4 Things To Know About the Vampire Academy TV Adaptation, Starring Daniela Nieves and Sisi Stringer

Yes, Vampire Academy is co-created by The Vampire Diaries' Julie Plec, but this show has its own lore and mythology.

by | September 15, 2022 | Comments

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Vampire Academy

(Photo by Peacock)

There’s nothing like a vampire saga to remind us that there’s always a way to breathe new life into a popular franchise.

And so it goes that, although there was a 2014 movie based on Richelle Mead’s popular Vampire Academy young adult fantasy books, a new TV version of the material premiered today on Peacock with four episodes.

The new series also comes with a familiar name attached. It’s adapted by Marguerite MacIntyre and Julie Plec. The latter is best-known for hers and Kevin Williamson’s hit adaptation of L. J. Smith’s The Vampire Diaries books on The CW — a show that itself inspired two spin-offs.

But, pre-existing source material or not, every vampire story has its own, um, stake in the game.

“The the only similarities between The Vampire Diaries franchise and Vampire Academy are just that the word vampire is in the title,” Plec tells Rotten Tomatoes.

Here, Plec, MacIntyre and the cast of Vampire Academy explained how their show rises above the others.

1. It’s Not About a Love Triangle


(Photo by Peacock)

Not just Plec’s The Vampire Diaries, but other vampire properties like HBO’s True Blood and the Twilight books and film series, fed off of a love triangle situation between a gifted heroine and two supernatural male beings.

There is a central relationship in Vampire Academy. But it’s one of best friends Lissa Dragomir (Daniela Nieves) and Rose Hathaway (Sisi Stringer). The first comes from a royal family and is a moroi (a vampire who may feed off of humans and avoid the sun but is also mortal). The second is a dhampir, a guardian-in-training sworn to protect the world of the morois and who, themselves, are part human and part vampire.

VAMPIRE ACADEMY -- “Earth. Air. Water. Fire.” Episode 102 -- Pictured: (l-r) Daniela Nieves as Lissa Dragomir, Sisi Stringer as Rose Hathaway -- (Photo by: Jose Haro/Peacock)

(Photo by Jose Haro/Peacock)

They study at the boarding school St. Vladimir’s Academy and are operating under the assumption that Rose will be Lissa’s bodyguard after graduation.

“The lens I look at vampirism through is based on the question of ‘If you’re gonna walk this earth for all eternity, who you’re going to do it with?'” Plec says.

Nieves says she likes that, through a show that also deals with classism and parental expectations, “the whole story is centered around this friendship. That is, their unconditional love for each other is the driving force.”

2. Any Sapphic Undertones Are Unintentional


(Photo by Jose Haro/Peacock)

There will be romance brewing; this is a YA story after all. But the audience just shouldn’t expect to see sparks flying between Lissa and Rose.

“One of the biggest hurdles in adapting this, because we do want to stay true to canon, is this is a platonic friendship,” Plec says. “These two women each have their own individual heterosexual relationships. And yet, we also recognize the world we live in today and that this generation doesn’t see those lines written as clearly — in a good way. And so we had to work extra-hard to make sure we weren’t accidentally promising something that we couldn’t deliver on.”


(Photo by Jose Haro/Peacock)

And there are plenty of candidates for heterosexual pairings, including Kieron Moore’s more senior guard, Dimitri Belikov, and André Dae Kim’s Christian Ozera — a new student at the school whose family has fallen out of favor in the community. So does this mean we can’t trust him?

“We’re young men,” Kim says. “Our truth right now could be one thing. And in three months, it could be completely [different].”

3. Not All Vampires Are Created Equal


(Photo by Jose Haro/Peacock)

There is a hierarchy among the vampires in this community, not just in regard to guardians versus royals but also who is deemed worthy enough to be a royal. Not all are born into it and J. August Richards’ powerful Victor Dashkov tries to change that from the inside out.

“As we were sitting down to reread the books and plan the adaptation, we didn’t want it to just be fun. We wanted it to be fun and meaningful. We wanted it to be entertaining and say something about the world,” Plec says. “We did deliberately lean into [the class system] quite hard.”


(Photo by Jose Haro/Peacock)

Race, however, is not a factor in this hierarchy. While TVD did receive pushback from viewers in regards to treatment of Kat Graham’s character Bonnie Bennett, all the actors interviewed for this story spoke of the inclusive environment on set.

“I want to express that it’s not a small thing for me, personally as a Black actor, to be able to go to a set and have my hair be cut,” Richards says. “It sounds like such a small thing, but it’s really not. For most of my career, I have had to get my hair cut on my own — often on my own time, with my own dime — because there’s not been someone on set to cut my hair. This is not a small thing because it affects continuity, as well as how I want to use my hair like every other actor to express a character.”

4. OK, So It’s Not Vampire Diaries, But …


(Photo by Jose Haro/Peacock)

Plec admits that, when they began work on the show, she and MacIntyre thought “this would be more Bridgerton, [but we] ended with a series that’s quite a lot Hunger Games.”

“There’s influences of both, obviously, in the series,” she continues. “But it is really a show about the spark of the revolution at the fingertips of these two women who are holding the match.”

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