The Vampire Diaries‘ writers room has only just begun to map out Season 4, but boss lady Julie Plec is already privy to some storyline secrets — and TVLine was fortunate enough to pick her brain about a few of them at last weekend’s inaugural ATX Television Festival in Austin.
Here’s what the Mystic Falls mastermind revealed about new journeys for both Elena and beloved bitch Rebekah, how Klaus has managed to survive time and time again, impending graduation and more.
On Vampire Elena’s Season 4 Journey | “How do you go to high school as a new vampire? How do you fall in or out of love? How does it change who you are and what you feel? … We get really excited when we talk about this [arc] because it feels so deliciously Season 1 all over again,” Plec enthused. “It takes us right back to Stefan arriving in Mystic Falls, trying to hold himself together and not let anybody know who he was. Now, we get to watch our heroine go through all of that.”
On Why Big Bad Klaus Is Still Around | “I will tell you this — and I haven’t said this before: Our intention was to kill Klaus at the end of Season 3,” confided Plec. “We created the character last year… and our intention was, that after a long, arduous year of trying to vanquish and defeat the villain, our heroes would prevail and he would be no more. But when you have actors [like Joseph Morgan] who are that good, making such a distinct mark in the roles that they are playing, you have to let your storytelling evolve and wrap around that a little bit. We collectively decided around the middle of Season 3 that we weren’t done with Klaus — or Joseph. We also weren’t done with the Original family, because with the addition of Rebekah and Kol, there’s still a lot of story to tell. Sometimes [as a writer] you kill a character because you don’t know what else you can do with them, and sometimes you kill them because their death will so powerfully impact your other characters. But if you’re killing a character who is doing a great job with tons and tons of story left in him, you’re making a mistake. We had to do a bit of an about-face in our storytelling, which is how we came up with the Tyler body swap [in the finale]. So, we got to kill Klaus, and then not!”
On Rebekah’s Role as the ‘Mean Girl’ Queen Bee | “What I’m excited about with Rebekah [in Season 4], specifically, is that we have never had a true antagonist on a human/teenage level,” she noted. “We’ve never had our Valerie [from Beverly Hills, 90210] or our Amanda Woodward [from Melrose Place]. And with Rebekah, who is so vulnerable and damaged but has that tough exterior, we get to see a queen bee in action; we get to see a mean girl. As we get into the second half of their senior year, here’s Rebekah, still in Mystic Falls, heading back to school, completely ostracized from the community of people that she knows because of what she did to Elena and Matt [in the finale]. She’s completely loathed by the one guy [Matt] that she had a crush on, and also by her past love [Stefan]. What’s she going to do about that? How does a vampire, who has all kinds of mind control capabilities and sass, carve her way into the high school world when the people that we love hate her guts? Once she gets over the hump of being “World’s Most Hated” in the yearbook, how will she live? And what will her life be like?”
On Who Will Be in the Forefront Next Season | “Obviously, Elena and her journey are going to be front and center, but one of the things that we’ve finally been able to do over the past year is dig much deeper into the other characters — their lives, their wants, their loves. We’ve given Matt Donovan his due, and given Bonnie her time in the sun, and Caroline especially has evolved into a leading lady in her own right. So, this is going to be the year that ‘Donna Martin graduates,'” announced Plec with a laugh. “This is our friends finishing out their high school lives and their lives in Mystic Falls, and each of them is going to have a transitional journey about where they go and what they’re meant to be. It’s going to be a really exciting year because it’s one of endings as much as it’s about new beginnings.
On Mystic Falls High’s Class of 2013 | “Our goal is that this will be the year that gets them out of high school,” she said, “and tees us up for what will become of them in Season 5.”