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Fans at Comic-Con International came out in force for The CW’s Vampire Diaries panel. Executive producers Julie Plec and Kevin Williamson took the stage alongside series stars Nina Dobrev, Paul Wesley, Ian Somerhalder, Michael Trevino, Steve McQueen and Zach Roerig. While the panel offered little in the way of true spoilers, it certainly gave fans a real treat as the cast and creators talked about the past, present, and future of the show.
The panel opened with a short trailer featuring highlights from last season’s finale in which Elena finally becomes a vampire. The trailer also featured some flashes of character hook-ups from the upcoming season. Once the trailer — and raucous applause — concluded, the panel took questions via Twitter before letting the audience get in on the act.
The Q&A began with a general inquiry about the show’s upcoming season. Plec promised a lot of “fresh and new” but also “familiar” for the fourth season. She mentioned the writers had longer to prepare for this season, and assured fans that there’d be plenty of, “good, deep, emotional twisted stuff.”
The next question focused on Tyler Lockwood’s character arc, with Trevino joking that Tyler was a “douchebag” with “no other value.” After laughing the joke off, Trevino clarified he felt really blessed to have had the chance to play all the different facets of Tyler.
The following inquiry focused on the similarly complex journey of Damon Salvatore. Somerhalder talked about how Damon attempted to change, but had been around for centuries at this point in the show’s history. Somerhalder said, “The bottom line is, he’s not a nice guy. So this year, he’s saying, ‘I’ve tried everything you wanted me to try. I’m right and this is who I am. If you don’t like it, you can go fuck yourself.'” Wesley added he really enjoyed playing the Ripper in season three after spending seasons one and two as such a “good guy.” Roerig then joked he was proud to be the only full human currently left standing on the stage.
The next question centered on social media, with Plec admitting she does in fact stay tuned in to the fan chatter — though she clarified it does little to influence the show. For every piece of feedback, she gets an equal amount of the opposing viewpoint. “When I’m watching love triangles, I like to be able to root for both of them,” she said of the Damon/Elena/Stefan dynamic.
When asked about the best and worst parts of the job, Somerhalder got the best reaction by stating that the best part of the job was interacting with the fans and coming to CCI. Pandering a bit? Sure. But it was hard to doubt the sincerity behind Somerhalder’s words.
The cast also talked about hook-ups on the show, as Roerig joked his character should hook up with Sherriff Forbes. “Between the two characters, I feel like I’ve made out with everyone in the cast,” Dobrev said. “I think Katharine should hook up with Elijah.”
The final question from Twitter focused on everyone’s favorite scene to shoot. Dobrev talked about the intense training for her underwater sequences. Plec became serious and mentioned the candlelight vigil. “I loved it as a character goodbye, it was poetic and beautiful,” she said.
The fans opened the Q&A by asking how long everyone had known about Elena’s transformation into a vampire. Somerhalder quipped, “She’s a vampire?” But Plec clarified that the transformation was always where the character was headed.
The next fan asked about the possible return of Matt Davis. Plec was very clear that Alaric could return to the show. “We certainly don’t like living in a world without Matt Davis in our family,” she added. “So it’s possible.”
A Brazilian member of the audience asked Somerhalder if he’d enjoyed his recent trip to Brazil. Somerhalder spoke glowingly of the location and its people, calling both “beautiful.” Somerhalder stated he’d traveled mostly by helicopter as it’s “what people do there,” before Wesley joked that while Somerhalder traveled that way it may have been, “just him,” that was able to travel in that fashion.
The next inquiry came via an interpreter for a deaf fan. The question was about the witch Esther’s “mentor” on the show. Plec asked the interpreter to clarify the phrasing before the question became more clearly, “Who was Esther’s teacher?” Plec smiled knowingly and complimented the question before proclaiming, “That’s a big question we’ll answer this year.”
Somerhalder spoke about Damon’s reaction to Elena’s transformation to a vampire. “It could be a lot of fun,” he said. “She’s now a badass vampire girl who can take care of herself.” Somerhalder added it would create, “a really interesting dynamic between [Stefan, Damon and Elena].” Wesley deadpanned, ”We can have vampire sex which lasts half a minute,” to riotous laughter. Wesley continued, “Seriously. You could do it at a Starbucks. In line at a Starbucks.” Somerhalder capped the exchange by turning to Williamson and asking, “Kevin, will you write one of those scenes?”
Plec teased the return of Meredith, but noted the Kitsune twins would not return this season.
An adult fan asked if the show would start tackling more adult themes. Plec seemed a bit incredulous asking, “How much more adult can we get?” Somerhalder stated that next season everyone would just be “naked.” At this point Williamson cleared his throat and asked the cast to read from the back of their name cards. The bit about watching what you say due to some fans being under eighteen got a laugh before Somerhalder suggested that really, eighteen year olds were allowed to vote and serve their country and sixteen year olds weren’t far off from that. Wesley then sped read the back of his card before joking more about “vampire speed.”
The final audience question posited how the cast would fare in a Hunger Games situation. Plec said she’d “pull a Nightlock berry with Kevin” so they could both survive. McQueen stated that he’d “have to kill Zach first.” Dobrev seconded Roerig’s probable survival by stating that she’d attempt to team up with him, adding “Zach’s a good hunter.”
Wesley joked, “He’s a wild animal. Haven’t you killed turkeys?” Roerig then deadpanned, “I plead the fifth.” Trevino threw his lot in with Roerig as well, but it was Somerhalder who had the best response. “I’d just kill them all. Have a drink and a cigar and just enjoy the silence.”
The panel ended with the cast thanking their audience and the fans, leaving the assembled panel-goers ready and anticipating the upcoming season.
The Vampire Diaries returns to The CW’s Thursday lineup on Oct. 10.