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Q) The finale of "The Vampire Diaries" was beautiful.
A) It was brutal. The first time I saw it I thought, "Oh no! Oh no! This is not going to work!" It just came together gorgeously.
Q) There was a lot of layers to it.
A) It had a lot leading to it. When all is said and done, it was the easiest to write of the whole year. What made it difficult was editorially trying to lay it out and do it right.
Q) How long ahead of time did you know you were going to introduce flashbacks of Damon having met Elena before Stefan had?
A) We knew we really wanted the season finale to be Elena's life before the vampires came to town, leading up to the night where her parents died. We had a thousand pitches on the table all season long because we knew that's where we were going. I've always said the big thing you have to make sure you do is that you can't just have a flashback because it's fun (although, that would make it so much easier). You have to learn something new that you didn't know. We knew that we were not going to reveal that there was any supernatural tomfoolery leading to her parents' accident. We wanted to stay very pure and honest about that and not rewrite history there. We talked a lot about what we could learn here that changes things. I would say that probably by the middle of the season that we knew what that would be. Damon showed up in the pilot and he knew a lot. So, he'd been there. We always knew we wanted to know what he was up to prior to flying in as the crow and where his interest in Elena came from because he flew in guns a blazin' with an interest in her (even if he was posturing that it was because she was Stefan's girl). So, we knew there was a story to tell there and this was the perfect place to tell that story. It kind of let us fill our rules of flashbacks and also tell this one mystery that we'd never been able to tell at the same time.
Q) What is Elena getting her memory like going to be like for Damon?
A) It's going to mean a lot of things for both of them. I don't think it's suddenly going to make her say, "Oh my God! Everything is different! It changes everything!" I don't think she's that literal. But for Elena and Damon's relationship, it all comes down to what I remember as one of my favorite moments from the season when she asks, "Why don't you let other people see the good in you?" She's always wanting to believe in him and wanting to believe he's good, but he's constantly doing things that sabotage that for her. these are two very pure and honest moments that she gets access to. It's just going into the big encyclopedia of her point of view of Damon and the idea if some day she could ever love him as a man, as opposed to just caring about him for who he is right now.
Q) Will we get to learn more of Klaus' backstory?
A) I actually don't know. I do know that we have discussed that it is an open thread out there that we could grab on to at any point. We have our mental checklist of open threads that we know we want to tell stories about like where was Damon before he flew into Mystic Falls. We don't know anything about Klaus' biological father. He was a guy who has some serious messed up parent issues. So, I would say never say never about meeting more of his backstory.
Q) What does it mean for Klaus now that Elena is a vampire?
A) It changes everything for him. It's not that good for him, actually. He's a guy whose entire agenda was born out of wanting to produce hybrids and really that was just a mask for needing a family. His mom kind of threw down the gauntlet late in the season by saying, "I'm not going to rest until I've protected myself from the likes of you." He's back on the hybrid trail and his only power source has just turned off.
Q) Will Joseph Morgan be returning to the show and if so, how soon?
A) Joseph Morgan will be back and he'll be back sooner than later.
Q) Will he be crispy?
A) He'll probably need to do a couple shots of blood to heal himself back up. There is a line, "Fate and oxygen intervened and here I am."
Q) Will we see April next season as a love interest for one of the Salvatores?
A) We are not bringing her in specifically to be a love interest. We're bringing her in a nice way to give Elena someone to look at and say, "She reminds me of me." For Elena, who was so compassionate in her human life, that it is going to be a very, very big problem for her in vampire life. She's going to care very deeply in ways she can't control. The idea of this young high school girl coming into town that has secrets and has anger, who probably falls herself into some danger - Elena is going to want to take care of her. Now, there are a couple single guys who are on the show. There is Jeremy who is single. There are a couple brothers who are single. Matt Donovan is kind of single. I wouldn't say we wouldn't be opposed to doing something, but she isn't being brought in simply to be a romantic figure.
Q) What other new characters are in the mix for next season?
A) We've got Connor that we just cast as Todd Williams. He's a vampire hunter in the way you would assume a vampire hunter would be. He's not like Alaric, who accidentally befriends the guy who he would like to kill the most. He's hardcore, fast, quick, strong and he's human. He's a surprisingly complicated adversary and they are kind of taken back by him because he's more than they bargained for. It's not easy to get rid of him.
Q) Without Alaric in the picture, who is Damon going to be turning to this season?
A) The problem with Damon in the beginning of the season is he actually doesn't have that - he's lost his buddy. He and his brother are in a complicated disagreement. Elena chose Stefan. He's like,"All the choices that you're making and everything that you're doing - you're whole plan here is sort of telling me that you have it covered. Well, all right. If you've got it covered then I am going to stay out of it." He's actually feeling alone and how he starts to fill that void will be part of his journey as we go forward in the season. He needs a new drinking buddy, that's for sure.
Q) Who will be the person Elena leans on the most during her transformation?
A) I think what's good about it is that she has a group of available vampire shrinks. She has Stefan who went through it the darkest way and Damon who has a point of view about how to rip the Band-Aid off. She has Caroline, who was very successful in her transition and Jeremy who watched Vicki who was very unsuccessful in her transition. She also has Matt, who is also a shoulder to cry on. She's going to be reaching out. Of course, she has Bonnie who is her best friend and is her emotional rock. She has a lot of choices there.
Q) Is Bonnie going to be going towards the darker this season?
A) Bonnie tapped into something really dark at the end of last season and at the beginning of this season she's going to have to go back there and tap into it again. Her journey for this season will be predicated on the outcome of that attempt, what happens and what it does to her.
Q) Is there more Damon is hiding from Elena than just that one indiscretion?
A) I don't know. I think Damon keeps things to himself. I think he only shares what he wants to share. I think he has a very specific history of things that he probably doesn't tell anybody. If you're asking if we're going to learn a new secret in the beginning, no. Nothing new yet. I think there is a lot of Damon's story that has been untold. I would like to do an episode where we make it a Damon-centered episode. We're going to give it a shot doing that at some point this year where we are going to go back maybe the 40's or 70's to really see Damon in his element - Damon being Damon without everybody else around watching him.