'Legacies' Star Aria Shahghasemi Teases Landon's Past & Complex Relationship With Hope (Exclusive)
By Liz Calvario
Legacies has already introduced a slew of new monsters in the span of just four episodes, but there’s one being that fans still don’t know what to think of.
Episode five, “Malivore,” will dive deep into figuring out who, or what type of supernatural being, Landon Kirby, portrayed by Aria Shahghasemi, really is. Tasked with getting some answers is Hope Mikaelson (Danielle Rose Russell), who not only has had her doubts about whether Landon is good or evil, but will administer tests to find out the truth.
Fans first met Landon in an episode of The Originals. Since then, his story has been a complex one that has many skeptical about who he is and what his intentions are. As he and his foster brother, Rafael Waithe (Peyton Alex Smith), begin to discover a whole new world filled with witches, vampires, werewolves and more, Landon’s story only gets more and more interesting.
ET chatted with Shahghasemi about what fans can expect in the upcoming episode, how his relationship with Hope will blossom, and if the show will explore his past.
ET: What can fans expect from Thursday’s episode?
Aria Shahghasemi: In one branch of it, the episode focuses on Landon and Hope, and in another branch, Alaric (Matthew Davis) and Dorian (Demetrius Bridges) are doing their business with the new monster and trying to figure out the mystery of that as quickly as they can. Alaric established something called the Honor Council, which is one witch, one vampire, one werewolf, that will basically have a say in decisions that affect the whole student body. And that is what Rafael is getting into because Rafael is convincing Alaric to let the Honor Council decide Landon’s fate. So in terms of what I can tease about Hope and Landon, she is tasked with running the tests to figure out Landon’s origin, find answers about Landon and his whole deal. Landon is there because these tests are really going to determine if he gets to stay at the school, so obviously, he has to pass one of them.
Fans have been enthralled with Hope and Landon’s dynamic connection. How will their relationship blossom and evolve?
They get to spend a lot of time together in episode five, and because of the nature of what they are doing, they can’t really lie to each other. So they have to be pretty honest about what they are feeling and what they are thinking, and that inevitably, with passionate teenagers, becomes something.
Rafael and Landon grew up together, but now Rafael is getting embraced by all these new people and he’s figuring out who he truly is. How will Landon deal with all of that and what does that mean for their friendship?
For the most part, he is happy for Rafael because coming from the same background, Landon knows what Rafael is leaving behind, and I don’t think Landon blames him for that. Rafael is not doing anything wrong, and he didn’t necessarily choose this path. This life was thrust on him, and, obviously, he is going to accept it because it’s better than the alternative, not having a home where nobody cares about you and nobody is teaching you how to control yourself and your newfound abilities. I don’t think Landon holds it against him. It’s just that Landon wishes there were something like that for himself.
As the season progresses, does Landon mainly interact with Hope and Rafael, or does he create more friendship with the other students?
I hope that his social interactions expand because it’s sad that he only has those two friends. But you will definitely get to see him interact more with others as the season goes on. But for now, he keeps his circle very small. Landon is also so out of his depths because he doesn’t know any of these people. The first time he met M.G. (Quincy Fouse) he strangled him. So would you seek out that person and hang out with them? It’s going to take time. Like Hope said, “It’s going to take time for us to trust you.” It’s very interesting because, [for Landon, he thinks], you guys haven’t even taken the time to even consider what it must be like for me sitting on this side of things, and I don’t have superpowers to protect me!
Many fans also want to know, will they learn more about Landon’s upbringing, his family history and past?
You will learn a little bit, you won’t learn a ton. It will be tastefully revealed. It’s hard to talk about it because I don’t want to give anything away, but you will definitely get answers about where Landon comes from.
Have you had any scenes that have become a defining or turning moment for Landon?
When they find Landon in the root cellar is the big one for me because at that point he’s gone through a lot. Everything that happened in episode one, and then everything that is implied that happened between the end of episode one and beginning of episode two, and when you find him. It’s the first time he talks to Hope like that, and Hope is this all-powerful creature that could cook him alive with the snap of his fingers and that doesn’t matter to him anymore. Then on top of that he sees a dragon, and on top of that he sees a woman being stabbed to death, and all these things are compounding and compounding. Then in episode four, when he hits Connor in the face and his mandible comes out and he has a flap of skin on his fist, Landon handles it remarkably well! The only obvious answer to that is that Landon is at the end of his tether and he can’t really be surprised anymore. He’s seen too much for anything to be surprising.
When you signed on to play Landon in The Originals, did you know his story would go down this route?
I had no idea that what happens in Legacies was what was going to happen to Landon. But I knew that Landon was going to be extrapolated on if Legacies was picked up. After I read the first episode of the script I was totally taken by surprise. I did not expect any of this to be what it’s like. I remember talking to Danielle a few months before Legacies started production, and she had read the script before I did, and she was like, “You are going to be pleasantly surprised with what they put you through.” And I was like, “OK.” I had no idea what I was getting myself into.
As the season goes on, how would you like to see Landon evolve as a character?
Part of the joy is seeing what the writers decide to do, but if it was up to me, I would like to end the season with Landon facing an incredibly difficult decision of some kind. I don’t know if that means choosing between Hope and Rafael, or choosing between his past and his future. I don’t really know what the decision would be, but I would like to see him be faced with something where he can no longer be confused and afraid. He has to take action and he has to be honest about it.
And lastly, do you consider Landon a hero or villain?
I consider him a 17-year-old boy. I think he would like to be a hero, just because he understands that is the positive. I don’t think he would ever intentionally be the villain. But I don’t think he has any idea how to be a hero. I think he is just trying to keep his head above water and find his place.