'The Originals' Boss Targets Broader Audience for 'Vampire Diaries' Spinoff

Stars Joseph Morgan, Charles Michael Davis, Claire Holt and Phoebe Tonkin were on hand with executive producer Julie Plec to tout the new fall series.
From left: Julie Plec, Joseph Morgan and Claire Holt

The Originals faces the daunting task of opening a new night in the fall on The CW, and the creative team behind The Vampire Diaries spinoff is well aware of the challenge.

"It's one of the most difficult tasks that we've had to do creatively, but it's the most important task: How do we create a show that stands on its own and doesn't have to rely creatively on the mothership, that can drive audiences who've never seen a frame of Vampire Diaries and capture that audience?" executive producer Julie Plec told reporters Tuesday at the Television Critics Association press tour.

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In fact, The CW president Mark Pedowitz said he was "somewhat confident" that The Originals could perform opposite major Tuesday-night competition, such as ABC's anticipated series Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Plec echoed what she said at San Diego's Comic-Con about the differences between The Vampire Diaries and The Originals, calling the flagship a coming-of-age series.

"This is a show that is not about struggling to be a vampire, it's about embracing vampirism and it's about reveling in it," she said. "It's about the family community and the supernatural community of an entire city. We've graduated high school and went to college, and they're getting their masters degree on The Originals." Added star Joseph Morgan: "Julie said it's like Lost Boys: Party all night and sleep all day."

On Vampire Diaries, Klaus is often seen as the most villainous character in Mystic Falls -- and when he arrives in New Orleans, he's overpowered by his former mentee Marcel. The shift for Klaus is a change even for the actors.

"We're used to Klaus coming in with a bull-in-a-china-shop mentality," Morgan said, "dominating like a one-man army, but Marcel has an army of vampires. He has the numbers. He's running the city and he has the witches under his control. I don't really know what his secret weapon he possesses is, but he has all the magic in the city and all of his inner circle of daywalkers and nightwalkers. … He's going to have to employ a little bit of his backstabbing methods to get where he wants to be, to take back the throne."

Added Charles Michael Davis: "Plus, Marcel is a really popular guy in New Orleans. I don't think you earn any points for killing the most popular guy."

Plec also continued to pound the idea that there may be a way for relationships already established on The Vampire Diaries to continue, with characters venturing over to Mystic Falls when the appropriate time comes.

Some teasers for The Originals: There will be a development in the Marcel-Rebekah camp, Hayley's pregnancy will be a slow burn and the first episode of the season will be a retelling of the April 25 episode from Elijah's point of view.

The Originals debuts Oct. 3 at 9 p.m. on The CW.

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