As True Blood’s Season 5 finale started last night, most of us were expecting a bloody battle between Russell and the faeries. But to our surprise, not only was there no war, but Russell Edgington met the true death in the first two minutes of the episode.
This shocker had been planned for awhile, but the execution and timing was under question, according to star Denis O'Hare.
“There was some controversy about how to do it. We always knew in the end it would be Eric, but the question was how,” Denis spilled to Vulture. “Given that Russell's so powerful, how could Eric surprise him? So the plausible answer is that he was drunk on fairy blood lust, and he isn't watching his back, and Eric takes advantage before he can respond.”
Denis also recounted a lost moment between Eric and Russell from Season 3, adding yet another layer to their complicated relationship.
“There was a lovely scene in season three … where Eric accepts his authority, and kneels before him, and you discover how Russell never had a son and he adopts Eric,” Denis revealed. “That scene was cut, but there is an echo of that when Eric kneeled before him again this season. And for Eric to take Russell's life, it was appropriate, and Russell knew that and he welcomed it. This was the only person he's ever accepted as a son.”
And if that wasn’t heartbreaking enough, a few Stevell scenes were also left on the cutting room floor this season.
“When we had the scene where we killed the frat boys and we were dancing? We were more than dancing — we were making out,” Denis spilled. “They decided not to keep the shot of us kissing, but we definitely went for it.”
In addition to Stevell memories, Denis has a lot to take away from True Blood — including a well-crafted backstory for Russell.
“We never officially talked about this on the show, but Russell's real name was Korun, which is ancient Celtic and means ‘Raven,’” Denis revealed. “My theory was Russell was a slave for most of his life, and after he was made a vampire, he killed all the slave masters and in that same hateful rage, he killed his maker.”
And with a character that complex and an actor so dedicated, it wasn’t surprising that one “very major character” (whose identity he wouldn’t reveal) lobbied to keep him around — even pleading to Alan and the head writers — but they couldn’t make it happen.
“For credibility’s sake, he has to go,” the team said. “We can’t let him survive again.”
And as sad as it was to see Russell go, Denis understood their mindset.
“There was no way for Russell to survive. And you would get tired of him if he did,” Denis pointed out, also noting that, “He might as well die; who is there left to meet — Mitt Romney?”
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