Julie Plec, Marguerite MacIntyre and the cast of Vampire Academy walked into a very excited Indigo Ballroom at San Diego Comic-Con. These were genuine fans of the books and were ready to see who would embody the characters they loved.
Julie’s journey to creating the Vampire Academy started even before she started The Vampire Diaries. She read the books around 2007/2008 before she even read the TVD books. She fell in love with them and knew she wanted to make a series out of it, but no one was making the kind of show she wanted to make at the time. It wasn’t until 2020 when she was asked if she could make any show what would it be, and she replied the Vampire Academy. This was at Peacock. “They instantly said yes,” Julie said
Julie reached out to Marguerite. She wasn’t quite sure at first if she wanted to do another vampire series, but she remembered loving the books because “It’s about a class system that’s unsustainable that’s falling apart, that’s unfair, there’s a regime change there’s real struggle in that land… That’s familiar. There’s a way that we can understand the pressures that these beautiful young women are under,” Marguerite said. She went on to say it’s a story about two best friends that society doesn’t want to be together, and it’s a story she wanted to tell.
Preserve the things that we loved about the books… So we were staying true to the story, the characters and the world that was built and not forgetting to dramatize all the incredible moments along the way.
If you’ve read the books, you know the story pretty well. Julie and the cast assure fans of the book series will be happy. They made sure to “preserve the things that we loved about the books… So we were staying true to the story, the characters and the world that was built and not forgetting to dramatize all the incredible moments along the way,” Julie said. But there are some changes. For starters, the series doesn’t start the same way as the books. Julie decided to start it before where the first book started. It’s the night of the tragic car accident. Julie believed there was an untold story there that she wanted to tell. The first season is also not the first book. Julie and Marguerite played around with parts of several of the books. For example, they pulled the big political story up to have in the first season. Julie said they pulled many of the “real intrigue stuff forward.” Fans may or may not be disappointed that the lust spell doesn’t appear on the show. The party and the spell weren’t really the story that Julie and Marguerite wanted to tell.
Sisi Stringer, who plays Rose Hathaway, chimes in here to say the story they told was better and hotter than the books. Sisi is a true fangirl of the books. She was a fan long before the show came to be. Sisi loved reading them as a young girl and can’t believe she gets to be a part of it now. When auditions first happened, Sisi knew she wanted to play Rose immediately because she thought she already knew the characters. Clearly, Julie agreed.
It’s about a class system that’s unsustainable that’s falling apart, that’s unfair, there’s a regime change there’s real struggle in that land… That’s familiar. There’s a way that we can understand the pressures that these beautiful young women are under.
Daniela Nieves, who plays Lissa Dragomir, read the books as soon as she knew it was a series and immediately became obsessed with them. “At the core of it is this female friendship. In my personal life, my female friendships drive my life, so having that and knowing I can be a part of that really excited me,” Daniela said.
Of course, friendship isn’t the only type of relationship in the story. André Dae Kim, who plays Christian Ozera, spoke about his character and Lissa’s relationship. He said it’s a classic romance. They have a shared experience of losing family and resentment towards society. He added that they’re the type of relationship where the two can’t be together because of distance or circumstances. Daniela said they had an unspoken thing from the very beginning.
And there’s also a love triangle, and we know how well Julie does love triangles. This time it’s between Rosa, Dimitri and Mason. If you’re a fan of the books, you know Mason was killed off, but they loved the actor Andrew Liner so much that they decided not to kill Mason off. At least not yet. You know how Julie likes to do things. I’m sure it will be when we least expect it and when she makes us fall in love with him first.
During the panel, the cast also shared their experience meeting in person for the first time. Vampire Academy was filmed in Spain, so they all met in Madrid and went for a fun night out, but Daniela slipped and fell, and she was so embarrassed she just lay there. Sisi said the boys came to her rescue. Kieron Moore, who plays Dimitri Belikov, said he thought he was a horrible Gauridan to her (since his character is her character’s Guardian in the series). Sisi described Kieron holding on to a pizza and panicking a little that Daniela fell and he wasn’t there to catch her.
Kieron also had a fun reaction to meeting Marguerite for the first time. During the table read, he couldn’t stop staring at her. He was a big fan of TVD and couldn’t believe Sherrif Forbes was sitting right in front of him!
The biggest takeaway for season one, besides the carefulness of making sure to stay true to the essence of the books and how much fun the cast is, was what the first season would center around story-wise. Marguerite said it’s about these two friends who met when they were five. Rose was kind of brought into the Dragomir family and lived this sheltered life because of it. But after Lissa’s family dies, that bubble is burst, and they are thrown into the different worlds they were born into, and they have to decide what to do.
Season one of the Vampire Academy premieres on Peacock on Sept. 15.