THE VAMPIRE DIARIES: Speculations on What’s Next (2012)

While the cast and creators of THE VAMPIRE DIARIES are notoriously tight-lipped about sharing spoilers or anything about the upcoming final two episodes of Season 3, at a recent Q&A in a roomful of press, executive producer Julie Plec and cast members Candice Accola, Michael Trevino, Steven R. McQueen, and Zach Roerig shared a few candid thoughts on what to expect as the 3rd season races towards its climatic finale and their hopes and speculations for Season 4.

JULIE:  “He’s very clearly a badass vampire killer with a pretty magnificent, deadly and unburnable stake, so I definitely think he’s going to be a conflict provider.  Not to make it an understatement, but he’s not going to be the friendliest version of Alaric that we’re ever met. He’s going to be pretty hardcore, which is going to be kind of equally exciting and devastating, obviously ’cause one of our heroes is no longer one of our heroes.”

Turning Vampire-Hunter Into a Vampire
JULIE:  “We knew he needed to be stronger, as strong, resilient, immortal, fast, furious, fierce, and the idea of kind of ironic symmetry of having the witch who is desperate to irradiate vampires and this alter-ego of Alaric’s who hates vampires, and knowing that in becoming a vampire your darkest impulses and your greatest wants are magnified to such a degree, it felt like it was this way of bringing the Original Witch’s part in this mythology full circle. Her kind of passing the baton to a villain who actually could succeed at the task that she’s been failing at all season.”

Are Alaric & Elena Bonded Now Because of Her Blood?
JULIE:  “I have no idea!  I don’t know.  You’ll have to wait and see about that.”

Klaus v. Alaric
JULIE:  “That’s next week’s episode.  Tune in next week.  That will probably tell you more. Alaric wants the Originals dead and the very first thing that we see in the next episode is Alaric in the high school where Caroline and Rebekah are having a little post-dance clean-up.  So things only get worse from there.  They start hot; they stay hot. It’s a very extreme, hardcore episode of Alaric sort of on a tear, and no one is safe.”

Which characters are in the cross-hairs?
JULIE: “There’s are going to be a lot of people that we’re not going to be sure if they’re gonna make it to Season 4. That’s all I’ll say. . . No one ever [is un-killable].  Would I be so quick to write anyone’s death sentence? No. But I definitely think that you have to have the risk that someone can never be seen again. Otherwise, the death doesn’t matter. Do we like telling people goodbye forever? No. As you’ve seen, we’ve sort of emotionally found a lot of different ways in our narrative to bring people back that we love, for better or for worse. For better, for us.  This year is not without its emotional casualties.”

Is Elena vulnerable?
JULIE: “For sure. I mean, she’s got a Katherine. She’s got god knows how many dopplegangers are out there.”

JULIE:  “You will not see hide nor hair of Katherine until Klaus is gone for good.  So his survival ties in to her appearance, or lack thereof.”

Dare to Kill Off Klaus?
JULIE:  “It is logistically possible.  It would be very, very traumatic, but possible.”

JULIE:  “Stefan’s whole struggle this year has been, one, he’s been clinging on by such a tenuous thread for the first half of the season, then he lost his mind for a nice chunk in the middle and so he’s been terrified of opening himself back up and letting his feelings in.  It’s been a slow, slow permeation of [Stefan’s] emotional life over the latter section of the season. In this moment, seeing her in her most vulnerable and needing to give her the support that she’s been trying to give him the whole season.  It’s finally him sort of saying, ‘It’s okay to feel.  I heard you all of those times when you told me: It’s okay to feel and it’s okay to have hope. I heard you and now let me give that back to you.’  I think that all of this is just illuminating for this girl at this point in her life.  These two men that are so important to her, and she has no one, and almost everyone who’s ever mattered to her, and how do you choose in a moment like that?  The last 2 episodes of the season are really about her asking herself that question and really trying to understand how she could possibly let one of them go when she’s already lost so much.”

