8:00PM: Those joining THE VAMPIRE DIARIES PaleyFest Panel via Livestream are forced to wait a few minutes while the participants — including Executive Producer Julie Plec, actors Nina Dobrev (Elena Gilbert), Paul Wesley (Stefan Salvatore), Ian Somerhalder (Damon Salvatore), Candice Accola (Caroline Forbes), Matthew Davis (Alaric Saltzman), Kat Graham (Bonnie Bennett) and moderator Debra Birnbaum (TV Guide Magazine) — dish on “1912,” the Alaric-heavy episode that just finished screening. D’oh.
8:02PM: “We haven’t seen the last of the Originals,” teases Plec, before Candice Accola offers up her take on the increasingly interesting relationship between her character Caroline and Joseph Morgan’s Klaus. “Everyone’s excited about that whole relationship, but people seem to forget that Klaus’ hobby is murder and their entire relationship is based on manipulation. Talk about a terrible match.com profile.” Adds Somerhalder, “Aren’t all relationship based on manipulation.”
8:05PM: “There’s nothing better than being hung from the ceiling and tortured by another woman,” jokes Somerhalder on the topic of the recently released spoilerific photo that sees Damon at the mercy of a very angry Rebekah (Claire Holt). “As demented as you think Damon was in season one, or Stefan at the start of season three, these Originals have an appetite for destruction and they act on it.” Translation: Hell hath no fury like an Original such as Rebekah scorn!
8:10PM: The panel’s obsession with the Originals continues with Plec revealing that Esther’s plan for her Original children is just beginning. “There’s still a whole other chapter to that story.” Also of note, Dobrev believes Elena’s soft side for Elijah stems from their shared morals and values.
8:16PM: For those VAMPIRE DIARIES fans wondering what Katherine has been up to? Plec’s got two words for you: Self Preservation! “Look, Katherine spent 500 years hiding from Klaus to great success and if he’s in Mystic Falls you can bet that girl won’t go near,” explains plec. “There’s no love story more important than Katherine and her own self interest and freedom. So despite whatever feelings she may have for the Salvatore brothers, she’s going to stay the heck out of dodge.”
8:19PM: When asked about having his wife (Torrey DeVitto) on the show, Wesley said it helped that Julie [Plec] is a big fan of PRETTY LITTLE LIARS. Jokes Somerhalder, “Two words: Casting Couch!”
8:22PM: Fans of Ripper Stefan will be happy to know that actor Paul Wesley was having as much on screen as you had watching it. “Getting to explore Stefan’s dark side was just the most fun I had in a while,” says Wesley. “I tell Julie all the time that I really want to maintain that.” To wit Plec responds, “It’s a journey for both Stefan and Damon. One of them began as hero, one as a villain and they both have light and dark sides. Damon will always battle against the side of him that is good while Stefan will constantly fight with his inner demons. That turmoil is what makes them dynamic.”
8:28PM: Spoiler Alert! The Damon-Elena-Stefan love triangle is definitely going to come to a head by the end of the season. “What we’ll see before the end of the season is Elena having to ask herself a lot of questions about who do I care for,” teases Plec. Adds Dobrev, “I think she needs to go abroad, to Europe, meet some new boys in Italy. I’m sure there are a lot of Salvatores who won’t bite her or kill her and all of her loved ones. We can do Europe, like GOSSIP GIRL did!”
8:31PM: When prodded by panel moderator Debra Birnbaum, Plec wouldn’t promise that everyone is going to survive the season. Gulp!
8:32PM: When asked what their favorite plot twists have been from the season thus far, Kat Graham says Tyler turning into a hybrid was really well done. Davis says the twist he’s a big fan of still has yet to come. Dobrev relished when Elena stabbed Rebekah in the back. Somerhalder can’t pinpoint just one. Candice liked the reveal of all the Originals together. While both Plec and Wesley enjoyed the flashbacks that saw Klaus and Stefan as friends which sets off a back-and-forth between Somerhalder and Wesley about how great it would be to turn the Salvatore brothers into Forrest Gump and discover that they played a major role in all these historical turning points throughout history (Ie. What if Stefan was the one who killed Jim Morrison in the bathtub?)
8:40PM: How large a role does what Plec characterizes as a very vocal, albeit beautiful fan base play into the show? “It’s hard to shut out and not take some of that into consideration,” admits Plec on THE VAMPIRE DIARIEs ravenous fans. “That said, decisions in the writer’s room are made based on staying true to the core of the character and their journey. You’ll get criticism now and then, but the fact that somebody is so angry and cares that much is its own badge of honor and that’s pretty phenomenal. One of the reasons the show has had the success that it has is because of the fan community, it’s amazing.”
8:42PM: Since Plec seems so hesitant to comment on whether or not we’ll learn more about the death of Elena’s parents, well, except to say that the writers are talking about having a flashback as we get to the end of the season that shows us Elena’s life before she had vampires in it, we’ll simply point you to this week’s “Ask the Addict” column for a little additional scoop!
8:44PM: Kicking off the Q&A Portion of the panel, Dobrev admits to enjoying her time playing both Katherine and Elena in the same way in which co-star Paul Wesley had the time of his life playing showing a different side of Stefan this season. Explains Dobrev, “The challenge everyday when we’re on set, whether it’s an emotional scene or a more lighthearted one is to keep it fresh and make sure it’s exciting as you are watching it.”
8:46PM: Plec calls breaking episode a mini-movie. “It’s kind of a joke within the writer’s room, but coming up with what Event Mystic Falls is celebrating every week is crucial to our show,” says Plec. “More often than not it’s the central element that brings the characters together. Be it a Ball of a great Chili Cook-off, it makes the show feel like you’re tuning into a movie each week instead of an endless serialized mass of nothing.”
8:48PM: On the subject of the Salvatore brothers tenuous friendship, Plec certainly hopes that they’ll one day be able to make amends. “I’ve said out loud that the brother’s relationship is the epic love story of the series, so for them to never actually have that be requited would be really said.” Jokes Somerhalder, “Damon and Stefan go to Dinner.” Adds Wesley, “Stefan has a little too much wine.” Concludes Somerhalder, “And then they cuddle!”
8:51PM: In response to an agonizing long question from a fan about what it means to be apart of such a popular show and what advice the panel might have for those aspiring to make it in the business we affectionally refer to as show, Somerhalder recounts the fascinating tale about how he almost lost out on the role of Damon after bombing his final audition.
9:00PM: In what has now become par for pretty much the Paley course, Plec says she isn’t sure the tone of THE VAMPIRE DIARIES would be right for a musical episode. “BUFFY’s “Once More with a Feeling” was my favorite thing in the world but I don’t know if our show could sustain that kind of tonal shift and pull off a musical episode as much as it’s my fantasy.
9:02PM: “We’ll see,” was Plec’s response to the final question of the night that had a fan wondering if Elena will ever follow the path of the show’s source material by turning into a Vampire.
THE VAMPIRE DIARIES returns with new episodes on Thursday March 15th at 8PM on the CW (CTV Two in Canada) and stars Nina Dobrev, Ian Somerhalder, Paul Wesley, Steven R. McQueen, Kat Graham, Candice Accola, Zach Roerig, Michael Trevino, Matt Davis and Joseph Morgan. Catch up on past episodes you may have missed for free online at clicktowatch.tv
Photo Credits: PaleyCenter