In the Season 3 finale of The CW series The Originals, called “The Bloody Crown,” the Mikaelson siblings finally come face to face with the one person that could fulfill the prophecy and lead them to their ultimate demise. With the stakes higher than ever, Klaus (Joseph Morgan) is put on trial for centuries of atrocities that he’s committed. And while Marcel (Charles Michael Davis) spirals further out of control, following an act of betrayal by those closest to him, he is stunned by the unexpected arrival of someone from his past.
During this exclusive phone interview with Collider, actor Charles Michael Davis talked about why Marcel could be one of the worst villains the Mikaelsons have ever faced, how his new perspective has changed how he views the Original family, the affect of the recent loss of two people close to Marcel, saying goodbye to those actors, the growing respect between Marcel and Vincent (Yusuf Gatewood), and what most surprised him this season. Be aware that there are some spoilers.
Collider: We’ve seen what the Original family can be, as friend and as foe, but we haven’t really gotten to see what Marcel would be like as their enemy. We’ve seen what a dedicated friend he is, but how dedicated is he, as an enemy?
CHARLES MICHAEL DAVIS: I can tell you that he’s pretty enraged. When you allow yourself to want to be close to someone, no one likes to experience rejection. When you combine the power of him taking the serum with how angry he is, he could probably be one of the worst villains that they’ve had, to date.
We’ve seen Marcel spend most of his time, since the Original family came back to town, fighting their enemies. Has his new perspective allowed him to see why they’ve had so many enemies?
DAVIS: That’s so funny. When you’re part of the family, you’re king of the hill and you tend to lose perspective. He hadn’t had to deal with them for a few years. They had just come back to town, and he got caught up in the whirlwind and was hoping to get out without any damage. But if he’s not standing with them, what is he to them? That’s a question that he just wasn’t willing to face when he was younger. I think he wanted to be a part of the family, and maybe marrying Rebekah would have done that, but it never came to that.
Marcel was involved, to varying degrees, with both Cami and Davina, and clearly cared about both of them. What has losing each of them, and losing them so closely together, meant to him?
DAVIS: That’s a good question. He lost Rebekah, and then he lost Cami, and now he’s lost Davina. Davina really was the straw that broke the camel’s back. She was a young witch, so there was that hope he had in mentoring her. Seeing her grow up gave him a bit of redemption that he didn’t get from Cami and Rebekah. When he met her, she needed him and he was her savior. Now that he couldn’t save her again, that’s what really pushed him over the edge and really made it tough for him. That’s what led him to turn on his family, who saved him and protected him.
There has been no shortage of character deaths on this show, but Cami and Davina were pretty important characters to the story. As the actor losing two of your co-stars, how difficult was it to have to say goodbye?
DAVIS: It’s strange because I was talking to Candice [King] and Nina [Dobrev], and they’ve had typical seasons of 22 episodes (on The Vampire Diaries), throughout the year. We didn’t have a typical season until the third season. We started out working on weekends to balance our show and Daniel Gillies’ show. We shot 25 episodes for the first season, and then we came back and shot the rest of the 22 the second season. And then, we finally had a normal season for the third season, and we found out that we were losing two of our characters before we ever really settled into a normal, regular groove. So, because of that, for me, it wasn’t too difficult. Things are always changing, so you can’t really get too attached. It’s like college, when someone transfers after sophomore or junior year. If you would have gone the full four years together, it would have been difficult. It’s a little less painful, due to the fact that we never got balance, but it’s still very, very tough. I was back in L.A. and hanging out with Danielle [Campbell], and it’s tough to say, “For next season, I look forward to this about the storyline,” because as far as I know, right now, she’s not included in it. It’s the same with Leah [Pipes], as well. We all just finished Season 3 and we’re all on hiatus, so I haven’t really faced the fact that we’re not all coming back, until you asked that question just now.
It had to be a huge decision to decide whether to take the serum or not because it would permanently change him. Does he understand just how drastic and permanent that is?
DAVIS: I don’t know. We all have our own make-up, with light and dark, and good and bad. We’ve seen him be pretty good, but we haven’t seen his dark side. This is a side of him that we’ve never seen. It’s hard for me to say what the character would do because, for my personality, I go into The Secret Language of Birthdays book and I look at December 1st, and it says certain things, and I go, “Okay, that’s me.” So, if it were me, I’d take the serum because it could be awesome. I can be impulsive. But with Marcel, he has a different make-up. He was born on a different birthday. There are differences there, and I try to think about that when playing the character, so that I can give him a motivation why. He’s always been about change and brotherhood and bringing things together, he wants to be a leader, and he’s been a leader before. So, if he thinks it can help him, in that way, combined with the situation, it’s a good option to take the serum.
Does Marcel blame himself for what’s happened with Davina, at all, or is he putting it all on the actions of the Mikaelson family?
DAVIS: That remains to be seen. At this point, he’s done so much and he’s been so loyal, and he’s not really a character to wallow in his own self-misery for too long. He’s more like, “What’s the next step? Let’s take action.” I don’t think he’ll put it on his own shoulders too much. I don’t see how he really could, especially after Davina let him know that she’s grateful for everything, and that she’s a big girl who made her own decisions. In a way, she released him. I think he’s ready to blame the Mikaelsons.
Is there anyone that Marcel will really listen to, at this point, that could reason with him?
DAVIS: I don’t think so, and that’s part of the arc. He has to face his decisions and his relationships without being influenced by anyone else. It’s one of those things where, if you’re going to do something like get married to someone, that’s your decision. You wouldn’t necessarily go around and ask your friends. That’s more of a personal thing. It’s one of those things that you really have to do on your own. Marcel doesn’t really have any advisors left, except for maybe Josh.
We’ve seen a really unexpected friendship and respect form between Marcel and Vincent. What’s it been like to explore that, and to work more with Yusuf Gatewood?
DAVIS: It’s been great. Yusuf is just a really good actor. He brings a good rhythm and a palpable energy to the scenes, which he puts into the character, so the character is really alive. It makes the scenes between Vincent and Marcel really have more of an undercurrent and subtext to it. They’re both strong characters who are willful, and they’re fighting for something. They have to take care of their own people, but they’ll let the other one know and they can respect that in each other. That’s a relationship that you don’t normally see with people, with that honesty.
On a show with so many twists and turns, was anything particularly surprising to you, in these last few episodes?
DAVIS: Episode 320 was a surprise. They give out the scripts to production first, and I had heard, “Hey, you’ve got a big episode coming up with a lot of stuff in it and a lot of changes.” I was like, “Can you tell me about it?” And they said, “No, we’re not allowed to.” And so, with that, I really started to prepare more. I hired one of my old acting coaches to read with me and to make sure that I was as prepared as possible. I was just really excited about it because I had been waiting to do material like this. In my acting class, I would come in, week after week, and my teacher would give me scenes where my wife had cancer, or me and my scene partner’s father had passed. I would get those week after week, and I would enjoy those scenes. It was something I knew I could do, and I was excited to finally be able to do it and for people to see it.
The Originals airs on Friday nights on The CW.