The actor opens up to ET about his character's love life, if the show addresses his friendship with Damon and more!
Legacies premiered last week with a slew of new characters, a handful of familiar faces and mysterious evil forces once again taking over Mystic Falls.
In the series premiere, fans of The Originals spinoff saw headmaster Alaric Saltzman, portrayed by Matt Davis, take the next generation of supernatural beings and nurture them to be their best selves -- in spite of their worst impulses. After getting introduced to the Saltzman twins, Josie (Kaylee Bryant) and Lizzie (Jenny Boyd), getting an inside look at Alaric’s relationship with Hope Mikaelson (Danielle Rose Russell), viewers were reintroduced to Landon Kirby (Aria Shahghasemi), a regular guy who discovers that he is among supernatural creatures.
The last scene, however, left viewers wondering if Landon himself is a force to be reckoned with, and if he’s the new villain in town.
Ahead of episode two, “Some People Just Want to Watch the World Burn,” ET spoke with Davis, who teased Landon’s major role in the first season of Legacies, and opened up about Alaric’s relationship with former girlfriend Caroline (Candice King).
ET: At the end of the series premiere, Landon is painted like the bad guy. Is he a true villain?
Matt Davis: That is the mystery we play with throughout the whole series. In the beginning of episode one, Landon is introduced with his friend, Rafael Waithe (Peyton Alex Smith), and they are brought to the school. But Landon is essentially a mysterious figure and at the end of the episode, we don’t know where he is in the spectrum of things. And we still don’t know as we’re coming up on episode 10. He is the wild card in all of this. Is he good, is he bad, is he human? We don’t know anything right now. We will tease that mystery and unpack that as the season unfolds.
The presence of Landon sort of triggers and activates this strange occurrence where all of a sudden these monsters from all these different types of genres begin to appear in Mystic Falls, and it’s a mystery we all have to figure out before it’s too late. That sort of drives our narratives.
Alaric takes on this father figure role to Hope. How will we see his and Hope’s relationship blossom?
I find it to be a really interesting dynamic. As an actress and a young woman, Danielle is really remarkable, brilliant, incredibly talented and much more emotionally sophisticated than I was at that age, and now at my age. We have a lovely dynamic. We have a lovely rapport on set and I think that comes through in Alaric’s relationship with Hope. She is unique to the other students in that she is a tribrid [witch, werewolf and vampire] and has the Mikaelson legacy, and he relies on her and that uniqueness to help him in situations that perhaps the other students couldn’t help him out with. You will see their relationship as friends, as mentor and father figure, and it grows throughout the season.
How does Alaric deal with Lizzie and Josie being jealous of his relationship with Hope?
He does his best to be as diplomatic as possible, perhaps at the expense of the better father that he could be. But he loves his daughters first and foremost, and he has a deep compassion for Hope’s situation, and you learn that he tries to balance that out to the best of his abilities in the first episode. But as the season unfolds, you will see new alliances form between Hope and the girls, which is cool to see. I enjoy how the relationships are established in the first episode, the unique and distinct personalities and differences between his two daughters and how they relate to Hope and how he tries to manage it in this series.
As for Alaric, will his love life get less tragic in Legacies?
Yeah, I hope so. There are peaks and valleys along the way, but I really love what we’re exploring as far as that’s concerned and what we’re setting up for the end of the season, hopefully, season two.
In The Vampire Diaries and The Originals, Alaric was always in the background, but this is Alaric front and center, this is Alaric 3.0. He’s wearing a lot of hats: headmaster, father, father figure, mentor, professor, protector, researcher. He will find love, perhaps, or at least a love interest down the road. He’ll have fun, quirky moments that I love that reveal the relationship between him and Caroline and his daughters.
How is his relationship with Caroline?
Caroline is out in the world, sort of recruiting students for the school, as we learned. As the season unfolds, we might learn that she actually has a different purpose in mind and it’s a fairly significant reveal towards the end of the season. I think he has nothing but love and respect and admiration for Caroline and understands she is out there and has a bigger goal.
We just shot a scene in episode nine -- I feel like I can share, it’s not a spoiler -- the girls have come back from visiting Caroline in Europe and they confront him and they basically say, "Dad, we talked to Mom and we’re all in agreement that it’s time that you start dating." He finds himself immediately defensive and he says something to the effect of, "Well, first of all, my life is a carefully balanced matrix of responsibility. If I were to add romance to that, it could all come crashing down and the world with it. Second of all, is Caroline dating?!" I love those little moments, those little reveals, that relationship that he has. His daughters are fully-formed, young women who are fiery and have personalities and have no problem holding back and telling their dad straight how it is.
Let’s talk about Alaric’s friendships. As headmaster, who does Ric hang out with? Who are his adult friends?
You will see familiar faces like Dorian (Demetrius Bridge), who is now the librarian at the school and they have a connection. There is a school psychologist [Emma Tig] played by Karen David, who is absolutely wonderful, and she is concerned about him and there may be a spark there, we’ll see how it all unfolds. But right now, Alaric has this notion that dating is not on his plate. He is just focused on work.
Does Alaric ever talk about his drinking buddy, Damon Salvatore, and their relationship?
We have been pretty off-topic when it comes to The Vampire Diaries, with the exception of Matt Donovan (Zach Roerig) and Jeremy Gilbert (Steven R. McQueen). But there is no mention of Damon or Elena or [other characters] apart from their sort of influence in the school. I think they refer to the library in the first episode as the Stefan Salvatore Memorial. But as of now, there is no real mention or acknowledgment in this particular world.
Kaylee, who plays Josie, opened up to ET about her character’s sexuality and said: “Josie is growing up in a very loving environment where her father is fighting actual demons, her father knows what evil is and he knows that his daughter having a girlfriend is not something to demonize. I think that’s a really exciting story to tell.” What are your thoughts on that?
I love that! It’s wonderful. I agree. I think it’s true. We are a show of the 21st century and I’m so proud of it. We defy all kinds of tropes and ideas. We have a whole new fresh perspective on the world that is so much more open, so much more embracing of everything. We do know what is good and we do know what is evil, and we fight what is evil and we embrace what is good.
What makes Legacies so different and unique from The Vampire Diaries or The Originals?
I love this show so much. I see it as completing the Vampire Diaries trilogy and it’s going to be so different from the other two series, which I’m really excited about. So while it has the Easter eggs and winks and nods and references to the other shows, it is its own entity that you can just hop in and watch and discover for the very first time without having to know the other shows at all. I think that the people who are just discovering Legacies first without having had watched the other two shows are in for something because they will find our show to be exciting and dynamic and fresh and go on to discover Vampire Diaries and The Originals next. Our show is the culmination of 10 years of Julie Plec, Brett Matthews and myself, and coming together in a much more focused, sophisticated, dynamic and mature way. We’ve learned a lot of lessons and applied those lessons brilliantly.
Legacies airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. on The CW.
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