There are bound to be a few moments during Friday’s hectic, game-changing season ender of The Originals (The CW, 8/7c) that you’ll find yourself wondering, “Wait, this isn’t a series finale, is it?”
And the truth is, your instincts won’t be far off. Executive producer Michael Narducci reminds TVLine that Season 5 wasn’t a done deal when this finale was written; it wasn’t until midway through the airing of Season 4 that the network made things official.
“We believed in the quality of the show and these phenomenal characters, and we knew there was still a lot of story for this family — yet we also knew it was the end of our season, so we wanted to put together a really good finale that closed this chapter,” Narducci says. “Worst-case scenario, if it was the end of the show, how could we provide some modicum of closure? So we talked a little bit about closing the door gently, rather than slamming it shut.”
But even if Friday’s finale — in which Klaus & Co. make a last-ditch effort to defeat The Hollow and save Hope — doesn’t mark the end of the road for the Mikaelsons, it’s still Narducci’s final episode as showrunner. And in keeping with one of the finale’s many themes, he’s ready to pass the torch to series creator Julie Plec.
“Stories are bigger than the people who create them,” he says. “So I’m happy to say that I did the best I could for as long as I did it, and now I’m stepping aside. Somebody else will get to make the decisions, call the shots and carry that torch. I happen to know a few of those folks — some of them are returning writers, as well as others who are starting on the show with Season 5 — and I’m so in love with those people.”
He continues, “When you know that this thing you love and are very passionate about, but are no longer part of, is going to be championed by people who you adore, it does take a little bit of the sting off of it. I really do believe it’ll be their best season yet. It’ll be an Originals unlike you’ve ever seen before, and I can’t wait to watch it.”
Narducci’s history with The CW’s smoldering undead population traces all the way back to the second season of The Vampire Diaries. And his first episode, 2011’s “The Last Dance,” centered around a just-introduced Klaus Mikaelson — so fresh on the scene, in fact, that he was still inhabiting Alaric Saltzman’s body. (We’re talking pre-Joseph Morgan here, people.)
“Julie [Plec] and Kevin [Williamson] wanted him to be devilishly charming, someone who enjoys the finer things, the party life and really makes the most of being a vampire,” Narducci recalls of writing Klaus at his earliest. “At first, he wasn’t like Stefan, who ultimately struggled a lot. Stefan had a great sense of guilt, a strong moral sense that guided him through his existence as a vampire. But Klaus had been through so much — abused by his father, turned [into a vampire] against his will and denied his werewolf aspect by his mother. He was someone who was just like, ‘I’m going to do what I’m going to do. That’s the only law that I need to follow.'”
Over time, Narducci notes, “We got to see that he actually did have an incredible love for his own family, as well as a warped away of honoring that vow of ‘always and forever.'”
He continues, “And then he discovered that he’d created this child with Hayley, and we really took him on a journey. He became someone who would sacrifice himself for five years or more of torment and solitude in order to protect the people that he loves. And this season, we got to see him being a dad. Joseph was phenomenal this season. I was really blown away by him, and I’m going to miss working with him very much.”
We’ll have a full breakdown of Friday’s finale — complete with insight from Narducci — immediately after the episode airs, but for now, drop a comment with your hopes for Season 4’s closing hour below.