For more than 30 years, PaleyFest has held panel sessions and screenings that connect the worldwide community of television fans with the casts and creators of their favorite TV shows. One of the evenings was to celebrate the popular CW series The Originals, which has already been picked up for Season 2. Collider was there to catch up with the cast and creative team, and we’ve compiled highlights from both the red carpet and panel.
During the evening, executive producers Julie Plec and Michael Narducci, as well as actors Joseph Morgan (“Klaus Mikaelson”), Daniel Gillies (“Elijah Mikaelson”), Claire Holt (“Rebekah Mikaelson”), Phoebe Tonkin (“Hayley”) and Danielle Campbell (“Davina”), talked about how the actors find out they’re going to get killed off, what’s to come for their characters, how the show is creeping towards the redemption of Klaus and the undoing of Elijah, what led to Rebekah’s hopefully temporary exit, whether the biggest challenge for Elijah will be trying to keep peace with his family or trying to keep peace with the supernatural community, why fans love the Elijah-Hayley relationship, possible cross-overs with The Vampire Diaries, what things are like for Marcel (Charles Michael Davis) in exile, and what fans can expect from the finale. Check out what they had to say after the jump.
JULIE PLEC: We have a rule. If we’re killing off a series regular, we’ve gotta tell them in person. If we’re killing off a person who’s temporary, we’ve gotta warn them before the script comes out. Sometimes, they slip through the cracks, which is awkward.
MICHAEL NARDUCCI: Now we say, “Hey, we’d like to see you. Come on in to our office.”
Danielle, at what point were you made aware that Davina was going to die? Did you know ahead of time?
DANIELLE CAMPBELL: No! The first time I actually found out that I was going to die in the next episode, we were filming the episode prior and I hadn’t read the script yet because I had a lot of dialogue that day. Everyone on set was coming up to me and saying, “Did you read the next episode?” I was like, “No, what happens?” And they were like, “Oh, you should probably read it.” I did that with three different people, before I just played along and was like, “I know, I can’t believe what happens!” And they were like, “Yeah, I can’t believe you die!” I was like, “Excuse me?! What?!” So, that was how I found out that I died. But it ended up working out, so I’m happy with that.
Do you feel like, if Davina was going to be permanently dead, they might have actually let you know ahead of time?
CAMPBELL: Yes! Julie actually wrote me an email saying, “Oops, forgot to mention that you die. But, we bring you back!” So, it worked out well.
What’s excited you about the journey you’ve gotten to take with Davina, up until her death and since her resurrection?
CAMPBELL: I love it! Getting to play a witch is awesome, and then as powerful as they made her is amazing. I feel really lucky. And the way that they’ve been filming everything is amazing.
Is it fun to get to have so much power?
CAMPBELL: Oh, totally! Davina went through hell, as it was described, when she was with the ancestors while she was dead. She’s happy to be back, and she’s regaining control of herself and her power.
CAMPBELL: Cami and Josh are the two people who she can trust, who have her back, and that she can always turn to. Other than that, I know Marcel always has her best interests at heart. Whether she knows it or not, he’ll always be there for her.
Where do the witches fit in, at this point?
CAMPBELL: I think the witches need her, and she knows that that makes it a safer community for her. They are her family, regardless. Though she may not trust the witches, she needs them, too.
Joseph and Daniel, Klaus recently said to Elijah, “You’re beginning to sound like me.” What does that line mean to your characters?
DANIEL GILLIES: I’ve always felt like the direction the show is going in is the redemption of Klaus and the undoing of Elijah. That seems to be where we’re creeping towards.
JOSEPH MORGAN: That line was actually not in the original script. Michael [Narducci] and I discussed it the day before. The intention of the original line was good, but because of the emotional weight from the scenes we were coming from, we wanted it to be something a little less sarcastic and glib. And then, he came up with that line.
NARDUCCI: We sat down, right before the scene was filmed. Joseph had some thoughts, so we talked. There was a discussion that led to creative enhancement.
MORGAN: If cast your mind back to Episode 6, when Elijah busts into the church and ends by breaking Agnes’ neck, Klaus was rather impressed with his brother, at that point. He likes to see Elijah embrace the darker side, a little bit. We’ve certainly seen it in flashbacks. They had a mutual thirst for blood. So, there’s definitely an excitement that his brother is moving to the dark side.
NARDUCCI: Daniel made a very poignant comment about what the show is about, that I don’t disagree with, at all. In terms of Klaus and Elijah’s relationship, all of us in the writers’ room get together and think, “What’s the most scary thing?” The most scary thing is monsters. Not monsters outside. Not monsters in the closet or under the bed. It’s monsters that sit down at the dinner table and lean forward and smile and say, “Hello, brother.” You can’t get rid of that monster without amputating a part of yourself. Elijah loves Klaus, and Klaus loves Elijah, but they’re different people. The attempt to save the one is destroying the family, the other and everything. That’s what this story is. It’s a tragic horror story. Who’s going to survive? Who’s going to win?
