'Legacies' EP & Writer Preview Freya & Kai's Guest Spots

Meredith Jacobs
Q&A The CW

As always, things are complicated on Legacies. So when better to bring in a couple familiar faces to the Vampire Diaries universe?

Riley Voelkel guest stars as Freya, Hope's aunt, in Thursday's episode, while Chris Wood takes another turn as Kai later in the season. And both could have significant roles to play in the lives of several characters on the spinoff. As TVD fans know, Kai's presence can't mean anything good.

But maybe he won't be dropping any bodies this time. "It's a Julie Plec show, so you should be worried about everybody's life at every given moment," executive producer Brett Matthews told TV Insider. However, "Legacies is a show about life and hope much more than it is a show about death. It is a show about friendship."

That being said, "death really packs a wallop in this universe in a way it didn't in The Vampire Diaries, so I think that's one of the meaningful differences between the two shows," he continued. "If we ever drop a body on this show, it's going to be a dark day."

'Legacies' EP & Writer on That Professor Vardemus Twist and Josie & Landon

'Legacies' EP & Writer on That Professor Vardemus Twist and Josie & Landon

EP Brett Matthews and writer Thomas Brandon also discuss the '80s and Hope and Lizzie's reunion.

Here, Matthews and writer Thomas Brandon preview those special guest appearances and what's to come in the next few episodes.

Rafael has been going through quite a lot since he's been back. What did you want to explore with his reentry especially compared to Hope's? Here's someone everyone remembers versus someone only a couple of people know the truth about.

Thomas Brandon: That's interesting you pick up on that parallel. What we really want to explore with Rafe is in our universe, people have chosen to be wolves for longer [than one day at a time], but it's very rare to be stuck as a wolf for this long. We really want to explore what that would do to your brain. When you've had to survive and you've had to be a feral animal for a long time, how do you reintegrate back into society?

(Eliza Morse/The CW)

Especially for Rafe, not just that he's back and alone, but now Landon's busy with a relationship and Rafe doesn't remember his good friend Hope, so a lot of the relationships he had that might normally ground him have been taken away — even Alaric no longer being the headmaster as someone who looked out for him. We're setting him adrift and seeing if that's going to affect his recovery at all.

What he really has to hang onto right now is this strange girl named Hope who seemed to rescue him and seems to know him. There's a curiosity and a friendship and a romantic tension that's all blending together and setting up Rafael on a collision course to find out, "Who is this girl and what happens if I ask her out?" Of course Rafe may have the worst timing of all time.

While Josie's right that Alaric needs his own life, can he do that, especially with Clarke around?

Brandon: Just as Ric is beginning to let go and saying, "Okay, I will trust the students are in good hands with you," is the dramatic irony of seeing the students are in worse hands than ever. What we're setting up is a story where yes, Alaric does want to give the students distance, but just like any parent has to figure out, you want to give distance and freedom so the kids can make choices, but at the end of the day, they're still kids and need guidance.

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Go Behind the Scenes of 'Legacies' Season 1 With the Cast (PHOTOS)

The showrunner and stunt coordinator offer insight into some memorable moments from the series.

That's one of the things I like most about our show is there's a balance of yes, kids can be kids and they are smarter and braver and they understand more than adults give them credit for, but at the end of the day, we all need help. Alaric has been through a lot. His experience in this world is going to be a useful guide for the coming episodes.

Freya's appearing in this week's episode. What can you preview about her guest spot? [Note: The interview took place prior to the release of the Episode 6 promo.]

Brandon: We don't want to say who sees her, but let's just say it directly comes from Episode 5. There's one character who is left with some very big questions and might need some help from a very powerful witch.

(Eliza Morse/The CW)

Brett Matthews: And those questions may well drive her to New Orleans. We're very excited to see her. Riley's an amazing actress and it just tickles Julie and I and Thomas and our writing staff whenever we get to see old faces again. The door's always open.

Are Hope and Lizzie the ones who should be most worried about the truth-seeking monster?

Matthews: We have the secret of who Hope Mikaelson is, which they're keeping from everyone, so if a truth-seeking monster shows up in town, that puts them in a very precarious situation. But as with all monsters on this show, it's safe to say everybody needs to be worried and concerned because there's no telling who it's going to set its sights on next.

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Monster Mash: 'Legacies' EP Brett Matthews Unmasks 4 Season 1 Looks (PHOTOS)

Plus more behind-the-scenes secrets from the transformation process.

What can you say about Kai's appearance and what it might mean for Lizzie and Josie and the merge?

Matthews: Kai is Kai, so it's probably not going to be great when we get there.

Brandon: But what we did realize is the episode where we're going to reintroduce Kai into our world is going to be airing on Valentine's Day, which is the most wonderful irony knowing how exciting this episode is going to be.

Matthews: We are thrilled Chris Wood is coming back. ... He loves the character as much as the fans do. The one thing we all know about Kai Parker is you can't trust him, but what if you had to? That's the central question of the episode.

Legacies, Thursdays, 9/8c, The CW