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'The Vampire Diaries' Infiltrates the 2012 Paley Fest

Covering a Vampire Diaries panel is a difficult thing. Not just because the fans are so insane they drown out half of what everyone is saying with their hysterical screams; not just because the cast is so close it feels like they speak their own language; but because they are so much fun I want to stop taking notes and go grab a beer with them.

This year's Paley Fest was no exception. On the panel were Nina Dobrev (Elena), Paul Wesley (Stefan), Ian Somerhalder (Damon), Candice Accola (Caroline), Kat Graham (Bonnie), Matt Davis (Alaric) and co-executive producer Julie Plec. In between joking about making out with each other's girls (Nina and Ian are a real-life couple, and Paul's wife Torrey DeVitto plays Alaric's love interest, Dr. Meredith Fell) and pondering whether or not Klaus has a profile, we got a few interesting details about the remainder of season three.

Julie Plec promises that we haven't seen the last of the Originals. Damon does something "horrible" to Rebekah in an upcoming episode, and she exacts her revenge. Esther isn't done trying to destroy her kids. And Elijah? "[He and Elena] share similar morals. He doesn't want to hurt people - for the most part. He is honorable," explains Nina. So he's likely going to show up soon. "They are all off licking their wounds," Julie explains. She also promises that Tyler will be back by the end of the season, and they are contemplating doing a flashback episode to Elena's life with her parents and her brother - in other words, before vampires ruined her life. "But that hasn't been decided yet." Julie promises we are not done with Katherine, but she doesn't promise she will return this season. "There is no love story more important than Katherine and her own self-interest." And Katherine's self-interest determines that she best stay out of Mystic Falls.

It should come as no surprise that dark Stefan is way more fun for Paul to play. He asked for Stefan to be written dark back in season two, but Julie promises they had always planned to take Stefan down that path. "As writers, we like to pride ourselves on making character changes by the time the actors are feeling it. The actors really get a sense of their character." As much as he loved playing dark, it is inevitable that Stefan will have to feel again. "[Stefan and Damon] both, at their core, have sides that are light and dark. Damon is no more good than Stefan is evil," explains Julie.  They are always walking a fine line to not alienate viewers while remaining true to the character arc. "You have to piss people off to make it good," comments Ian. 

The love story angle of The Vampire Diaries is one that, whether you like it or not, is a major part of the show, so naturally, it was touched upon. Julie promises that the love triangle will "come to a head. Maybe not the head, but a head." Which, of course, was met by plenty of immature giggles - including from yours truly. "Matt was psyched that [Alaric] was finally getting a love interest," explained Ian, "until he discovered it was his buddy's wife. Then he was horrified." "He's horrified?" Paul cut in, in mock exasperation. 

When asked what the most shocking moment this season was for each actor, they all had varying answers. "When Tyler became a hybrid," said Kat. "When Elena stabbed Rebekah," said Nina, of course. "Elena's usually such a good girl!" Julie liked the reveal that Klaus and Stefan were friends once. "They were practically brothers." Paul like that too, but he also enjoyed shooting the 1920s speakeasy storyline. Candice had a hard time choosing one moment, so she went with three: when you get the reveal of all the Originals together, when Damon and Elena kiss, and when her dad decides not to transition to a vampire. Matt's favorite moment is in an episode that hasn't aired yet, so he keeps his lips sealed. Ian tried to claim the same thing, but I think he was just trying to dodge the question.

Finally... will everyone survive the season? It's a silly question for most shows, but with The Vampire Diaries, anyone is fair game. "I don't know if everyone survives," reveals Julie cryptically. Of course, just because a character dies doesn't mean they can't come back as a ghost or a vampire or hell, even a zombie. "And there are always flashbacks," Candice reminds us.