CLAIRE HOLT: Michael wrote that episode, and it was such a beautiful episode. It was really profound for me. It went back to the roots of what this show is, which is the three of us and our family drama. They continuously repeat the same arguments they’ve always had. It really felt special to me because she got what she has always wanted. She was freed by Klaus. That is where I had hoped she would go.
This is not the last we’ve seen of Rebekah, is it?
HOLT: I sure hope not.
PLEC: I hope not.
HOLT: As far as I’m concerned, this is a temporary hiatus. I’m taking a little vacation in the sun, but I’m going to return to my New Orleans family. I just want to make it clear to everyone that these incredibly talented writers did not run out of story. They never will. I wasn’t pushed out. I didn’t quit mid-season. This was something we had discussed from the start. I completed my initial commitment, and I made a life choice, not a career choice. I made the choice to come home for a little while. I realized that I hadn’t seen people that I loved and cared about for a long time. It was so tough for me, and it really was a toss up, right to the very end. Even having this little space that I’ve had, I do realize that I’m so not ready to let go of the Mikaelsons. And so, I hope that there are more stories to tell.
Will Rebekah go to Mystic Falls on her vacation?
Danielle, what do you like about all of these different factions needing Davina?
CAMPBELL: What’s cool about being on a show like this is that we get to take things outside the normal world. Every week, we get to work with stunts, set things on fire, throw people up the walls, break their necks, and blood is everywhere. It’s really exciting. What’s cool about Davina is that she is a normal girl who’s been trapped inside all of this. She deals with it not in a way like Klaus, who just kills someone. Davina just lost Tim and she’s heartbroken. She can’t move on from this one person dying. And she’s lost her mom. All this affects her, so much. It’s cool to play that balance between a normal girl and a witch who has more power than she knows how to deal with.
Daniel, now that Elijah is attempting to unite all of these supernatural factions, what do you enjoy about him taking such a pro-active position to get this town in order?
GILLIES: I never really saw it as a treaty for peace, per se. He’s starting to understand that there’s a lot of method to Klaus’ madness. I think he’s expecting poor response, but he’s giving the factions that one final opportunity to do the right thing, which is this thing.
NARDUCCI: In the most gentlemanly way possible, he’s saying, “Go ahead, and see what happens.”
With Elijah stepping up to take on this leadership role, what do you think will be the bigger challenge for him, trying to keep peace with his family or trying to keep peace with the supernatural community?
GILLIES: Oh, man! That’s a good question. Let’s be honest, he’s constantly trying to slay the demons of his own guilt. This burden of his family is something that he lives with and it’s not going to go anywhere. So, I will say the supernatural community, for now. They’re not mutually exclusive either, these two battles. In a lot of ways, they’ll intertwine. They’re so ensnared in one another that it’s hard to answer the question. One so directly affects the other. They’re not mutually exclusive. But I would say the supernatural community, for now, because that’s where he’s going to place his energy. And he places his energy in the supernatural community, in order to distract himself from the fact that he hasn’t dealt with his family issues.
Julie, how did you go about finding the line between the guy who rips the heart out and the guy who makes the heart stop?
PLEC: It’s funny, we talk about this a lot, in the context of Damon, as well. It’s a subjective choice. It’s what I feel, as a fan. The people who were just there to be bad are so annoying. The people who are there to be bad, but then have a personal moment of their own vulnerability, suddenly you find them beautiful. Any character we ever explore on any show, but especially this show, is going to be as much about exposing the layers of their emotional weaknesses and their deepest desires, as it is, in Klaus’ case, about the conscious decision to act out violently.
Phoebe, what excites you about Hayley’s arc now?
PHOEBE TONKIN: Throughout Hayley’s life, she’s longed for a family and loyalty and people that care about her. For 20-some years of her life, she’s not had that. Now, she’s been thrown, smack dab into this dysfunctional family, not just of the vampires and the Original family, but this werewolf family. She’s just in shock. She wished for all these things, but it’s all coming true at one time. Now, she’s trying to work out where her loyalties lie and what she wants to fight for. The best part about Hayley is a fighter, and she’s always been a fighter. Now that she’s not just responsible for herself, but she’s responsible for a child, she’s a woman on a mission to protect her baby and protect what she thinks is right. That’s been really nice to explore, the second half of this season.
After Hayley spent so much time not knowing anything about her family or where she came from, you’re getting to explore her family and heritage. What’s it been like to get to learn about that side of her?
TONKIN: It’s been really nice, especially that one episode where we learned that Hayley had a husband. She didn’t even know she had parents, and now she had a husband and a baby. She’s like, “This is too much!” It’s been really exciting, especially after only getting to see a little bit of Hayley’s backstory on The Vampire Diaries. There are all these different relationships in her past, and people who knew her parents. Her one throughline throughout the series is to learn more about her family. But now, she’s starting to learn that she’s created a family herself and she needs to be protective of that family that she’s found.
