'The Originals' postmortem: Julie Plec on a Mikaelson family reunion
Spoiler alert: If you haven’t watched the season finale of The Originals, stop reading now!
Last night, The Originals first season came to an end in a way no one could’ve expected: Hayley was a hybrid, just about all the town’s vamps were dead, Mikael was back, Rebekah was on the run with the baby, and what appeared to be Esther and Finn showed up in other people’s bodies. But don’t worry, if you haven’t finished digesting what all of that could mean for season 2, we chatted with Executive Producer Julie Plec about what exactly those twists will affect, how they decided to name the baby Hope, and everything about Elijah’s breakdown.
Check out our conversation below:
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: I have a million things to talk to you about, but let’s start with the final 30 seconds of that finale. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I assumed it was Esther and Finn?
JULIE PLEC: I’m not going to confirm nor deny, but I do think that anybody with any history of The Vampire Diaries will probably make a similar guess, and from knowledge of the show and the characters, it’s probably a pretty good guess.
Now we’ve pretty much got all the Originals in town, minus Rebekah, who’s on the run. Is there potential for Kol? Can I get a huge family reunion next season?
[Laughs] I think there is definitely potential for Kol, although he’s probably not the one the brothers would want to see back any more than Finn given that when he died, they mourned him for all of 7 minutes because of his axe to grind.
Seeing Rebekah last night was so amazing, so what can you tell me about season 2? She’s on the run, but will she be woven back into things?
I think what I’ll call it for now, because we’re so early into the season, is just a delicate weave, a delicate dabble. This is not the last we’ve seen of Rebekah and the baby, but it’s also not going to be a primary storyline. We may get a full family reunion later in the season, if we’re lucky, but right now her role is Aunty Beks, and the protection of and the secret surrounding that baby is paramount to her. So she will be off doing that, and we won’t necessarily be following that storyline right off, but we will get to see her again.
I was curious how you decided on Hope for the baby’s name. Did you have any other serious name considerations?
I’ll be 100 percent honest, we’ve been talking about it in the room. When you have a deadline, the best way to procrastinate is baby names, and I didn’t hear Hope as a pitch until I read it in the script. And it made me cry, and I thought, “Well, it’s either the cheesiest thing in the world or it’s the most beautiful thing in the world, and because I’m crying, it’s probably both, but I’m going to go for it.” So that was Diane Ademu-John, who wrote the script, that was a beautiful little surprise she peppered in there.
Did you have a name you were leaning toward before reading that?
No, no. I was just basically like, “May the best man win.” We had talked about Andrea, because that’s Hayley’s original birth name, and that had sort of been on the table for the longest time, and other than that, we hadn’t really landed.
Speaking in bigger terms about the series, we have the ever-present themes of Klaus’ redemption and Elijah’s undoing. Where are we in those journeys? Still working toward redemption?
Yeah, that’s a global concept for me. It’s a series-long concept, more so than a seasonal arc. In the same way that, for example, on the Vampire Diaries, a character can have a good moment followed by a very, very bad moment very quickly, I think what was beautiful about what happened to Klaus in this particular season is that he started the season rejecting this notion of family and by the end, he was doing whatever he could to protect family. And I think when he tries to tell Elijah in the finale, “That was your fantasy brother,” and Elijah’s like “Screw you, buddy. This was our hope.” And then later, at the end of the episode, when he’s doing everything he can to, he says, “Whatever it takes to protect our family,” that’s an acknowledgement of what Elijah said, which is that he wanted it too. He wanted that belief in family too. And frankly that’s all Klaus has ever wanted. It’s just [that] he goes about it in such catastrophic ways. [Laughs]
So basically I think for Klaus, he had a lot of selfless moments, he made a lot of beautiful, pure decisions last night. That being said, all those that wronged him last night, they have a Klaus-sized target on their backs. It’s not like he’s going to find zen meditation and suddenly be a good person. He’s pissed. And now he’s got even more to fight for, because he’s going to take that town back and he’s going to try to make it a home for his family only to find out that he’s going to be coming up against the rest of his family, which is going to be horrible. And then Elijah, Elijah last night became emotionally undone.
Oh my god, I couldn’t take it.
Oh god, it was so beautiful. And we really got to see the substance and depth of his connection to both Hayley and to the idea of this baby being born and bringing this family together. Just that look on his face when he thinks it’s all lost is so awful. So we’ve seen that Elijah’s not always able to be buttoned up and proper and together. It’s possible for Elijah to not only unravel but also to get his hands very dirty, and that’s something that we’re going to continue to explore over the life of this series is that he’s not just the good guy. He’s got his own demons that sometimes will kick him around a little bit.
I recently asked Daniel Gillies what an undone Elijah would look like, and he thought it would be the most human thing we’ve ever seen from him.
Interesting. Well there was a look on his face last night when he said “I don’t let people in,” which was the most honest, human, and raw admission that I’ve ever seen him as an actor specifically but also as a character. He felt in that one moment like he was the little brother. He was the one that needed a hug from his big brother, and all that sense of propriety and adulthood and “I’m the big brother here to take care of my younger, naughty siblings” kind of just disappeared, and he was like a little kid. And that’s one of my favorite moments of the whole show.
Me too! The other thing I wanted to touch on was Klaus’ bloodline. We met one member of his pack very briefly this season, so will season 2 delve into that a bit more?
Season 2 is going to begin with what we call the werewolf occupation, which is Francesca thinks she’s in charge and has been actually carrying on making rules and exiling vampires and doing all kinds of nasty things, so the first thing on the table is of course going to have to be revenge. And then if and when that’s completed, the question is what becomes of those wolves? There’s a lot of wolves that Klaus was aligned with that were all looking to Hayley as their queen, but now she’s no longer a werewolf, she’s a hybrid, and there’s no love lost there for that species. So they’re going to be kind of stranded without a leader, and we’re going to have to see who steps in and takes that role of alpha. Will it be Jackson? Will it be Oliver? Will Hayley be able to win her way back? What’s going to solidify these wolves in one group, or now that they’ve won the Quarter, are they going to start in-fighting as well?