Vampire Diaries fans have seen Elena Gilbert grieve, but when Season 6 premieres, she'll have seemingly moved on from losing the love of her life, Damon.
"One of the big questions you'll be asking when we get back is how did she pick up the pieces?" executive producer Julie Plec told TVGuide.com. "Or did she pick up the pieces at all? When we come back, several months have passed and Elena has returned to her life at school and seems to be doing well, but the mystery is really how well is she doing? And she's got some odd and awkward coping mechanisms that inform a lot about where she is and how she's handling this particular grief."
But Elena (Nina Dobrev) isn't the only one reeling from Season 5's finale that left Damon (Ian Somerhalder) and Bonnie (Kat Graham) trapped on the Other Side as it was about to disintegrate. Stefan (Paul Wesley) lost his brother; Caroline (Candice Accola), a best friend; Tyler (Michael Trevino) lost his hybrid status; Alaric (Matt Davis) returned from the dead; and perhaps worst of all, Mystic Falls was stripped of magic. Where does the group go from here? As the show resumes filming in Atlanta, Plec spills some scoop.
How long will it be before we find out where Damon and Bonnie have been and presumably when they'll be back?
Julie Plec: The answer of what happened is part of the season-long mythology, but the mystery of where they are is going to be asked very quickly and answered soon enough to not be frustrating.
Can Elena really move on?
Plec: What happened to her is that in spite of losing her parents and her brother, her aunt, her friends again and again, she lost the person she singularly believed to be the man she was going to spend all of eternity with. I think there's a special form of grief that comes attached to that, which will be difficult to get past, but also the choices she makes at how to move on will be very interesting to watch.
Will she and Stefan lean on each other over their shared loss?
Plec: Well, speaking of coping mechanisms, each of them have a very specific method of how they're dealing with it and they find a strange appreciation of each other's methods even though they're not necessarily healthy. They connect over the fact that sometimes it takes extreme choices to move past something that has hurt you so deeply. So we will see their friendship able to be strong and healthy in spite of the way each of them individually are dealing with their loss.
Last season began with the start of college. Will Elena and Caroline try to resume normalcy in being a couple of college kids?
Plec: That's the goal. The problem is they didn't just lose their friends, they lost their town. They can't go home again, so college in its own way should be this haven for them where the friends can be together but not everyone wants it to be that easy and not everyone is that willing and ready to settle in and say, "OK, let's move on." So we'll be wanting to see our friends find a way back to each other and move past the trouble they brought upon themselves and get back to their home. And in the meantime, it's going to be what each of them is doing to make that happen.
How does Caroline handle everything?
Plec: Caroline is probably someone who will surprise you. She's taken this loss — in a weird way almost the hardest — so she's going to have to bounce back in her Caroline way. Who she bounces back with and how she does it and how she's living her life is revealed in the first episode. Her journey is where are all her friends and if only she could figure out a way to bring them all back together, get the magic back to Mystic Falls, find a way to bring Damon and Bonnie home than life would be perfect. But it's harder than she thought.
With Alaric back, how does he fit in or is it hard for him to find his place?
Plec: Alaric is struggling a little bit. He was turned into a breed of original vampire and then set on a killing mission and then he died, so after being a weird vampire and a ghost for all this time he's assimilating into his life as this creature he never wanted to be. But he's still trying to be the human that he was and it's not easy for him. There might be some help and assistance that comes in the form of a woman he'll meet, and he and Elena are closer than ever, which is great because she has somebody in her life she can really rely on and they can share their grief together.
This week, you cast a bunch of new characters. Who are you most excited about?
Plec: I'm particularly fond of the Kai character, played by Chris Wood, and Jo, played by Jodi Lyn O'Keefe. I've been a fan of Jody Lyn sinceH20 back in the day. Chris Wood is this exciting new guy, not new to everyone, but new to me, and he bowled me over. The characters are so powerful, each of them, and I'm really excited to see what we can do with them.
Check back in Wednesday's Mega Buzz for scoop on Matt and Tyler!
The Vampire Diaries returns Thursday, Oct. 2 at 8/7c on The CW.
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