Executive Producer Brett Matthews and Thomas Brandon are the writers of tonight’s game-changer episode of Legacies airing at 9PM ET/PT on The CW and both writers hopped on the phone with KSiteTV yesterday to preview this story which sees Hope and Lizzie teaming up in a very Eighties-like setting at the same time a dance is happening with a similar look.
“Screw Endgame” is the title of this one, and it picks up with Lizzie (Jenny Boyd) now being one of the only people who remembers everything about Hope (Danielle Rose Russell). Some minor spoilers for tonight’s show can be found within; you have been warned! A post-mortem discussing more spoilery topics will be up after tonight’s show has aired.
On to the interview!
KSITETV’s CRAIG BYRNE: Can you talk about the choice in the writers’ room to make Lizzie the first person to remember Hope?
BRETT MATTHEWS: Honestly, it wasn’t a choice. It was one of those moments where it was just our natural instinct and on an undeniable gut level, but it’s like when you put your writer hat on and you go, “well, who’s the best person?” It’s her, because who is in the worst situation?
Obviously Lizzie’s blood allegiance is to Josie — they’re literally twins. Hope Mikaelson is her frenemy at best leading into this episode, so Lizzie is just obviously the ideal person to be put into the situation because it is the stuff of great drama.
THOMAS BRANDON: The dramatic fun of it is Lizzie has such a hard time keeping a secret. She’s such a declarative character; she just tells everyone how she’s feeling at all times. So the idea of giving her a secret, to be the only one in the world that knew that Hope was back and having to hold that from everybody, just seemed like it would lead to some great episodes, and it’s certainly something she will struggle within the next episode. “How do I keep this secret, the biggest secret of all time?”
What can you preview about the Hope and Lizzie reunion, for the people who haven’t seen the episode yet?
THOMAS BRANDON: What we discover is after the events of Episode 4 where Lizzie remembers who she is, Lizzie and Hope are thrown together and working together to solve a problem that I don’t want to spoil. The problem demands that they fight the monster before they can actually talk about everything that’s happened. Fighting the monster is their therapy, and it’s their way to get through all the choices that have been made where Hope came back and chose not to tell everybody.
BRETT MATTHEWS: For Lizzie, it’s like, they are in a life or death situation and have to rely on each other, but she wants to know the fundamental question of the season up to this point, which is why. “Why didn’t you tell us you were back?” That’s going to be the answer she is trying to find, even as they’re trying to survive the monster of the week.
THOMAS BRANDON: The really interesting journey for Lizzie will be once she goes through this experience with Hope. What if Lizzie, at the end, kind of gets it? What if Lizzie understands why Hope did what she did, and what if going forward, they decided to keep it secret, and how will that go?
Can you talk about how then 1980s settings came up when breaking this episode?
BRETT MATTHEWS: Yeah, I mean, that’s just where Thomas and I come from. We knew we wanted to do a decade dance. We’ve been trying to do one for two seasons now, because it’s a tie to our past and sort of thematic of it being tied to the show’s past. I’ve probably written a handful of those over the years of Vampire Diaries.
It’s sort of a tie to our pasts. We’re products that generation. We saw Star Wars, we wanted to do what we do for a living as a result, and that’s just where our brains go when it comes to nostalgia, when it comes to specificity, when it comes to a a decade, we really wanted to explore this very vibrant time in our minds.
Our cast, mind you, has no idea what the Eighties were. That’s sort of the fun of it, to view it through that lens. I think our director Barbara Brown, and our editor, Evan Warner, latched on to a lot of those same elements, being products of that same generation. It just gave the whole episode a wonderful specificity, and a zeal and a passion that I think was the right fit for us. And it’s also the other stuff of Legacies. It’s the ridiculous wardrobe and the jaw dropping soundtrack. It’s all the great things, and let’s be honest, it was about seeing Matt Davis in an Indiana Jones costume. That’s really all that mattered to us as writers.
When writing an episode like this, were any of the song choices in the script, or was that all picked later?
THOMAS BRANDON: I don’t think any of the song choices were in the script, but we talked extensively with our director because some of the time, you’re going to take us in post, but some of the time if there’s choreographed dancing, or if there are camera moves that are being tied to certain beats or rhythms, you need to know in advance what those are going to be so the actors and the camera people can all practice.
