6:00am PT by Philiana Ng
'Vampire Diaries' Boss Tackles 10 Season 6 Mysteries
[WARNING: Spoilers ahead from season six of The Vampire Diaries.]
Season six of The Vampire Diaries kicks off with Mystic Falls still a magic-free zone and the whereabouts of Damon and Bonnie still a mystery. When Vampire Diaries returns, several months will have passed since Damon and Bonnie disappeared, with Elena and company moving on with their lives with varying degrees of success. Calibrating the follow-up to the emotional May finale weighed heavily on the writers.
"When we started this season, [there was a fear that] it's going to be such a downer, we're ending it in such a sad spot. How can we reinvigorate the show and keep it feeling fresh and alive and not so heavy to start with?" executive producer Caroline Dries recently told a handful of reporters, citing the season-five premiere — which featured Damon and Elena in a honeymoon phase — as a tonal guide for the season-six opener. "Our solution was to have Elena being in this happy alternate reality in her own mind."
After screening Thursday's premiere, The Hollywood Reporter shares 10 teases for the new season with help from Dries.
Where did Damon and Bonnie go? In the finale, Damon and Bonnie were engulfed by a white light as the Other Side crumbled around them, inspiring one of the the show's biggest questions: Where did they go? That mystery is addressed in the first episode in an unexpected way, though the aftermath of their disappearance is felt throughout.
What is Alaric's biggest obstacle? It's not what you think. After being resurrected from the Other Side, the vampire-hunter-turned-vampire sets up shop as a Whitmore College professor of occult studies (of course), whose class Elena just happens to be enrolled in. But it's his rustiness in the romance department that gives him the most trouble acclimating to being among the living. "One of the problems he's going to be facing is how to go on a normal date and be a normal guy again," Dries said, adding that Alaric will have a lot of "emotional baggage" and "internalizes" a lot of his grief. That's where Elena's new doctor mentor, Jo (Jodi Lyn O'Keefe), comes into play. "She's going to bring out that side of him," Dries hinted.
Where is Enzo? Have no fear, Enzo is still here. Though the fan favorite doesn't appear in the premiere, he has a .presence in the second episode, when the question of what he's been up to for the past several months is answered. "He is up to something that is on point with what's going on with the Damon and Stefan story," Dries hinted.
Does Tyler have his eye on someone new? The short answer: Yes, and her name is Liv (Penelope Mitchell), first introduced last season as part of the Travelers storyline. "They're going to be a part of each other's storylines," Dries teased. And there's a moment when Alaric wears the Responsible Adult hat, telling Tyler that Liv is just not interested in him. "Well, we know what that means. That means that's going to be a storyline," Dries hinted.
Who is Stefan's new lady? Stefan is coping with the loss of his brother by moving on romantically — and it's not with Caroline. Ivy (Emily C. Chang), whom Stefan is seen in bed with in released trailers, becomes crucial to his story at the start of season six. "Ivy's a potential love interest and she opens the door into this world of Stefan's that we've never seen before," Dries said. "We start to understand his process as a vampire … of starting over and living a different identity, because we've only seen him as Stefan Salvatore, high school student turned Elena's boyfriend." He'll also be spending his days in a brand-new, more grown-up job, one we've never seen him take on before. That's not to say the door has closed on Stefan and Caroline. "We'll continue to play that. We're seeing layers of it and I don't think Caroline is realizing how deep her feelings are. She just feels hurt and lied to and ignored," Dries said, adding, "It's a very slow build for them."
Will Caroline be successful in stripping Mystic Falls of the magic-free spell? Caroline is on a mission to strip Mystic Falls of the supernatural-free zone the town is currently under, thanks to the Travelers. "She's going to keep trying. It's more of a symbolic thing for her and less of a plot drive," Dries said. There was some thought given to making it a substantial part of the story, complete with witches and such, but ultimately it was decided that it would be used as a metaphor "for what they can't have: the ability to go home and be together." Though Mystic Falls is magic-free for now, Dries hinted that "there is a future" where the supernatural will return to the town.
How will Damon and Elena's love story be retained? With Damon and Elena on separate paths at the start of the season, Dries reassured that their love story will be felt throughout even without Damon's immediate presence among the living. "We definitely keep the love stories alive. We might not play it out in a traditional way but they will feel very satisfying," Dries said. "You'll have your moments of frustration where the fans hate us and then we'll have moments where they're freaking out and being thankful, so there's that push and pull that we do. It's done in a way that feels fresh for a show that's in season six and has had the same characters in this love triangle for a long time." While she admitted that "maintaining Elena and Damon's love story while he's not present" has been a challenge, "I think we do a cool job of it."
Is the doppelganger spell broken? Dries revealed that in the first 10 episodes of the season, the D-word (that's doppelganger) hasn't been used once. "We've been pretty diligent about that and I am pretty sure if we say it, it's to make fun of it."
More flashbacks? Vampire Diaries will be traveling back in time for more flashbacks this season, including one with Stefan and Damon in episode four that is set in an "era we haven't seen before" that will "help tie together a bunch of storylines," Dries teased.
Who is the newest villain? Elena and her friends will have their hands full starting in the third episode when Kai (Chris Wood) comes to town to wreak havoc. "He is a crazy person and he's super fun to write," Dries revealed, using words like "charismatic," "charming," "psychotic," and "likable and unlikable in the right ways."
The Vampire Diaries returns Oct. 2 on The CW.