We’ve saved some of the best of our coverage from the 2011 San Diego Comic-Con for last. Up next is our chat with “The Vampire Diaries” executive producers Julie Plec and Kevin Williamson, who tease us with tidbits from Season 3 like what we’ll see in the first few episodes, what’s up with both Katherine and Jeremy, and whether or not supernatural beings get horny, too!
As for how Season 3 begins, Plec told us, “I can tell you that we did ourselves hopefully and the audience a favor at the end of Season 2 by kind of laying out a little sampler platter of what was in store. And we’ll follow through with it. We’ve got Stefan having taken a bullet, so to speak, for Damon as Damon and Elena were finally reaching an understanding in their own friendship that was probably a little more profound than either were anticipating. We have Stefan back in the blood and back on the dark side with Klaus. We have strange and curious visitations from characters of the past that we lost along the way. So we’ve got a lot of stuff to kick us off, the first of which obviously being where is Stefan? Is he alive; is he dead? How can we find him; how can we help him; how can we save him? And ultimately, can he be, or does he want to be, saved?”
Williamson chimed in with, “A show like this rests on its twists and turns, and that’s the fun of the show. It’s why I like to write it. So the last thing I want to do is give too much away, but this season … we break it down into chapters. I would say the first chapter is clearly Klaus. We’re going to watch what Klaus is doing with Stefan, what he’s up to, what is this hybrid about? We’re going to try to get into the Original family this year and sort of understand who they were and what they were about, perhaps meet a few of them. If you remember the mythology, Elijah explained there’s eight family members, and Klaus is kind of the bastard child. He always has been. And now he’s a hybrid and he’s all alone. I would imagine the first thing he wants to do is change that. So it sort of launches us into Klaus and his first chapter.”
Since they brought up Klaus, we wondered what the big bad has been up to, and Plec offered, “I think that Klaus and Stefan have been kicking their way through the Southwest states of America, one dive bar at a time. [laughs] They’ve been on a little bit of a journey, and we’ll learn a little bit about that, what they’ve been up to, what Klaus wants and why he wants Stefan to do it with him. And that’s going to be part of the first couple of episodes.”
Expanding on that a bit, could she provide any clues as to Klaus’ motivations? Reproduction possibly? “Honestly, there’s got to be some reason why Klaus wanted to be a hybrid that’s more than just, ‘I’m the only one of my kind, and then doesn’t that make me cool?!?’ I think that what we’ve already seen in his character is that he has a power complex, and having been rejected by his own family and taking it out on them, one dagger at a time, we’ll get a window into his desire to build a new ‘family’ so to speak in the form of … can he create more like him? It is creepy, but where one hybrid goes, there certainly are more to follow — I hope, for Klaus’ sake.”
Enough about Klaus already! What about that bitch Katherine? This time last year everyone was talking about HER. We asked Williamson to tell us where she is going to be this year and what she’ll be up to. “That’s a good question; however, I can’t because I don’t know. I think Katherine does play a part in this year without question, but we have so much ground to cover in the beginning that in the first six episodes, while she surfaces … in terms of her relationships and her huge storyline, we’re not going to focus so much on that in the first six. She’s very instrumental in what happens, but once again, she doesn’t get into this big, rich storyline because we’re so busy telling Klaus, Stefan, some Original family stuff. We’ve got Jeremy seeing dead people. You know we’ve got so much to tell, so much ground to cover.”
Speaking of Jeremy, Williamson told about those ghosts he’s seeing, “They factor into Season 3 in a major way. And it’s not so apparent at first, but once you watch the show, you sort of understand what’s going on and why Jeremy … that hour that he died … has an opportunity, and it’s interesting to watch him respond and figure it out. How is Bonnie going to help him? He’s torn between two lovers plus a witch. So it’s going to be fun. I just can’t give anything away.”
