Building a show around ''The Vampire Diaries''' Original siblings — noble Elijah (Daniel Gillies), vicious Klaus (Joseph Morgan), and mean girl Rebekah (Claire Holt) — taught exec producer Julie Plec the do's and don'ts of launching a spin-off; here, she shares three key rules

1. Establish A New Heartbeat
The Vampire Diaries became best known for its love triangle involving Stefan, Damon, and Elena. Instead of romance, family drives The Originals, where the battle is over control of New Orleans’ French Quarter. A former protégé of Klaus’, Marcel (Charles Michael Davis), has created a community where vampires rule by exiling the werewolves and oppressing the witches. When the witches demand that vampire-werewolf hybrid Klaus do their bidding against Marcel, Elijah sees a chance to reunite his bickering family and reclaim the town they helped build. ”Everybody’s fighting for a home to call their own,” Plec says.

2. Respect the Old Fans, But Welcome New Ones
Plec knows she must introduce the Originals — ”hateful little minxes” — as if we’ve never met them before and make new viewers fall in love with them. That’s particularly tricky with Klaus, who had two-plus seasons to earn goodwill among TVD fans, but who’ll be presented in the premiere as Elijah’s ”potentially psychopathic brother,” Plec says. ”You’ve got to find a way to say to the audience, ‘You need to care about Klaus because Elijah cares about Klaus’ — because Klaus is about to do some really nasty stuff, like be told he’s about to have a baby [with Phoebe Tonkin’s werewolf, Hayley] and say, ‘Kill it. I don’t care.’ That’s not a hero move in the first episode of a TV show.”

3. Know the Rules of Your Original Mythology — And Be Willing to Break Them
You want to learn from past mistakes and make things simpler or easier to execute, e.g., those pricey desiccation FX shots when the Originals are daggered. ”We can create our new version of it,” Plec says. ”If someone on Twitter starts screaming about how it doesn’t match, then okay. You don’t want to get those comments, but most people won’t notice.”