'Legacies': Alexis Denisof on Professor Vardemus' True Intentions and Taking Josie Under His Wing (Exclusive)
By Liz Calvario
Annette Brown/The CW
There's a new headmaster in town and his name is Professor Vardemus.
Legacies' second episode of season two, titled "This Year Will Be Different," introduced fans to a handful of new and exciting characters, one of them being Alexis Denisof's stern and confident warlock. Taking over the reins as headmaster at the Salvatore School after Alaric Saltzman (Matthew Davis) was voted out, Vardemus is sure to stir things up.
ET caught up with the former Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel actor to discuss how Vardemus will change the school, affect the students, and what his real intentions are. There's definitely more than meets the eye when it comes to the British supernatural being, and we'll have to keep a close watch on him.
ET: Who decided to make Vardemus the school's new headmaster? Was it Caroline (Candice King) who chose?
Alexis Denisof: It was a decision that was made directly between Caroline and Alaric, but Caroline had the actual information and the actual interaction that brought Vardemus to Salvatore. Alaric trusted [Caroline in] that [he] was the person for the job. Vardemus brings his particular qualifications and experience that are well known in the alternate realities of the supernatural world. That was why he was approached for this and, of course, he turns out to not be everything that he appears. It's unknown whether this plan is going to work out or not.
How much will Vardemus change Alaric’s rules?
Oh, considerably! He comes in with a very different perspective on the supernatural world in general and he and Alaric do not agree on that, nor do they like each other very much from the outset. So he is going to open up a lot of what hasn't been opened up previously for the students at Salvatore.
He's really supportive of the student's powers and abilities. How will that affect the way the students learn about themselves and their studies?
Yes, he definitely has a strong opinion on that. For him, the kids are special and their supernatural powers are not to be hidden or apologized for. On the contrary, he believes that for them to be fully-realized individuals and to fully understand their power, they have to investigate it completely, both light and dark. And that the more understanding they have of their entire capacity, the more able they will be to manage their powers and the more effective they will be in the world. In his view, ultimately, the world will be one that operates on the laws of the supernatural, not the laws of humans. That's ultimately what he sees as the future.
How could his methods potentially disrupt the lives of the Salvatore students?
For them, that's a shocking new view of themselves. That's a shift in identity that they haven't been permitted. Many of them have come from really difficult childhoods because of their powers and their families have sent them to this school where they want them hidden away, preferably drain them of these powers if possible, but if not, to keep them out of anyone's eyesight. But to be told that they have value and to be told that their powers are not only important for them, but are important for the world, is a really different perspective on themselves. For many of them, that can be exciting.
Will Vardemus' ideas and methods backfire with some students?
It will backfire, for sure. For one thing, they won't all agree with him and they will take that disagreement amongst themselves and it will affect their relationships with each other. And secondly, it will directly backfire as they explore the different aspects of their powers with that full knowledge and full capability and protection that can also be damaging to themselves and others. So for sure, his tactics are not without consequences.
Is there more to Vardemus than meets the eye? Is he up to something?
Absolutely! You know, Julie Plec and Brett Matthews work well enough to know that there is no way that he is entirely what he seems. He has several layers of mystery about him, beyond what becomes an obvious one when you meet him right away. There will be more levels of that as we go. It's hard to say what his true motives are once you get to know him.
Will we explore more of his background and where he came from in this season?
It's a little early to say. For the meantime, we only experience him in the Salvatore School. But clearly, you can see from his behavior and his attitude and the way he dresses and the way he talks that he comes from an entirely other world of the supernatural that clearly has different ways of behaving and he brings all of that with him.
I have to say, when you first meet Vardemus, he's kind of giving me Wesley Wyndam-Pryce, season one of Buffy the Vampire Slayer vibes. Are there any similarities between the two characters?
[Laughs] Yeah, I can understand the comparisons. Obviously there's the confluence of genres, they are both supernatural, vampire-related, Mystic Falls, Sunnydale, Hellmouth. I can see those nods to each other. As far as the characters, while Wesley and Vardemus are both British and they both attempt a certain status, I think there is a profound difference in that Vardemus has a really, deep-rooted confidence in himself that Wesley did not have. Wesley was attempting a confidence that he clearly didn't possess, but Vardemus actually has it.
Of course, you also have to remember that Wesley was, throughout the entirety of his character, human and never deviated from that. He was only ever human with no extra powers than his ability to use logic, and Vardemus is quite different because he has a host of supernatural powers at his disposal.
Will we see Vardemus fight or tackle any of the monsters?
It's really fun to see when Vardemus uses his powers and how they manifest. You will see them from time to time throughout the show and sometimes they are used towards his own ends and sometimes you wonder what they are being used for.
At the end of the episode, we see him telling Josie (Kaylee Bryant) that she is very powerful and invites her to an exclusive advanced class. Will we be seeing him and Josie's relationship blossom or will they butt heads since she is Alaric's daughter?
That scene is the beginning of what will be a growing relationship between Vardemus and Josie and that will cause tension between Josie and Alaric. And Vardemus will introduce Josie to areas of herself and of her supernatural abilities that have previously been locked off for her, and there will be some unforeseen consequences of that.
Will he somehow influence her to go to the dark side or just embrace her power?
That's the challenge that is put before her. What happens when you open up this Pandora's box, as it were. It doesn't always go the way that you think it will. In a sense, it's true to life, isn't it?
And lastly, does Vardemus have any clear preferences of one type of supernatural being over another?
I don't know that I can officially make that decision. At the moment, I would say no. No preference. I think he has more experience with witches and wizardry, but I don't think that he does. I would say, at the moment, he doesn't hold one supernatural being over the other. For him, it's more holding supernatural beings above humans.