THE ORIGINALS: EP Michael Narducci Talks the Mikaelson Family Strife in Season 2 (2014)

"The Originals"
“The Originals”

It really does not pay to a Mikaelson no matter what century you live in as this is the 21st Century and Klaus, Rebeka and Elijah are still haunted by their parents. Worse yet, it looks like their parents want to kill them. Meeting Papa Mikaelson and Mama Mikaelson has explained a lot. Is it any wonder their children all turned out to be such remorseless killers that only care about each other? While Season 1 was about reclaiming New Orleans and protecting Klaus and Hayley’s child, Season 2 will be about surviving the wrath of their parents — and since Esther is an Original Witch and Mikael is a nearly invincible Hunter, the odds of Klaus and his siblings surviving the season are looking rather grim at the moment.

At a recent press screening, executive producer Michael Narducci provided some answers and teasers about what Season 2 holds in store for the Mikaelson family on THE ORIGINALS:

Mikaelson Family Reunion
MICHAEL: Our hope was that this season would be about the return of mother and father, and as you now know, the return of the brothers as well. They have been placed in these bodies and there is a lot of family stuff that we need to get out. The big theme of this season is “the past returning to haunt you.” Enemies who are even more dangerous because they know you intimately. As awesome as Francesca was, she was the last remanent of what happened last season. They got rid of Genevieve, they faced down the other Harvest girls, Cassie has returned — she’s Esther — and Francesca is in charge of all the werewolves. So we thought right away that we wanted to show the strategy of how they would deal with her through this wait and non-engagement stalemate that they were facing: Where is the [White Oak] stake? Who is in charge? What’s going to happen? And we played that out very quickly in one episode so that we could see something more evil and terrible than Francesca and her pack of werewolves (these mobsters) — the family: What does Davina have planned with Mikael? What does Esther have planned with the brothers? So that’s kind of what is going to be our dramatic focus.

MICHAEL: We are all on the internet and some pictures leaked over the weekend. There is obviously stuff out there which suggests that we will see her again. I’m going to say: I’m not going to try to hide anything. We’re going to see Rebekah. We’re going to see baby Hope. And that’s going to be an important thing as to what Esther’s plan for the baby is. Right now, Esther thinks the baby died and Esther doesn’t know where Rebekah is. She is coming back with a definite agenda that we start to see impact in Episodes 2 and 3. Obviously, because Klaus and Elijah remained in New Orleans to kind of be the target of whatever would come after the family, they will be the first ones that meet up with their mother and find out what her intention is and what Mikael’s intention is. Down the line that is going to spread out to wherever Rebekah has herself hidden.

Resurrection of Mikael, Esther, Finn and Kol
MICHAEL: It’s a tough thing. We have to honor several seasons of THE VAMPIRE DIARIES mythology, and we hit upon this idea of the Other Side is collapsing on THE VAMPIRE DIARIES, and if we are ever going to see these characters again, we need to do it now. Once the Other Side goes away, these characters are gone. We knew that Davina had such a strong desire for revenge because of what happened to Tim. She hates Klaus. So it made sense that she would channel these dark objects and bring back the Destroyer, Mikael. So that we could imagine. If we did that with everybody, that would feel like overkill or too much and death doesn’t mean anything. So we started to talk in the writers’ room about this notion of: what if after consecrating their mother in the grounds of New Orleans, she was not only now a New Orleans ancestral witch — but knowing how Esther and how powerful she was — she kind of took over that ancestral power and she would then have to come back. She would want to come back. So we knew when the Harvest girls died and when Genevieve died, there would be that last returning girl Cassie that we set up all the way back in Episode 5 of Season 1. So we knew that would have to be how Esther piggy-backed back into the world. . . We knew that Esther would want to bring her sons back, who were supernatural. Poor Henrick was never supernatural, so ostensibly he didn’t go to the Other Side. But Kol and Finn did, and she would bring them back. But she wouldn’t put them in vampire bodies because she hates vampires. She would put them into witch bodies. . . Finn hates vampires. He was kept in a box for 900 years by Klaus. He doesn’t get along with his siblings. He’s absolutely loyal to his mother. We describe him as almost like Norman Bates. This obsessive need to appease his mother. And we’re going to explain where that comes from and why he is so adamantly on Esther’s side. We needed someone who had this creepy presence, but also, once you get to know him you can kind of believe he has a perspective. There’s a mission statement behind what he is doing. There is a world where you’re kind of rooting for him too. Then with Kol, in the room we always talked about Kol as kind of being the Loki of our story — mischievous, you never know where you are going to stand with this guy, what’s he going to be up to. I absolutely believe that Esther brings him back to be on her side and to be a force that she can use to do what she ultimately wants to do — and that’s eliminate vampires. But where does he fall in his loyalties and alliances? These are the great stories that we are going to play over the course of the season. And Daniel Sharman is so phenomenal.

Return of Prior Actors
MICHAEL: There will be more flashbacks this season, so we will see those characters as originally portrayed. If not those particular actors because they will be playing different ages, we will see them throughout. Younger actors playing Finn, and Nathaniel Buzolic playing Kol. We’re really excited to get into where this family comes from. Why they are the way they they are? And what were their relationships like — not only with their parents, but with one another back in the day — and how has that led them to be as divided as they are? So there is a lot of really cool stuff there. I absolutely hope we see those actors in flashbacks and we’ll definitely see Nathaniel in the next episode.

