THE VAMPIRE DIARIES: Caroline Dries Teases a ‘Rich’ Storyline for Stefan, Happiness for Damon and Elena, and More From Season 5
September 5, 2013 by Marisa Roffman
THE VAMPIRE DIARIES is going into season 5 with plenty of changes underway — not only has the series been spun-off (to THE ORIGINALS, featuring the Original family, Hayley, and set in New Orleans), but with several characters going off to college, the show has the opportunity to go in a bit of a new direction.
To find out what will be going down in season 5, I sat down with THE VAMPIRE DIARIES executive producer Caroline Dries to see what she could tease…
Given all of the changes in season 5 — losing several dynamic characters, graduation, college– what do you feel has been the biggest challenge of the new season?
Caroline Dries: It’s interesting, a lot of people have asked that [about losing the Original family], but we ended on such a strong cliffhanger with Silas, a huge villain; [and] Katherine is a human, [which is] a huge dynamic character shift for the show. So we’ve had an embarrassment of riches when it comes to villains. It’s not like there’s a huge void in the show, even though the Original vampires added a cool texture to it. The finale just launched us into this whole thing.
I remember at the end of season 1, when we were breaking season 2, we had ended season 1 with like 900,000 cliffhangers, and we sat in the writers room like, “Does anyone have any ideas of how to pick up the pieces?” We had enough on our plate [for season 5]. We knew we wanted Elena to go to college. It’s a new world. We can let THE ORIGINALS go to New Orleans.
As you’ve been crafting season 5, has there been a character who has been surprising you the most?
CD: For sure Katherine as a human. She’s still Katherine, but she’s the best vampire and the worst human. So she’s just a delight to write. Brian [Young] wrote episode 2 where we see a side of Katherine that is just hilarious. And if it was any other character, you’d go, “meh,” but because it’s Katherine, it’s just hilarious.
And Silas, I think is cool. Originally we were thinking, “Maybe he doesn’t say that much. Or he really kind of keeps to himself.” But that’s not fun to write. So Paul [Wesley] brings a fun personality to [Silas] and I think he’s popping.
The little preview we got of season 5 at Comic-Con showed Silas controlling as a large group of people. Will he be escalating his schemes as the season goes on?
CD: Yeah, that’s his power; he’s immortal, [but] it’s like, you better exploit that psychic thing, because being immortal is — we have enough immortal people on our show. So he figures out a learning curve in the premiere. And he becomes a scary character, because if someone can anticipate what you’re going to do, that’s the worst villain.
How soon will people start to piece together that Silas is pretending to be Stefan?
CD: I won’t tell you how, but I will say our characters are very smart and they have a lot of resources as their disposal. So one by one they figure it out. But it’s in an order that is kind of detrimental to some of the main characters. It’s not like it’s a season-long arc that he’s going to keep this secret, it’ll be fairly soon.
Now that Damon and Elena are a couple, what does their happiness look like?
CD: When we first started thinking of Damon and Elena in a relationship, we were like, we’ve never seen Damon in a relationship. I sat down to write a scene with him, and it was like [makes a disgusted noise]. You don’t want to do a cheesy version of that [relationship], so it’s keeping the Damon edge and darkness, because that to me is what Elena signed on for. It’s like if you’re going to date a rock star, you don’t want him to start behaving like Beethoven once you start dating. So [we] make sure he still possesses all the Damon-isms and stuff, but he’s just happy. We can give him a whole new array of problems to deal with. It’s like spinning plates.
What’s Damon’s reaction to a human Katherine?
CD: He gets a kick out of it.
He does like when she’s miserable.
CD: Of course.
How is Bonnie handling her new death?
CD: [Jokingly] She’s fine with it. No, Bonnie, she sacrificed herself for Jeremy — whether she was conscious of choosing to do it, she pushed the envelope, she knew she was doing it, and now she’s dead. But look, to be able to die and still have contact with your friends is pretty cool. She goes through a very interesting character arc in the first chunk of episodes where she comes to terms with the fact that she’s dead. It’s a slow process for her.
Given how many people have come back from the dead — including her reviving Jeremy — is she thinking, okay, I just need to find someone to bring me back now?
CD: [Jokingly] “Hey, what about me, guys? Hello?” [Laughs] That’s definitely something that’s going to be a plot. I don’t know if it’s going to work or not, but the idea does come up, because we’ve thrown enough people [over to the side of death] and thrown enough people back that it’s like, what about Bonnie? It’s a story engine.
And Matt and Rebekah went on their adventure, but only he will be returning to Mystic Falls full-time. What can you share about how he’s dealing with things?
CD: We’ll definitely see a little glimpse of Rebekah. Just seeing her, it was like, oh, we’re going to miss not having her every episode. She promised [Matt] a trip around the world, and so she gave it to him. They have a fun dynamic in the season premiere. He’s going to come back a little more worldly; he was Matt Donovan who worked at The Grill. Now he’s Matt Donovan who works at The Grill and has cool pictures. [Laughs] We get a little peek into how their world tour went, so it’s cool.
Nice. How is Caroline handling college? How much is Tyler playing into her season 5 storyline?
CD: Can you imagine being Caroline’s roommate? She’s on it. She has everything arranged and decorated. She’s super fun to have at college; she embraces it.
The Tyler thing, that’s her story in the first few episodes: figuring out where she stands with Tyler. Because if you remember in the finale, Klaus was all, “I give you permission.” Uh, that’s not the best way to start the foundation of a relationship on. Caroline is a doer. She’s going to make that relationship [with Tyler] happen. We’re still rooting for them.
We’ve talked about Silas as Stefan, but not Stefan himself. Will we be seeing a lot of him while he’s trapped, or is his screen time going to go by the wayside until he’s able to get free since there’s a limit to what he can do down there?
CD: [Jokingly] What are you talking about? He can sing “99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall”! He can do little twists and turns [in the container].
Believe it or not, Stefan does have a story — we got comments that no one talked about Stefan at Comic-Con; Stefan has a really, really rich story in the premiere that I’m actually super excited about. And it’s beautiful and probably very difficult to speak about without spoiling everything. But I will tell you he suffers and his stories are heartbreaking, but we get to see a big story with him.
Intriguing. Is there anything else you can tease?
CD: New characters will come in. Rich new mythologies will unfold. Our mythology just keeps opening up and keeps getting richer and richer, I think. So I’m excited about. Even though it’s season 5, it feels refreshing.
THE VAMPIRE DIARIES returns Thursday, October 3rd at 8 PM on The CW.
THE VAMPIRE DIARIES Season 5 Promo
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Julie Plec on Keeping the Continuity Between THE VAMPIRE DIARIES and THE ORIGINALS