bad boy Klaus, his deadly but refined brother Elijah and his fiery sister Rebekah on The Vampire Diaries. The new villains caused plenty of trouble for the gang at Mystic Falls because they can't be killed, at least not easily or without major repercussions.
In the new series, the siblings are drawn back to the city they helped build, New Orleans, where Klaus's protege, Marcel, has literally taken over the city. Marcel figured out a way to control the witches in the city and drove out the werewolves.
“At the core, it is the story of the Original Family,” said Narducci. “They're coming back to a place that was very important for them and their history. We'll slowly begin to learn why they ended up in the French Quarter, how long they were there and why they were there. Particularly for Klaus and Elijah, it was a period in their long lives when they were happy.”
In The Originals, siblings Klaus, Elijah and Rebekah negotiate the dangers of a Marcus-run city and the brewing battle between the vampire and the witches. In the center of it all is werewolf Hayley, who is pregnant with Klaus' child. The series was created by Julie Plec, and stars Joseph Morgan as Klaus, Daniel Gillies as Elijah, Claire Holt as Rebekah, Charles Michael Davis as Marcel, Daniella Campbell as the witch Sophie and Phoebe Tonkin as Hayley.
“Family you don't get to choose, but you really are very much impacted by their presence in your life. … What would those complexities look like if they played out over the course of not years but centuries? All the betrayals and the treachery and the sadness and the desire for love and the desire to be loved, complicated by the desire to be independent and the desire to do what you want and not be pushed around by an older brother and not have to take care of a younger sibling,” said Narducci, who's worked on Medium and The 4400.
In the opener that premiered last Thursday, Klaus shoved a dagger in Elijah's heart, putting him into an unconscious state until the dagger is removed. Klaus has had a bad habit of daggering his siblings in the past, and while Elijah's unlikely to remain out for long, considering that he's one of the main characters, it does point to the complexity of Klaus' relationship with his brother and sister.
And then there's Marcel. “The association between Klaus and Marcel, the unique nature of that relationship, will begin to be dramatized through flashbacks, and then we'll see obviously how that plays out in present day as they are pitted against each other. The story, in some ways, is almost as if you had these two brothers, Klaus and Elijah, who have a very complex relationship, and they are going to unpack that relationship in a setting that is like Nazi-occupied France, where you have the vampires playing the role of Nazis and the witch community, which is held in subjugation, being the French,” he said.
“By taking and mastering many of the lessons he had learned from Klaus, Marcel has built that thing which Klaus himself has always wanted. He's surrounded himself with people that are loyal to him. He's surrounded by people who like him, love him, are happy to let him be their leader, are happy to be led by him. He's kind of the most popular guy in high school, and Klaus is looking at this and can't help but find that he's envious. How did this upstart guy that I met when he was just a kid, how has he grown to be my better? So there's a certain amount of frustration there,” said Narducci.
On the other hand, the idea of “a charismatic, gregarious, beloved leader figure who has to deal with all the trials and tribulations of being a leader and controlling all the different factions in his city, and then also having to deal with the return of his one-time friend, his mentor, the most powerful and dangerous hybrid, Klaus, is going to give Marcel no end of challenges to have to deal with over the course of the season,” he added.
Part of “the great fun” is revealing what weapon Marcus is using against the witches to control them and “how he uses it very carefully and very intelligently. It may be a weapon that is actually going to shift the power dynamic not only within the politics of what's going on in our fictional New Orleans, but also in his relationship with Klaus. Is there a world where this young upstart vampire has found a way to be the most powerful creature in the land by his association with what shall remain for right now a secret weapon? And does that existence of a secret weapon just drive Klaus mad? The idea that 'There's something out there, a source of power that doesn't belong to me? Well, then I want to get it, and I will get it by whatever means necessary,'” he said.
And while Marcus and Klaus are dancing around each other, “there is a movement among the witches to rise up against those who are holding them in subjugation.” Their plan involves forcing Klaus to help them take Marcus down. “That brings all of the Originals back into town and what their various feelings are toward the kind of leverage that Sophie is holding over the family, which is this unborn child and Hayley,” said Narducci.
Meanwhile, don't be surprised if someone from The Vampire Diaries pops up at some point. There may indeed be some crossover, said Narducci.
The Originals premieres in its Tuesday night timeslot tonight at 8 p.m. on The CW.
Here's a look:
What do you think about the new series?