Elena’s Choice
JULIE:  “It will effect everything… you’re going to have to ask me that question after the finale airs, because then I can expand on it a little bit more. . .If Jeremy had his way, it would be, ‘I choose neither of you f*kers,’ Jeremy obviously is very protective of his sister, and would probably choose Team Matt if given the choice.  [Laughter] . . .  One of the things that we set out to do during this whole year — as Damon found himself more and more deeply in love with his brother’s girl and all the things that came along with that — was make sure that the brothers found their way back to each other . . . They would get stronger instead of weaker as brothers, in spite of this looming conflict. This looming decision.  There’s a really nice scene in next week’s episode that kind of shows us that they might survive this no matter how this plays out. That when all is said and done — what is it? ‘Bros before hos’?  — but I think that the cliché is that the girl tears them apart, and so how could we let the girl bring them even together, which of course makes her decision even more difficult.”
CANDICE:  “Caroline is such a Stelena worshipper.  Also, Damon and Caroline wouldn’t have the cleanest past of the bunch either. So I think that she just recognizes that Stefan is someone good for Elena, and she is rooting for her to open her eyes and give him a chance. I think Caroline, deep down, does have that little ‘He is the best for you. He is your one epic true love. I’m not going to let you just throw him away because you’re getting distracted by shiny Damon things’.”

JULIE:  “It’s a big burden on him now.  He is the man of the house and he and his sister are all that they have.  So there’s going to be a lot that he has to do to grow and keep himself together, and be a champion for Elena as she is always trying to be a champion for him. . . Jeremy is on the up right now.  We don’t have any secret manipulations buried for him for the rest of the season.  He is very much in that ‘batten down the hatches, protect the family, guardian just died, how am I going to get through this?’ kind of mode.”

Jeremy’s Ring
JULIE:   “The stakes of death and resuscitation are possibly not as intense for Jeremy as they were for Alaric, because obviously [Alaric] had something happen on the other-side.  There’s always going to be a concern of consequences for cheating death too many times.  It just might not come in the form of a Jekyll and Hyde alter-ego. . . The rings are going to stay in play for awhile because ultimately it’s that kind of coin-toss of ‘I can’t be in the fray, fighting the good fight, if I can be killed.’ So you roll the dice.”
ZACH:  “Hey, I roll the dice!”  [Laughter]

JULIE: “He started this season — once he realized that the Original Witch was screwing with him from the other-side, he was like, ‘I’m going to batten down the hatches, I’m going to pull my family together, but prior to that he’s going to build an army of hybrids.  Klaus has big plans for himself, and now that he realizes she will not stop coming after him, whether it is her own self or what she just did with manipulating the witches, so this is a second call to arms for Klaus, who may have gotten a bot distracted by pretty blondes and paintings and horses, and all that. This is the reminder that this guy means business, and he’s not going to let his guard down again. So it’s a nice kind of reboot of the villain. . .We like our villains — when they are acting against the best interests of our heroes —  to have a deep emotional core that lets us understand them a little bit.  Understand their wants and their why.  When our villains have to work with our heroes for a shared agenda, we love our villains to be especially naughty, violent and bad because we love them in spite of their behavior. . . Klaus will never be a hero.  That is not to say he won’t do heroic things in this journey.  Just like Damon will never be a true good guy, and Stefan will not be a true hero all the time.  Life is more complicated than that.”

Klaus’ Ultimate Goal
JULIE:  “He is someone who wants purpose, and with purpose comes intent to do something for someone.  For the love of someone.  To have someone.  To not be alone.  So building the army is to protect himself and those that he cares about.  The problem is that his behavior tends to reject more than it magnetizes. I think Klaus, when all is said and done, all the bodies strewn on the battlefield — would like to life with a nice Caroline Forbes kind of girl to carry on through eternity knowing that they will be forever safe and untouched, no matter what kind of villain comes at them. But he’s a work-in-progress.  He’s a messed up dude.”

Caroline & Klaus
CANDICE: “I love getting asked the question, ‘Oh, Caroline and Klaus?’ ‘Cause Caroline, she’s made so many mistakes and put her foot in her mouth and fallen for the bad guy. This is the first time where she is staying true to her feelings and not getting caught up in the guy with the accent. She loves her high school love and boyfriend. But the only thing is, in high school, how can you not think of all a sudden when someone is putting into your head thoughts of places to travel and semesters abroad? All of these experiences you’re going to have when you grow up and grow older.  It’s hard not to think about them. So I think that’s the only way she’s wooed by Klaus. The idea that there’s another world out there. But right now, in the present, she is fighting like hell to just have a normal relationship with her boyfriend in high school. It’s all she wants.”

Tyler & Klaus
MICHAEL:  “What we’ve seen with Tyler is he’s biting his tongue, especially with this sire-bond that now has been broken through. So, you know, enough’s enough.  Between the two of them [Tyler and Caroline], he’s like, ‘I shouldn’t have let him dance with you.’ . . I think in these last two episodes, if not next week’s episode, we might see him actually take some action against Klaus, and maybe not follow his orders when it comes to Caroline. . . Next week, Tyler finally sticks up for himself.  He is tired of being b*tched around and he acts on it — and it gets messy.”