Keeping Story in New Orleans
MICHAEL: Interestingly enough, because Esther has taken the form of a witch and she has brought her sons back and place them in witch bodies, we explore the notion that Esther was practicing witchcraft throughout her existence, before she turned them. Did Kol have a certain proclivity for mama’s teachings? Or were some of the family more inclined to go hunting with dad when they were young? Or were they more inclined towards the dark arts? So their family right now (Esther, Kol, Finn), they are very much in the world of the witches. And Klaus and Hayley, obviously, in that last scene, they have a definite agenda with regard to the werewolves. Then there’s Elijah, and he’s kind of the last vampire left. He’s the last of the pure blooded Original vampires. And then you have Marcel and his agenda to build this new community. The first season was about these four kinds of people: the humans, the werewolves, the witches and the vampires — and the Original family caught in between that. Now it is just that those different sides have a little bit more at stake and the witches are very much linked to what Esther has planned and even Mikael, because he has been brought back by a witch, has a stake in that particular game. So we are absolutely going to explore New Orleans and that four-sided political agenda, and how can these different people live in peace. But the war is just much more personal ’cause now you have brother versus brother, and all those sides represented by the Mikaelson extended family.

Exploring Family History
MICHAEL: We want to tell a larger picture or bigger story that gives us an idea of where everybody was throughout their time. Klaus daggered his siblings for a reason. What was that reason? . . . This might be a little bit of a spoiler, but if we’re going to bring back Mikael and Esther, what’s their story? Where did they come from? Episode 16 last season, Klaus said, “Something made my father the way he was.” We want tell that story because it is an interesting part of: why does he go around hunting his children and calling himself the Destroyer, hating what he is — which is a vampire?

Josh’s Journey
MICHAEL: It’s very interesting to me why Josh is sticking around in New Orleans. He’s kind of Marcel’s last guy of that old regime, that old community. He’s trying to figure out: what am I fighting for and what is this all about? Very quickly, he is going to realize “what do we fight for — if not a home, our friends, if not the people we love (both platonically and romantically)?” Coming down the line, we are going to tell some really great romantic stories, and Josh has a really great story coming up.

Hayley & Elijah
MICHAEL: Elijah sees how broken and devastated Hayley is. Not just by the loss of having to give up her child, but the loss of her pure blooded werewolf aspect. She’s now a hybrid. And what that means is she’s no longer the pure wolf. She looked so hard and was so desperate to have a connection with her people. She was an adopted young werewolf — and when she found out she was a werewolf, her adopted parents disowned her. Throughout the time we have known her since the pilot of the series, she has been looking for her family and she actually found them, and not only did she find them, they accepted her and welcomed her. Droves of werewolves were showing up in the bayou because of the promise of this last Crescent wolf — a queen — and she was happy. In that time jump between Episode 16 and 17, she was with her people. She saved them. She cured them from being from being wolves 29-30 days out of the month. And now she’s no longer a part of that. She’s devastated and she’s going through all the after-effects you would expect of someone recently becoming a vampire. On top of that, you’ve got your werewolf wild impulses, your instinctive desire to hunt and that is accentuated by the fact that she’s now a vampire. So she is a mess, and Elijah sees that — and yet at the same time he recognizes, “I can only help her so much ’cause I am not what she is, and the person that is what she is and understands what she is going through is my brother.” Right away you’ll see how that plays out. I would caution against anyone calling this some kind of love-triangle. I think this is a little bit more nuanced and interesting than that. When you’re dealing with someone like Klaus, you have to wonder if that great big speech that he gave — was that infused with desire to connect with this person romantically, was that a sincere desire to reach out to someone who had fallen and just wanted to mentor, or was that maybe a less than sincere desire by someone who craves power to manipulate someone else to a place where they can help him get what he wants? Which may ultimately be the same thing that Hayley wants — safety for the child, safety through numbers of having that werewolf pack on their side. Klaus is a multidimensional, complex character and I wouldn’t think he is 100% motivated by anything as pure as romantic love.

Kol & Davina
MICHAEL: In the second episode, we explore what he is doing and what his interests are. There is this notion that Davina, as a former Harvest girl, is one of the most powerful witches in New Orleans, completely independent of Cassie/Esther and whatever it is that Esther is planning. Esther did a locator spell and was not able to break past it. That gives you a sense of Esther’s frustration that there is somebody else out there that’s kind of a wild card in Esther’s plan, whatever her agenda is. You and I know that Davina has her own feelings for the Original family and her own desires to deal with Klaus. But they may not match up exactly with what Esther’s plan is. Esther wants to be in complete control. And Esther and Mikael do not know that the other is back — and that’s something we’re also going to have a little bit of fun with. But for right now, the rumor of this powerful witch Davina is definitely on Esther’s radar. Cassie knows that Davina left the coven and is doing her own thing and is not with them, but she wants to know Davina is up to. She’s a potential asset to the war. And Kaleb [aka Kol] just because he happened to be placed into the body of an extremely handsome, charming, young witch might be the best guy to go and find out what is going on with Davina.