Plec elaborated a bit on whether or not it was always the plan to bring back characters who were killed off earlier in the show. “No. Actually, that was something that we came up with this year, early in the season, but when we kill people, we usually mean business. We say, ‘Sorry, man, you’re done. We love you, but you’re done.’ It was more about showing the consequences of Bonnie using too much power and Jeremy, who finally is finding himself in this, I say the word ‘functional’ [relationship], although it’s completely dysfunctional in that she’s a big powerful witch, and he’s a kid with an eternity ring, but still, there’s something nice about Bonnie and Jeremy, and safe. And the first thing that we’re doing is screwing that up by having him confronted with people from his past that he actually loved quite a lot and his first love. You never forget your first love. You never forget your second love. By the time you get to your third love, you’re like, ‘Eh.’ [laughs] ‘Whatever!’”
And Tyler? Did he decide to stick around after all? Plec explained, “Yes, Tyler’s around. Tyler and Caroline are friends. Very important – they are ‘friends’. There is a moment in the first episode where they admit that the urges that come along with being a supernatural being physically are a little overwhelming. And so while last year they were struggling with all the horrible parts of being supernatural entities, they start to discuss a little bit about the side effects of being a vampire and werewolf. I think there’s a quote, and I haven’t said it before, but Tyler says, ‘I’m just horny all the time!’ [much laughter]”
Another character we were curious about is everyone’s favorite Original, Elijah. Considering the condition he was in at the end of Season 2, we asked Plec if she could give us any hints as to whether or not he’ll be seen in Season 3. She reassured us, “Yes, I can. I love him. He might be my favorite character – don’t tell anybody else. We’ve already said that this is the year where we’re going to explore the origins of the Originals. We’re going to see more about the Original family, and that will involve our friend, Mr. Daniel Gillies, at the very least in flashbacks.”
Now it was time to get to the nitty-gritty that fans have been waiting to hear: What about Damon and Elena’s relationship this season? Plec opined, “We’re trying to tell the story that we started the show wanting to tell, which is it’s a girl who has lost a lot of people in her life who finds warmth and comfort and solace in one brother and then ultimately finds herself being the object of the affections for the other brother. Elena is growing up. There is definitely a road that can be traveled between Damon and Elena in the life of this series, absolutely, and right now they are alone in Mystic Falls without Stefan, but also they are trying desperately to help and rescue Stefan so their complicated relationship will only become more complicated very early on and continue to be complicated all season.”
And then Williamson was asked the age-old question: What do you think is the draw of the show? Vampires used to be the bad guys, and now they’re in this gray area. He offered up the following explanation, “Well, they are in a gray area, no more so than Damon, who’s sort of this reluctant hero who’s not meant to be a hero. It’s not his answer; saving people’s lives is never the answer. And now he is. And he sort of has to be, or he’s going to risk losing Elena and her trust and her friendship because Elena’s not okay with that, you know? And so it’s one step forward, three steps back for Damon. And I think he’s going to continue to wrestle with it until he can’t wrestle with it any more. And it will explode and implode, and a lot of stuff will go down. And I think it will also climax with what happens between him and Elena at some point. And Elena is wrestling with what Katherine told her last year, which was, ‘It’s okay to love both of them.’ And she will. And she does. But it’s her actions that dictate everything else. It’s like, what kind of love is it? Because we all know there’s all sorts of love out there, and is it romantic love or is it … you know, this is a story about Stefan and Elena’s epic love story so I just think it’s fun to watch the twists and turns that’s going to take. Because, you know what, she loves them both.”
Things closed out with Plec being asked if she’s still having fun writing the series, and she replied, “Yes! It is hard. It is hard, it is exhausting. But surprisingly, it’s getting easier … not getting easy by any means, but I think because we know these characters so well and the audience knows them so well there’s almost like a storytelling comfort that you know that the audience is with you on this ride, and so they’re going to be willing to explore things with you whereas when you’re starting a series, you’re like, ‘We have no idea if someone’s going to like this character or hate them, if this story’s going to work.’ And now we’re in the groove and we’re all thinking and breathing like one organic storytelling machine, and it’s not easy, but it’s not as terribly nervous breakdown-inducing painful as it was in the beginning.”
The series returns Thursday, September 15th. For more visit the official “The Vampire Diaries” website.
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