"Vampire Diaries" fan favorites the Original siblings of Klaus, Elijah, and Rebekah might get a lot more screen time soon -- if this week's new episode is a hit.
The April 25 episode of "Diaries," "The Originals," is a backdoor pilot -- a standalone episode that tests the viability of a potential spinoff for certain characters. If ratings and buzz are high, The CW will likely greenlight a series focusing on the vampire family for the fall season.
"The Originals" will follow Klaus (Joseph Morgan) as he travels to New Orleans after getting a message from Katherine (Nina Dobrev) that a powerful witch is plotting against him.
"Welcome to the dark side of New Orleans, where the living are easily lost and the dead stick around to play," a man tells Klaus in the extended preview below.
Joining him is brother Elijah (Daniel Gillies), who sees the trip as an opportunity to mend fences between Klaus and sister Rebekah (Claire Holt). In the Big Easy, Klaus reunites with his protégé, Marcel (Charles Michael Davis) who has "everything I ever wanted -- power, loyalty, family. I want what he has," Klaus growls.
"I want to be king."
The potential spinoff will have a darker, edgier tone than "The Vampire Diaries," according to Morgan. "'The Vampire Diaries' is a coming-of-age story and 'The Originals,' like Julie [Plec, the creator] has said, "is more like 'The Lost Boys,'" he told TV Guide, "embracing the nature of being a vampire where you party all night and sleep all day."
Klaus, once introduced as a "big bad," quickly became a fan favorite for his good looks, deadpan wit, and unrequited feelings for Caroline. And the audience will get even more of him if "The Originals" succeeds.
"I'm so excited for people to meet the new characters and see this new world and what this could be, should it go to series," Morgan said. "I don't think I would have this opportunity if the fans hadn't responded so warmly to Klaus, an old villain, so I really appreciate everyone's support and I hope this is something of a thank-you to them."
"The Originals" isn't this season's only backdoor pilot. The season finale of NBC's "Chicago Fire" will test out a spinoff for cops starring Clint Eastwood's son, and "NCIS: Los Angeles" (itself a backdoor pilot from "NCIS," which was a backdoor pilot from "JAG") aired one in March called "Red" about a mobile team of agents with John Corbett and Kim Raver. "The Office" almost tested a spinoff for Dwight Schrute called "The Farm," but decided not to go ahead with that series after the backdoor pilot aired.
Meet the cast of "NCIS: Red":
Watch "The Farm":
Backdoor pilots can yield successful series, like "NCIS" and "Private Practice" (a spinoff of "Grey's Anatomy"). But they can also flop with the original show's audience. A "Gilmore Girls" backdoor pilot for Milo Ventimiglia's character didn't pan out, nor did a "Gossip Girl" prequel about a young Lily van der Woodsen.
"The Vampire Diaries" airs Thursdays at 8 PM on The CW.