The eagerly-awaited spin-off of "The Vampire Diaries, "The Originals," doesn't air until October 3, but the journalists at press tour had plenty of questions about the show. The biggest question about the spin-off, which takes "TVD" regular Klaus to New Orleans to explore a witches' curse and relationships from his distant past, was how it will differ from the mothership.
"The way we like to [explain it as] we had an audience grow up with us for four years on 'The Vampire Diaries'… that was more of a coming of age story. This is a show that's not about struggling with [the vampirism], it's about reveling in it. It's about the power of the family community and the power struggle over the entire city. We like to think of it as we went to high school, we went to college, and this is getting a masters degree," said executive producer Julie Plec
, who plays Klaus, explained, "Julie said it's like the Lost Boys; party all night and sleep all day. It's less about the guilt of being a vampire and more about reveling it it. We have a lot more indulgence."
"It's a lot more bacchanalian," Plec added.
While Morgan and Plec were joined with stars Clare Holt (Rebekah), Phoebe Tonkin
(Hayley) and Charles Michael Davis
(Marcel), they explained that Daniel Gillies (Elijah) was in Canada shooting the supernatural medical drama "Saving Hope." "He's off being naughty elsewhere… as much as we'd like to have him here, because he tells very dirty jokes," Plec said.
Holt was asked why Rebekah, who has battled off and on with her brother Klaus on "The Vampire Diaries," would even consider joining him in New Orleans. "She [and Matt] traveled through the summer, and I think she realizes the family bond is stronger than fantasies of marrying the football star. I hope to go back and forth and have a little dalliance in Mystic Falls."
As far as whether her brother might stake her again (she put the count at seven times thus far) she said, "I'm thinking there's a time when that will happen again."
"He's a terrible control freak with a big set of daggers," Morgan said of his character.
As to how he prepared to play the charismatic Marcel, Charles Michael Davis joked, "I did a lot of karaoke, tried to bite people on the neck," then continued in a more serious tone. "I was really into Jay-Z at the time and reading his book… and what better story? Rags to riches, the American dream, from selling drugs on the corner to marrying Beyonce."
Morgan explained what we can expect from the Klaus/Marcel relationship. "We're used to Klaus coming in with a bull in the china shop mentality, like a one man army, but Marcel has an army [of his own]. I don't know what the secret weapon he posses is, but he has his inner circle of day walkers… and night walkers trying to earn their rings. He's going to have to employ more of his backstabbing methods rather than charging in there."
Added Davis, "Plus [Marcel is] pretty popular in New Orleans. You don't get points for killing the popular guy."
Plec, who explained that the goal of "The Originals" is to "draw in an audience that has never seen a frame of 'The Vampire Diaries,'" explained that there might be crossover potential for the two shows -- but not right now. "First we want to establish a show that works as its own, then a work on a crossover element if we can work it out."
The issue of Hayley being pregnant with Klaus' child was also discussed. Tonkin said, in reference to wearing a fake baby bump, "I think it will be a slow burn of a pregnancy, I'm hoping. It's hot in Atlanta."
Plec echoed Tonkin's prediction. Our timeline on 'The Vampire Diaries' is so slow. We tend to end episodes on massive cliffhangers on that show, so we don't want to make any timeline promises, but the first season, the pregnancy will remain front and center as a problem." After mentioning that someone suggested Hayley, being a werewolf, could have a lightning quick pregnancy, added. "Maybe we can keep it grounded in science and make it like normal."
When asked if Rebekah might have a connection with Marcel, Plec and Holt exchanged looks. "I wonder if there's history there, having shared all those years together in New Orleans? I wonder if you tune in to episode two on Oct. 8?" Plec hinted.
After mentioning that the street musicians of New Orleans will be part of the scenery and set a tone for the show, Plec talked about Gillies' contribution to the show, explaining that Elijah's goal, "as the man of honor, is to try to bring [the family] together and find redemption, and he sees in the baby that redemption. He's driven from a place of emotion and power of family, and Klaus is driven by power, so there's going to be some conflict there." She also mentioned that Rebekah, who's "always wanted a sister," will likely bond with the pregnant Hayley.
Though Holt and Tonkins joked about their shared experience playing mermaids on "H2O: Just Add Water" Plec, who joked that "mermaids are the new vampires," addressed the question of whether "The Originals" will be the one vampire product too many for a saturated marketplace. "I've been asked it for five years. Speaking for me, Kevin Williamson and I got that question because of 'Twilight' and 'True Blood,' there's already been 'Buffy,' aren't you afraid of being the tipping point and we're like yes, we're afraid! [But] not only did it not kill it forever, but we reinvigorated the genre. Same answer… yes. this could be the thing where people will say no more vampire darn you, or it could just breathe more life into it."
"It doesn't matter if it's a witch, a vampire, or a mermaid," Holt said. "It's a family, and I think that underlying theme is what people relate to."
Will you be watching "The Originals"?