Last night at the Television Critics Association convention in Pasadena, a group of TV’s top writers and producers gathered for a meeting with the press. Wetpaint Entertainment talked to Vampire Diaries showrunner Julie Plec to find out what we can soon expect to see in Mystic Falls.
Wetpaint Entertainment: How has the addition of Klaus changed the show?
Julie Plec: For us as writers, it’s delicious. Joseph Morgan’s a wonderful actor. Writing for him is a joy. When you have someone who just with a look can level you, it’s really thrilling to bring that kind of character to life. Klaus is a villain with longevity. It’s been a nice add into the world, because as we’ve seen, our villains tend to get humanized very quickly.
Even Klaus seems to be getting humanized a little bit.
Klaus certainly has had his human moments. They’re all plagued with despair, our vampires. There’s no such thing as happiness in our world. So Klaus definitely has his wants and his needs, and what he wants to get out of life, that he can’t quite seem to figure out. But what’s fun about it is exploring his antagonism with Stefan. When all is said and done, I think Klaus is most pissed off because Stefan was supposed to be his friend. I think half of what Klaus does lately is just out of response to what he perceives to be a friendship betrayal.
So is this carnage basically about a busted bromance?
It is. It’s bromance gone bad, absolutely. It’s like when your buddy, when your bro, turns his back on you, that’s going to sting a little. I think Klaus is a little bit petty, and is acting out against Stefan. And of course Stefan is in just such a blind rage, he feels like everything that he had, Klaus ripped from him, and that everything that’s happened has been caused by or done by Klaus. And he’s just got revenge on the brain. The chess game between the two of them is a pretty wild ride. And certainly tonight’s episode really shows that.
Does Stefan still have Klaus’ family?
Stefan still has Klaus’ family as of tonight. He’s not going to give them up. And Klaus wants them back. And both of them are almost in a weird way one-upping each other, to try to prove how much they mean what they say. Finally, Damon steps into the middle of it, and is like, “Hey, hang on a second here. This is not good for anybody. You two are going to end up getting us all killed, or us all run out of town. And something’s gotta give.” And yet, neither of them is willing to give. It’s a good stalemate showdown between the two of them.
Do we see a resolution of the hostage crisis tonight?
You see a resolution to some degree, yes.
What’s going on with Caroline?
Caroline, who is typically the sunshiny, optimistic, glass-is-half-full vampire, is actually having her first early midlife crisis. She’s turning 18, and it occurs to her, wait a second, everything that I did in my life — cheerleading, student council, environmental squad, Miss Mystic Falls, was all about my future, and now I’m not going to really have a future. I’m going to be 17 forever. And it kind of bums her out. So tonight’s episode especially is about her having to start looking at the rest of her life in a different way. And changing her expectations. It’s a pretty powerful episode for her. Growing up from the teenager into an adult, looking towards the future.
In her frustration, does she act out? Is she tempted to be bad?
Our girl Caroline is still toeing the good line for probably a pretty long time.
You don’t think she’ll ever go bad?
Never say never, for sure. But right now, she’s our good girl, in her own bad ways. And I like that about her.
She’s no Katherine.
No. I don’t think Caroline on her worst day could quite be as much of an evil vixen as Katherine. Although I certainly think Caroline has it in her to get mad.
Is there anything about any of the love triangles that heats up? Well, not triangles, because there are so many players involved! In the rest of the season, will things tip in one direction?
I think that one of the central foundations of this show is the very human questions of who do I love, why do I love them, and can I love somebody else, when I thought that this person would be the only person I’d ever love for the rest of my life? And I think that’s a question that all of our characters go through. I think love exists to knock us off our feet, and to send our heads spinning. At the very least, Elena is going to be struggling with that. But really, all of our characters are going to be asking themselves those questions all season long.
How far are you into the season, for filming and writing?
We are filming episode 315 right now, and we just finished writing episode 316 right now. So there’s not much room there. That’s a very small margin. We like to live on the edge.
How closely would you say you still adhere to the Vampire Diaries books?
We always say we use the books as a jumping off point for story, and a template for the characters. The fun that we have now as writers is reintegrating elements from the book series that come out of nowhere. We just introduced a character last week, Meredith, who is a very big book character. Who the audience had been looking for for a couple of years now. There’s always going to be little surprises embedded in the show, for the book fans who have been so gracious, to like us.
Is there a lot of pressure to please the book people?
No – actually the book fans have been very generous in their acceptance of the show. So what we like to do is reward them for that, by reminding them that yes, we do look at the source material with a lot of gratefulness. And that the world that LJ Smith created is really valuable, and has given us everything that we’ve been able to do. And so we want to be able to keep dipping our toes back into that.
Do we have any werewolf drama coming up?
There’s very much some werewolf drama coming up in the next couple of episodes for Tyler to deal with. One of the things that he’s going through is realizing that this hybrid bond, the sire bond, that he has to Klaus, is not good for him. And he’s got to figure out how to break free of that bond. And it’s not pretty for him.
What does it take to break a bond like that? Is there a spell?
That is the watch-and-see!
Do you writers ever read fan feedback on sites like Wetpaint Entertainment, or on Twitter or other social media?
We probably read too much, truth be told. It’s like a car accident on the side of the road. You just can’t help yourself. I’m on Twitter all the time, and I get Google Alerts just like anybody else. Sometimes I look and sometimes I don’t. More often than not, I do. So I actually have a very strong sense of what people are saying, and I think that’s a good thing. It’s good to understand how people feel, and to internalize it, and to make your own decisions despite of it or because of it.
Does it influence what you write?
We’ve been very lucky with this show in that everybody tends to like what we do. The fans of this show are very passionate and very understanding. You’re going to get extremes on both sides, but they tend to support us, so that gives us a lot of freedom.
So when someone tweets #VampireDiaries, is it safe to say you might see it?
Certainly if I’m doing a little late-night, can’t-fall-asleep, insomniac, #VampireDiaries search, I will see things that maybe I shouldn’t see. But it’s fun. And terrible sometimes!