the originals tca panel 'The Originals' EP Julie Plec on differences from 'The Vampire Diaries,' plus crossover potential and Season 1 scoop

Though “The Originals” began as a spinoff of The CW’s uber-successful “The Vampire Diaries,” don’t think that you have to watch one to enjoy the other. Executive producer Julie Plec assured the room of journalists at The CW TCA press tour on Tuesday (July 30) that “The Originals” will be its own show independent of “TVD.”

“We just had an audience grow up with us for four years on ‘The Vampire Diaries.’ That show set the stage of a coming of age story cemented in the idea of first love and the struggle with becoming a vampire,” Plec said. “This is a show not about struggling to be a vampire. It’s about embracing vampirism and reveling in it. It’s about the power of the family community and the power struggle over the family community and the supernatural community and an entire city. We like to look at it as like we graduated high school and went to college and we’re getting our Master’s Degree on ‘The Originals.'”

Star Joseph Morgan — who brings his “TVD” vampire/werewolf hybrid Klaus over to “The Originals” — agreed with Plec, and could barely contain his glee at the new series’ tone and location. “Julie said it’s like the ‘Lost Boys’: Party all night and sleep all day. So I like to keep that vibe in it,” Morgan said. “It’s less about the guilt of being a vampire and more about really reveling in that. Plus we’re in New Orleans so there’s that decadent situation. There are a lot more vampire parties and more crazy indulgent actions.”

The introduction of New Orleans also brings about the introduction of new vampire Marcel, played by Charles Michael Davis. Marcel is the king of the city, and Klaus wants to steal his power but doesn’t know how Marcel controls the witches of the city, which poses a problem for Klaus. “We’re used to Klaus coming with like a bull-in-a-china-shop mentality and dominating like a one-man army, but Marcel has an army of vampires. He runs the city and he has the witches under his control,” Morgan said. “I don’t know what his secret weapon is that he possesses but I know that he has control of all the magic in the city. So that in itself is a challenge for Klaus I think hell have to employ a little bit more of his manipulative, back-stabbing methods to get where he wants to be.”

Klaus can’t just kill Marcel to get what he wants, which Davis was quite relieved to hear. “Marcel is a pretty popular guy in New Orleans,” Davis said. “I don’t think you earn any points for killing the most popular guy.”

Other big takeaways from the panel, including Season 1 scoop:

-The first episode will be re-shot and retold from Elijah’s (Daniel Gillies) point of view, which will give viewers the chance to see more of the beginning of the story.

-There will be the potential for crossover opportunities down the road… just not right away. “What we would like to do is first establish a show that works on its own. Then as story dictates creatively to have a little bit of a crossover if we can work it out, simply because there are relationships and histories there that we left behind,” Plec said. “We don’t want to pretend as if those relationships never existed. So as the show gets deeper into its own life, we have a lot of fan-favorite relationships and other characters that may come to New Orleans. And it’s possible that Rebekah [Claire Holt] might drop in to Mystic Falls for a little dalliance down the road.”

-Speaking of Rebekah’s love life, what prompts her to leave Matt Donovan (Zach Roerig) after their summer fling to travel to New Orleans? “They traveled together in the summer to Europe and I think she realized that her bond with her family is stronger than anything else, any fantasy she has about marrying the high school football star,” Holt said. “So she’s moving to New Orleans and she’s going to try and make any connection she can with her newfound independence that she gained on ‘The Vampire Diaries.’ But I hope that I can go back and forth and I can still have a little dalliance in Mystic Falls every now and then.” And watch out for Rebekah’s arrival in New Orleans in episode two… Plec and co. called her entrance, “Hurricane Rebekah.”

-And as if Rebekah’s love life couldn’t get any more complicated, there might be a little more to her relationship with Klaus’s enemy, Marcel. They did know each other a hundred years ago, after all. “I wonder if there’s history there having shared all that time together in New Orleans,” Plec teased. “I wonder if you tune into episode two…”

-Since Rebekah can’t have a child of her own, watch out for her relationship with Hayley (Phoebe Tonkin) to grow as a result of her pregnancy. “She feels protective of Hayley and she has a bond with her that she doesn’t have with anyone. She always wanted a sister,” Tonkin said. “There will be a connection there. She always wanted a family and a child of her own.”

-We will see Marcel’s backstory in later episodes with flashbacks to the beginning of his friendship with Klaus.

“The Originals” premieres Thursday, Oct. 3, at 9 p.m. ET on The CW.

Posted by:Sydney Bucksbaum