Thursday’s Vampire Diaries season finale left two of our favorites on the Other Side, and left viewers with endless burning questions. TVLine reached out to showrunner Julie Plec from the other side (of the country) for answers, including which characters are truly gone forever.
Below, Plec explains what happened to Bonnie and Damon — Ian Somerhalder and Kat Graham will be seen in some form, she confirms — and previews how those left behind will react to their absence in Season 6. (I’m especially worried about Stefan going “dark.”)
TVLINE | What’s the difference between those who found peace, versus those who were sucked into oblivion? Did they end up in different places?
That whole idea of finding peace, versus getting sucked into oblivion, was deliberately structured this year to be left open to interpretation. We don’t like to say things like “heaven” and “hell” on our show, but anybody can define what they saw the way they want to define it. I can say that Lexi, in my heart, found peace, and I believe the same is true for Grams. I definitely know that Silas and Markos and everybody else is definitely gone for good. As for Damon and Bonnie, the question is: What happened to them? What did they find?
TVLINE | Now, for some questions about the people who came back: Is Tyler fully human, or just back to being a werewolf?
He’s back to being a human with the werewolf gene, which means he’s going to have to relive that whole experience all over again, this time knowing about it much earlier. He won’t be that messed-up kid with all the aggression he can’t understand; now he knows where it’s coming from. But he’s still going to have to work hard to keep his temperaments reigned in, and to find an outlet for that physical frustration that comes along with having the werewolf gene. If he hurts someone again, he’ll have to go through that whole journey. And as we saw, it was not fun for him.
TVLINE | So, no more dungeons and chains for him?
Well, you never know. Hopefully, he succeeds at holding his rage in.
TVLINE | And is Alaric still a vampire, or did he go back to being a human?
Alaric is still a vampire, who is struggling in a weird way. We never got to see him respond to being one, because he was quote-unquote evil at the hands of Esther back in Season 3. So this is a much more human experience for him. He’ll struggle with what he’s become and how he’s supposed to live with that.
TVLINE | Enzo also made it back. Is he still pissed at Stefan, or is he over all that?
Oh, Enzo’s not making any friends. The beauty of Enzo is that we find him delightful, but he doesn’t need any friends. He definitely is a thorn in a couple people’s side, and will continue to be so in that delicious, devilish way that he has.
TVLINE | And will Michael Malarkey become a series regular?
Yes, he is. We’ve got our two new bros [Alaric and Enzo], the potential points of the Damon love triangle. [Laughs]
TVLINE | What can you say about Stefan’s state of mind in Season 6?
I think it’ll be surprising. I don’t want to say too much about it, but he lost something very profound, and there are a million ways he could go. He could go light, he could go dark, he could go pure, he could lose his mind and get on a motorcycle and drive to Miami. So what he ultimately ends up doing will be an interesting reflection on his state of mind at the moment — and very fun for Paul [Wesley] to play.
TVLINE | Given Caroline’s feelings for Stefan, and now the return of her ex, might there be a triangular shape forming there?
Honestly, we can officially say that Caroline and Tyler have reached a point where they genuinely and legitimately care about each other and have found their way back to being friends, but are no longer a couple. I think Caroline and Tyler’s individual responses to losing Damon and Bonnie will set each of them on a new path in their life. Caroline is holding very strongly onto the idea that “We need to stick together in order to find our way back home and be allowed back into our town.” And Tyler’s thinking, “Hey, maybe it’s time for me to go live my life.” So everyone’s response to the events of the finale will be different and profound.
TVLINE | We’ve been told that the finale would make death irreversible from now on. What does that mean for Bonnie and Damon?
I think it means there’s a mystery attached to how the show ended. Did they die? Did they find peace? Are they still on the Other Side? Does the Other Side still exist? If not, where the hell are they? And will they ever come back? Certainly, we will see Ian [Somerhalder] and Kat [Graham] again, but where and in what context? That’s part of the mystery of Season 6.
TVLINE | I assume we won’t meet their doppelgangers.
[Laughs] No! No doppelgangers. That was some Season 5 fun we got to have, but with Katherine and Silas gone, I think we’re done with that.
TVLINE | I’m sure this mostly has to do with scheduling, but in terms of which characters got to come back, how did you decide who made the cut? There were definitely others, like Aunt Jenna, who would have been a welcome sight.
Aunt Jenna, we had always said, has found peace. So she wasn’t on the Other Side and wasn’t part of the disintegration of it. She’s always been off in that beautiful netherworld, whatever it may be. I think there are characters we’d already given goodbyes to, and there are characters that — even though we say goodbye to them a million times — we get excited anytime they show up on the screen. So in trying to show the consequence of the demise of the Other Side, we really did have to say goodbye to some fan-favorites. And it was our only opportunity to bring back any fan-favorites, so there were a lot of conversations about who we might like to bring back, and Alaric was the first name on everybody’s lips. If you couldn’t live with losing one of these characters, who would it be? So we asked Matt Davis if he’d be interested in coming back, and he said, “Yes.”
TVLINE | OK, now for the big one: Where is Matt going to work now that the Mystic Grill is gone?
Weirdly enough, in spite of the grief attached to the circumstance of what happened, Matt Donovan came out the other side in the strongest way. He’s in a town with no supernatural entities, he’s out of high school, he’s grown into a young man, and he begins to find his way as he steps out on a new career path that might lead him to being someone you’d like to have protecting you in the town of Mystic Falls. [Editor's note: Anyone else picturing Matt Donovan in uniform? You have the right to remain excited.] He’s living a pretty decent life, so it’s sad that his friends can’t be there with him, but at least it’s peaceful.
TVLINE | Rumor has it he also might be getting a love interest next season?
It’s possible. We’re definitely introducing a new female character next year, and she will be able to live in Mystic Falls. So that leaves Matt, Jeremy and Tyler — on a good day — for dating opportunities in that age range. One of them might get lucky.
Browse photos from The Vampire Diaries‘ season finale below, then drop a comment with your thoughts on Julie Plec’s answers to our burning questions. What are you still wondering about Season 6?Follow @AndySwift