Comic-Con 2011: The Vampire Diaries

Vampires. Werewolves. Witches. Steamy love scenes. No, not True Blood—I’m referring to TV’s other supernatural romance, The Vampire Diaries. Before Saturday’s Comic-Con panel, we were able to chat with a few cast members and writers of the CW series. Here’s what Ian Somerhalder (Damon), Nina Dobrev (Elena/Katherine), Julie Plec (executive producer), and Kevin Williamson (executive producer) had to say about last season’s cliffhanger and what’s to come in Season 3.

On Stefan going bad…

“Stefan has taken on with Klaus for a greater agenda. Klaus is up to something. And that’s sort of the first chapter of our story.” – Williamson

“He’s got it in him. He’s pretty hardcore when he falls off the edge, and it’s not just gonna be one and done with him. We wanted our hero to go down a really dark road, and we’re gonna take him down that really dark road for a while. But there’ll be levels of bad that I think Paul Wesley is really excited to explore. But no, we’re not gonna back off from that.” – Plec

“What we don’t want to do is homogenize a hero or a villain by not taking them to the edge. And you’re rolling the dice that your audience will be able to come back from it. So it’ll be risky. It’s very risky, and we’ll see how we can get him out the other side, but we’ll sure as hell be rooting for him to get out the other side.” – Plec

“Stefan has that push-pull with Klaus. He tried to save his brother, yet ultimately he’s compelled and he’s going along with the whole thing.” – Somerhalder

On Damon becoming the “good” Salvatore brother…

“By no means are they swapping personalities, but yes, Damon, unfortunately—I think his big beef with Stefan is like, ‘Hey, man, you went and fell off the edge, and now I’ve gotta be here and clean up your mess.’ And it’s a nice role reversal for the two brothers … Damon isn’t going to be happy about it, and he’s certainly not going to go gently into it. He’s not going to take that role on with much pleasure.” – Plec

“Damon is like this reluctant hero. … It’s not his role in life. He’s not good at it. And he’s gonna constantly save—because Elena’s going to be there pushing him on to be the hero, but his nature is to kill people. So it’s gonna be interesting. That conflict will escalate and blow up.” – Williamson

“Ultimately he’s pretty pissed off. For two seasons he tried to get his brother to be what he wanted him to be, to just eat and destroy everything in their paths. Which would have been fun, to sort of be who he really is. So we tried that for two seasons. Now Stefan’s running around with Klaus, this dude that Damon absolutely hates. He tried to kill him. Doing all those fun things he was trying to get his brother to do. Not only that—now Damon’s stuck in Mystic Falls with this girl he loves, 150 years younger than he is, who a) doesn’t want him, and b) it’s his brother’s girl, so he ultimately can’t do that. I think he’s really not happy with the way things have turned out. But I think he’s gonna rise to the occasion, and he’s gonna have fun doing whatever it is.” – Somerhalder

On the Stefan-Elena-Damon love triangle…

“At the end of Season 2, Katherine uttered that one line, ‘It’s OK to love both of them.’ We’re gonna sort of watch that play out. And what does that mean? It meant one thing for Katherine. What’s it going to mean for Elena? You can love someone brotherly. You can love someone as a friend. And I just think romantic love—it may not be OK to love both of them. I think that’s the journey. She’s got a big journey, because 100 percent, yes, she’s attracted to this man [Damon]. Yes, she loves Stefan unbelievably—I mean, it’s an epic love that’s never going to change.” – Williamson

“People keep talking about this steamy kiss. And I don’t know if anyone was really paying attention, but Damon was pale, bleeding, and sweating profusely. So I’m not exactly sure how passionate it was. But he definitely remembers it.” – Somerhalder

“She gets something from Damon she doesn’t get from Stefan. They laugh. They prod at each other. They bicker. There’s even a line in the next episode, where Alaric even says, ‘What are you guys, 12?’ Because they have this kind of cute banter thing happening.” – Somerhalder

“I’m pretty sure there’s another brother somewhere that’s the hybrid of the two of them … I think Elena’s got it good. She’s got both of them after her, so … she gets both. She’s a smart woman.” – Dobrev

