On The CW series The Vampire Diaries, Damon (Ian Somerhalder) is trapped in his own Hell on Earth, after being forced to deal with emotions that he had long buried. With the traumatic effects of the Phoenix stone taking a toll on his brother, Stefan (Paul Wesley) will attempt to help Damon regain his grip on reality, while secretly struggling with his own experience in the stone.
After a recent screening of the latest episode at The CW offices, executive producer Caroline Dries was on hand to talk to a handful of press outlets about the aftermath of that last scene, the effects of the Phoenix stone, keeping Elena (Nina Dobrev) as Damon’s touchstone, whether Nina Dobrev could return, Bonnie (Kat Graham) and Enzo (Michael Malarkey), what’s next for the Heretics, and having a full game plan for Caroline (Candice Accola). Be aware that there are some major spoilers discussed.
Question: Obviously, the people that Damon attacked in that last scene will have to survive that moment, or you wouldn’t have any characters left.
CAROLINE DRIES: If they didn’t, the show would pretty much be canceled after that last scene. What that means is that, even though Damon has escaped Hell, so to speak, figuratively he’s left, but emotionally and psychologically, when you exit the Phoenix stone, you’re a changed person. The decisions that you make, as a result of that, don’t necessarily reflect the decisions you would have made, before you go in there. What you’ll see in the next episode is that Damon really, really, really messed things up. And Stefan, who had his own journey that we didn’t see and that we’re not going to see in the way we saw with Damon, has been through that. We’re trying to create a little bit of intrigue about how Stefan has survived it and learned some lessons from it, but can Stefan warn Damon in time, of what it means to actually get out of there. It’s like Damon’s Hell on Earth now, moving forward.
Should we be questioning whether three months have really passed since Damon was put into the Phoenix stone?
DRIES: We’ll question it, but that will be answered in the next episode. As producers and writers, we were trying to keep up with Candice Accola’s pregnancy. In past seasons, the timeline has been 22 days. This season, we’re already messing with time, so we can jump and it actually makes it more dramatic that Damon has been out for that long. It provides a sense that Stefan has had a whole story, in that time, that we’re going to figure out. What did Stefan go through while Damon has been down.
You have kept Elena as a character in the show, even though Nina Dobrev is no longer around. How challenging is that?
DRIES: It’s a total challenge and it helps that she is Damon’s touchstone for every decision that he makes, even when she was on the show. It helps that that is why Damon is making the decisions that he’s making. So yeah, I still think that she does stay present.
Is there any chance that Nina Dobrev will return at the end of Season 7?
DRIES: No. I would say that, if The CW called today and was like, “By the way, Season 7 is the last season,” then I think we would scramble to make sure that she was in the finale. But as of right now, we’re acting like the show will go on, so no.
Will we see Bonnie and Enzo end up together?
DRIES: We’re going to continue to have fun with their Bickersons relationship. It’s the most natural and organic thing because they truly can’t stand each other, at this point. We’ll play that out for awhile because we need to see them in more scenes together before we start building any romance.
Nora stabbed Stefan, so what will the fall-out with the Heretics look like when see them again?
DRIES: It actually will be pretty interesting, the way the chips fall with the Heretics. Lily’s death basically dropped a bomb in the heretic family and they all disperse into their own lifestyles. Nora has always wanted to see what else is out there. Mary Louise is a little intimidated by th is new world and wants to stay home and live their traditional life. So, there’s a mini-fissure happening with those girls that will eventually be a little bit exploited by Bonnie, as they all become interested in the same thing. At the same time, Nora starts to show other layers of her personality. She’s still the villain because she is a little bit selfish and reckless, but at the same time, she’s also very likeable because she makes herself vulnerable, in the same way that Rebekah used to do. So, you’ll see Nora as part of the fold in our hero group, which will make Matt uncomfortable. Matt is trying to stay staunchly anti-vampire to protect his town, but he’s continuously justifying that his friends are vampires and that there are good vampires. So, the Heretics start to pull at his belief system. And then, with Valerie, she has become this third wheel, in the Caroline-Stefan relationship, not necessarily because she’s prying into their relationship, but just as default because they need her magic. She genuinely cares about Stefan and genuinely cares about what Caroline is going through with these babies, so she’s just become this accidental third wheel that will actually start to evolve into a bigger friendship with Stefan, leaving Caroline to be like, “Where did my boyfriend go?”
You had to write Candice Accola out of five episodes, through Episode 720, because of her pregnancy. Have you thought about how she’ll be reintroduced?
DRIES: Yeah. We haven’t written or officially broken Episode 720, but she’ll come back in 720 or 721. It just depends on when she wants to or can come back, but we have a full game plan for her. It’s just one of those funny things. It still feels like she’s in the ether in those five episodes that she’s gone, but we’ll be craving her when she does come back.
The Vampire Diaries airs on Friday nights on The CW.