‘Legacies’ Star Danielle Rose Russell Teases What’s Next for Hope in Season 4

Legacies is back, baby! After Season 3 of The CW’s supernatural series was cut short, the final four episodes of the season were kicked to Season 4, starting with tonight’s premiere episode, “You Have To Pick One This Time”. And as the episode kicks off, Hope Mikaelson (Danielle Rose Russell) is dealing with more than one serious issue; but the biggest is that she may have to become a tribrid, a combo of vampire, witch and werewolf, that would mean she’ll (temporarily) have to die.

“You’re going to see Hope in a completely new way,” Russell teased to Decider. “I’m just really looking forward to people seeing Hope finally come to terms with these things that she’s been avoiding.”

In the hour, and spoilers past this point, the students of the Salvatore school have captured their arch-enemy Malivore, with one catch: he’s in the form of fellow student, and Hope’s on-again, off-again boyfriend, Landon (Aria Shahghasemi). Together, they come up with a double-edged plan: while their headmaster Alaric (Matt Davis) and student Kaleb (Chris Lee) go into the front of Malivore’s mind, Hope and MG (Quincy Fouse) will sneak in through the back, thanks to some magic from Lizzie (Jenny Boyd) and Josie (Kaylee Bryant). Ultimately, Alaric and Kaleb discover that the real Landon is still around inside Malivore, but hold that information back from Hope. And meanwhile, Hope gives up on a chance to find Landon to save MG’s life.

To find out more about the big choices Hope faced in the episode — as well as the ones to come — read on.

Decider: These first four are pretty big ones for Hope as she starts to wrestle with potentially becoming a tribrid… Obviously there’s a lot of anticipation for that with the characters on the show, and the fans, but as the actor who actually plays Hope, what has that potential looming change been like for you?

Danielle Rose Russell: It’s been really great, actually. I’ve sort of been redefining this character I’ve played for so long, and it’s kind of broken out this stagnant energy I felt with her, and I’ve gotten to kind of develop a new relationship with her, that I’m still figuring out. So it’s been a nice challenge.

To jump into the premiere, what was it like working opposite evil Landon?

That was really fun, actually. Getting to see Aria redefine his character all last season, it was a joy to work with as an actor. He did a really great job with evil Landon/Malivore, that I think fans are really going to love.

Overall, a lot of the premiere episode seems to be about Hope figuring out how to move on from her co-dependence with Landon. What does that do for her now that she’s starting to let go? Or can she never really let go completely?

I don’t know if she ever fully will be able to let go. That relationship, and that love that she has for him is what drives the decisions that she makes regarding herself and her destiny. I will say, though, it’s sort of done very separate from Landon. Just her fulfilling and stepping into this destiny, the legacy that she — that we’ve all been anticipating for so long. It’s very much her own decision, and it’s very much based outside of just Landon and focuses more on her love for saving people that she might even know.

The twist of the episode is that Landon is still around in Malivore, and Alaric and Kaleb are lying to her about it. What potentially will it do to all of those relationships, once Hope does actually find out?

Yeah. I mean, it definitely complicates things. I think that her relationship with Alaric is much more complicated than those other relationships. Which, is one of my favorite dynamics to play with. I love the Hope and Alaric dynamic, and I feel like we haven’t really seen them work together as much since Season 1. So it’s been really nice to be able to have that relationship be tumultuous at times. Be a little bit tense, but also be really beautiful. There are so many beautiful moments that are coming up for them. So that’s really exciting.

Legacies -- “You Have To Pick One This Time” -- Image Number: LGC317fg_0060r -- Pictured (L-R): Aria Shahghasemi as Landon Kirby and Danielle Rose Russell as Hope Mikaelson -- Photo: The CW -- © 2021 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Photo: THE CW

I did want to ask you about that because he really started as a father figure, a mentor for her. At this point, are they more equals? How do you see the relationship?

