THE VAMPIRE DIARIES heads into the third season this fall with a bit of a role reversal as our hero Stefan (Paul Wesley) hits a little bit of a dark path, and is on the road while his brother Damon (Ian Somerhalder) is left at home to protect Elena (Nina Dobrev) from all the bad things that comes her way.

It’s a major evolution for the series, and while at San Diego’s 2011 Comic-Con International, we were able to speak with showrunner and executive producer Julie Plec about the secrets of Season Three and what to expect in the fall.

On where the season begins with Stefan …
“At the end of Season 2,  we said ‘The Stefan, that we know and love isn’t the same Stefan anymore and he’s going to go down a pretty dark road and have a lot of struggles,” says Plec. “Needing to save his brother and making a deal with the devil so to speak and it feeds into his own demons and his problems with blood and his own vampire identity crisis. Stefan is no longer Saint Stefan and Damon in his own funny Damon way has been left with the burden of being hero and left home to protect the girl.”

On how long Stefan will be away from Mystic Falls …
“This is not going to be a short storyline, we’re going to be exploring the levels of Stefan and his dark side for hopefully for a good amount of time.,” says Plec. “While he may be separated in the beginning, the question is how long will he be separated. Will they be able to find him and rescue him and bring him back from the edge and will he keep fighting it. We’ll get a little Stefan road show and then he’ll probably make his way back to Mystic Falls which will be an interesting dynamic for Damon. He was the mysterious dude in season 1, now it’s going to be a little bit of the reverse.”

On the new relationship between Elena and Stefan …
“I think you’re going to see a very, very definitively different version of their relationship,” says Plec. “It’s not just one episode, it will be over a good part of the season.”

On whether there will be a Big Bad in Season 3 …
“I love the Joss Whedon storytelling model of that Big Bad,” says Plec. “We had Damon ultimately in the beginning who paved the way for Katherine and paved way for Klaus. Klaus is the worst baddie we’ve seen so far and it will be kind of fun to see who is going to teal his thunder eventually as we get deep into season three. “

On any major surprises this season …
“Honestly, I’m looking forward to seeing Stefan and to see what his life is like now,” says Plec. “As storytellers it allows us to take our hero and put him in a meat grinder. I’m hoping people are exited to see that. And as with every character, there’s a surprise here or there.”

On any new characters coming into the show …
“We’ll need to explore that story and see where that’s going,” says Plec. “As we get deeper and deeper in the season, it will be the season of the Originals. We’ll  go back in time and understand the original family was and how Klaus became the person he became which is this arrogant, narcissistic, little power hungry brat. Over the course of the season there will be some new faces that we’ll meet in the long ago past if nothing else.”

On the potential Caroline/Tyler romance …
“Caroline and Tyler are in that friends zone, and a very complicated friend  zone,” says Plec. “There’s some pretty hot and heavy chemistry there. When we come back, we’ll see them in tht friend zone and we’ll see how long it takes before they explode out of that.”

On if the there will be more parties this season …
“Say what you want about a party, but when you’re trying to break a story in the writer’s room, if you don’t find a way to bring your characters together, that episode never comes to life in the way you want it to,” adds Plec. “Even though it’s ‘what’s the big even in Mystic Falls this week,’ it’s a very important device. And conveniently enough, the third season begins and it’s Elena’s 18th birthday and where there are birthdays, there are often parties. So it’s a little mini-event to kick us off.”

Click on Link: COMIC-CON INTERNATIONAL BREAKING NEWS AND INTERVIEWS

(additional reporting by A.C.Ferrante)

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