If you’re anything like us, you can’t get enough of The Originals – so it’s a good thing we have the new Kol-focused web series, The Awakening, to feed our addiction.
JJJ caught up with writer Carina Mackenzie to get the scoop on how the series came to fruition and what we can expect.
“The first episode I wrote of The Originals back in season one was originally going to tell this flashback story about how Kol’s time in New Orleans had set in motion all these little things that were having an influence on our characters in the present,” Carina said. “We ended up having to do something different with that episode — for a lot of reasons, one of which was that it was airing the same night that Nathaniel Buzolic‘s episode of Supernatural was airing, and there was some concern from the network about that — but I had already written this flashback story. I kind of thought oh well, it’s just gonna be this thing on the cutting room floor. But when the opportunity came up to do this web series with Target, we knew we wanted to do a flashback story, so I repurposed that old story.”
As for how his story connects to what’s currently going on in the French Quarter, Carina said, “It ties together very strongly with what’s happening right now. In present day, Daniel Sharman‘s version of Kol has been flirting with Davina (Danielle Campbell) but we haven’t really heard his plans, his agenda. In the flashbacks, we’ll finally tell the story of what Kol wants for himself, and why he needs Davina, specifically, to get it. We’re also going to introduce a couple of locations in the web series — Kol’s secret clubhouse, and then later another place I can’t tell you about for fear of the spoiler gods striking me down — that are going to become very important on the show.”
Read on to find out what else Carina had to tell them about the web series:
JJJ: What was Nate’s reaction to the idea when you first approached him about it?
CM: I actually don’t know! I wasn’t really involved in those initial conversations. Nate is always great whenever we ask him to come back and play with us — he’s super enthusiastic on set and really committed to the character. I’d met him but never worked with him before this, so I was excited to get to collaborate with him.
JJJ: Nate and Kol both have veryyyy strong fan bases. Is it fun writing to such a beloved character, or do you find it brings added pressure?
CM: I mean, I always feel that pressure — I think all of our characters are beloved. They’re beloved by me, anyway. Basically what I’m saying is that writing for this show is terrifying and I am in a constant state of total panic! But yes, Kol fans are particularly vocal. I think it’s one of those things where you want to give the people what they want, but you also want to make sure you’re telling an organic and interesting story, so we’re never just going to do something because it trends on Twitter a lot. It’s funny — Kol is a total fan favorite but we never knew much about his personal backstory or personal drives on The Vampire Diaries, so I always was kind of surprised by the fervor around the character. I know why people love Nate, obviously, but the Kol obsession surprised me. This season, though, I get it. I’ve totally fallen in love with the character. He’s so, so fun to write. And yes, anxiety-inducing too.
JJJ: How do you approach writing the web series differently than a full episode? What are some of the biggest challenges?
CM: I actually approached it exactly like writing a full episode, it was just… easier. When you write a full episode, you talk about it in terms of the different stories and drives in the episode — the A story, the B story, and the C story. The webisode is the size and length of a typical C story, so I just approached it that way. It was helpful that I also co-wrote episode 207, which is one which ties in pretty heavily with the webisodes, so I could make sure that everything was integrating smoothly, and I worked closely with Julie [Plec] and Marguerite MacIntyre, who wrote episode 209. The biggest challenges were actually production challenges, because we were filming this while concurrently filming episode 208 AND 209! We wanted to make sure that the webisodes have the same production values as our show, obviously, so they were directed by Matt Hastings, who has directed some of our most visually stunning episodes.
JJJ: Nate has said that Kol is the most misunderstood of the family. Do you think Awakening has the potential to change our opinions on him completely?
CM: I don’t know if it’ll change your opinions on him completely, he’s still the same old rascal we know! This week’s episode — of the show, not the web series — will give you some insight into why Kol is the way that he is, though. There’s a specific reason that Kol, as a vampire, was more reckless and madcap and bloodthirsty than his siblings. He had an itch he couldn’t scratch, and we’ll see Daniel Sharman’s Kol talking about that this week. Meanwhile, web series-wise, we’ll learn about his plan to keep Klaus (Joseph Morgan) from daggering him. Spoiler alert, the plan does not go awesomely.
JJJ: In the first installment, we see Kol is trying to get the witches on his side to take down Klaus. And we know he’s built a relationship with Davina in the present, seemingly for the same reason.
CM: At this point, is his agenda clear? Is Davina safe trusting him or is it possible he has something else up his sleeve?
Kol always, always puts himself first. On the show, he seems to be constantly switching sides — first he seems aligned with his mom, then he helps Mikael, but he’s obviously still intent on forging this connection with Davina… there have been a lot of fans asking “Who’s side is he on, anyway?” and the answer is that he’s on his own side. In the webisodes, we’ll find out why he needs Davina specifically… not sure if you picked up on it, but the witch he’s hooking up with in the webisodes is named Mary-Alice Claire. She’s an ancestor of Davina’s. Davina definitely might not be safe with him — but she’s a smart girl, so she doesn’t really trust him, and when she finds out about what happened in 1914, it makes her wary. He’s gonna have to work for it.
JJJ: Right now, it’s a 4-part series. Is there potential for more?
CM: I don’t know if there are conversations about continuing it, but we had a lot of fun making it. I think if Target wanted more and Nate was available we’d definitely talk about it! Personally I have a whole pitch for a web series that’s just Josh (Steven Krueger) shopping at Target, going in for a tube of toothpaste and then coming out with $500 worth of stuff he doesn’t need. I think it’d be great. Nobody listens to me.