Originals boss takes you inside Kol's long-awaited return
The Mikaelson family is extremely complicated, and who better to untangle that drama than Julie Plec? The Originals showrunner will blog each week’s installment throughout the season exclusively for EW. From answering burning questions to giving behind-the-scenes stories and more, this is a place for fans to hear directly from Plec about the episode they just watched.
The hours of Friday are counting down as I write this. I’m looking forward to heading home to my couch, uncorking a bottle of wine, and watching Television Containing Vampires. I hope you’re at home doing the same thing.
Thanks for watching “An Old Friend Calls,” written by Carina MacKenzie and Michael Russo, and directed by Jeff Hunt. The return of Kol is actually a long and crazy story. Back in season 1, we knew we wanted Kol to come back to life in the season finale. Even though he died on The Vampire Diaries in season 4, we always wanted to explore his place in the Original Family as part of this series. At the time, Carina was the writers’ assistant and we decided to reward her hard work by pairing her with me to write an episode. Episode 120 was her first, and our plan was to have Kol tell Davina at the end of the episode to bring him back to life, thereby launching a story that would take us to his resurrection. In fact, Carina wrote the entire first draft of the script containing those scenes.
Cut to our first very painful lesson in Pilot Season, which is when at any given moment an actor who is working on your show can book a pilot and become totally unavailable. We got word that Nathaniel Buzolic had booked the lead in the Supernatural spin-off. After a mad scramble, we were able to make the dates work so that he could do both. Relief was short-lived, however, when we found out that the Supernatural spin-off was actually going to air as an episode of Supernatural … on the same night as our episode 120. Suddenly, the prospect of a Nathaniel Buzolic double-feature seemed a bit too weird, so we swapped out Kol’s story and made it Mikael’s. So, the resurrection of Mikael was a (happy) by-product of the Supernatural spin-off.
Cut to our second painful lesson of Pilot Season: new shows often don’t get picked up until current shows have already locked and aired their finales. We had no way to guarantee that Nathaniel would be available to play the part of Kol in season 2, but we really wanted the dead members of the Original Family to return. Hence the idea of the Body Swap was born. So instead of Nate, Caspar Zafar and Alice Evans returning in the roles they had originated, Sonja Sohn became our Esther, Yusuf Gatewood became our Finn, and Daniel Sharman our Kol. When all was said and done, we loved the storyline, loved the actors, loved having Mikael back also, and were blessed to be able to add the exceptional Yusuf to our cast as a series regular. Plus, Alice and Caspar still get to come and play with us occasionally. So when all was said and done, everything worked. But it was not without its fair share of drama.
Tidbits From Set:
- We actually got to blow up that limo, which caused such a spectacle in Olde Town Conyers, where we film, that the local newspaper published an article about it that day. And, of course, that article was immediately all over The Originals fan blogs. Spoiler alert?
- Matt Cedeño, who played Cortez, and our director Jeff Hunt looked familiar to each other, and they realized partway through filming that they had worked together before. Jeff was the steadicam operator on The Suburbans, a 1999 Jennifer Love Hewitt movie, that Matt had a part in.
- Things cut from this episode include: a murder, a whole lot more sex, werewolves doing kamikaze shots, a very strong implication that Taylor Swift is a vampire (along with a few members of the Senate), and a letter written to Elijah, several centuries ago, by the infamous Katherine Pierce.