Record numbers and increasingly long waits for almost all panels greeted fans making the trek this year to San Diego for Comic-Con International. It was against this backdrop on a busy Saturday that Ballroom 20 played host to The Vampire Diaries video presentation and Q&A.
As in years past, the panel opened with a short trailer focusing on the Elena/Damon/Stefan dynamic. While most of the footage was familiar to fans, there was a new tidbit featuring one of the exciting character transformations revealed in last season's finale episode. (Spoiler alert, Wesley's Silas oozes charisma.) The Vampire faithful exploded into applause as the cast and creators took the stage for a humorous and exciting panel.
The CW's number one show brought a full contingent to Comic-Con, including series stars Nina Dobrev, Paul Wesley, Ian Somerhalder, Candice Accola, and Kat Graham as well as series producers Julie Plec and Caroline Dries. As in years past, the cast showed the chemistry that sparks on screen and creator/producer Plec proved her knowledge of how to drive the crowd and expressed her thanks for the fans' passionate devotion.
The panel began with a question about Damon and Elena's chance at a "happily ever after." While Plec weighed an answer, Somerhalder was quick to quip that no one on the show "gets to live happily ever after." Plec for her part, clarified that while there will be drama this season, they (the writers) are making an effort to "keep them happy for a while in the midst of all the bad things around them that are trying to tear them apart." Somerhalder was apparently surprised at the triangle's resolution last season.
"I thought they were joking," he said. "Damon never gets the girl."
"Don't under play your sexy blue eyes," responded Wesley. "Don't downplay the smolder-Halder."
So far, several characters have experienced a duality, with Dobrev's dual characters being the most prevalent example. The next question focused on Wesley's role as Silas in the coming season. According to the actor, Plec actually told him early on that the Silas story arc would lead to the reveal that Damon was, like Elena, a doppelganger. Of course, he was also sworn to secrecy, admitting he had to lie to everyone. Wesley added that playing Silas would be different than playing Stephan as the ripper, with Dries joking that "Silas is much more polite when he's feeding on people."
After the cast discussed Dobrev almost missing her flight due to shooting into the wee hours the previous night, and Somerhalder still having fake blood on his arm from set, Dobrev joked that she considered trying to rush through security without washing the blood off, but decided against it.
"Nina Dobrev misses Comic-Con panel due to being held by the FBI," Somerhalder said while laughing.
Although Plec wouldn't commit to a definitive answer regarding a question about Silas being season five's major villain, but she did tease an even bigger threat -- which was news to Wesley, who seemed to relish the opportunity to be evil for a whole season.
"This is unbelievable," shouted Wesley. "Just when you think you're at the top of the food chain."
When asked about the reversal of playing Katherine as a human, Dobrev got extremely introspective about the character, delving into how vampirism is key to her sense of identity. Plec also revealed that Katherine's first real test would involve something humans regularly struggle with: the common cold. Dries posited, "Katherine is the best vampire and the worst human."
The next question centered on the characters, Elena in particular, going off to college.
"Why are we pursuing higher education?" Wesley wondered aloud. "We're all murderers! Why are we studying?"
"Paul, you're setting a really crappy example!" Somerhalder said, cutting his co-star off. "If you have an eternity to live, why not take an extra four or six years to learn something."
Birnbaum suggested Caroline would just throw parties, before Dobrev sincerely asked Plec what they're all majoring in and how exactly they got into college in the first place. Plec answered that they'd just compel themselves into whatever they wanted. Accola added that in addition to throwing parties, Caroline was likely to meet guys, winking and stating, "There are men at college." Accola did admit that she would like Tyler and Caroline to end up back together, with Dries adding that it could be also be fun to have Klaus show up in Caroline's dorm room.
Dobrev suggested that Elena wouldn't be seeking other male companions as she is now in a relationship with Damon, and pointed out that Elena has already made out with almost everyone on the show already.
"Is there anyone she hasn't made out with?" Dobrev asked.
At this point a voice from the crowd erupted, "Me!" and Somerhalder was quick with a response. "Give me your number buddy," he said. "I'll set you up!"
Graham discussed the upcoming arc for Bonnie and how her experience of being dead and communicating with only Jeremy would be reflected on the show. Graham suggested the couple would form a duo called "Beremy" that would rival other celebrity star couples further teasing that Bonnie might not be able to keep her death a secret for very long as the season progressed. Plec added that Bonnie's "emotional journey" for the season would see her dealing with the sacrifice she made to bring Jeremy back to life.
Regarding Jeremy's resurrection, Plec noted the logistics would be dealt with in the first episode of the season with Elena helping Jeremy rehearse his cover story. Plec reasoned he'd have to "not say the wrong thing about how he faked his own death and burned his house down."
The floor then opened up to fan questions. The first question to Dobrev wondered how she felt about her character giving the cure to someone who wouldn't appreciate it. While the actress admitted that there was a lot of discussion and hand-wringing on the show about who should get the cure and who really deserved it, it seemed fitting that it was forced on Katherine.
One Vampire Diaries fan had come all the way from Brazil, and asked Dobrev about playing multiple characters. "Especially in the finale, it felt like an action movie," she said. "A lot of green screens. A lot of rehearsals. ... Hopefully it works and you all liked it."
Many Vampire Diaries viewers want a movie of their favorite show, but Plec clarifying that they had no control over where a movie adaptation gets produced. Somerhalder suggested, and Plec agreed, that every episode is "like it's own movie." Although Dobrev mentioned the upcoming 100th episode, Plec remained tight-lipped about any definitive plans.
Dobrev responded to question about her favorite character to play, Elena or Katherine, by admitting she both love and hates them for "different reasons." Dobrev said she'd actually learned a lot about herself playing such radically different characters. Dobrev admitted that the hair and make-up time required to create such different characters was the one thing she really hated about it. "It's like your kids," Dobrev finally answered, "How do you choose?"
While fans seemed to clamor for more Klaus in Mystic Falls, Plec nixed the idea pretty firmly.
"Klaus went and got his own damn show!" Somerhalder exclaimed.
"He's too good for Vampire Diaries," Wesley added.
Plec did suggest that while Klaus wouldn't be returning to Mystic Falls, Caroline could make an appearance on the upcoming "The Originals" spinoff series debuting this fall.
Playing off the admission that fans would see more spirits in this season, the question of Alaric was brought up again as with last year's panel. Once again, Plec admitted she'd love to feature Alaric again. Dries joked "the best way to get on Julie's good side in the writers room is to pitch scenes with Alaric." Dries then added that fans will get to actually see what the other side is like. Somerhalder interrupted that he'd love to pay homage to the famous pot-throwing scene from Ghost; with Wesley adding "I'll mold your clay."
Plec had to shoot down a fan's hope that there were currently plans to delve into the character of Tatia. While Plec admitted the character was central to the shows mythology, it seems that for the time being any further exploration.
The last question directed to the entire panel regarded which character each member would like to see killed off the show. Plec suggested that they all actually loved each other, and while Somerhalder echoed the sentiment, Wesley took a slightly counter point of view.
"We all have somebody we want to kill," Wesley said. "Be were aren't going to tell you."
Somerhalder and Graham fired back in unison, "Him," referring humorously to Wesley. After a beat, Somerhalder added, "Vampire Diaries panel ends on a very somber, sick note."
The panel ended with Somerhalder making it a point to sincerely thank the fans. "Thank you for loving us, even when our storylines and acting sucks." Plec agreed adding that the love extends to the set itself, which still feels like "a family," specifically because the fans "treat us like family."