'Vampire Diaries' season 4 finale postmortem: Julie Plec on the cure
Spoiler alert: If you haven’t watched The Vampire Diaries season finale, stop reading now. Exec producer Julie Plec talked to us about who was originally going to get the cure, how long that Silas twist was in the works, and how much of Bonnie we’ll be seeing next season…
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: You’ve told us that the person you thought would end up with the cure when you begin filming the season wasn’t the one who ultimately got it. Who was originally supposed to receive it?
JULIE PLEC: We changed our mind right about when the show started airing. Our original plan was Damon, because we thought that really made the most sense — the person who would probably least like to be human, and yet also missed it the most admittedly. To see Damon in a human life as Elena remained in a vampire life, we got excited about that opportunity. Then, the more we thought about it, the more that people were taking their random guesses at who would get it, it seemed like it was everybody’s first instinct as well. [Laughs] And so we thought we needed a new instinct.
What does it mean for Katherine? Will we see more of her next season to watch her deal with this?
I think we’ll be seeing a bit more of Katherine. As always, we have to be careful with overworking the hardest-working woman in show business, Nina Dobrev. There’s so much fun to be had with seeing this nasty, manipulative, fearless, undefeatable Katherine suddenly finding herself vulnerable, killable. It may be time to pay some of the price for all the crappy things she’s done to other people over the last 500 years.
Will we see her in Mystic Falls or New Orleans?
I think we’ll definitely see her knockin’ on somebody’s door when she’s in a bind. As we know the Salvatore Brothers are pretty good at protecting the ladies, so you never know.
No one saw the Stefan-is-a-Silas-doppelgänger twist coming. I think we’re all excited for Paul Wesley to play that part.
What was the inspiration?
When we were talking about who the next big bad villain should be, we had kind of a double burden because we’d just come off two of the greatest villains of all-time, Katherine and Klaus, which also turned out to be excellent casting choices. Trying to live up to that and better it, is something that we talked about that would be very difficult, and that just got us thinking outside the box. What could we do to create an interesting supervillain but not necessarily have it be so contingent on the perfect piece of casting? So it started there, and combined with our desire to give Paul Wesley the ability to play and to be adventurous with his acting. He’s so good at playing the bad guy and we didn’t want to take Stefan down the Ripper road again. So we were trying to think of ways to give him something juicy to sink his teeth into, no pun intended. And so those two conversations led to that solution.
And when did you land on that answer?
We knew that last spring when we first started talking about this season. It was where we were heading all season long. We weren’t sure if we were going to get to it sooner than we did. We had it in our back pocket to reveal as soon as we felt it was time. And then it turned out not to be revealed until the finale.
Is Stefan going to be buried for a long time?
We’ll have to see. Certainly no one’s gonna want to watch The Vampire Diaries without their Stefan alive and well and hangin’ out. So we’ll try not to prolong the torture for too long, but it is gonna be torture. So it will definitely change him. If and when he finally gets free, he’s not necessarily gonna come out of there all sunshine and rainbows.
The water coming into the coffin was a nice touch: It’s one thing to be buried alive, but to be buried alive in water — horrifying.
I mean, how awful when you think about it. He can’t be killed by it. He’ll inhale the water, he’ll go unconscious, he’ll come back to consciousness because he can heal himself, and then he’ll drown all over again. [Laughs] It kinda sucks.
And what’s he gonna look like when someone finally finds him?
What does a desiccated vampire look like in an underwater coffin? I guess he’s like a pickle. [Laughs] Yeah, we probably won’t linger too much on that image.
And we’ll see Silas as Stefan now, as opposed to other people?
He’s still psychic, so he can still do what he wants to do and appear how he wants to appear. Definitely now he’s got a body that he can inhabit pretty safely, and I’m sure it’s a lot easier to just walk around as his normal self than having to use up all that energy trying to convince people he’s someone else. So I think more often than not, we’ll see him as Paul Wesley.
So is it like the Curse of the Sun and the Moon where everything we thought we knew about Silas’ motivations was wrong? Did he actually want to take the cure and die to be with someone?
His definite agenda is to rid himself of the curse of immortality. An immortal life without somebody that you love is kind of its own worst torture and punishment. Yet, he cannot be killed, and now that Katherine has taken the cure, and there was only one, he can’t have the cure. So we’ll start to see what he wants the next step of his existence to be and how he’s going to find ways to achieve this.
Is he the Big Bad for next season?
He’s A bad. He’s certainly by no means the only villain, and not necessarily even the most dastardly.
Are we going to see a new witch?
[Laughs] Put it this way: It will be awfully nice to write the show without any witch spells for a little while, but I’m sure there’ll be another witch in Mystic Falls before time is up.
Did you start the season knowing that you were going to end it with Bonnie dying?
Interestingly enough, that was a pitch that was on the table for the finale last year. For us, it’s always been a question of how much we want to show of the other side. And is there an entire world that we can play over there, or do we really want to keep everything grounded in a real world universe. Having Jeremy able to see ghosts and now Bonnie over on the other side, it felt like an exciting complication to a budding romantic relationship that we were looking forward to playing in that. And also relieving ourselves of the burden — as Kevin [Williamson] calls it, the witch storytelling burden — which is that when you have a witch, they should be able to fix all the problems, but if they could fix all the problems, then you’re not telling the story. But if they can’t fix the problems, then they’re really bad witches. [Laughs] So it’s a nice relief from that for a while.
How much will we see of Kat Graham next season?
She will be a regular. She will be around. If anything, we’ll see as much if not more of her. And it gives us a great way to develop more stories for her outside of just her being the witch that comes in and tries to save the day. I’m excited about the opportunity to tell a romantic relationship between two people who can’t physically be together. Talk about your hurdles.
And Tyler can come back to town now. Klaus’ line to Caroline — “He’s your first love. I intend to be your last. However long it takes” — was perfect.
That scene is so special and so beautiful. And the crazy thing about Klaus and Caroline is here’s a guy who’s done hideous, horrific, unforgivable things, and yet, here we all are swooning as he takes her arm and escorts her off the football field. [Laughs] So that’s a pretty special situation to have in a villain/leading man, which hopefully will continue to be successful in the other show.