Executive producer Michael Narducci of The CW's The Originals has confirmed that when the show returns mid-season, we will be launched five years into the future. A now 7-year Hope Mikaelson will play a key role in helping her parents, aunts and uncles protect the city of New Orleans. Narducci suggests that in doing this, Hope will be a catalyst for unifying various factions around the city of New Orleans. Her character will help repair some broken bridges within her family, as well as the Mikaelson's relationship with Marcel.
Narducci continued to tease a villain for Season 4 that will force the various factions of the city of New Orleans to put aside their differences and fight for a unified cause. "We don't know who the 'big bad' is yet, but some things to keep in mind are we're going to have a substantial time cut," he said. "When we come back, Hayley is first going to have to find a way to bring back Elijah, Freya, Kol, Rebekah, and then you can imagine that if she's successful -- and there's going to be a lot of challenges to that mission -- if she's successful, the first thing that the Mikaelson family's going to want to do is go to town and get their brother. How that happens, I think, is a big part of our story and something that we want to tell. The other thing I'd ask you to imagine, is that to keep in mind in the five-year absence since the end of episode 322, New Orleans has changed. Remember that the link to the ancestral world is gone. So the witches' power is altered; it's changed. It's diminished, but it's also allowed them to find different resources and different methods of power. Marcel and Vincent have a tentative alliance, and there is and has been a time of peace, but of course when things are peaceful, there's an opportunity for other factions to come in and have a point of view about taking power, and growing restless, and wanting to disrupt the status quo."
The series is also pulling from the rich, historical stories of New Orleans as an inspiration for storytelling this season. "One of the things that we really want to do in Season 4 is to focus on New Orleans," he said. "New Orleans is a town that is rich with ghost stories, on spirit stories, werewolf stories, vampire stories -- so how do all those factions mixed together in a melting pot that would be upset and off-balance by the return of the Mikaelsons? And if they come back, what are they going to face and who are they going to have to come to head with? And if we love Marcel and we love the Mikaelsons, and if we eventually want them to come back together and resolve their conflicts, you can imagine that they're going to have to be challenged by something that's even more horrific and terrible than themselves. And I think one of the key things to keep in mind is, with the five-year time jump, we will have an older version of Hope Mikaelson. So I think one thing that all of our characters will be able to get behind on, is a threat to Hope and a threat to all the other children of New Orleans. New Orleans born witches, New Orleans born werewolves, New Orleans born people, there's something that's happening to them, and when the Mikaelsons find out about that, and when Marcel finds about that, they're all going to have to come together, and I think in a pretty interesting way. So a lot of tentative alliances and then ultimately some opportunities for reconnecting those broken bridges."
Season 4 also plans to explore Hope as a character and uncover her unique abilities as a hybrid of hybrids. There's opportunity for her to help Freya, but to also develop a bond with her parents and allow Klaus to step into the role of a father once more. Narducci said that one of the goals this season is to "take a look at who [Hope] is and what her abilities are," he said. "In the panel earlier today, I mentioned Stephen King being an influence. I really love the novel Firestarter, which is about a young girl with incredible power and how she comes to own that power. And how if you love her, you have to try and fight very hard to guide her, and teach her, and mentor her, and to provide her what she needs to grow and to understand her power. Just remember, this is the granddaughter of Esther Mikaelson; she's the daughter of a werewolf and a vampire. Both Hayley and Klaus are hybrids, but I guess my point is Hope has the werewolf gene and she also has magic that is infused with the mystical blood of an Original, so there's a lot going on with that kid that we're very excited to explore."
And for the fans who are eager to see a Hayley/Klaus/Hope family-unit reunited once more, Narducci promises us that the writers are just as excited as the fans to make it happen. "I think the five-year time jump is also going to create opportunity for [Hayley] to bond with her daughter," he said. "And I think that those two -- whereas Klaus has had a devastatingly abusive relationship with his parents -- Hope will not have that. Hope will have a great relationship with her mom, and once her dad returns, I think there's going to be a beautiful curiosity on both of their parts to get to know each other. You know, I think Klaus is a monster and I think he has been a villain, but I'm very interested in exploring what this person, who is very much aware that he had bad parents, and he doesn't want to himself be a bad parent, what will be his relationship with his daughter? At first, he didn't want to have this kid, but now that she's here, and now that he's confronted with her, I think the magic of looking at her and feeling the desperate need to find a way to do right by her, is one of the most beautiful things we're going to have an opportunity to dramatize on our show."
To watch the interview in its entirety, check out the video below from San Diego Comic-Con. The Originals will premiere mid-season on The CW!