Starting tonight, ”Supernatural” will have a new partner in the CW Thursday night lineup. Here at The Winchester Family Business, we thought it would be fun to get to know “Legacies,” the latest installment in “The Vampire Diaries“ franchise.
For those that remember that poignant series finale of “The Vampire Diaries,” the one that gave closure for the main characters, you may have noticed that clever opening left by creator Julie Plec for another story or two to tell. Last season, when “The Vampire Diaries” spinoff, “The Originals,” was coming to a close, Plec had the ideal pitch for The CW, who was looking for another legacy show for it’s lineup. What if Hope Mikaelson came to Mystic Falls? Better yet, how about she goes to the school for supernatural children that her own father helped create with his generous donation, The Salavatore Boarding School for the Young and Gifted?
Back in July at Comic Con, I got to speak to executive producers Julie Plec and Brett Matthews, as well as lead actors Danielle Rose Russell (Hope Mikaelson) and Matt Davis (Alaric Saltzman). They were all very enthusiastic about this new opportunity, which Matt Davis refused to call another spinoff. He called “Legacies” part three of a trilogy. After all, just because two brothers named Salvatore were no longer in town, it doesn’t mean that crazy crap stopped happening in Mystic Falls, nor all the traditions that the town clung onto so fondly. But is this just another rehash of “The Vampire Diaries” or is it darker like “The Originals?”
“I would say our tone is a little lighter, certainly lighter than ‘The Originals’ and probably lighter than “The Vampire Diaries,” said Brett Matthews. “I think if you look at those first couple of episodes of season one of “The Vampire Diaries” we exist more in that space than anything else but we still have all the things that are our brand like horrible tragedy and romance and we’ll always have that.”
Alaric Saltzman (Matt Davis) is back as headmaster of this unique school and Davis couldn’t be happier. “I am thrilled. When you play a character this long your life becomes intertwined on this deep level. “The Vampire Diaries” and “The Originals” leaves his story with a question mark, it doesn’t answer it. I’m really excited that this show is going to answer that question, and I really love what I’m reading right now. You won’t have to know the backstory of “The Vampire Diaries and “The Originals.”
Julie Plec explained his role this way. “Alaric has the Giles from Buffy or the Dumbledore from Harry Potter dynamic with Hope. He’s a mentor, he’s a friend, he’s a boss, he’s the headmaster. He cares about her because he knows the damage that she’s experienced over the course of her very very dramatic life and he finds himself wanting to take care of her in spite his absolute distaste for her father.”
Davis loves that the old Alaric is back, this time finding himself not only having to teach some very troubled and powerful teenagers while keeping them in line, but dealing with parenthood of two headstrong teenagers. “I like where Alaric is at. He’s gone through so much. He’s tempered, he’s got a sense of humor again, he’s not bulls***ing anybody anymore, he knows what needs to be done and kept in order for the good of all the townspeople and the kids.”
Danielle Rose Russell (Hope) likes the lighter tone and new setting for her character, which is a refreshing change from the darkness and tragedy she experienced in “The Originals.” “You’ll see Hope schooling, exploring friendships and relationships, being a normal-ish, as much as (she) can possibly be, 17 year old.”
So does that mean Hope will be a good girl in this series? “Never. I don’t think I’ll ever see Hope as a good girl. I think Hope is good natured, she always wants to do good, she doesn’t want to do harm to anything, but she makes a lot of mistakes and her mistakes cost her a lot and will cost her a lot. That’s why she tends to keep everything very low key.”
Does the legacy of Klaus still haunt Hope? Plec hints that it does. “In the first episode, Hope is showing this new kid the volumes of Mystic Falls history and she pulls out volume three, “The Originals,” and turns to the Klaus Mikaelson chapter. She then says, “He’s not very popular around here,” as they stand in the Stefan Salvatore memorial library.”
Alaric and Hope's relationship comes at the disdain of Alaric's twin daughters, Josie and Lizzie, who are teenagers now and also students at the school. Given their lineage, Plec confirmed they will be a handful. “If you remember Caroline Forbes when we met her in high school she had opinions. Josie and Lizzie, it’s not that they’re mean it’s just they’re very confident, or at least they seem to be. They love to say what’s on their minds, they love to be in charge. Lizzie specifically loves to get the last word. When they have a character like Hope, who’s taking up a lot of their father’s attention, who they feel is a little stuck up and a little aloof, and they tried really hard in their minds to be friends with Hope Mikaelson for ten years and she’s not having it, then they’re just going to get into revenge mode.”
The whole series won’t be focused on a few main characters though. It will follow a familiar dynamic set by it’s predecessors. “It’s an ensemble cast for sure,” said Matthews. “We have Josie and Lizzie, Alaric’s twins, MG, Rafael, and Landon. It’s very much an ensemble with those guys being the tips of the sphere. “The Vampire Diaries” was an always ensemble, “The Originals” always was.”
It was revealed at Comic Con that series favorite human Matt Donovan would be back, especially since he was in the post of town sheriff when “The Vampire Diaries” ended. Matthews sees some exciting prospects for his character. “Matt’s the sheriff of Mystic Falls and you’re always going to have that character, but it’s great that it’s Matt because it brings in years of history and people have known that. A really strong character all fans love that has a distinct perspective on the supernatural. But anytime we need him he’s there hopefully. We can take him further as a character.”
How is Matt really handing things though? “Matt is tasked with keeping Mystic Falls safe, that’s always been his life’s drive over the last couple of episodes. It’s something he takes very seriously. Matt would be supportive of ‘Ric because they’re friends but if any of those kids at the school step out of line it becomes Matt’s responsibility. He’s in on the secret in a way no one else in town is.”
What about other cameos? Julie Plec has a wish list, but she’s open to anyone. “There’s definitely a chance for cameos. We’re writing them as we go, if they live in the script, if the actors say yes. We would love to see Bonnie Bennett, we have a lot of fun talking about what we could do with Jeremy Gilbert, and the characters that have lived and died, is there anyway to see them again? I love doing that as you know. The door is open and then it just becomes about schedule and interest and logistics.”