Update: It looks like discussions of a Hope-centered spinoff are indeed heating up! According to Deadline, The CW president Mark Pedowitz spoke on Julie Plec's behalf concerning the possibility:
“There’s been many discussions about the character Hope. I’m very interested if she wishes to do it in the The Vampire Diaries universe. Nothing has come out of it yet. Julie really wants to get the final season of The Originals done."
So chin up Originals fans, it looks like we may not have to completely say goodbye the Mikaelson's after all!
Four months ago we were forced to say goodbye to The Vampire Diaries. Following in its parent series' footsteps, The Originals will be bowing out with its fifth season. With both The Vampire Diaries and its spin-off closing their doors, it seems like the end of an era — or so we thought. Rumors have been swirling for a while now about yet another spin-off being in development.
Prior to the fourth season of The Originals, Plec teased the possibility of a second spin-off in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter:
"That being said, we do have crossover elements in the upcoming season of The Originals that's about to start airing, and it all brings it back to what I see as a future for either The Originals or another piece of the franchise to launch off of the end of The Originals. So I look forward to being able to play around in that sandbox and see if I can make something of it."
Right before SDCC, The Originals showrunner left a not-too-subtle hint referencing the show's tagline, "always and forever," at the end of her formal Twitter post announcing the series end date.
If this spin-off does come to pass, what will it be about? Well, we might have gotten a tiny preview during #TheOriginals SDCC panel. In a sizzle reel for the show, we got our first look at a grown-up Hope Mikaelson.
When we left off at the end of last season, the Mikaelsons were forced to split up for all of eternity in order to keep an ancient evil witch from regaining her power. The fifth and final season will begin with another time jump, one that will age the show's newest protagonist.
If the rumors are true, it looks like teenage Hope will take center stage and become the central character in her own show, so how can we ensure that a third series would be great and different from its predecessors?
Give It A Fresh Start
The Originals presented a new chapter in the lives of the Mikaelsons but it was far from a new start for these characters we had come to know and love during their tenure on #TheVampireDiaries. Claire Holt, Daniel Gillies, Phoebe Tonkin, and Joseph Morgan exited the progenitor series (where they were featured in frequent recurring or regular roles), in order to star on the spin-off. The Originals featured a new location, plot and peripheral characters but the core characters were ones we already knew well. That wouldn't be the case this time around.
With Hope Mikaelson as the main character, we would be starting in a place similar to where Elena Gilbert's story began almost a decade ago. We'll only have one season to get to know this Hope before the new show would launch. Unlike the Mikaelson family — composed of thousand-year-old vampires with centuries of history to explore — Hope is still a young girl. We'll be able take Hope's journey alongside her, much like we did with Elena. In contrast to Elena's morality, we could see how much Hope is like her parents. Will Hope be more like her mother, Hayley, or her murderous father, Klaus? Most likely she'll be a dangerous, compelling mixture of the two.
It is unlikely that many characters from the show's parent series will be moving over to the new one (hopefully we can get a couple of guest appearances), giving plenty of opportunity for new characters and stories to fill Hope's world.
Establish Familiar Roots
If this spin-off is going to be about a teenage Hope, it seems likely that the series will feature Hope at the Salvatore Boarding School for the Young and Gifted. The school was introduced in the series finale of Vampire Diaries and then shown again in the Season 4 finale of The Originals when Hope actually was actually enrolled.
Julie Plec mentioned the school's relevance in a comment to TVLine:
“...the idea of [Caroline and Alaric’s] school as a safe haven for young supernatural beings certainly has a lot of relevance for Hope.”
It would be fascinating to see Hope with her gifted peers in a high school setting, especially if we got to see them learning how to hone their skills (perhaps a certain Gilbert hunter will reprise his role as an instructor). Not to mention that both parent series were known for their high death counts; it sure would be nice to watch the next generation learn from their parents' mistakes and arm themselves before danger strikes.
Another stark contrast to the original series would be its handling of the supernatural. Much of the drama in the early seasons of The Vampire Diaries was generated by trying to keep the supernatural secret. The Originals already changed this; in New Orleans the vampires and witches were no secret and often operated out in the open. It remains to be seen which direction this new show would go in but I can see it finding a nice middle ground between the two. It wouldn't be a bad thing to emulate some of The Vampire Diaries. After all, the show ran for eight seasons and the early seasons were critically praised for breakneck pacing and excellent, tight plotting. If this new show can hone in on that but twist some of the familiar elements into something unique and fitting of the next generation of supernatural beings, it might just be Plec's next hit.
It's Time For A Change Of Pace
The Vampire Diaries was, at its heart, a romance; The Originals, a family drama. Both shows had elements of action, horror and tragedy but at the end of the day they were anchored to their core premises. This spin-off has the chance to corner a new market. A lighter tone would be appreciated. Perhaps this third installment could be much less heavy in terms of death and destruction. It could feature more levity and humor than the doom and gloom that so often followed our favorite characters in the past.
That doesn't mean this new series should completely reject the tone set by its predecessors, but given this would be the third outing, I don't think it would hurt to shake things up substantially. These shows are proven successes and come with a built-in fanbase, so there is room for experimentation.
Hope is the first of her kind as a hybrid witch, there are no rules set in stone for how she and her powers should be written. The spin-off should focus more on her witch side and let the vampire and werewolf aspects of her nature play second fiddle for a change. Plec has a rich universe to work in and the mythology has been growing since Season 1 of The Vampire Diaries.
We've seen almost every possible plot line involving vampires, but not nearly as many that are solely about the witches (and generally the few about witches portray them as the villains, not the heroes). Maybe they can channel a little bit of the magic from the short-lived 2011 show The Secret Circle, (based on the novel written by L.J. Smith, the same author who wrote The Vampire Diaries book series) to give the show an extra edge.
What would you like to see in the new spin-off series?