Charles Michael Davis on ‘The Originals’ Season 4 Premiere and Its Time Skip

     March 17, 2017

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On The CW series The Originals, it’s been five years since the defeat of Klaus (Joseph Morgan) and the Mikaelson family, and Marcel (Charles Michael Davis) is King of New Orleans. As he learns that welcoming the un-sired vampires to the city could pose more of a threat to his rule than he ever expected, Hayley (Phoebe Tonkin) continues to work on a cure that will allow her to revive Elijah (Daniel Gillies), in the hopes of reuniting the Mikaelson family to help with her daughter, Hope (Summer Fontana), who is growing ever more powerful.

During this 1-on-1 phone interview with Collider, actor Charles Michael Davis talked about the five-year time jump, what Marcel’s best days have looked like, what kind of leader he is now, whether Marcel can ever truly be King with any of the Mikaelsons still alive, whether Klaus and Marcel might ever be able to work together again, whether he’d like to see any of The Vampire Diaries cast make the trip to New Orleans, the dynamic between Marcel and Josh (Steven Krueger), and his experience directing an episode, this season.

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Image via The CW

Collider: Season 4 of The Originals picks up after a five-year time jump. What does that allow for, with the storytelling, that you wouldn’t have been able to explore and do without it?

CHARLES MICHAEL DAVIS: First and foremost, I get to have a new haircut because styles have changed. But, one thing that we all joked about is that the cell phone of the future is still the iPhone 6. It’s still the most popular. It offers the opportunity to work with Summer [Fontana], who plays Hope. We’re not working with an infant anymore. There are a lot of relationships that change. Yusuf [Gatewood], who plays Vincent, and I, had some episodes together, and when we started shooting the first episode this season, the director had to come in and say, “It’s been five years.” It was like, “Oh, yeah, that’s right! We worked together and now we’re friends. We’re not at each other’s throats.” The scenes are not as intense, so we had to find a new way of working together. It also allows for a clean slate, where we can let go of some of the tension and drama that we carried in the storylines, through Seasons 1, 2 and 3.

In these past five years, what have the best days looked like for Marcel, and what have the worst days looked like?

DAVIS: The best days were probably leading the frontline of a parade. I’m sure St. Patrick’s Day was pretty big. Mardi Gras was probably good. There’s been a lot of peace with the witches, working with Vincent, and learning how to manage the city. He’s been breathing easy, without having to worry about the Original vampires. Marcel is now the strongest vampire in the world, which is a much different position than when we met him in Season 1. And he’s probably had a lot of Netflix and chill. He’s watched Stranger Things and he’s moving onto Westworld now. He’s all caught up with his queue. I’m sure the days have been very similar, with somebody new coming into town and having to maybe deal with some egos or personalities, but nothing too big. And then, what seems like another slice of life repeat of what’s been happening over the last five years, comes a new development.

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Image via The CW

Regardless of what Marcel is leading people to believe, where is his head really at? Does he have the confidence to back up what he’s selling people, or is he scared about or have regrets about anything?

DAVIS: The great thing about all of the characters, but Marcel, specifically, is that he really pushes forward on a lot of things, especially uniting people for a cause. I think he’s also really fighting hard against what the alternative is because he knows it, very well. He relates to Klaus because they both know a certain kind of pain. Knowing that, the difference in the decision making between the two characters is that Marcel wants to build and move forward. He wants to build the city and lead the people, even if it’s at the expense of some others. I think it does weigh on the back of his mind.

What do you think Marcel learned from being a leader, the last time around, that he’s either using or avoiding, this time around?

DAVIS: That’s a good question. What he learned in Season 3 is that he had to ask the question, is he really family, based on how the Mikaelsons treat him. That’s a really deep subject, especially when he gets his identity through them. What he learned is that these people have their problems. He gets mixed up in it, and when he releases himself from that, he’s able to lead in a way that’s not about getting approval or wanting to be part of a family. I think you’d have to question why you really want to be a part of that family, anyway. I think he needed that for his identity, but now that he doesn’t want that or need that anymore, he’s able to stand more securely and decide what he comes to the world with and what he has to offer. He has skills that he’s cultivated from the Original family. So, I think he’s a bit more confident. Before, I think it was more of a show of confidence, and now it’s grounded more in a confidence where he’s not needing their approval.

Can Marcel ever truly be the King, with any of the Mikaelsons still alive?

DAVIS: Not in the way that we saw him trying to be King before. If he’s going to try to be King with the Mikaelsons alive, it will be a different kind of rule. Maybe he’ll just have to be the King of himself, his own decisions and where he wants to go. He seems to be bound to New Orleans and to trying to prove something, when there’s a whole world that he could get out and discover.


Television