The Vampire Diaries Season 4 Finale: Julie Plec Talks Huge Stefan Twist, [Spoiler] as a Human and Season 5

Exclusive! The executive producer teases "a long-distance relationship," "new friends and foes" and Silas' "plan B" when the CW hit returns in October

By Tierney Bricker May 17, 2013 1:00 AMTags
The Vampire Diaries, Paul Wesley, Nina Dobrev, Ian Somerhalder Annette Brown/The CW

SPOILER ALERT: Do not read any further if you have yet to watch the season finale of The Vampire Diaries. There are major spoilers ahead, so if you can complain, we will enclose you in a box and send you off the sea. The rest of you can carry on...

Best. Season. Finale. Ever.

Seriously, every other show should just give up after seeing The Vampire Diaries' season-four finale, which may have just redefined the word epic. Not only did one of our beloved vamps turn human (Rough twist, Katherine!), but it turns out Elena (Nina Dobrev) isn't the show's only doppelgänger: Stefan (Paul Wesley) is big bad Silas'! Oh, and Elena chose to be with Damon (Ian Somerhalder), Jeremy (Steven R. McQueen) is alive and Bonnie (Kat Graham) is a ghost. We repeat: All other series' finales can go shave their backs now.

We chatted exclusively with executive producer/evil genius Julie Plec about the finale's shocking twists, including the decisions to make Stefan a doppelgänger and turn Katherine human. (Spoiler alert: She wasn't their first choice!) Plus, she dishes on Delena's "happy long-distance relationship," if Kat will be a regular next season  and TVD: The college years!

Holy s--t, Stefan is a doppelgänger, Silas' doppelgänger to be exact! When did you make the decision to bring in another doppelgänger and why Stefan?
Last year after we wrapped season three, some of the writers and I stayed on for an extra five weeks talking about story for season four. We knew that we wanted to give Stefan and give Paul Wesley specifically an opportunity to sort of spread his wings a bit more. He did such a good job playing Ripper Stefan, so we wanted to play a long-foiled plan into motion that we weren't sure if we'd get to it before the end of the season or not; we always had it in our back pocket to reveal it right around the time it felt right. The way it played out we chose not to reveal it until the last beat of the last episode basically teeing up what season five would be.

We can only imagine how excited Paul Wesley was when he found out about this twist.
Yes, Paul loves to play the bad buy and unfortunately for him, Stefan, more often than not, is a true-blue hero. Obviously, he had this wonderful arc as the Ripper and he's plagued by his own demons, but when all's said and done he's still very much the straight man. Getting the opportunity to dig into this and really stretch and exercise his muscles as an actor I think just made him really happy; it's exciting for him as an actor to play with a new character.

So will we learn more about the Salvatore family history in season five, maybe about the brothers' mother?
We've just gotten started talking about season five, but one of the things we're talking about is definitely learning more about the history of the Salvatore family. I would say that at this point the things we don't know yet are fair game.

Can you tease what Silas will be up to when he's posing as Stefan in season five?
Silas is going to come roaring into season five with an agenda. His mission has been singular from the beginning, which is he wants to take the cure and die and get rid of the other side so he can pass on and be reunited with his one true love. However, the cure's off the table, the other side's off the table, so he's going to have a pretty enormous plan B for how to deal with that.

Curtis Baker/The CW

As for the other brother, he didn't get to be a doppelgänger, but he did get the girl! So what's next for Damon and Elena?
Next for them as a couple is a long-distance relationship as Elena heads off to her new life at college and Damon sticks behind In Mystic Falls to hold down the fort. We get to see them happy, believe it or not, for a little while before of course circumstances and other supernatural influence comes in to drive an obstacle in their path. There's something that we rarely get to do on TVD, is see a couple enjoy being a couple and we're definitely going to have our fun with Elena and Damon, who have taken so much time to find their way to each other really and truly. So we're going to be able to enjoy that for a while.

Katherine being the one to take the cure was also a huge shocker and we heard you originally planned on giving it to another character. Can you say who it was and why the switch?
Interestingly enough, when Kevin [Williamson] and I, back in season zero, when we first launched the series and started talking about knowing that one day we'd make Elena a vampire and with that move would come the realization that there was a cure; I think in the back of our heads we always intended to heal Elena. But the instant that we actually made the decision to move forward with Elena the first thing we realized was she would of course be the one person we couldn't cure because it was just too easy.

Instantly, we decided that the person that needed to be cured, that made the most sense from a story point of view, that would be a great surprise, would be Damon. We believed that because of all people he's the one that said he missed being human, but he's also the one who relished the most being a vampire. Well, about five minutes into the season, right after the cure was revealed to be in existence, I think I read instantly someone was like, ‘Oh, they're going to cure Damon.' I thought, ‘Oh shit!' [Laughs.]

Ultimately, the person that we cured we wanted to get really great story out of it and I think part of Damon's delightful charm as a vampire is that he is a vampire and I'm not so sure outside of the novelty of turning him human that we'd be able to get as much as we would have wanted to dramatically. We played around with a lot of other ideas for a little while before realizing the answer was so clear and so obvious and so right in front of us.

We're excited to see a human Katherine in season five; how will that play out?
Katherine is the one person on the planet who would hate to be human more than anything, who's always been a survivor and so fierce and such a fighter and now she is having to be vulnerable and killable, yet all of her evil deeds of the past coming home to roost. It's going to be great opportunity for story. Not only is she on the verge of getting her ass kicked every single episode, she's going to need protection and who better to seek out for protection than the brother Salvatore who have been so good at caring on and off for her over the centuries?

Annette Brown/The CW

With Bonnie's death seemingly permanent, is Kat returning a series regular?
Kat will still be a regular, business as usual. She just now has the mother of all obstacles preventing her and Jeremy from being able to have the physical relationship that we've danced around for so long.

And finally, what will The Vampire Diaries' college years be like?
The best part about it is that we've got a town that we've very firmly established and the university that we've established with Whitmore College, which is not in Mystic Falls, but certainly close enough than you can roll home on a Saturday and do a load of laundry. What's exciting is to create a whole new world and new characters and new friends and new foes for those who go to college and also be able to integrate what's going on at college back into what's going on home, so we never feel like we've left behind the Mystic Falls universe we know and love so much.

What did you think of The Vampire Diaries' season-four finale? What do you want to see happen in season five? Sound off in the comments! And make sure to check back with us for more exclusive season five scoop from Plec!

PHOTOS: 2013 May finale spoiler-rama