Ian Somerhalder Ian Somerhalder

If the newest villain on The Vampire Diaries seems a little familiar, it's because he's a lot like an early version of Damon Salvatore, Ian Somerhalder says.

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"Silas doesn't give a sh--," Somerhalder says in the video interview below from TVGuide.com's visit to the show's Atlanta set. "He's like Damon in Season 1. [He thinks,] 'I am almighty, all-powerful, I will mess you up. This is what I want. I'm going to kill everything in the wake if you screw this up for me, but I'm going to toy with you a little bit.'"

When Season 5 premieres (Thursday, Oct. 3 at 8/7c), Damon will find himself in an unfamiliar situation. His girlfriend Elena (Nina Dobrev) is away at college, he thinks his brother Stefan (Paul Wesley) has been gone for the summer, and his ex Katherine (Dobrev) is now human and shacking up at his house along with Elena's brother Jeremy (Steven McQueen), who has returned from the dead. Just another typical day in Mystic Falls, right? But for Damon, who has a penchant for screwing things up, he's surprisingly handling it all pretty well — all while acting unselfishly when it comes to Elena.

"You don't send your girl off to college who really needs a break from your hometown, and tell her 'I need you back here,'" Somerhalder says. "You're going to say, 'Go! As much as I want you here and as much as I want to spend time with you, you've got to go live your life.'"

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But even though he got the girl, is there a worry he'll lose her to her fellow college freshmen, or, more likely, her past love Stefan? Especially when she thinks there's something wrong with him?

"The beautiful thing about Elena is that she is so dialed into Stefan," Somerhalder says. "She's a compassionate human being, she loves so intensely and she has this pit in her stomach. She and Stefan particularly have this bond, and we later figure out in the mythology of the story why that is. But her having this feeling is genuine. Is there a worry in the back of Damon's mind that she could go back to him? Yeah, absolutely. He can't deny it and he won't deny it, but all he wants is for her to be happy. Stefan would do the same thing."

For more from Somerhalder, including how he characterizes Damon and Elena's relationship and what Damon and Jeremy are like as roommates, watch the video below.


The Vampire Diaries premieres on Thursday, Oct. 3 at 8/7c on The CW.

(Full disclosure: TVGuide.com is owned by CBS, one of the CW's parent companies.)