‘The Originals’: New Orleans Wasn’t the First Choice City

It wasn’t always the case that television was filled with witches, werewolves, and vampires, but it certainly has been a reality for a long time. If you’re a fan of the supernatural, then the question isn’t what you can watch but rather how will you find the time to get through it all! From the campy and silly to the serious and dramatic, TV series have been mining the supernatural genre for decades, and fans are reaping the benefits. 

One of these popular supernatural-themed shows is a spinoff of The Vampire Diaries that is loved by fans: The Originals. Fans might be interested to know that New Orleans — despite being a fitting locale with an appropriately creepy history — was not the first choice as the setting for the series. 

(L-R) Leah Pipes, Daniel Gillies, Danielle Campbell, Phoebe Tonkin, Joseph Morgan, and Charles Michael Davis smiling in front of a gray background
(L-R) Leah Pipes, Daniel Gillies, Danielle Campbell, Phoebe Tonkin, Joseph Morgan, and Charles Michael Davis | MJ Kim/Getty Images

‘The Originals’ ran for five seasons

A show on the CW, The Originals premiered in 2013 and ran for five seasons before wrapping up in 2018. The series is a spinoff of The Vampire Diaries. In fact, the new show had a concurrent run with The Vampire Diaries (which lasted for eight seasons) wrapping up just one year before The Originals. In that way, it has echoes of another vampire-centered drama and its spinoff. Buffy the Vampire Slayer ran concurrently with its spinoff Angel and then concluded shortly before the finale of the newer show. 

The Originals centers on the world’s original vampires, a set of siblings named Klaus, Elijah, and Rebekah. The drama focuses on Klaus’ return to New Orleans after a long absence and his wrestling with his own ego as it comes to where control of the city will reside. 

New Orleans is an appropriate setting for ‘The Originals’

RELATED: ‘The Vampire Diaries’: Will There Be More Spinoffs?

There are some locales across the world that have the history and reputation necessary to stand as a backdrop for a supernatural show. Roswell, New Mexico is a show — with some cast links to The Originals — that also taps into a real-life reputation for the creepy. New Orleans is similarly situated in real-life lore and myth that helps lend to the ambiance of the series.

The city has served as a backdrop for many tales of the dark and sinister. American Horror Story used the tale of Delphine Lalaurie — a wealthy New Orleans woman who kept a mansion filled with torture devices she used on the people she enslaved — as inspiration. Anne Rice, the famed macabre writer of hits like Interview with the Vampire, is a New Orleans native who used her experience in the city to inspire her settings. Even the architecture and cobblestone streets help, along with the perception that the whole city has a connection to a dark and haunted past. 

New Orleans was not first pick for ‘The Originals’ 

It’s hard to imagine now, especially since New Orleans is such a perfect setting for the dark show, but NOLA was actually not the original setting for the tale of the vampire siblings and their fight for power. According to a Collider interview with Joseph Morgan and Charles Michael Davis, the show was originally slated to take place in Chicago. 

While the Windy City definitely has a history of its own and has served as the backdrop for plenty of fictional stories, it definitely would have been a different feel than the Big Easy. Morgan explains that part of the success of the show was getting in touch with his character’s history: “He felt inadequate and insecure, desperately craving the love of his parents and their affirmation. Just every little nuance of history that they’ve given me has helped me explore further and flesh out the character.” And while his character Klaus had a history in Chicago, as shown in The Vampire Diaries, it was clear there was nowhere better to get in touch with a dark and nuanced history than in New Orleans.