Esther & Mikael
MICHAEL: Mikael realized that his wife had been having an affair. Realized with certainty. A part of him may have always suspected and that’s why he treated Klaus so harshly over the course of his life. But he realized it with certainty, killed Klaus’ true father, and by the time he had returned to the village, Klaus had killed Esther and the family has fled, and he has chased them for a thousand years. We all know what it is going to look like when Mikael comes face-to-face with Esther. We will see that somewhere down the line.

Davina’s Parents
MICHAEL: Her mother brought her into the Harvest ritual and we saw her mother die on screen in the flashbacks of Episode 5 “Sinners and Saints.” Her father we have never seen, but it seems clear that he wasn’t a big presence in her life, or not enough to stop his wife from trying to butcher her in a mystic ritual. . . If Davina’s in high school, it’s a cover for what she has ultimately planned.

MICHAEL: It seems like she’s made a decision to protect herself and to get out of this crazy occult world, and to avoid becoming slaughtered by vampires and werewolves. She’s kind of breaking up with this “no strings attached/friends with benefits” relationship that she’s got with Marcel and it feels like we may not see her for awhile. But she is connected by her friendships to Marcel, to Josh, and to Davina, who she served as a bigger sister to last season. So when any of these characters gets into trouble, you can imagine that she’d be pulled back into the fray. What’s interesting about Cami is she still believes that the baby died, and she believes that part of the reason why the baby was put at risk and the reason the baby died was because she didn’t act fast enough. She didn’t embrace the inheritance that Kieran left for her. She didn’t go into that room and look at all those dark objects and look at all those files and all the information that would have helped her figure out who Francesca Correa really was. She feels a certain amount of responsibility. It’s like the Spiderman mythology: if I had just stopped that thief from getting away, he might not have killed my Uncle Ben. If Cami had gotten involved in the supernatural world, she might have been able to keep that baby alive — from her perspective. So now she’s thinking, “I don’t get involved, maybe Davina’s going to wind up in trouble.” “Maybe I don’t get involved, maybe Klaus is going to spiral out of control.” “If I am trained as a psychologist and having intimate knowledge of what it means to suffer from darkness and evil invading into your family — as it did with her brother and then with her uncle Kieran — I might have a perspective that can help Klaus and some of the other characters.” What better person to have on your show with all these disparate, conflicted family members than the ultimate family therapist? She’s going to feel a responsibility to get involved.

Kol & Esther’s Plan for Cami
MICHAEL: They have one of the coolest reasons possible for wanting to get to know Cami. At first, you’re going to think it is one thing; then when you find out what it really is, you’ll be impressed.

MICHAEL: Episode 5 will be a flashback to the time of the Vikings and Nina Dobrev playing Tatia. What I can say about it is that there is no possible way to tell this story if we didn’t get Nina Dobrev. So we basically got on our knees and begged her. She was to her credit, wonderful. She had to work double-time, driving back and forth between sets, and she got to be in scenes with both of our leads — both Daniel and Joseph. We tell a story that will make you understand her fate, what happened to her, her relationship with both brothers, and why what happened between her and the two brothers is so beautiful and also tragic. . . Tatia was definitely referenced in Episode 313 [THE VAMPIRE DIARIES]. There was a whole big dinner conversation where Elijah outlines the story of Tatia. We studied every word of that to make sure we were honoring that.

Unleashing Mikael
MICHAEL: I think we would be doing ourselves a disservice as storytellers if we brought Mikael back and just kept him on a leash the entire season. I don’t want to spoil things. There’s a lot to come with him. Sebastian Roche is an incredible presence. I love seeing him, even when he is on a leash. There’s so much in his eyes. The fury that he feels and the frustration. It kind of felt like we need to play with this notion that this all-powerful, dangerous guy who had hunted them for a thousand years, what would it look like when he is suffering a little bit. So it opens up his character a little bit and gives him some layers.

Klaus: Hero or Villain
MICHAEL: Making Klaus, who is horrific villain who killed Aunt Jenna and killed Mayor Lockwood, suddenly be a sympathetic protagonist is a very difficult transition. So I love the notion of sometimes playing him as sympathetic and seeing where he is coming from and understanding why he is driven to do this, and understanding the little boy that he once was; but also getting at this malicious person who is a manipulator who is out for himself, even if ultimately the thing he wants most is to protect a little baby. How could you not sympathize with that? But he will do terrible, terrible things to people in order to get what he wants. And that makes him a pretty interesting character. . . We will see this notion trying to get people to do what he wants them to do by pushing all of their buttons in the right way, which I like that aspect of him: the manipulator. He is going to, at some point, have to confront his father — inevitably, given the dynamic of the season. He is going to have to confront his brothers and confront his mother. All of those confrontations are on the horizon — and they are dangerous and deadly and at the same time we will get to see a different side of Klaus. A side that illuminates who he really is as a person and why he is that way.

All new episodes of THE ORIGINALS air Monday nights at 8:00 p.m. on the CW.

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