Alaric, Elena, Damon in season three opener "The Birthday Party"
“In the first episode Damon dies and he’s off the show forever.”
Got your attention? That little “foiler” came courtesy of Vampire Diaries showrunner and executive producer Kevin Williamson, who decided to have some fun with the media during our roundtable discussion in the press room at San Diego Comic Con.
If The Vampire Diaries in its two seasons has become known for anything, it’s their gift for keeping audiences hanging. The end of season two was definitely no exception. Sure Damon and Elena shared a steamy kiss when they thought he was dying and Stefan is royally screwed now that he’s back to his evil vampire ways while under control of Klaus, but the real gotcha went to Jeremy.
He died, came back, and thanks to his witch girlfriend Bonnie, can see dead people. Okay, his dead girlfriends. Oops, Bonnie might have a little trouble living that one down.
“It’s going to 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 why we wanted to do it,” said Executive Producer Julie Plec about this ghostly plot twist. “His first two loves of his life are now popping around. Not only will it be cool and creepy (it’ll) also play a little warm and yummy too.”
This teen skewing program has certainly earned a reputation for being both creepy and yummy, which is a main reason why it’s The CW’s number one show. Jeremy’s latest developments seem like par for the course compared to all the other action going on. Another big question in the “yummy” territory is what’s going to happen now that Damon and Elena have shared a passionate moment together and Stefan has left town with Klaus?
“People keep talking about this steamy kiss,” said Ian Somerhalder, who plays Damon. “I don’t know if anyone was really paying attention but Damon was pale, sweating, and bleeding profusely, so I’m not sure how passionate it was but he definitely remembers it. Ultimately, he’s pretty pissed off. For two seasons he tried to get his brother what he wanted him to be, to eat and destroy everything in their paths, which would have been fun.
"Now Stefan is running around with Klaus, a dude that Damon absolutely hates, he tried to kill him, doing all those fun things that he was trying to get his brother to do. Damon is stuck in Mystic Falls with this girl that he loves that’s 150 years younger than he is, who a) doesn’t want him and b) it's his brother’s girl so he can’t ultimately do that, so I think he’s really not happy with the way things have turned out.”
Nina Dobrev (Elena) also downplayed the possible pairing. “You’ll see in the first episode she may not necessarily be skewing toward Damon. Just because he’s there and Stefan’s not doesn’t mean that 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.”
Oh, but there will be struggles. Just like the books that this series is based on, Elena will continue to find herself torn between both Salvatore brothers. “We’re trying to tell the story that we started the show wanting to tell,” explained Plec. “It’s a girl has lost a lot of people in her life who finds a warmth and comfort and solace in one brother and then ultimately finds herself the object of affection for another brother.”
Kevin Williamson was a bit more specific about Elena’s upcoming struggles in the third season. “It will be Elena’s search for Stefan and how their relationship changes. At the end of season two Katherine (says) “It’s okay to love both of them.” We’re going to see that play out and what does that mean? It meant one thing for Katherine, what does it mean for Elena?”
Despite all the love struggles at home, the third season primarily is kicking off with Klaus and Stefan. Klaus has an agenda, but it’s going to be a long, unfolding storyline. “There are 22 episodes so it doesn’t all come out in the first episode, but you wake up to it,” said Williamson. “You know us, we get it out there and then we do it some more. It’s a big story so it has a different bunch of beats to it. The first episode will kick it right off.”
If you all remember at the end of season two, Stefan gave into his brutal vampire urges before leaving with Klaus, doing so in order to save Damon from death by werewolf bite. So what does this new journey mean for him? “It’s going to be a season that has a lot of torment and heartbreak,” said Paul Wesley, who’s been given the challenging task of taking his character Stefan into dangerous new territory. “He loses himself but he always has that good soul that remains and I think it’s going to be one of those things we just hope any minute he regains it. For me it’s important to not completely forget the good guy, the soul that he has, that Stefan we all know for two years.”
How bad is it going to get for Stefan though? “Bad,” Julie Plec answered definitely. “Yeah, he’s got it in him. He’s pretty hard core when he falls off the edge. It’s not going to be just one and done with him. We wanted our hero to go down a really dark road and we’re gonna take him down that dark road for a while. They’ll be levels of bad that I think Paul Wesley’s ready to explore.”
Somewhere in the backdrop of all this other drama lies the other love triangle of Caroline, Tyler, and Matt. What’s going to be new for them, especially now that Matt is aware of the supernatural elements happening in his town? “For Matt it’s not going so well,” said Plec. “But one of the last things we saw at the end of the season of course is his sister Vicki making an appearance to Jeremy. That’s not going to stay Jeremy’s story line for very long. I think that Matt, having lost his sister, that’s a big deal. We might get to see that play out for him.”
“I personally love him as a human character,” said Williamson about Matt. “I want to also show that relationship of how he views the supernatural world. Because Mystic Falls clearly has got something wrong with it that it attracts paranormal activity. It’s going to be interesting to watch our one standing human character a) See how long he’ll survive and b) what’s his response to the relationships all the people around him, and the lies, and the betrayal, and all the stuff that’s happening.”
It sounds like Tyler the werewolf will be staying in town too, and with Matt no longer showing interest in Caroline that could open the door for him. “Caroline and Tyler, they’ve got wonderful chemistry those two and the characters have been through so much together,” said Plec showing some excitement over the possibilities. “Tyler’s been exposed to his core and she’s been right there holding his hair back proverbially. We’ll see where that friendship lasts and how long it just stays friends. It’s kind of inevitable there’s going to be some naked action happening there eventually,”
Also revealed through our conversations is that Alaric will be struggling over his new role of guardian for the Gilberts now that Jenna is gone, Caroline and her mother will see their relationship strengthen despite mom’s lifelong bias against vampires, and we have definitely not seen the last of Elijah (Daniel Gillies), who Plec calls her favorite character. For now though, he will likely be limited to flashbacks. That will be important though, since some backstory about the original family of vampires will be revealed.
All in all, we were treated to a lot of teasers and fun, but nothing that gave away much about what will happen when season three returns. Kevin Williamson put it this way. “We like to torture our audiences as much as we torture our characters. It’s fun.”
The Vampire Diaries’ season three premieres on September 15th at 8pm on The CW.