The Vampire Diaries
Credit: Quantrell Colbert/The CW
Best Starting Point: ''Growing Pains'' (401) — A lot changed in last season's lead-up. It's probably best not to miss this season opener, which shows…

Image Credit: Quantrell Colbert/The CWFans of The Vampire Diaries are eagerly awaiting the arrival of Klaus — the oldest, most vindictive, and so far unseen vampire who'll want to sacrifice Elena to break the curse that keeps most vampires from walking in the sun (and thereby seal the fates of werewolves to forever change on the full moon whether they want to or not). It's a killer part that the exec producers aren't taking the casting of lightly, even if Kevin Williamson did joke with us earlier this month about wanting to just dye Ian Somerhalder's hair blond. EP Julie Plec estimates a couple hundred actors have now read for the role. "We've been getting great tapes out of England and Australia. That's what excites me: This idea that there might be somebody out there that no one's really familiar with yet that can be a new fresh face that we can exploit…in all the good ways," Plec tells EW. "I think our show works so well because we don't really stunt cast. That being said, if there's some big hot TV star that's available that we love, then… As I always joke, I have my Joshua Jackson fantasy — Pacey in Mystic Falls."

Fans have been more than happy to offer their picks online. "We like the people on Twitter who are like 'Alexander Skarsgard has to be Klaus!' I'm like really? 'Cause that's original," Plec says, laughing. They're willing to think outside the box. "The big important elements of this character are charisma and gravitas. You've got to be able to be afraid of this guy, whether you're afraid of him because he looks scary or because he's so charming that the fact that he can snap your neck with his pinky would take you by surprise. So whether he's an Old World-flavored guy or new hip, contemporary, speedy kinda guy, that remains to be seen. We'll see what actor we connect to the most." The character will make his appearance by season's end, Plec says.

The suggestions line is open: Who would you cast? Having seen Gale Harold's name pitched elsewhere, we voiced our approval to Plec, and she said he's a little older than what they're envisioning. So you have that to go on. The idea of casting a relative unknown is intriguing: Daniel Gillies (pictured, with Nina Dobrev), who recurs as Elijah, another of the ancient vampires known as The Originals, is doing a great job keeping viewers guessing. If age and star status weren't an issue, we'd love to see what Idris Elba could do with the character. He's mentioned that he'd be into reviving Wesley Snipes' Blade, he's still open to TV (The Office, The Big C, Luther), and most importantly, he genuinely seems to enjoy shaking things up. "I get criticized for taking roles in films like Ghost Rider 2, but if you look at my résumé, dude, I've mixed it up as much as I can," he told us recently. "I love to play different roles. That's just the kind of actor I am."

More on The Vampire Diaries:

Episode Recaps

Best Starting Point: ''Growing Pains'' (401) — A lot changed in last season's lead-up. It's probably best not to miss this season opener, which shows…
The Vampire Diaries

Ian Somerhalder, Nina Dobrev, and Paul Wesley star in the CW’s romance-infused vampire soap opera.

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