So, it was a little mixture of both. We have a phenomenal music supervisor, Chris Moliere, who got us a list of over 200 songs, both originals and covers. It’s kind of a wacky thing to listen to like four covers of the same song in a row, hearing four different takes on it. And it was about us finding the surprising version. You don’t normally necessarily think of Take On Me as a romantic song, but you find the romantic cover of it.
BRETT MATTHEWS: Chris Moliere is really one of the best in the business at what he does. He’s exceptional. You think of all of the great song placements we’ve had over the near decade of doing this together, and it’s just amazing.
Do you think relationships in life are now less complicated for Hope, since very few people remember their histories with her?
BRETT MATTHEWS: I think I think the problem is, she remembers her history with that. And I don’t know, once that elephant exists in the room, that anything’s easy. I think in some ways, actually, it might be a lot harder. Because, you know, friendships, relationships, ups and downs, you at least have that mutual history, and she’s in a really terrible position in the season where the history is one sided, and the burden is hers to bear alone. So if anything, I would say it’s more difficult.
What can you tell us about what Sebastian is up to and how MG and Kaleb factor into that?
BRETT MATTHEWS: This episode gets to the bottom of exactly what kind of vampire Sebastian is. He’s a vampire from sort of the Vampire Diaries universe set in the world of Legacies, and what does that mean? Kaleb and MG are really the perfect spirit guides to usher a Gothic vampire into the modern woke world of vampires that a Legacies vampire exists in.
Sebastian is somebody who would be really comfortable having a beer with Damon Salvatore. MG and Kaleb live a very different lifestyle as vampires. It really is an opportunity for sort of self examination and reflection on some of the stories we’ve told in the past and in the same universe, but in a totally different palette. The world has changed so much in the short time between The Vampire Diaries and Legacies that Sebastian really is a vehicle for us to explore all those issues, and what that means.
THOMAS BRANDON: The best vampire to to create that tension in that and that contrast with MG. MG has definitely been the vampire who’s the most evolved, and who wants to change the stigma of what vampires are, and to change the definition of what vampires could be, and here comes this black-clad Gothic vampire straight out of another show there to kind of reinforce stereotypes. It’s almost like MG’s worried that Sebastian’s out here making us all look bad. So he’s struggling not just with Sebastian, who’s into the girl he’s into, but he’s struggling with the fact that Sebastian represents a point of view that MG is trying to leave behind.
What has been your favorite part of Legacies Season 2 so far?
BRETT MATTHEWS: For me, the show is a joy. It’s about good things, and friendship, and the occasional tragedy. But what I love the most about this show is that if you have a good idea, we can do it. The show is elastic in all the best ways. It’s lighter, it’s fun. The show is exactly what I want it to be, and so that’s one of the joys.
Julie [Plec] has really created an elastic sandbox, and it’s really fun. I love the monsters. I love the characters. I love what the show is saying about the world. I think it would be harder for Thomas and I to illuminate things we don’t like about it.
THOMAS BRANDON: This year, it’s been the cast. I thought the cast was really good in Season 1, and somehow, they stepped up for Season 2. I’ve seen them do some really extraordinary work, especially when you get to be on set. I’ve watched them approach a scene, and they approach it so thoughtfully. The greatest joy you can ever have with a writer is to write a line and then have an actor come up and deliver it in a way that even better than what was in your head. You feel seen and protected and saved as a writer. It’s like, “oh, thank you. You took something that was an idea and you actually made it real and lived in, and to the point where you forgot that you wrote it.”
BRETT MATTHEWS: It’s the cast; it’s the crew. It is the greatest joy for a writer. You write something, you put your guts on a page, and then people come along, understand it, and make it better. That’s really been the joy. I’d [also[ say that’s the joy of Season 2 is we’re not finding it anymore. We know what the show is. The actors know who the characters are. The directors know how the show looks and moves and so hopefully, we’re just another year better at it. I feel that we are, and I certainly hope our fans feel the same. I feel very strongly about Season 2.
I think if you liked Season 1, you’ll love Season 2. That’s always the goal; to just get better every year.
You can find a trailer for tonight’s Legacies episode “Screw Endgame” below; some preview images can be found here. Our thanks to Brett Matthews and Thomas Brandon for taking the time to do this interview!