During Entertainment Weekly’s Game Changers panel at San Diego Comic-Con, Julie Plec revealed how her new Vampire Academy series is similar to a particular trilogy of books or tetralogy of movies. When she first read the books when they first came out, which was about 2007 or 2008, Plec at that moment saw it as this beautiful story about lifelong female friendship and the power of these two women reaching adulthood in a rarefied society.
“When I was given the opportunity to make the show in 2021, I pitched it as Bridgerton with vampires. Let’s make it. Everyone was like, ‘Woo! Yeah! Bridgerton with vampires, we are in.'”
However, when she and showrunner Marguerite MacIntyre began developing the new series for Peacock, they realized some things they hadn’t before. Namely, the society in the books is unbalanced and on edge. It was a realization that opened up a new direction for her and the other writers to take the series that Plec hopes will connect with viewers in a deeper and more meaningful way.
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“There’s a class bias, there’s an elitism built into it, and we started seeing, because of where we were in our moment in time, all the threads the novelist laid in there. She had built a story about an imbalanced society ready to implode and it feels like right now, we’re collectively living that experience, that feeling of an economic disparity or a cultural disparity — everything feels like we’re in a pressure cooker.”
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So Julie Plec called up the network and acknowledged that while Bridgerton with vampires was a great pitch, she thought there making a vampire Hunger Games now. An “origin story of true revolutionaries who, once they realize the society they exist in is not built for them, they’re going to work together to dismantle it.” That does sound very much like The Hunger Games.
The movie starred Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence in the lead role of Katniss Everdeen. It was about a young girl who became the symbol of a revolution against an oppressive, decadent, and corrupt government. Though that series was set in a post-apocalyptic America, it had a love triangle instead of featuring a female friendship. Katniss’ two auditors were childhood friend Gale Hawthorne (Liam Hemsworth) and fellow tribute Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson).
“It felt great to realize we’re not just telling a story that will appeal to fans of the genre or people who like to look at sexy vampires and pretty pictures of castles and ball gowns and stuff. We’re telling a story about speaking truth to power and standing up against the systemic, it’s not totally a patriarchy, but it may as well be, and trying to be the change and act to make the change the world needs. It’s super entertaining, but it’s got a message.”
Vampire Academy will premiere on Peacock on September 15th. It stars Sisi Stringer as Rose Hathaway, Daniela Nieves as Lissa Dragomir, Kieron Moore as Dimitri Belikov, and André Dae Kim as Christian Ozera. Recently, the first teaser for the show was shown at Comicon. You can watch it for yourself here.