The Originals is a show with a lot of backstory — and not just because it is a spin-off of The Vampire Diaries, which is currently in its fifth season. The Mikaelson family — Elijah (Daniel Gillies), Klaus (Joseph Morgan), and Rebekah (Claire Holt) — has been causing trouble for more than 1,000 years. Here’s a timeline of the Original family drama.
10th Century: Meet the Mikaelsons
Mikael and Esther Mikaelsons came to the New World from an Eastern European village in the 10th century after a plague killed their first and then-only child. They aimed to start a family away from the fear of plague. They had five more children: Elijah, Finn, Kol, Klaus, Rebekah, and Henrik. When Henrik was killed by a nearby werewolf clan, Mikael and Esther sought out a way to make their children stronger than the werewolves.
Esther, a powerful witch, created the spell for vampires, turning her children into immortal beings. But the story was far from over. Unbeknownst to Mikael, Klaus was actually the product of an affair Esther had with one of the werewolves. When Klaus made his first kill, he triggered the latent werewolf gene, exposing the affair. The already troubled relationship between Klaus and Mikael became worse. Mikael hunted down Klaus’s biological father, killing him and his entire werewolf family, igniting a blood feud between vampires and werewolves that still exists today. Esther cursed Klaus to keep his werewolf side dormant and, in retaliation, Klaus killed his mother and framed his father for the atrocious act. Mikael starts a thousand-year hunt, his one goal: to kill his children using the white oak stake (the only way to kill an Original). Happy times!
1114: Klaus, Rebekah, Elijah, and Finn get daggered in Italy
In the 12th century, the Mikalesons spent some time with Alexander, a vampire hunter and member of “The Five” who was initially ignorant of his friends’ vampire statuses. Rebekah falls in love with Alexander, and first learns about the “cure” for vampirism. When Alexander eventually learns of the Mikaelson’s vampirism, he daggers them in their sleep. As a hybrid, Klaus is unaffected, killing Alexander and reviving all but Finn. Klaus suffers the tortuous hallucinations that come with killing a vampire hunter for more than a half-century.
1492: Klaus kills Katherine’s entire family
In an attempt to break the Sun and the Moon Curse that bound his werewolf side, Klaus seeks out Katherine, aka the Petrova doppelganger whose sacrifice could allegedly be used to break the spell. Learning what Klaus has in store for her, Katherine turns herself into a vampire, effectively ruining Klaus’ chances of breaking the spell. In retaliation, Klaus kills Katherine’s entire family and begins a 500-year hunt for Katherine so that he may punish her for thwarting his plan. Basically, he knows how to hold a grudge.
18th Century: Rebekah, Elijah, and Klaus make New Orleans home
Sometime during the 1700s, Klaus, Rebekah, and Elijah sail into New Orleans and make the infant city home. They build an empire in the French Quarter, the human aristocratic faction under their control. It is during this period that Klaus meets a young Marcel, saving him from a life of plantation slavery. Like Klaus, Marcel is a bastard son (of the plantation owner). Klaus trains and educates Marcel. Once grown, Marcel and Rebekah fall in love, but a jealous Klaus forbids them to be together. He daggers Rebekah for 52 years when they disobey. Instead of saving Rebekah from her half-century slumber, Marcel agrees to obey Klaus’s rules in exchange for his transition to vampirism. Eventually, Mikael catches up with his children and they flee New Orleans, leaving Marcel behind. Marcel takes over control of the city in their absence.
1920s: Klaus and Rebekah hang with Stefan in Chicago
In 1922, Rebekah and Klaus are living it up in Chicago. They meet Stefan there, and Rebekah falls in love with him. Stefan, in Ripper-mode, eventually wins Klaus over as well, and the two vamps become friends… until Klaus catches up with them again. Rebekah tells Klaus that she wants to stay with Stefan, so Klaus daggers his baby sister and brings her with him as he flees town.
20th century: The Mikaelsons come to Mystic Falls
The Mikaelsons get up to all kinds of shenanigans in Mystic Falls. Klaus kills a bunch of people — some of them recurring characters (R.I.P., Aunt Jenna and Carol Lockwood); falls in love with Caroline; creates a hybrid army then kills said hybrid army; and habitually daggers and undaggers his siblings. In Season 3, Klaus finally kills Mikael. In Season 4, Esther is resurrected and nearly successfully kills all of her children in an attempt to restore the unbalance she has created by turning her children vampire all those years ago. Basically, it’s madness.
Today: The Mikaelsons return to New Orleans
In Season 4 of TVD, Klaus is lured to New Orleans by the witches who intend to coerce him into overthrowing Marcel, who forbids witchcraft in the Quarter. They use werewolf Hayley, who is pregnant with Klaus’s child following a one-night stand, to do so. Klaus, Elijah, and Rebekah initially join forces to overthrow Marcel and keep Hayley and the baby safe, but — as is the Mikaelson way — eventually break alliances and bite one another (the biting is mostly Klaus so far). Will these siblings finally create the happy family they have been unable to over the best millenium? This is the underlying question at the heart of The Originals — and we can’t wait to find out!
The Originals airs Tuesday nights at 8 p.m. ET on The CW.