'Legacies' EP & Writer on That Professor Vardemus Twist and Josie & Landon
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Season 2, Episode 5 of Legacies, "Screw Endgame."]
The Salvatore School students are in a lot of trouble on Legacies. Again.
Not only is there a vampire on the loose whom two of them refused to help — Sebastian's body was desiccated — but in the final moments of "Screw Endgame," Professor Vardemus (Alexis Denisof) removes his ring and we see it's really Clarke. Too bad Alaric (Matthew Davis) just decided to let him be.
Here, executive producer Brett Matthews and writer Thomas Brandon break down the major moments of Episode 5.
Plus more behind-the-scenes secrets from the transformation process.
Let's talk about the '80s theme. Why that decade and why now?
Brett Matthews: We'd been talking about doing a decade dance for years, and it just so naturally [worked]. Thomas and I grew up in the '80s. Star Wars is probably the thing that made us both want to do the jobs we do now, so that's just our nostalgic place. It's [a] kind of nice dovetailing of nostalgic for The Vampire Diaries [and] our own personal nostalgia from the generation. ... Everybody really latched onto something that was pretty subtextual and really made it the text of the episode, and television lives in the specificity.
Our cast, for the record, has no idea what the '80s were like, outside of Matt Davis. They wouldn't be born for another decade. To them, it might as well be the '50s. That was also part of the fun of it, too.
That ending! That twist about Professor Vardemus! How worried should we be about the students at the Salvatore School? I loved "I've been here the whole time."
Thomas Brandon: When we discovered that line, we were pretty happy, too, because it said a lot of the story. It's been fun hiding that secret, which is bittersweet, because we love the character of Vardemus. He's such a necessary presence and an interesting point of view in the school, but also the surprise it's not really Vardemus we're seeing was too delicious to pass up.
Everyone should be very, very concerned because the last time we saw Clarke, he was begging his father Malivore for one more chance because he wanted to be able to destroy Hope.
After the Season 1 finale, these characters could easily show up to help out.
And how is Josie playing a role in this with the lure of black magic?
Brandon: If Clarke, who doesn't have necessarily any magic skills of his own, has been using the illusion powers that we've seen Vardemus using and he needs a witch with real power and if he's trying to get that witch much, much more powerful and into black magic, the question might be what for? We should be very concerned Josie might get drawn into something that's not just for her benefit but might have a nefarious purpose.
He's not the only threat. How worried should MG and Kaleb be about Sebastian after refusing to help him?
Brandon: He certainly seems to hold a bit of a grudge against them. Sebastian is loose in the world. Sebastian will say anything just to get out of that box. He's been manipulating Lizzie [and] MG. He tried to manipulate Kaleb, but then ultimately was successful in manipulating Wade, of all people.
Brandon: Poor Wade, he just can't get anything right. Now that Sebastian's out, this is the first time we're actually going to see the real him and we're going to see the person who is, if he's free, what is he up to? What does he want? That's terrifying for our characters.
Was any of what we saw of him with Lizzie real?
Brandon: That's the question the characters are going to have to ask themselves. Was he really interested in Lizzie? Was he playing her? Or was it a mixture of both?
The showrunner and stunt coordinator offer insight into some memorable moments from the series.
I loved Hope and Lizzie's reunion and how far they've come. Lizzie even says she's glad Hope's back. How does that change their relationship going forward?
Brandon: We knew we wanted one character to find out before anyone else that Hope was back and to keep the secret. The most delicious dynamic was with Lizzie because they're, as Lizzie calls them, epic former frenemies. There's definitely the tension of they drive each other a little bit crazy, but they also work really well together.
For Lizzie, someone who spends her life declaring out loud how she feels, now she's forced to keep the secret for Hope, I don't think that's going to go well. Lizzie is the last person you want to tell your secrets to. There's a good chance their plan to keep it on the down low may blow up in their faces sometime soon.
Josie and Landon are taking one step forward, half to one-and-a-half steps back. What did you want to do with that relationship up until now and how will things change for them with Hope's presence and Lizzie not the best secret-keeper?
Brandon: The Josie-Landon dynamic is one we're really invested in and I really like because the goal was always not necessarily that we thought, "Oh, here's two characters that will be together for the rest of time." As you can see, this entire episode is about not leaning into and believing destiny and that you're destined to be together.
But the question was, what can they do for each other in a relationship for now? They've already been good for each other in that sense. Landon's already helping her become less codependent and she's helping him realize he can be more of a hero than he thought. They're building each other up, but the tragedy — especially in a Julie Plec world, there's always going to be tragedy tied with love — is that returning to Landon and Hope's epic love is going to mean breaking Josie's heart and possibly Landon's as well and put Landon in an awkward situation.
The actress also teases what to expect from Clarke and the cloaked figure.
For Josie, the person who's always putting other people first, the question is, when she finds out from that journal that Hope and Landon used to be in love, what does she do with that? Does she make a selfless choice, or does she make a selfish choice? We're going to be wondering that all through Episode 6 until it's revealed what her choice was.
Legacies, Thursdays, 9/8c, The CW