Matt & Elena
JULIE:  “Matt is one of the vestigial representatives of this life that was clean and simple for her.  Their friendship dates back to when they were in the sandbox together.  So we get a nice little flash of what it was like when they were dating, and that they were themselves a troubled relationship.  So even though she’s remembering a simpler time, her problems were actually just as complicated.”

Caroline Warning Matt About Elena at the Dance
JULIE:  “That was meant more to imply that people that love her and care about her, tend to get hurt.”
ZACH:  “She really beat that one home, didn’t she?!”  [Laughter]

Matt & Rebekah
JULIE:  “What do you think about that, Donovan?”
ZACH:  “I can handle it! Though I’m also happy being single at this point.”
JULIE:  “Exploring your options?”
ZACH:  “Hey, I’m happy being everyone’s ex-boyfriend at this point.” [Laughter]
JULIE:  “Should Matt be so lucky to survive Season 3 and should Rebekah be so lucky to survive Season 3, there’s a little crush brewing on her side there, so maybe there’s some story there to tell.”

Flashback in Finale
JULIE: “It’s a small little runner that goes throughout the episode as Elena is looking back at a part of her life when things were more simple, at least from a supernatural level.  . . We actually will get a little flash of something else that happened during that time that we really never considered and it’s more an emotional thing than it is a suspense thing.”

Dr. Meredith Fell
JULIE:  “If Dr. Fell is lucky enough to survive Season 3, I think that every town needs a nice pretty doctor and Damon might need a new drinking buddy — ‘cause we’ve already established her as a day-drinker, so there might be something nice friendship that could happen there. . . As a caretaker and as a compassionate human being, she and Elena will probably have a bond that could develop into a nice friendship as well.”

Was Bonnie Possessed?
JULIE:  “She was very clearly under some sort of witchy influence, which is really Bonnie’s issue now.  Like, ‘what the hell, man? I’ve got vampires telling me what to do.  I’ve got other people telling me what to do, and now I’ve got my sisters — the witches — telling me what to do.  Where’s my free-will?  Where’s my choice?’  And that’s going to impact her character moving forward.”

What the Show Really About
JULIE:  “We obviously have supernatural stakes; we’ve got the ‘Death Toll List’ is reaching a hundred; we’ve got danger in every act break; villains and people battling for life and to rescue the love of their lives; and in the midst of all of that we’re still intent on telling a very human story about very human people who live in a small town and go to a small high school, and who are falling in and out of love and dealing with issues with their parents and issues with their friends — questions of loyalty, friendship and family. . . The emotional stakes of this series are about these young people partnered with these people who have lived and will continue to live an eternal life; and all the complications of that and everything that means and stripping these kids from the comfort of a loving and caring and supportive family and giving them the challenge of survival, emotional and literal survival. . . This is a show about young people coming of age and into their own adulthood facing some of the most horrific and difficult part of life, which is when you have to go at it alone.”

Season 3 Finale
JULIE:  “The penultimate episode is very, very adrenaline-infused and there’s some big mythology moves that happen and it’s a pretty big deal.  Whereas the finale is definitely more emotion, but it is by no means the epilogue to the season.  If anything, its half closing the door to one year and then blowing the freakin’ lid off the door to the next.”

Season 4
JULIE: “We’ve already started talking about Season 4, which will take us through the rest of these guys’ final year in high school. As they’re all going through some pretty extraordinary changes in their own emotional lives, their own personal lives, romantic lives, and supernatural lives, they are making decisions about their future, and what that will bring and all those great things leading up to graduation and choices of: does I stay or do I go?”

Note that while Julie was careful not to specify who she and the other writers are planning the Senior Year trajectory, given the level of confidence from the cast in the room at the Q&A, they are feeling pretty good about their characters making it into the next season.  That is not to say that Caroline, Matt, Tyler and Jeremy are not at risk, but the actors themselves seemed pretty self-assured about being back for next season.  And we are all but certain that Elena, Stefan and Damon are also safe – probably Bonnie too since she is their one witchy link to the other-side. Which leaves the guillotine ax ready to fall on possibly Klaus, Rebekah, Esther, Elijah, Kol, Alaric, and Dr. Fell.  Surely one or more will be holding Death’s Card by the end of the season – and we cannot wait to find out who!

So be sure to tune in next week for the penultimate episode of THE VAMPIRE DIARIES, airing Thursday, May 3rd at 8:00 p.m. on The CW.

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