Julie Plec Interview: ‘Legacies,’ Ending ‘The Originals,’ and Returning to Mystic Falls

The final chapter of The CW’s The Originals is about to play out, however a new story will be told within the same world with the launch of Legacies on October 25, 2018. Legacies will focus on Hope Mikaelson, daughter of Klaus and Hayley, as she enrolls in The Salvatore School for the Young and Gifted in Mystic Falls.

Legacies creator Julie Plec is excited about exploring Hope’s story which builds on the mythologies established in The Vampire Diaries and The Originals. Plec, no stranger to the San Diego Comic Con, joined Legacies stars Danielle Rose Russell and Matt Davis for a Q&A with fans as well as interviews with the press. During our chat, Plec explained what sets this new series apart from its predecessors. She also talked about ending The Originals after five seasons and whether Klaus (played by Joseph Morgan) will be a part of his daughter’s life as she deals with her powers and the turmoil of high school.

Julie Plec Legacies Interview:

How did you come up with idea for Legacies?

Julie Plec: “In terms of when I really felt like I could make it a series in this franchise was when we decided to do an age jump to make Hope seven and eight years old, and 10 years old, and not a baby in the middle of The Originals. And then all of a sudden I saw a path to create a really strong, unique ingenue and that I could put her in the world that I’ve always wanted to build.

We were still doing The Vampire Diaries at the time, and I’d always wanted Alaric to be the headmaster of that school. And so I thought, ‘You know what? He has daughters and they’re witches and they’re trouble, and so what if Alaric and Caroline could find a place and build a place for these kids? And then eventually we could have a show of its own.’”

In some ways you have three different shows, but at the same time they’re from the same universe.

Julie Plec: “Yeah. It’s funny because usually you start with the young ones and then you age them up. And I aged up and then went backwards to go back to the teenagers. I think that is the fun of it. I mean, The Originals is a show about a family dynasty over millennia and to be able to say this is the next generation of that family is so cool. And then Mystic Falls has had centuries of vampire history and now to say we’ve got the new generation coming back into this town that has basically had its history rewritten so that they don’t even know what that town’s been through, it’s so fun. I’m really enjoying it.”

Will some of the vampire history come back into Legacies? If you watched The Vampire Diaries will you notice Easter eggs?

Julie Plec: “There’s definitely going to be a lot of Easter eggs in Mystic Falls, specifically. Little hints and references to the past, past characters, past mythology and that kind of thing. We’re having a lot of fun with it. So, it’s like if you haven’t watched the show, you wouldn’t even notice what you’re doing. But if you have, you can kind of get a little bit of a wink and a nod out of it.”

Will Klaus have any role in this Legacies world?

Julie Plec: “You know, Klaus will have the role that he’s meant to have with his daughter. He obviously isn’t with her because she’s at a boarding school, so we’ll have to see what kind of parenting that means when we get there.”

We’ve only seen Hope within the scope of being supported by her family. How will her support system change when she’s at the school?

Julie Plec: “Hope, in spite of having had a super chaotic, crazy, damaged, dysfunctional family, was also deeply loved. I think that one of the transitions of being a student at this school was that she’s made this decision to self-isolate, probably because she has a lot going for her in her home environment but has also been through a lot of pain. So, she kind of goes out of her way to piss people off which is awesome. She’s a little snarky and a little aloof, and people think she’s kind of stuck up but it’s a protective measure. It’s actually a really fun version of the character that we’re enjoying writing.”

Is it going to delve much into her being a young woman and not just her powers?

Julie Plec: “The show lives in both worlds so well. It is about kids with supernatural powers who are different than other people and who are just trying to get through the day without imploding. But with that comes all the great roots of romance and best friends and school, and the fights you have with your frenemies and trying to navigate the relationship with your parents and the local kids who, of course, go out of their way to torment and provoke our kids into some kind of conflict. So, there is a day-to-day coming of age spine to the show that I’m really enjoying.”

Will the school have the normal high school groups, like the smart kids and the jocks?

