'Legacies': Chris Wood on Kai Parker's 'Destructive' Return and Pent-Up Rage (Exclusive)
By Liz Calvario
Bob Mahoney/The CW
Kai Parker is back!
Years after being permanently banished to a prison world, Chris Wood is back as villainous witch-turned-vampire Kai in Thursday's episode of Legacies. First introduced in season six of The Vampire Diariesand last seen in the show's series finale, the actor has returned for a two-episode arc that has die-hard TVD fans excited to see what mayhem he'll cause.
After killing his twin sister, Josette Parker (Jodi Lyn O'Keefe), and attempting to end his twin nieces, Lizzie (Jenny Boyd) and Josie (Kaylee Bryant) Saltzman's, lives, Bonnie Bennett (Kat Graham) and the young witches created a new world where he would live away from anyone that he could hurt.
But now, when a series of events leads Josie, Lizzie and their dad, Alaric (Matthew Davis), to the prison world, they come face to face with the twins' evil uncle. ET caught up with Wood ahead of his highly anticipated debut in the TVD and The Originalsspinoff, where he teased what fans can expect from his epic return.
ET: How was it to dive into a character that you haven't portrayed in years? Was it difficult or was it like you never left?
Chris Wood: It was a little bit like I never left. I was worried for a moment [thinking], is this going to be different, is he going to read differently because I'm in a different place in my life and I've done different things and the character is not as familiar? But then that's where I give all the credit to the writers because they just continue to capture his essence, regardless of how long it's been since the character has been written. And for some of them, even if they've never written Kai Parker, like Thomas [Brandon] had never written Kai but just watched a few episodes and channeled his energy, his sassy, awful, murdering, menacing ways. There are only so many ways that that comes out of my mouth without dropping me back into Kai. It's like I never left.
How has Kai's mental state changed after being stuck in the prison world for so long?
The good news for the heroes is that Kai's pretty much as broken as he can be. He's pretty much as bad as he can get. He doesn't have goodness in him. He only wants to take and destroy at all costs. So the good news is, I don't think it can get any worse. The bad news is, he's been sitting there for a heap of years just stewing about all of this, so he's got some pent-up rage. But also, Kai's rage shows itself in different ways. Sometimes it shows itself as, like, a predator playing with his food before he eats it. Time alone is not good for Kai.
What's his biggest mission in this episode? Will he try and kill the twins and Alaric?
Kai's biggest mission in the prison world is always to escape. He wants to get out because he has a limited number of interactions. He's had them all on repeat since he's been back, and he's just sick of prison world. He's ready to be back in the real world and he's got payback that he wants to serve and ultimately is always his goal. I think what's scariest about Kai is that he's really not afraid of death anymore because he's died so many times and always found a way back. I think, at this point, he doesn't think he's actually capable of dying. So if he escapes, that's a dangerous person to be because their awareness of the stakes and choices are not normal, but then again, nothing about Kai Parker is normal.
How much will Kai interact with Josie and Lizzie? What are his feelings toward the twins?
As always with him, every person he encounters is first assessed for, how can they be an asset to me? What can I use them for? He also, for someone who has so much hate and murderous tendencies, he doesn't like to be alone. He may annoy everyone and he says terrible things and it seems like maybe he doesn't like anybody, but I think, in fact, that is his joy, to be around people that he can bring out the worst in them. It makes him feel, he doesn't have warm and fuzzy feelings, he has spiky, awful feelings, but that's what he likes. I think ultimately, his ambition will be to use people as tools to escape and then create havoc.
How psychotic will Kai get in these episodes? Should we be scared?
What you get from Kai is actually almost more in the way that Legacies is as a show as compared to Vampire Diaries. Vampire has its sort of balance of heaviness with lightness, and The Originals was very heavy. Legacies has more lightness and fun to it and that is sort of what people love about Kai. That's what I love most about playing Kai, and the show presents the opportunity for him to be at his best, which is saying ridiculous things that have never been said and doing things his way, which is always dark and sinister, but in a weird sense of fun. It's not going to be good. But he has more fun when he is destructive and I think fans will enjoy it.
Be sure to return to ET for more from Wood after the episode. Legacies airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. on The CW.