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Elena’s struggle to transition to a vampire might just be the least of her worries when The Vampire Diaries kicks-off its fourth season on Oct. 11. According to exec producer Julie Plec, there will be a much more pressing problem at hand. “When Alaric Saltzman told the council that the town was filled with vampires, [he] told a lot of details about a lot of people that in the first episode back we’ll see have created a little bit of a domino effect,” says Plec, who teased a “powerful, surprising death sequence” during the premiere.

As a result, the big question in the first episode is not whether Elena will feed on blood, but rather how she does it, when she does it, and whether she’ll even survive the day.

Of course, it shouldn’t be too difficult for her to make it through. After all, she’s got two very able Salvatore brothers by her side. Both Stefan and Damon will help school Elena in vampology 101 this season…though they won’t exactly be on the same page. “They’re two very different kinds of vampires and they’re going to have two very different points of view about what kind of vampire Elena should be,” says Plec. “It’s going to make them fight a little.”

According to Plec, Elena will feel torn between each brother’s perspective and that will impact her relationships with each of them. Though the direction of those relationships remains to be seen, Plec made it clear that the love triangle is beginning a new chapter. Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean Elena’s going to ditch Stefan — but she obviously still has some unfinished business with Damon. By the fourth episode, expect to see the two drawn together in a moment sure to spark a whole lot of fan fodder. “There’s a really interesting moment between Damon and Elena where she’s acting a little bit out of character and they both get caught up in a moment,” teases Plec.

As for the show’s other love triangle, Plec says that Klaus — who will be back to his own body fairly soon — will find “sportier more dastardly ways of driving a wedge” between Caroline and Tyler. In other words, the Klaus/Caroline/Tyler saga is far from over. She explains: “The finale wasn’t putting a final point on any relationship. If anything it was just creating a new beginning for all the relationships. Things are going to be evolving and changing for all points of all triangles on this show.”

Other notable scoops:

— Bonnie will do everything and anything to prevent Elena’s transition. Whether or not she’s successful and the consequences of the kind of magic she taps into will impact her arch season.

— According to Plec, the new vampire hunter headed to Mystic Falls is “very hardcore, he’s very skilled he’s very strong. He kind of takes our heroes by surprise, in that they think they can wipe the floor with him pretty easily and quickly, and he sort of stuns them with being difficult to defeat early on. They’re going to realize they’ve got a bigger problem than they’re used to.”

— Klaus’s decision to stick around Mystic Falls will be tied to the vampire hunter. Says Plec: “He definitely has an agenda that he wants to service which we’ll start to get a hint at about three episodes, four episodes in, and it will involve how he feels about the existence of this hunter.”

— Klaus isn’t the only Original sticking around. We haven’t seen the last of Rebekah or her other brothers and sisters. “We’ll definitely get glimpses of the other Originals over the course of the year,” says Plec. The exec producer also hinted that we may learn more about Esther’s backstory. “One of the things that we’ve always said in the writer’s room is Esther’s creation of the original vampires was predicated on a spell that she already had, so where did she get that? And what does that mean?” says Plec. “Does it mean that there are vampires that pre-date the original vampires?”

— The fourth episode may feature a memorable Elena-Damon scene, but Plec says one of her favorite Damon moments of all-time happens in the second episode (so keep an eye out!).

— Speaking of Delena… Elena will remember the moments and confessions that Damon compelled her to forget and it will confirm that she wasn’t wrong in believing there was good in him. Though don’t expect a recently rejected Damon to be receptive to her realizations. “I think for him it’s just like, ‘Yep, well, that’s in the past. That was then, this is now. You made your choice,'” said Plec. “Damon’s not going to be sitting around moping, that’s for sure. He’s going to have a little bit of a ‘tude probably.”

— Can’t wait to see Elena partake in a little vampire on vampire action? You may have to wait a couple of episodes. “We’re about to start shooting episode 3 and we have not yet shown a completed act of vampire sex so it is going to be something that will happen eventually,” says Plec.”But I will not say how, when, why, with who, or if it’s awesome or not.” (Let’s face it, we all know it’s going to be awesome).

— Though you may have heard otherwise, Stefan will not be getting a new love interest — at least not anytime soon. “I actually don’t even know where that came from,” says Plec. “I think Paul’s talking wish fulfillment.”

— We may get to see the friendship between Stefan and Caroline develop more this season. “What I’m hoping is that Caroline, as an advocate of the Stefan school of how to be a vampire, can be a support system for him that he really needs, especially as things get difficult in Elena’s transition,” says Plec.

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