Julie Plec: “You know, we were actually talking about how to differentiate the groups and we’ve got different factions. We’ve got werewolves, vampires and witches all trying to live harmoniously under one roof with has never been done before. So, we’re sort of having fun with like the vampires are the cool kids and the werewolves are sort of like the sport-os, and the witches are the mean girls. It’s been hilarious bringing them to life like that.”

Julie Plec Legacies Comic Con
‘Legacies’ executive producer/writer Julie Plec meets fans of the upcoming series at the Warner Bros. booth during Comic-Con 2018 (© 2018 WBEI. All Rights Reserved)

How sad is it to be ending The Originals or is it exactly where you wanted it to come to in this journey?

Julie Plec: “I really wanted to be able to give The Originals a true ending. I didn’t want it to be ambiguous. The show started with Elijah determined to find redemption for Klaus. After living 1,000 years of co-dependence, really getting his brother to understand that he is loved. And I really feel like the series delivers on that whole-heartedly. And being able to see how this family goes on to whatever conclusion each character is going to get – happiness, peace, resolution, or redemption – was our goal and I think we did that well. People might not like it, but I think we did it well.”

With The Originals and The Vampire Diaries there have always been emotionally devastating moments. Is it going to be the same with Legacies?

Julie Plec: “The feelings are going to be real. The feelings are real. I just write like that. I like to cry and laugh and love all in the body of a single episode. I do think that one shift, and this might turn out to be completely wrong because we’re just starting to write – we’ve got about five episodes written – is in the beginning of Vampire Diaries Kevin felt very strongly that no one could be safe. That anybody could die at any point. Characters were often created in order to be killed. And I feel like that was a really bold and exciting and thrilling and novel way to do television storytelling back then that everybody has sort of adopted over the years. And so it’s like no character is safe anymore. I’m going to have fun with trying to figure out how to keep my characters alive for a little while. There’s no conflict in happiness though; you’ve got to find ways to shake it up.”

If you could define the tone of Legacies, what would you say it is?

Julie Plec: “You know I think it’s heightened honesty. It’s real world with a splash of color, you know? It’s a little bit funnier, a little bit snarkier, a little bit more youthful, little bit more energized but still that kind of voice that we’ve lived in for so long, just with more attitude.”

Sounds like fun.

Julie Plec: “Yeah, it is, honestly. And it’s funny talking about it because I’m rewriting four right now so we’re finding it as we go as well. We’re finding what works and we’re starting to understand what the actors are good at, what they’re not good at. We’ll start to adopt characteristics of them into their voice. So, it’s an ever-evolving, fluid process but it’s been a lot of fun to write because we’re not holding back on the jokes. In The Vampire Diaries we really held back on the jokes. Damon got the jokes, you know, but everyone else had to play it pretty straight. So, this is more where everyone’s got a little bit of extra sass in their step which I really like.”

It’s a coming of age story with a young woman in this 2018 #MeToo movement time. Has that affected how you write Hope’s journey?

Julie Plec: “That has affected everything, in a good way, in a hard way. I talked about it in the panel and I made a joke about it but it’s really true. One of the very first decisions that we made for the show is that the vampires at the boarding school would actually be teenagers and not 100-year-old vampires. I think that with Bill and Sookie and Edward and Bella, and then Stefan, Damon, and Elena, a decade ago there was something sort of gothic and romantic and awesome about this old, eternally youthful guy chasing after this young, pure if not the virgin at least the tonal virgin. That’s just like a completely antiquated dynamic now in this day and age. I think that women don’t need to be pursued in that way. I don’t think they need to be the victims in that way. I don’t think they need to be the pedestal, dainty ingenue while the big bad boy comes in and sweeps them off their feet. I think that they can carry the weight of their own strength and their own fierce power and not need to be the object of anyone’s desire.

Our vampire right now, this kid MG, is hilarious. He’s kind of a nerd but he’s so cool and so energized and awesome, but he loves Lizzie Saltzman with all his heart and she’s just like not having it. And that’s the vampire of our show right now. Of course, we’ll open that world up and get more broody, sexy, Paul Wesley types. But that’s the difference, the singular difference.”

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