Vampires, werewolves and hybrids — oh, my! There’s plenty of supernatural drama going down in Mystic Falls on the new season of The Vampire Diaries, premiering Thursday at 8/7c on The CW. But just as juicy and surprising is what’s happening in the love department and what it means for the show’s many twisted relationships — platonic, romantic and bromantic.
To get the scoop on Stefan’s dark journey, Damon and Elena’s growing closeness, Alaric’s new role and more, TVLine spoke to executive producer Julie Plec.
TVLINE | In the past, you’ve divided the seasons into chapters. What’s the first chapter of Season 3?
The first chapter of Season 3 is really being driven by, Where’s Stefan? Is he OK? Is he keeping his humanity together? Can he be rescued from Klaus? Does he want to be rescued from Klaus? And ultimately, Stefan and Klaus’ journey as road partners, so to speak, as they set out on Klaus’ goal to create more hybrids like himself. That’s a lot of what’s going on with our heroes. But in the backdrop of that, of course, is the ghost story that ultimately finds its way into the Klaus story and everything starts to intersect. By the end of the first chapter, we understand how all of this connects and where we’re heading into the next portion of the season.
TVLINE | How “ugly” does Stefan get? And by ugly, I don’t mean physically.
Stefan is going on a journey that is not short, and it’s not going to be pretty. I don’t want to say definitively how dark he gets because it’s all part of an ongoing season-long journey of who he is when he is being controlled by his own blood lust and by his true nature as a vampire. [It's about] peeling back the layers on Stefan and trying to get inside of who he is and how he operates. Also, does he have any humanity? And if so, is there anyone that can help him latch onto it to make sure that he doesn’t completely fall over the edge?
TVLINE | How does Elena handle seeing this new side of him?
A lot of Elena’s journey is, “OK, I’m a grown up. I can handle it. We’ve been through this before. We’ve seen it. I’ve seen him at his worst.” A lot of her journey is recognizing that maybe what she’s seen is just one piece of a very painful and complicated character puzzle.
TVLINE | How is the kiss between Elena and Damon in the season finale going to affect things between them, especially now that Stefan is not around as much?
Damon and Elena have an interesting dynamic in that they finally come to terms with each other at a level of mutual appreciation. And as that was happening, Stefan was off sacrificing himself over to the dark side, basically making a Faustian deal in order to save Damon’s life. So there’s a big elephant in the room [because] of the awkwardness of that. It goes largely unspoken, but it’s always there. Both of them are equally committed to saving Stefan because Stefan sacrificed himself for them. But along the way, they are thrown into a lot of different circumstances where they work together, they’re very close, [and] they’re getting closer. It’s a complicated relationship that they have. There’s a lot of tension there. There’s a lot of sexuality that lies under the surface. There’s a closeness between Elena and Damon that she might try to ignore and fight, but it’s obvious to everyone around them. We’re going to start to see, as we get into the season, how other people in our world see Damon and Elena’s friendship and relationship, and what they think about it.
TVLINE | It seems like Alaric might have something to say about it.
Alaric is unimpressed, I’ll tell you that. [Laughs] He is not impressed, and he’s not particularly interested in keeping quiet about it either.
TVLINE | So is his bromance with Damon on the outs then?
There’s definitely some tension in the Alaric/Damon bromance. There’s not an easy band-aid to it. These guys have a great connection as inexplicable unlikely friends, and it’s so fun to see them getting along. But Alaric’s a man who’s been tasked with keeping an eye out for this young woman, and he’s not going to stand by without saying something if he feels like something inappropriate is going on.
TVLINE | Is Damon still carrying on with Andie Star?
Damon is definitely not being completely celibate over our summer break. [Laughs] Damon’s been getting some.
TVLINE | Speaking of temptations… How tempted will Stefan by this new girl that you’re introducing from his past, Bex?
She represents a part of his life when he was in one of his darkest places, but also one of his most fun places when Ripper Stefan was in full effect. So if anything, she’s a mirror for him, a reminder of how sometimes being bad wasn’t so bad at all.
TVLINE | How much are we going to be seeing of Elijah and the other Originals this season? Please tell me that stake’s coming out soon.
[Laughs] I’ve said aloud that Elijah as played by Daniel Gillies has firmly embedded himself into the canon of this series, but I am not going to tell you when he comes back.
TVLINE | Can you say whether we’re going to see other members of their family?
I can say that exploring the origin tale of the Originals – that’s a mouthful – is very much a part of our plan beginning at our close of the first chapter. We do very much want to dive into that world of what life was like a 1,000 years ago before vampires existed.
TVLINE | You have Klaus out to build this hybrid race, but meanwhile, there’s this vampire and this werewolf in Caroline and Tyler, who are getting very close. Do they factor at all into Klaus’ mission?
Well, we shall see.
TVLINE | Between Jack Coleman and Sebastian Roche coming on, there are a lot of new adults on the show. Is the Founders Council going to be playing a bigger role in the new season?
Yeah. The Founders Council, in their own sad, tragic, ineffective way, is still very much a part of our world. Between Caroline and Tyler’s relationship and what Mayor Lockwood and Sheriff Forbes have to say about it and then, ultimately, with the returning element of a member of the town coming in [via] Jack Coleman… Even Alaric’s saying, “Well, hang on a second. Who’s the advocate over here for the not supernatural people?” Alaric’s role is to kick the council in the ass a little bit and say, “You guys are falling asleep on the watch and somebody needs to stand in here and make sure that the humans are protected in this town.”
TVLINE | Kevin [Williamson] said at TCA that the Matt/Caroline/ Tyler triangle would play out alongside Damon/Elena/Stefan. But last we saw, Matt broke up with Caroline and seemed like he wanted to create some distance from all this supernatural stuff. Does he have a change of heart about Caroline then?
Not in the first chapter, no. He’s really got his hands full with the ghost of his dead sister returning to town.
Vampire Diaries fans, are you pumped for the new season? What are you looking forward to most?