Superhero one day, supervillain the next.
Actor Chris Wood’s regular gig is playing the charming hero-in-training Mon-El on Supergirl. But starting this week, Wood returns to his old stomping grounds on The Vampire Diaries to play the charming uber-villain Kai.
The fan favorite was killed off two seasons ago, but hey, this is a supernatural show, and The Vampire Diaries has been bringing back beloved (dead) characters throughout its final season. And it’s no surprise that showrunner Julie Plec and the writers found a way to include the snarky, psychotic witch/vampire hybrid, who has major beef with Damon (Ian Somerhalder) after putting Elena (Nina Dobrev) under a sleeping spell. But Kai is also the key to waking Elena up.
Yahoo TV chatted with Wood about Kai’s resurrection and just what kind of evil he’s up to now:
Yahoo TV: Kai was one of the most popular villains in the show’s history. How nice was it that fans were clamoring for his return this final season?
Chris Wood: It’s obviously always very flattering to hear that people responded to your character like that. I was thrilled to get to come back on the show for the last season.
Why do you think fans were drawn to Kai?
It’s that “love to hate them” thing. Because the character was so eccentric and witty and also psychotic, the contradiction in who that character is was entertaining to watch play out onscreen.
The last time we saw Kai, his head was chopped off by Damon. So, how does he come back?
It sure did! He first busts out of hell. He thinks he’s successfully done it, thanks to the ringing of the bell. Some unnatural forces are at play here, and he’s not quite as alive as he’d hoped.
When we pick back up in this next episode, he is sort of staggering into the Mystic Grill, and he thinks he’s landed, and he orders a bunch of food because he’s amped up to be there, and when he starts eating, you realize he can’t taste anything.
He discovers that he doesn’t feel anything and he’s not actually there. He’s sort of in some strange way connected to hell, still, and he has to sever that connection so he can stay on Earth.
Has being in hell changed Kai? Is he remorseful for his bad deeds?
It’s probably gone in the opposite direction. Being there and getting tortured and punished for all the horrible things he’s done, I think he’s coming out a bit worse than we last saw him. He’s a little more manic, he’s a little more obsessive, but he’s also got all of those fun little quips and strange comedic moments, while all the other characters stare at him in disbelief.
Yes, everyone will want to get rid of him, especially Alaric (Matt Davis).
Of course he does. Kai killed his sister [Jo], Alaric’s bride-to-be. So, he’s definitely wanting to take him out. But Kai is quick enough to know that if he brings Elena into the mix, he’s able to speak to Damon’s weakness and keep himself around long enough to figure out how he can work through this.
He eventually comes to realize that the more evil deeds he does, the less ill he feels and the better his footing on Earth is. So, he talks Damon into working out a deal which will help commit some evil acts and give Damon what he wants.
Kai has a lot of history with Damon and Bonnie, in particular. What will we see between those characters?
They drop back in right where we saw them. Damon still loathes the guy and can’t stand to be around him, but he also finds an unlikely alliance. Kai is just a pawn in Damon’s game. Unfortunately, Kai might be a little bit sharper in the mind and sick in an inappropriate way, so he’s always one step ahead of Damon. And Damon keeps getting frustrated with the guy, because he’s so hard to predict. You never know if he’s being honest or not.
As for Bonnie, that’s something we’re going to have to hold our breath for.
Is Kai aware that Jo’s twins survived his massacre? And will he try to do anything about it?
He doesn’t know anything that’s been happening on Earth and obviously, everything he finds out is going to motivate this quest for blood that he’s on.
What was it like coming back to the show?
This is one of those rare shows where you can get killed off and magically appear two years later. But I think the main thing for Julie was wanting to explore their favorite parts as writers and bring back some of their favorite characters from over the course of the show. I know they sought a way to bring Kai back. They mentioned it to me before they had an idea of how they could give him his head back, and obviously, I said I was onboard — good luck figuring that out! Lucky for all of us, they did.
Was it fun going from your Supergirl character, Mon-El, one day, to playing a sociopath the next?
It was a lot of flying back and forth. I guess the altitude and air miles helped me to cleanse my palate between characters. But walking back on the set, it all comes back. I was wondering how that was going to feel, because it’s been over two years since I played that character. I put on the rings and got that witty, supernatural dialogue, and you figure it out.
As for Mon-El, I’ve been doing that consistently long enough so I know who that guy is. That’s what’s fun as an actor, is getting to flop back and forth and play in two very different headspaces.
The Vampire Diaries airs Fridays at 8 p.m. on the CW.