Pretty complicated. It’s a good question, actually, that I don’t get asked very often. In a way I sort of see them as equals, but I think there will always be a part of both Hope and Alaric that feels that father-daughter bond. I think that Hope really respects Alaric in a lot of ways. And I think Alaric respects Hope, and seeing that relationship be just as complicated as it is, it’s a metaphor for the complications in people’s lives and how families are never cookie cutter and perfect. And seeing that complicated relationship develop has been one of the best joys of playing Hope.

The last few episodes of Season 3, and it picks up here really nicely, really digs back into the triumvirate of Hope, Lizzie and Josie. What’s it like getting to work with Kaylee Bryant and Jenny Boyd on those scenes?

It was nice. I really like Hope having friendships. And I think that was really amplified last year, and seeing how Lizzie and Josie really support Hope has been really nice, to see them fighting for her as well. In the first couple of episodes, you definitely see that relationship put to work as far as, they made the promise of supporting her through all these ups and downs, and they definitely do.

Towards the end of the episode, there’s this really lovely scene where Lizzie asks Hope to hang out while she falls asleep, which in my mind seems pretty huge given their formerly antagonistic relationship. What’s your take on this arc between them, and what was it like playing that scene?

I love the relationship between Hope and Lizzie. It’s one of my favorite relationships. And I think that it’s kind of this beautiful place that they’ve gotten to over the course of the last couple of years, and just seeing how very human moments, it’s a very human and grounded moment that she’s just like, “Hey, can you just stay with me because I’m going through something.” And Hope is just like, “Yeah, of course.” That’s really nice, to always step away from the supernatural side of things and just see these characters exist as human beings.

On the opposite of the spectrum, we have Josie off working on a relationship with Finch in this episode, but she also brings up The Merge again. From a viewer perspective, it seems like with Josie potentially dealing with The Merge, Hope potentially dealing with becoming a tribrid, there could be some sort of bonding, in terms of magical fates. Is that anything we should expect to see as the season continues?

I don’t think so. Hope’s journey has been something bigger than just certain relationships here and there. So while she does deal with it with the people around her, it’s very much so based in her own destiny. Josie’s feeling the exact same way, especially with her relationship with Finch, which is a top priority for her. So in a way I sort of feel like we see them respectively deal with these supernatural destiny challenges.

While we’re running through friendships, I’m really enjoying the friendship between Hope and Cleo… What’s it like working with Omono? And what is it that brings these two characters together in your mind?

The Hope and Cleo dynamic was my favorite to play with last year. Omono has been such a wonderful addition to our cast. Her story has been this missing puzzle piece that our story has needed for so long. I mean, it’s really just been so refreshing to have a new character that’s driving the story forward, and Omono is wonderful to work with. So I’m very excited to see how that relationship plays out, as well.

I know these episodes were filmed a while back, and obviously have been such a challenge to film in COVID. Has that gotten any smoother now that you’re tackling the Season 4 episodes, or is it the same sort of thing?

It’s the same for sort of fear surrounding going to work every single day. Especially as actors and people within this very highly at-risk zone, just being without our masks and stuff… That’s something that we’re going to face for a very long time, just given the nature of the world. But I will say that people will have really found their groove with COVID restrictions and redefining our relationship in a new world of Hollywood. In a way, it’s nice to see all of humanity brought together, and people who have come back even after the pandemic, seeing that loyalty has been really nice.

Looking forward, because we’re essentially wrapping up Season 3 here and then heading into Season 4… What else can you tease about the next batch of episodes for Hope as she tries to take down Malivore, once and for all?

You’re going to see Hope in a completely new way. I think that fans are going to fall in love with Hope in a new way. I really developed a respect for her at the very end of, or I guess the beginning of Season 4. And I think that fans will feel the exact same way. I’m just really looking forward to people seeing Hope finally come to terms with these things that she’s been avoiding

This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

Legacies airs Thursdays at 9/8c on The CW.

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