A protégé takes on his master (sire) in the hugely anticipated series, The Originals, which is a spin-off of The Vampire Diaries. Soon-to-be-father Klaus Mikaelson (Joseph Morgan) tries to usurp control from Marcel (Charles Michael Davis), his protégé and now biggest rival. And the stakes are raised as his unborn hybrid child faces numerous threats, writes Debashine Thangevelo.
THE arrival of Klaus Mikaelson in Mystic Falls, Virginia, gave The Vampire Diaries a welcome paradigm shift from the ongoing love triangle between brothers Stefan and Damon Salvatore and Elena. Let’s face it, all that romance was getting rather cumbersome until the writers’ nifty expansion of the villain pool. And what intriguing and flawed immortals the original vampire family have been.
It’s that soaring popularity which undoubtedly contributed to the spin-off series, The Originals, which has been lapped up by fans.
In the new series, the siblings return to their hometown, New Orleans – a place they fled from their father centuries ago.
But that wasn’t the only thing they left behind then. Marcel, a slave boy who was taken under Klaus’s wing and raised as a son (whom they presumed dead) used their misfortune to his advantage and rose to Machiavellian prominence.
Naturally, the return of the originals to “his town” doesn’t bode well for Marcel, who isn’t keen on letting his power go any time soon.
What has now come to fruition is the ultimate alpha test between protégé and master as each tries to outmanoeuvre the other.
Klaus is as bold as he is brutal. While impatient with an uncontrollable temper, it is tapered by those rare acts of kindness that redeems him somewhat. On the other hand, Marcel wears numerous faces. He can be charming but that veneer of him being a closet bully isn’t completely camouflaged. Although, blessed with the skill of a schooled politician, he does a commendable job of keeping up appearances.
In a chat with Collider.com, Morgan and Michael Davis delved into their characters. Morgan laughed: “It’s crazy! I came on as a guest in four episodes (The Vampire Diaries). There was always the potential to be a regular but there was also the potential that they would kill me off if I didn’t go a good job… it’s been an amazing journey.”
He added: “I never just thought, ‘Oh, he’s (Klaus) evil’. I thought, ‘Well, why does he want to do this?’ It was clear, from the beginning, that he had a difficult childhood. I knew he was the product of an affair and that his father hated him, and that gave me a place to start. He felt inadequate and insecure, desperately craving the love of his parents and their affirmation. Every little nuance of history they have given me has helped me explore further and flesh out the character.
“My favourite pairing was in episode 7 of season 4, where he takes Caroline on that date and they have this conversation and he reads her letter of aspirations he found by the lake. It’s this beautiful scene.
“Then, the next time we see him, he’s slaughtering 12 hybrids with a sword and drowning Tyler’s mom in the fountain. Those are the two sides of him. Those are his extremes. I love that there is always surprise where Klaus is concerned. Now there’s a baby on the way, he’s going to surprise us every step of the way.”
As for Michael Davis, who got the plum role of going up against Klaus, he auditioned close on six times for The Vampire Diaries. Lucky for him, his tenacity paid off. Several years later, having had a short stint on Grey’s Anatomy, he got a call for the pilot of The Originals.
On sharing the spotlight with Morgan, the actor-model, 29, who makes his TV breakthrough with this spin-off series, he said: “It was just about matching him (Joseph) and then bringing my own style and swagger to it. The character is confident and I always try to be confident. I give credit to Julie Plec and Michael Narducci, and the other writers, for creating a character that’s so specific.”
Is the bond between Klaus and Marcel shattered forever?
Morgan hinted: “I don’t know. Like every relationship on the show, it’s complex. The thing I like about it is that even though there is suspicion Klaus absolutely wants what Marcel has back because it was his in the first place. He has allies now and is taking Marcel apart, piece by piece, but he also still likes him and he’s still his friend. He doesn’t want him dead, really. He just wants him to learn his lesson.”
Meanwhile, Michael Davis revealed his character feels like he’s trying to crawl his way out of the tornado that the Tasmanian Devil unleashed.
Aside from M-Net Showcase’s faux pas by screening the first episode twice – fans can look forward to an explosive power struggle while the witches try to restore their ancestry magic by locating Davina, who is under Marcel’s protection. Rebekah falls victim to her heart once again – and this means going up against Klaus once again. And Elijah fights alongside his brother while also overly protective of Hayley and the next Mikaelson heir.
The bayou is never going to be the same again with all these faction wars between the vampires, witches and werewolves – each acting on their own pact. Best of all, the originals get their own blood-spattered playground in New Orleans. Talk about nail biting!
• The Originals air on M-Net Series Showcase (DStv channel 113) on Tuesdays at 8pm.