‘The Originals’ EP on Hope, Sacrifice, and What Season 5 Might Bring

     June 23, 2017

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The Season 4 finale of The CW series The Originals was both heartbreaking and heartbreakingly beautiful, with some bonds even further sealed while others were ripped apart. There were tears of sorrow and joy, as everything this season has been leading up to reached some level of emotional conclusion, and it left some really exciting possibilities open for Season 5.

During Part 2 of this 1-on-1 phone interview with Collider (you can read Part 1 here), showrunner Michael Narducci talked about what he wanted to leave open for future storylines, what he’s excited to see play out next, leaving the show in the very capable hands of creator Julie Plec (who’s taking over showrunner duties in Season 5) and the writers, whether a family reunion is inevitable, which of the Mikaelsons has the biggest chance of success at personal happiness, whether they considered any other possible story options, and whether Hope’s outcome was inevitable. Be aware that some major spoilers are discussed.

Collider:  This season finale has a sense of finality for each of the characters and relationships, but it also still feels unresolved, in the sense that the Mikaelsons have been torn apart. What did you intentionally want to leave open for the possibility for future storylines, and are there things where you’re most excited to see how it plays out next?

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Image via The CW

MICHAEL NARDUCCI:  That’s a great question. We went into it thinking that the episodes for Season 4 were strong and the fan reaction would be good, and that would necessitate a Season 5, so we were very optimistic about that. We wanted to set up our characters for a Season 5 where they would be in places and doing things and being surrounded by people that we hadn’t quite seen them before. But at the same time, we had to tell the final chapter in the story that we were telling for Season 4 and we wanted to bring the Season 4 story to a satisfying conclusion. Pretty early on, we knew that this would be a satisfying way to end the season and that this evil spirit that cannot be killed would not be killed, but that it would be defeated by the Mikaelsons making a sacrifice and drawing and quartering that spirit’s essence, and that the big sacrifice being that the family could no longer be together. It just felt like a very poetic way to end the season, given where they have always been. It shows a character growth that I’m impressed by. I’m proud of the Mikaelsons. So, for all of those reasons, it felt like a great way to end this chapter. Going forward, I really look forward to what Julie and the writers will do. Will these characters be reunited? Will we get to see some of their adventures on their own? Where will some of these romances that we were left with at the end of the season play out? There’s a lot of great material to cover, and I’m excited to be a fan and to watch what the writers do.

Did you have any conversations with Julie Plec and the writers about where you’d like to see things go, or was this your statement on that?

NARDUCCI:  I didn’t have specific conversations about Season 5 with Julie, but we had talked about an ending for the series. The last image you would ever see on the show is something we talked about, going back to Season 1. That’s something that you just are always spit-balling on, when you’re in the writers’ room, and how it feels like these characters would inevitably end up. I’m curious to see if any of that will survive, and I’m curious to see what new ideas the writers come up with. They’re a great group of people who are very talented, and of course, Julie is very talented, so I know they’re going to come up with great stuff. In fact, I think that Season 5 will probably be the best season of The Originals yet.

Do you feel that reuniting the Mikaelsons, in some way, is inevitable?

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Image via The CW

NARDUCCI:  That’s a great question. There are a few moments that we cut from the finale. One of them is where Hope says to Freya, in Act 6, that she absolutely knows in her heart that they’ll be together again. When you’re talking about someone as powerful as Hope Mikaelson and she’s just seven years old, you have to believe that once she grows up and learns more, she’s going to find a way to track down her dad and to get rid of The Hollow, once and for all. I just believe that the Mikaelsons are a determined, optimistic, passionate family and they believe, without a doubt, that they’ll be together again. I think that’s what the fans are most excited about, going forward, and I’m sure Julie and the writers have an idea about delivering on that, in some way.  

Rebekah and Marcel are finally on the same page with each other, Kol has Davina, and Elijah made a very definite decision for himself. Who do you think has the biggest chance of success, when it comes to finding personal happiness outside of the family?

NARDUCCI:  I have always had a soft spot in my heart for Marcel and Rebekah. I really enjoy Claire Holt’s performance of Rebekah, and I think Charles Michael Davis has just really owned this role of Marcel. I know fans were divided, at the start of the season, about whether they could root for Marcel because he’s stood against the family, but I think his actions were completely justified, at every step of the way. I know I’ve said that only Hope and Vincent were innocent, but of all our characters who are vampires, I think Marcel is the one who’s behaved most closely to the way I’d want to behave, if I were a vampire. So, I’m really proud of what he has done, over the course of this season. I know he made mistakes in the distant past, but I’m hoping for the best for him and Rebekah.

Over the course of this episode, you offered the possibility of Kol maybe not showing up in time, of Hayley or Marcel possibly being offered up, and of Freya turning into a vampire herself. Did you ever try to play out any of the other possibilities to see where it might take things, or is this always how you wanted things to play out?

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Image via The CW

NARDUCCI:  In the writers’ room, our initial pitch was the four original Mikaelson family siblings going their separate ways, and that was the pitch to beat. And then, as we talked about possibilities, there were different versions. At one point, Hayley was one of the people that we discussed it maybe being, and at one point, we discussed Marcel. It just made the most sense and was the most effective and was the most dramatically interesting to do it the way we did. Fortunately, the great Nathan Buzolic was available and his ability to come back for the finale allowed us to tell the story that we initially wanted to tell. It’s the one we liked the most.

Did it seem pretty inevitable that Hope would end up at the Salvatore School, once that was brought up in The Vampire Diaries?

NARDUCCI:  It’s funny, we learned about the Salvatore School from Julie, and for her, it was the hint of an idea that she had concurrent to our work on Episode 408. She came into my office and pitched me the idea, and we decided that we would bring in Alaric. It just felt like that would be such a great opportunity for young Hope Mikaelson to get not only mentorship, but some schoolmates that she could hang out with and have as friends. It was not inevitable that Hope would end up there, as we began breaking the season, but I always knew that what we would try really hard to do was to keep Hope with Hayley. The idea of separating Hope and Hayley was just too painful for me to even imagine. So, I’m glad that Hope gets to go to school and that Hayley will be there nearby to still be a motherly presence in her daughter’s life. Given that Hayley was always searching for family when our show began, I love that she has found family in this beautiful daughter. I love their relationship.

The Originals will return for Season 5 on The CW.

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