The Originals: Julie Plec on series finale deaths and the story they never got to tell
Spoiler alert: This post contains plot details from the series finale of The Originals.
Klaus Mikaelson did it. By putting his daughter — and really, everyone — ahead of himself, he became the man his brother Elijah always wanted him to be. In the final moment of The Originals series finale, he was redeemed. And with Klaus’ death came Elijah’s, because in no world was Elijah about to let his brother die alone. So the final scene of the series saw the brothers use the last white oak stake to end each other’s lives.
But for those who made it through the finale alive, Freya and Keelin are preparing to start a family with Vincent, while Marcel and Rebekah found happiness with the promise of a human life for the Original sister whose dream has always involved a white picket fence.
EW spoke with Originals showrunner Julie Plec about the ending — the happy, the sad, and the untold.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: When you first pitched the show, you had an arc for Elijah and Klaus. At what point did them dying together become part of the plan?
JULIE PLEC: Them dying together isn’t an idea that solidified until the beginning of this season. For years we knew that one of them would go at the end, because when you’re telling a story about immortal beings finding resolution, resolution can beautifully come in being able to cease being immortal. I think one of the important things that we’ve done in the Vampire universe is establish this idea of peace, and now that we know fundamentally that peace exists, then being able to pass over out of your immortal plane into our version of quote-unquote heaven isn’t such tragedy. So we always knew one of them would go, and then when we ended Vampire, we thought, “Oh God, how are we going to do this again without feeling like we’re repeating ourselves?” Joseph [Morgan] was the first person to say to me, “Klaus should die,” at one point over the years. I was like, “Bite your tongue, young man!” And then I came around to the idea that Klaus’ redemption, the thing that launched the series, would come in sacrifice for love and in believing he was loved.
For Elijah, why was dying by his brother’s side the right choice?
From the beginning this was a story about a flawed family dynasty, and over the years it became a portrayal of a very dark, highly dysfunctional, deeply broken family paradigm, in which there was a thousand years’ worth of love and resentment and abuse and mistakes and anger and loyalty and everything in between. It felt like Elijah’s greatest plague was his codependent attachment to Klaus throughout the thousand years of their existence. As such, the most honorable thing for the most honorable man would be to hold his brother’s hand as they passed together, as a way of saying, “I’ve been by your side, I remain by your side.” You can argue that is healthy or completely self-destructive, but it is who Elijah is, and Elijah achieved what Elijah wanted to achieve in this lifetime, which is making his brother understand the power of unconditional love.
Would Elijah have been able to go through with this if Hayley were still alive?
The death of Hayley scarred him on multiple and catastrophic levels. His hand in it, although he didn’t know what he was doing at the time, bruised him deeply, and to know that she found peace and that she was waiting for him over there, I think was able to free him a little bit from that pain. But Elijah Mikaelson is a man who has loved and been loved and lost love, and when you are immortal, at what point do you say, “Okay I’m ready to be done”? I think that living on this plane, knowing the part he played in the death of one of his true loves, was a bruise that he would never be able to heal from, and being able to honorably stand by his brother’s side and protect him as they go into death together was his own sacrifice that he needed to make.
Technical question: Rebekah is getting the cure from Damon, which is why she has to wait a couple decades, correct?
Yeah, the idea being once Damon Salvatore is done living his happy human life, then she’s next in line. When he’s ready to die with Elena, which in my interpretation of the Vampire Diaries finale is what happened. What we saw was the end of a very long life together, and the two of them were probably 80 years old and had fully grown children and passed away, like Notebook-style. [Laughs] But that’s just me being sappy today.
For the record, I would watch a show called Two Witches and a Werewolf.
[Laughs] I wanted them to have a happy ending. They’ve all dealt with so much loss, Freya and Vincent. They’ve had to fight so hard to love, they’ve had to fight so hard to protect the people that they love, and for them to be able to come together and start a new untraditional but still beautiful family felt like the right ending for that trio.
I know Legacies is only two years later, but we could have a magical toddler running around!
Were there any stories over the years that you never got to tell?
The one thing that we never did that I wanted to do for five years was a fan ask that I really wanted to honor — showing Klaus’ full transformation into a werewolf. For many years we didn’t get there for financial reasons, and then it was just story reasons, and then back to financial reasons. And then the show was over. The first draft of the penultimate episode had Klaus turning with Hope, which I loved so much and desperately wanted to make happen, but again, you end up in time crisis, financial crisis, and things just fall away. You think it’s okay at the time, and then you regret it later.
Also, for the last couple years I’ve been plagued by the hanging chad of Aurora. But it was all hilariously solved for me by the line in the second episode about, “One of my dad’s exes is in a sleep spell in the basement.” Rather than wrap her up, I just decided to leave that as a glorious joke, that somewhere Aurora is wrapped in muslin sleeping it off to rise one day again to wreak havoc.”
Was there anybody else you guys wanted to bring back for the finale?
We got to revisit everybody that we wanted to revisit. Being able to bring Cami full circle was important to us. Being able to put Mikael to bed one last time was important to us. Being able to see in the last couple episodes that Davina and Kol were happy and had found peace and love in marriage was important to us. And seeing Hayley one last time was huge.