The Vampire Diaries’ cast stopped by the press room at Comic-Con to dish on Elena’s transformation, inter-personal relationships and a trip to the dark side in season 4. We chatted with executive producers Julie Plec and stars Ian Somerhalder, Paul Wesley, Nina Dobrev, Michael Trevino, Steven R. McQueen and Zach Roerig about next season.
Elena’s Transformation. Plec explained that they wanted Elena’s transformation into a vampire to be earned, which is why it didn’t happen earlier in the series. There was simply too much character development that needed to take place before she went on this particular journey. The season 4 premiere of The Vampire Diaries (which picks up a few hours after the events of the season 3 finale) will see the group exhausting every possible opportunity to save Elena from becoming a vampire. The outcome of that quest will set the stage going forward. Meanwhile, Dobrev likened the transformation into a vampire to puberty. Because emotions are heightened, Elena will experience a lot of emotional swings, from extreme sadness to extreme happiness.
The Salvatores and Elena. “The best thing about those brothers is that they love her very deeply. In spite of moves made or arguments they’ve had over the years about her being a vampire, they both know that’s the one thing she never wanted. If anyone deserves a human life – or to grow up and have babies as she said in season 2 – it’s [Elena]. In a weird way, she’s going to be more pragmatic about it than then are. They’re both going to be very set on ‘how can we save her from herself?’ They’re not going to be on the same page at all in the beginning,” Plec warned. She lamented the fact that the brothers were recently on a journey to reconnect, but “now we’re going to see that tested a little bit.” Wesley said that, as a viewer, he feels conflicted watching Elena’s death scene. “We find out later that Stefan never meant for [Elena] to die. He wasn’t making the decision to let her die. He was making the decision to save Matt first and come back to get her, for whatever reason. She chose Stefan, but now he has this against him, in a way. So it’s sort of a catalyst for her to go to Damon.” Damon will be angry with Stefan, insisting that he would have saved Elena instead of letting her make a choice that led to her death.
Damon’s New (Old) Attitude. Despite Elena choosing Stefan in the season 3 finale, Somerhalder doesn’t believe Damon will be pining for her. in seasons 2 and 3 Damon tried to be the person that other people wanted him to be. “He’s basically saying now ‘this is who I am, like it or not’.” This season now, he has a sense of self-worth. But Elena’s going to be going through all of these things that Damon and Stefan went through. So I think they will also be able to relate to her and connect with her on a new level where they, for once, really understand what she’s going through. When asked if Damon would go back to his darker side, Somerhalder replied “absolutely!”
Bonnie’s Trip to the Dark Side. “[Bonnie] is going to learn very quickly that those dark places [that she tapped into by moving Klaus into Tyler's body] are easy to tap into it and not so good to tap into. Bonnie’s going to have a really rough journey, but hopefully a really beautiful journey.” Will Bonnie get help? McQueen said that Jeremy still loves Bonnie, so if there’s any help for him to give, he will so do. Plec hinted that the writers want to introduce a character who can serve as a guide for Bonnie in terms of the magical world, especially since her grandmother was unable to really do so before she died.
A New Hunter in Town. A new vampire hunter is coming to Mystic Falls in season 4. Played by Todd Williams, this new character – Connor – doesn’t seem all that eager to hide the truth about vampires from the townsfolk. Instead, he’s far more eager to just kill vampires. “He’s pretty hard-core and he takes a lot of our characters by surprise by hard-core he is,” Plec warned.
Case of the Bodysnatchers. Fans who are wondering what will happen now that Klaus is in Tyler’s body can rest assured that Klaus will play a role next season. Joseph Morgan himself will resume his role as Klaus “sooner than later,” Plec hinted.
Matt’s Season 4 Journey. “Matt was always the ordinary guy. And now, in his ordinariness, he has, by default, become extraordinary in his own way. I think he’s going to start to feel the burden and the pressure of ‘how can I find my way in this world and how can I earn my life that [Elena] saved for me’” Plec explained. Roerig believes that Matt obviously feels guilty that saving his life resulted in Elena’s death, but he also feels very loved. Elena, in a way, gave up her life for him, so Matt will spend a lot of time proving to her and to others that she made the right choice.
Jeremy’s Next Steps. Poor Jeremy has “contributed to the death of his last family member,” McQueen explained. “He’s been kind of backed into a corner the last couple of seasons [so] he’s imploded. It will be interesting to see him fight back.” Whether or not he’ll blame the Salvatore brothers for Elena’s current state remains to be seen, but it’s clear that Jeremy’s hatred for the supernatural in general runs deep, particularly given how supernatural creatures are responsible for Elena’s transformation. How will he deal with that? We have to remember that he comes from a family who are very anti-vampire. Plec warned that we’ll see Jeremy balancing his need to honor his family’s history – including learning tips from the new hunter in town – with his desire to protect Elena. And how will Jeremy feel about Elena becoming a vampire? Since he saw Alaric’s ghost in the season 3 finale, he believed Elena was dead. He’s going to be happy that she’s alive, although he’s not exactly thrilled about her becoming a vampire, so his feelings on the matter will be slightly complicated. No matter what happens with Elena and Jeremy, Plec assured us that the Gilbert children would remain in the Gilbert house, which is their last real connection to their family.
The Rest of the Season. Plec hinted that there’s a lot of twists and turns planned for season 4 of The Vampire Diaries, particularly towards the end of the season. “There’s a lot of intense moves this year. We’re not really afraid to take chances and risks on Elena’s journey and for everyone, especially as they’re figuring out who they are and who they’re meant to be as they approach graduation and making decisions about what their life is going to be moving forward.” As for the rest of the series, at its core The Vampire Diaries will always be a love triangle. “The show is a love triangle that is made to run for a very long time. We’ve got to keep it alive, honest and fluid. I don’t think, necessarily, people who want it to happen understand that it’s a long marathon.”
The Vampire Diaries‘ fourth season will premiere on October 11 on The CW. To browse through more photos of the cast at Comic-Con, click here. Watch the full Vampire Diaries Comic-Con panel below, along with an interview with Ian Somerhalder.