When last we visited Mystic Falls, home of “The Vampire Diaries,” Elena (Nina Dobrev) had finally made her choice between the Salvatore brothers, choosing Stefan (Paul Wesley) over Damon (Iam Somerhalder); vampire hunter Alaric Saltzman (Matthew Davis), who was a vampire himself, is dead; and the event that has been three seasons in coming has finally happened: Elena has joined the undead.
“We pick up if not right away, within several hours of where we left off,” executive producer Julie Plec tells XfinityTV.com about the Season 4 premiere, airing on Thursday, Oct. 11 at 8/7c. “It is early the next morning, so everything we left hanging is still hanging. There has been no off-camera resolution to any of it, so we will see things play out as we pick up.”
How will Elena deal with her new status? Elena was on her way out of Mystic Falls when the car she was riding in went off the bridge and she hit her head, so she was trying to leave the undead behind her. In the past, she has made no secret of the fact that she would rather die than become a vampire. When Season 4 begins, she will have to face the fact that the normal life she so desired is no longer a possibility.
Preview the Opening of the “Vampire Diaries” Season 4 Premiere:
“Elena is a girl who loves her family so deeply, if anybody deserved a human life, it is her and that has just been taken away from her,” Plec says. “I think in a weird way she is going to be more pragmatic about it then [Damon and Stefan] are. They are both going to be like, How can we save her from herself? Both of them have very different experiences as vampires and it is not going to put them on the same page. One of the tragedies about Elena becoming a vampire is the brothers were on a beautiful path toward finding their way back to each other. They finally said ‘bros before ‘hoes’ — to paraphrase — and now we are going to see that tested a little bit.”
The theme for Season 4: Despite the fact that Elena is now a vampire, she will be returning to high school for her senior year, so the theme for the upcoming season is the journey to graduation.
“It is: Is Mystic Falls going to be my home forever? These people that I have known my whole life, am I going to stay here, or am I going to get out and move on? With that comes a threat that is going to be played against the town in the form of somebody or something threatening that will eventually make an appearance. It is also going to be about protecting the place that is a part of you even as you yourself are ready to move on from it,” says Plec.
Repercussions for Stefan: When the car went off the bridge in the Season 3 finale with Matt (Zach Roerig) and Elena in it, Stefan attempted to rescue Elena, but she requested that he save Matt. Now that Elena is a vampire, Stefan thinks he screwed up — and he is going to have to deal with that.
“Stefan didn’t screw up,” Plec says. “Elena said, ‘Help my friend.’ He helped her friend. Damon would not have helped her friend. We know that. That is the fundamental difference between the brothers and, I think, that it is a point Elena will make very quickly.”
Plec explains the thought process that Elena will have at the beginning of Season 4. “She will think: That is why when I had a choice to make about who I wanted to be with, knowing these things about Stefan vs. Damon, that is how I made the choice. Stefan respects me and my choices. Damon loves me and I know that. Who could avoid giving into that except he wouldn’t be the kind of guy that would save my friends?”
Plec goes on to cite this example: “A woman is having a baby and the doctor comes over to the husband and says, ‘It is either your wife or the kid. You can only save one of them.’ There is no right answer. If you save your wife, she will never forgive you. If you save your kid, you will always hate yourself. So there was no good outcome [for Stefan], yet he blames himself profoundly and he is not happy with himself, so it is going to be up to Elena to lay that out.”
New character: A new vampire slayer character will join the cast when Connor (Todd Williams) turns up in Mystic Falls.
“He shows up kickin’ ass and takin’ names,” Plec says. “Where he is different in hunter land than we have dabbled in the past is he doesn’t seem to be in it to protect the secret or keep the town from knowing. He is more like shoot first and ask questions later. He is pretty hardcore and he takes a lot of our characters by surprise by how hardcore he is.”
Is Jeremy (Steven R. McQueen) safe with Elena? Elena’s adoptive brother and biological cousin will now be living with a newborn vampire, who may not be able to control her urges. As one of her last living family members, should he take the risk?
“I think that it is a concern, but we do not have any plans to move them out of that house,” says Plec. “I feel as if the house represents family, neighborhood, Mystic Falls and the Gilbert family in a way that we are not ready to say goodbye to yet.”
Also coming up for Jeremy, who comes from a family of people who have committed themselves to being anti-vampire, is the question of how will he protect Elena’s secret and still learn some tricks of the trade from Connor? So for Jeremy in Season 4, his abilities as a medium in the ghost world will be less the focus, and his vampire hunting skills more so.
Season 4 of “The Vampire Diaries” premieres on Thursday, Oct. 11 at 8/7c on The CW.