Here’s one more roundtable from San Diego Comic-Con (the last one for me thankfully!), this time with the executive producer and stars of The CW’s “The Vampire Diaries”. They shed a little light on what we can expect after the game-changing Season 3 finale; just beware of a few spoilers!
Things started off with the one person in the group who could actually tell us something about Season 4, executive producer Julie Plec. As she also told the folks who made it into the Ballroom 20 panel for the show earlier that day, Matt Davis has a clause in his contract for his new series “Cult” that allows him to appear again as Alaric, and we could very well be seeing him before Katherine returns since she won’t show her face until Klaus is no longer a threat. What we can expect to see no matter who else is around is a new dynamic between the Salvatore brothers now that Elena is a vampire. She’s a lot more pragmatic about the change than they are, and Damon and Stefan are not on the same page.
As for why now was the right time for Elena’s transformation, which happened much quicker in the books, Plec said they joked about it in the first season, and then in the second season it felt too soon – she hadn’t grown up enough. Now, after three seasons, the character has come into her own and “earned this move.” The writers feel rejuvenated and excited, too. To keep up the fast pace of the show, they make sure every scene matters; 95% of the scenes they shoot directly lead to the next part of the story.
Another part of what keeps “TVD” fresh is its constant influx of new characters, and coming in Season 4 is a hunter who isn’t really in it to protect the secret that vampire exist. He’s more a shoot first, ask questions later kind of guy. He surprises the other residents of Mystic Falls who cross his path with how hardcore he really is. For his part, Jeremy is worried about how he can protect Elena and still learn more tricks of the trade himself. He can still see ghosts, but that’s not his focus right now.
Might there be a chance of reversing what happened to Elena? Plec says the first episode, which begins just a few hours after the end of Season 3, exhausts every possibility to change her back, but she’s a vampire now. And even if she’s a potential danger to her brother, they have no plans to separate her and Jeremy. We can expect Klaus to play a role sooner rather than later, and while Matt continues being the only “ordinary” one in the group, he actually becomes quite “extraordinary” because of it.
What about Bonnie? Well, per usual, Bonnie has tapped into some dark places that are not so good to tap into. She’s ended up on her own with no one to look to. Plec said we’ll learn about who might have taught Esther, the Original Witch; she wants to introduce a guardian/guide in the witch world.
The usual question of how long she envisions “The Vampire Diaries” lasting came up, and Plec said they look at it as a six-year show, mostly because that’s when everyone’s contracts come up.
Next we had a few minutes with Steven R. McQueen, who said Jeremy may have imploded when he realized he contributed to the death of his last remaining family member, but now he’s learning to fight back. He has weight on his shoulders, but he’s not going to give up and will do anything to get his strength up.
Will he maybe have a new love interest this year? McQueen said Jeremy and Bonnie have “unfinished business”, but he’s “preoccupied.”
After McQueen dashed off, we were treated to the dynamic duo of Michael Trevino and Zach Roerig. Trevino said right now he’s just playing Tyler playing Klaus and having fun with it. What he’s most looking forward to in the new season is graduation time because it means everyone will be together.
Meanwhile Roerig’s Matt is dealing with guilt mirrored with love for Elena for giving up her life for him. He most wants to see Matt and Tyler rekindle their bond as “original Mystic Falls boys.”
Paul Wesley joined us after the “boys” left, and while he admitted to missing his “ripper” side, he said that he had his dark ride in Season 3 and is ready for something different. Although, he mused, it might be fun for Stefan to show Elena the dangers of being a vamp and for the two of them to go on adventures together. But that’s not likely even though Elena did technically “choose” him. She now has this turn of events to hold against him so she turns to Damon. When it came up that someone with supernatural strength could certainly have saved both Matt and Elena at the same time, Wesley agreed. “Ask Julie Plec,” he said, laughing, knowing our time with her was already up.
Finally we got to hear from Elena herself when we were next graced with Nina Dobrev’s lovely presence. She’s more than ready to tackle the challenge of adding yet another facet to her character; as she said, when you do a show for this long, you need change. As much as Elena was evolving, she needed to evolve to this next step. It’s painful, though. At first she’s sad, kind of like going through puberty. She doesn’t expect to have much trouble differentiating between vamp Elena and vamp Katherine. They’re different people so have different thought processes. While the natural tendency when playing a vampire is to be a badass, she’s trying not to be too much of one.
As for what happens when she remembers what Damon previously compelled her to forget, well, of course it just makes her love him more for not telling her.
Which brings us to the devilish Damon, or rather Ian Somerhalder. At this point in the roundtables, we were running over time-wise, but being the gracious guy he is, Somerhalder gathered all 30 or so of us journalists who were left around him (wait til you see the picture below of all our recording devices on the table) and answered questions for a good 10 minutes longer.
He described Elena as a phenomenally solid human being – a beacon of light – while Damon and Stefan are highly volatile. Who’s to say when she transforms she’s not going to become just as volatile. Now they have years ahead of them; the yin and yang is that she chose Stefan, but when she gets tired of him, she may turn to Damon.
It’ll be rocky for him and Stefan; Damon is pissed at his brother for turning an 18-year-old girl. But Damon is not going to be pining – it’s an “oak” season. (laughs) For two years he tried to be everything Elena wanted, but it didn’t work. Now it’s “go fuck yourself.” Now he has a sense of self-worth. Absolutely we’ll see the darker Damon again, the guy who thinks what other people think and has the balls to say it.
But of course it’s not really over. Now he can relate with and connect to Elena in a different way. And now that she remembers their true history, that adds another layer. It’s “tragic and sad.”
And he’s also sad that Matt Davis and Alaric are gone. He said it’s really strange not having Matt on set. It won’t be easy for Damon – the loss of any friend isn’t easy, and Alaric was his only friend in the world.
We ended our chat with Ian’s opinion on what’s in store for Matt, who’s kind of responsible for everything right now: “Matt’s going to have a tough year.”
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