How exciting was it that Hayley got to help her werewolf family turn human again and really become pro-active, in that way?
TONKIN: It’s really nice to see Hayley take on a leadership role, especially because, in the first part of the season, you more or less saw Hayley be bossed around a lot by the vampires. It’s nice that they’re showing her respect. She’s this pregnant woman and she’s taking responsibility for X amount of werewolves and their families. It’s really nice to play those scenes.
Have you been surprised about the fan reaction you’ve gotten with the relationship between Hayley and Elijah, and how much people love them?
TONKIN: It’s really nice. I’m not surprised. If I was watching the show and I saw them, I’d feel the same way. They always look like they’re about to kiss, but they don’t, so I understand. But, we’ll see what happens in the finale and the second season. I don’t know if there are any relationships planned right now, but I’m sure there will be in the future, with whatever character they choose.
MORGAN: In the beginning, I was definitely in favor of the two characters because she opened up a side of Klaus that we hadn’t seen before, and I really wanted to see that vulnerability. I was in favor of the dynamic between them. I never thought it was a good idea for them to just be together, and that was the end of it. Then, where’s the drama and the interest? One of the things about Klaus that’s so wonderful is that he can’t find love because he just messes it up for himself. So, as much as he may want to be with Caroline, I think he would mess it up for her, as well. And the character of Caroline Forbes doesn’t deserve to be messed up, in that way. So, he went back to Mystic Falls to gloat over Katherine’s body, and then they had that moment where all of what had built up for so long was, for want of a better way of describing it, consummated. These characters have been down this road together, and then had their road split off and they’ve grown apart. Klaus has a child on the way and he’s involved in a war, and Caroline is going to college and has all of these things going on. They can’t be together, but they could have that one moment. So, I was a fan of the dynamic, and I’m a fan of where that story has gone to now.
Julie, will we ever see another cross-over episode between The Originals and The Vampire Diaries?
PLEC: I’m just going to say yes, maybe, and I don’t know.
Are we ever going to see Finn and Kol come back in flashbacks ?
PLEC: There is absolutely opportunity for especially Kol. Finn was in a casket for a thousand years, so there’s not as much to tell with him. But Kol, on The Vampire Diaries, talked about running with the New Orleans witch, back in the day. He was in new Orleans and he ended up with a dagger in his chest in the early 1900s, so I’m like, “I wonder how that happened.” So, given that our Originals were in New Orleans, at the time, there’s probably a story to tell there.
Will the witches, werewolves, vampires and humans be butting heads in the finale?
PLEC: Yeah. What we’re building to is Elijah trying to build peace in the city, which I think everybody individually wants, but they want to be the ones in charge of that peace. So, they’re all working against each other, even as they try to be on their best behavior. We’ll soon learn that the witches have a plan. We know that Klaus is up to something with the werewolves. With the human faction, we’re just starting to get to know this woman, Francesca, and what her whole deal is. It’s mayhem, leading up to the finale, where everybody is individually making their moves and building up their own armies, so to speak, as they try to take control of the Quarter. Within all that, drop in a woman that’s nine months pregnant and a family dynamic that’s been very, very deeply fractured, and we’ll see who’s left standing at the end.
Will there be a delivery by the end of the finale?
PLEC: There will be some birthing, by the end of the season, for sure.
Is there anyone we should be most concerned with surviving this whole power struggle?
PLEC: I think you should be concerned for everybody. In the writers’ room, everybody is really worried about Josh. Will Josh live? I say, “Well, maybe today. Today he can live.” And then, the next day, just to mess with them, I’m like, “Josh is a goner, you guys. Josh is a total goner.” Until that last word is written on the last page of the finale, which is what we’re doing right now, it’s too soon to tell.
You’ve never been afraid to kill off main characters.
PLEC: I’ve never been afraid. You can’t be afraid because, at a certain point, if a character has delivered on their purpose and you see that, the death can be the most epic part of their journey. On The Vampire Diaries, sometimes we bring them back. On The Originals, sometimes we won’t. It’s really about giving the character their strongest past, even if it means their saddest end.
What challenges will Marcel have in exile?
PLEC: First of all, Marcel gets this really awesome loft across the river in Algiers, and he’s got this view of New Orleans that’s spectacular. His problem is that he’s really an army of one. Now, with Thierry, he’s an army of two. What he said so beautifully, that I loved, was that he’s done this before. When New Orleans was left in shambles in 1919, Marcel rose from the ashes, like a phoenix from a flame. Watching him try to rebuild and knowing how smart he is about it, using all those tools that Klaus taught him as he was raising him, it means he’ll definitely be a formidable opponent.