The last time we saw the Salvatore brothers onThe Vampire Diaries, their souls had been trapped inside the Phoenix Stone. And if you can believe it, things are about to get a whole lot worse. When the drama returns on Friday (8/7c, CW), Damon (Ian Somerhalder) will be facing his inner demons head-on, an experience that will leave him reeling throughout the back-half of Season 7 and potentially put his friendship with Bonnie (Kat Graham) in jeopardy.

And Bonnie and Damon aren't the only beloved pair facing some serious trials this season. Check out what executive producer Caroline Dries reveals about what's next for Stefan (Paul Wesley) and Caroline (Candice King) and who might not survive this season.

Stefan and Damon are both trapped in the Phoenix Stone. What can you reveal about their different experiences inside?
Caroline Dries: Episode [10] will be primarily in Damon's experience of the Phoenix Stone. Through the course of the season, Damon struggled with his relationship with his mom and his willingness to open up his heart to her, open up his heart to the concept of forgiveness. So the Phoenix Stone in our minds is like one's own personal hell, handcrafted specifically for the person who gets stabbed with that sword. So for Damon, we get to explore the consequences of his inability to forgive people, and the mistakes he's made in the past surface and he needs to deal with them.

The soul put inside Jo's body didn't remember her past or who she was. Is that a potential side effect facing either Damon or Stefan?
Dries:
It's a side effect if they don't figure out how to get the soul into the right body. Jo's soul was never in that stone, so they didn't understand how the science of it worked. Now, the guys understand that if your soul is in that stone and your body is still corporeal, in a way you can fix it so the soul returns to your body. So that's a minor complication as they figure out, "We've got to do this spell right since we've seen it go horribly wrong."

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In the first half of the season, Stefan and Damon were very divided over how they felt towards Lily (Annie Wersching). Now that their mother is dead, and under such heartbreaking circumstances, will that affect their relationship?
Dries:
It will affect their relationship, but it's more about how Damon's ability or inability to deal with it just makes things worse in Damon's life in general. His relationship with Lily is a microcosm for Damon's relationship with the world. I think once he figures out how to not be selfish in every single situation that involves his emotions, he won't really be able to move on in any relationship, and that involves his relationship with his brother too.

Bonnie has been Damon's main support system for a while now. How might we see her continue to help and support him during this?
Dries:
Bonnie will continue to be a loyal friend to Damon and a very supportive person for him to lean on as he goes through the drama of the second half of the season. But their relationship will also face its own obstacles down the road. For us writers, it's a very interesting dynamic to play because they both have such great chemistry on-screen, so they play off each other so well. Damon has a friend in Alaric (Matthew Davis), but Alaric has this whole other world of drama with Caroline and the babies and everything. So really, Bonnie and Stefan are the grounding forces in Damon's life. So for him to put his relationship with Bonnie at stake would really, really have bad consequences for Damon, for sure.

Bonnie and Enzo (Michael Malarkey) were an unexpected couple, but one that I already love. How will we see their relationship progress in the upcoming episodes?
Dries:
We're going to continue to lean into the fact that they are sort of on opposing sides and can't stand each other. It keeps the audience wondering, "How the heck did these two get together? It makes no sense." Eventually it will make sense, but for now we're playing with their spicy fireworks on camera.

We know that Caroline eventually winds up engaged to Alaric. How will we see that relationship develop over the course of the season?
Dries:
Their relationship was anything but natural in the way that it's come about, and we're playing into that. Caroline, at this moment in the show, is madly in love with Stefan and she's been in love with him for a while now. Those feelings don't just go away, so obviously other complications are going to arise. It's more about Caroline and Stefan, their relationship on-camera, that we'll actually be playing with, and a little less about Alaric and Caroline's on-camera relationship, which will make sense once it plays out. It's very complicated. I would say it's not a natural love story.

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Caroline wants nothing to do with Stefan in the future, so will we start to see the seeds of that begin to surface in the present? |
Dries:
Yeah, we'll start to understand all the drama what happened that basically drove Caroline to move to Dallas, to be engaged to Alaric, to start this whole other life where she's a producer on a news station. That will all make sense as Stefan keeps getting these dramatic things thrown at him.

Are there any happy Stefan and Caroline moments to look forward to in these episodes?
Dries:
For sure. Since we knew we were putting that out there right away in the second episode - that something terrible happens between Caroline and Stefan - we still wanted the audience to enjoy their present day relationship. It's still very rich, and with them, it's more tragic than anything else.

How soon should we expect Caroline to give birth to the twins?
Dries: You could expect it sooner than later.

What's the dynamic like between Stefan and Alaric now that Caroline's carrying Alaric's babies?
Dries:
It's a very complicated dynamic between them. They don't have a ton of scenes together, but there's a feeling that they're both really good guys and it's a situation that nobody asked for. So Stefan can't really hold a grudge against Alaric, but at the same time Stefan is beginning to feel like a third wheel. Not to mention, his relationship with Damon is always kind of pulling him away from Caroline's needs, so that's just anther obstacles in their relationship. Stefan has a lot on his plate.

We still haven't seen Matt (Zach Roerig) in a flash-forward. Should we be worried about him surviving that long?
Dries: Yes! Where the heck is he? Yeah, you should be very, very concerned about that.

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We are getting to see Tyler (Michael Trevino) again in an upcoming episode. How does he fit into everything happening in Mystic Falls?
Dries:
He comes in for a very fun episode where there are some amusing scenes with the male characters. He comes in with totally benevolent reasons, but gets pulled into Damon's drama. Damon is going to be coming out of that Phoenix Stone with some baggage and he ropes Tyler into his situation. Tyler is going to have to deal with what it's like to have to get on Damon Salvatore's game plan, and it usually doesn't end too well.

Lily was the uniting force in the Heretic family, so what will happen to them now that she's out of the picture?
Dries:
When Lily left, it was like a bomb went off in the Heretic family. They were all feeling displaced and trying to figure out where they fit in the world. Mary Louise (Teressa Liane) and Nora (Scarlett Byrne) are going to struggle a little in their relationship. Nora is always looking to expand her horizons and experience the new, modern world, where Mary Louise is much more comfortable at home and under Lily's rule, so to speak, because she's more traditional and likes order and is a little intimidated by the new world. So their relationship will have some bumps. Valerie (Elizabeth Blackmore) is going to continue to be Stefan's confidante moving forward, as Stefan starts to struggle to keep Damon's sanity in check. So Valerie becomes this third wheel in the Caroline-Stefan relationship because she's the most knowledgeable about everything that's happening with Damon. As a side effect of that, Stefan and Valerie are finding reasons to get closer and closer.

The Vampire Diaries airs Fridays at 8/7c on The CW.

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