By Samantha Highfill
Updated September 25, 2014 at 07:18 PM EDT

The Vampire Diaries

  • TV Show
  • The CW

Damon and Bonnie are dead. Vampires aren’t allowed to enter Mystic Falls. Alaric’s back. Stefan’s, well, somewhere else. Yep, it’s safe to say the Vampire Diaries‘ sixth season is going to introduce fans to an entirely new world. But what do we know about that world?

Well, we know that at some point this season, it’s going to be invaded by a new villain that showrunner Julie Plec described as a “psychopathic personality.” We also know that a couple of newcomers are going to shake things up. Other than that, we talked with Plec about what the new season is going to look like.

EW: I have to ask this, because I won’t believe it unless I hear you say the words: If the Other Side is gone, is Uncle Mason gone for good?

JULIE PLEC: [Laughs] I think that may be one of the greatest tragedies of the disappearance of the Other Side is the permanent loss of Uncle Mason. Bye bye, dreamy [Taylor] Kinney.

But Mason isn’t the only one we’ve lost. By putting an end to the Other Side, and to Katherine and to the doppelganger storyline, does this season feel like a fresh start?

Yeah, without a doubt it feels like a fresh start—in that we’ve got a good time jump that takes us four months past where we left off. In the same way that the beginning of season five was about our characters had gone on and had their summer and were preparing for college and a new chapter in their lives, this is our characters having spent time trying to manage and cope with the loss that they all experienced both in losing friends, obviously, and just as profoundly losing access to their home for most of them. So we get to pop in and see how each individual person has dealt with it, what choices they’ve made to move on with their lives if at all, and how they are trying to move forward. Some are doing well; some are not. And when all is said and done, there are these looming questions of 1) Is there any hope for Damon and Bonnie to ever return to their world, and 2) Is there any hope that they’ll be able to literally go home again?

With the loss of Damon and Bonnie at the end of last year, were you all at all worried about the show feeling too dark when it returns?

We’re trying to be true to people’s individual feelings without having it be the season of depressive grief and loss. Nobody really wants to see that. I think what will be fun to see is that some of our characters have really blossomed in the interim, whether they’ve just decided to sort of take life by the horns and make the best out of it and have really come into their own, and some characters are pretending very well to be coping. But as we peel back those layers of their journey a little bit, we’ll see that maybe they’re struggling a bit more than we think. There’s a nice combination of all different scenarios.

Now that Mystic Falls has become this human bubble, what’s life like for its residents?

Certainly any witch could walk into Mystic Falls and live a perfectly happy life; they just can’t live it as a witch. So really it’s the vampires who, if they cross over that border, will face certain death. Everybody else kind of goes in knowing that if they go in there, they’re temporarily relinquishing any access to their supernatural abilities. But yes, Matt and Jeremy in the beginning right when we check in with the town are the representative of the human bubble, and Mystic Falls, that’s the irony is it’s probably never been a better place to live. [Laughs] It’s kind of reverted back to this bucolic, small, sleepy town with low crime rates and certainly a much lower death rate and an absence of animal attacks, and there’s a little bit of fun we have with that in the beginning in the first episode because we get to see the difference between what the town used to be like versus what it is now. And I think that when Sheriff Forbes’ biggest task is busting a pair of campers drinking beer as opposed to picking up their slaughtered bodies off the camp grounds, then you can see that things have really changed.

I feel like Sheriff Forbes might get a little bored.

Speaking of Sheriff Forbes, one of the sort of sweet and sentimental and a little bit bittersweet things is that of course Caroline, who was Miss Mystic Falls in every way you look at it, can’t go back home, and so we have this great scene where Caroline is sitting at the border with her mom having a picnic lunch and we realize that she’s been doing that every day all summer long and it’s her way of trying to hold on to this town that meant her so much to her that she can’t get back into. It’s very sweet.

In terms of Damon, I so loved his speech in the finale about peaking. He seemed at peace, so my question is, is he going to want to come back after coming to terms with leaving in such a beautiful way?

I think Damon believed— in that moment, as his life was ending—that he had lived the life that he wanted and gotten what he wanted. Without explaining too much about the mystery of where he is, he didn’t end up where he thought he was going to be—whether that was, in his mind, hell, heaven, or some like warped dimension of Damon doppelgangers. Where he ended up is so surprising and so strange and mysterious, even to Damon himself that it becomes about 1) figuring out where they are, and 2) how do they get out of it? And those drives are triggered by, “Hey, if there’s a chance I can get back home and get back to my girl, then that’s what I want. Get back to my girl and get back to my brother.”

Will the Damon-Bonnie mystery be solved by the first chapter of the season?

The mystery of where they are is an ongoing presence throughout the whole season, but trying to figure out what the heck they’re going to do about getting home is the crux of our first chapter.

The Vampire Diaries returns Thursday, Oct. 2 at 8 p.m. on The CW.

Episode Recaps

The Vampire Diaries

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