12:42am PT by Philiana Ng
'The Originals': Claire Holt Goes on Record About Her Exit, Creator and Co-Stars Weigh In
The Originals star Claire Holt publicly addressed her departure from the show for the first time at Saturday's PaleyFest celebration.
The Australian actress behind the quick-witted (and a fan favorite) Rebekah Mikaelson, one of the title characters on The Vampire Diaries spinoff, exited The CW series with her final bow as a regular in the March 11 episode. Holt's final scene in "Farewell to Storyville" had her leaving New Orleans for parts unknown; the following episode took place one month later, with Klaus and Co. dealing with her absence.
“As far as I’m concerned, this is a temporary hiatus,” Holt said. “I’m taking a little vacation in the sun, but I’m going to return to my New Orleans family." Her remarks echoed what THR previously reported, that the door remains open for her to return as a guest star in recurring arcs. Creator/executive producer Julie Plec told The Hollywood Reporter, "When she signed up for the show, we knew what her contract was and we made our efforts to make the best damn 16 episodes with her that we possibly could."
Though there is currently no timetable for Holt's return, Plec told THR that "the likelihood is very, very, very, very good. It's equal parts Claire's decision and our request. We definitely have good plans in the works for her, so I hope that we'll see her soon enough."
Holt also made clear during the panel that she "wasn't pushed out" as some reports may have suggested. "I made a life choice, not a career choice," the actress said, citing her desire to reconnect with her family and friends as a major reason.
In speaking more specifically to her farewell episode, Holt called it "beautiful" and "profound." Ultimately, Rebekah "got what she always wanted. Added co-executive producer Michael Narducci: "A lot of people on the Internet were upset about Rebekah.… I was so happy that Rebekah got the happy ending."
Joseph Morgan hinted that the remaining Mikaelsons, Klaus and Elijah, are handling Rebekah's absence in very distinct ways. "Elijah is playing the role of peacekeeper of the Quarter and bringing together all the factions -- the witches, the werewolves, the humans -- and Klaus is drinking a lot and painting a lot, which is never a good combination," Morgan told THR on the carpet ahead of the panel.
Charles Michael Davis, whose alter ego, Marcel, had a deep history with Rebekah, was diplomatic about the loss of a pivotal Original. "It's hard to be bummed about something being gone because in this show, nothing's ever really gone," Davis told THR. "But I think it's nice to open things up and show different sides of each character. If we didn't go through that, then we wouldn't get to know this side of Rebekah and Marcel."
Australia native Phoebe Tonkin, who appeared in two other shows with Holt, expressed hope that she would continue her working relationship with the fellow Aussie. "Maybe we'll do another show together in the future," she told THR. Tonkin noted that the nature of The Originals called for changing dynamics on a weekly basis, "with any type of character who comes in and leaves. That's what makes the show interesting." More change is still to come, she said, hinting that the season finale has many.
Holt remained hopeful that she would one day return to her co-stars. ”I am so not ready to let go of the Mikaelsons,” she said to the audience. “I hope that there’s many more stories to tell.” Could this mean that Rebekah may also make her way back to The Vampire Diaries at some point? "Listen, there's a very handsome quarterback in Mystic Falls," she teased.