“Just because [Damon’s] there and Stefan’s not doesn’t mean she’s going to fall into his arms. I think she realized that she was in big trouble once she found out that Damon was going to survive after she kissed him.” – Dobrev

On Jeremy seeing dead people…

“It’s a story that’s going to kind of slowly unfold. It’s gonna have both a great supernatural genre element to it, but also a really strong emotional element to it, which I think is one of the reasons we wanted to do it. Because you’ve got this kid that—in the second-to-last episode, Elena says, ‘I’m so sorry you’ve lost so many people.’ And he has. He’s just a kid when all is said and done, and the two first loves of his life [Vicki and Anna] are now popping around.” – Plec

“We’re slowly sort of unveiling what these ghost-like people are. … It’ll be interesting to see how Bonnie gets in the middle of it, and sort of helps him stop seeing dead people. And also, they’re his ex-girlfriends. They’re the two other people he’s loved. The only two.” – Williamson

On Caroline/Tyler…

“Caroline and Tyler, they’ve got such wonderful chemistry, those two. The characters have been through so much together. Tyler’s been exposed to his core, and she’s been right there holding his hair back, proverbially. So we’ll see … how long that stays just friends. Because it’s kind of inevitable that there’s gonna be some action happening there eventually.” – Plec

On poor human Matt…

“Poor Matt has hit some hard times in life. I loved what he said to her at the end of the season, which is, ‘My life was hard enough without all this stuff. I think I’m gonna just go try and live it, and keep myself away from the supernatural.’ But one of the last things we saw at the end of the season, of course, was his sister Vicki making an appearance to Jeremy.” – Plec

“I personally love him as a human character. I want to also show that relationship with how he views the supernatural world, because Mystic Falls has clearly got something wrong with it … It’s gonna be interesting to watch our one standing human character—a) to see how long he survives, and b) what’s his relationship to the people around him, and the lies and the betrayal and all the stuff that’s happening.” – Williamson

On Katherine’s return…

“Katherine last year was our Mini-Bad. She started as the Bad and became the Mini-Bad. She got a lot of showcasing last year, and we definitely haven’t seen the last of her. It’s just a matter of when we’re gonna see her again. That’s the fun surprise.” – Plec

“I definitely enjoy playing both, because there’s never a dull day. … A lot of the physical changes are what help me. When I look in the mirror, I just feel different when I’m Katherine or when I’m Elena. And my voice changes a little bit. And even just mentally. I feel like I can get away with a lot more, and I think differently. I get a little more sassy on set when I’m Katherine. I’m a little more reserved and Elena-esque otherwise.” – Dobrev

On new villains…

“We have Klaus. And with Klaus comes a whole host of problems and people and characters. The werewolves are still out there, and now that he’s a hybrid it’s kind of interesting to see what he’s up to. And the original family, which we hope to meet as the series progresses.” – Williamson

On Alaric’s new role…

“Alaric’s gonna be struggling with this role that he sort of accidentally stepped into at the end of last season, where he of course decided to spend the night. And when we come back for our premiere, we’ll see that he’s been basically living on the couch for a little while. And struggling with suddenly feeling like he doesn’t have enough to offer as a guardian, as a mentor, because he himself is kind of going through a hard time in his life.” – Plec

On Jenna’s death…

“It was a hard one. I don’t know if there was a decision. It was something we toyed with maybe a little bit on and off in the first year and into the second year. And we just sort of felt, once we started developing the third season, and we kind of knew—it would be great for Alaric to do this, it would be great for this stuff to happen. I couldn’t really figure out where [Jenna] might have fit in in that world. And I just didn’t want Aunt Jenna in the kitchen with the oatmeal or the coffee, and just being this human character that just had these WB scenes in the morning. I wasn’t quite sure what to do with the character. I struggled with it.” – Williamson

“I thought, let’s send her out. Let’s send her out in a beautiful way, and let’s have it mean something. Let’s once again let our characters deal with death up front and personally. I just thought it would have an emotional impact that would be devastating, and a way in which, it just shows you the repercussions of living in this town.” – Williamson

The Vampire Diaries returns September 15 on the CW.

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