Last night the full moon rose in Mystic Falls and all hell broke loose as Tyler transformed, Elena made an unlikely ally and "Vampire Diaries" brought the first half of season two to a close with the winter finale, "By the Light of the Moon."
And although the wait for a fresh episode won't be as excruciatingly exorbitant as the two-month break during season one, any week without a new installment of TV's best show sends fans into fits of withdrawal. In an effort to make the break a little more tolerable, I rang up executive producer Kevin Williamson to answer all your burning questions.
PopWrap: First of all, I have to commend you on Tyler's transformation. I genuinely felt his pain.
Kevin Williamson: We had always come at this knowing it would be a very, very painful process. That’s why we added the tape last week – so he learned how much agony he was in store for. I mean, it’s a brutal, excruciating five hours.
PW: It reminded me a bit of "American Werewolf in London" -- is that what you were going for?
Kevin: I remember seeing “American Werewolf in London” as a kid for the first time. I really responded to the idea that a werewolf transformation is so painful. When David Naughton fell apart in the living room and just started ripping his clothes off, it was such a wow moment. That showed how horrible it is. This is a curse and I want people to know it’s a curse. But we didn’t want the goofy hair. Every time you do a big special effect, it can look phony. And our schedule doesn’t allow months and months for special effects, so we tried to limit it; be selective about the shots we chose and be classy about it. We just don’t have the time to go full out.
PW: Caroline's mother lion-ness was also particularly touching. Would it be safe to assume this was a major step in their road towards couple-dom?
Kevin: They are 100% in a relationship – it’s just a friendship right now bordering on something else. Will it go to the next level? I can’t say. But they have a kinship of common suffering that Matt will never understand. These are two people who are such an unlikely duo that it’s exciting to watch. I’m loving them getting to know each other and bonding in these unlikely moments that they would never have if it weren’t for these changes.
PW: When we spoke last season, one of your biggest regrets was not being able to give Tyler and actor Michael Trevino enough to do. Safe to say you feel that situation's been rectified?
Kevin: [laughs] This was always the plan. You want your secondary characters to evolve and to be layered – we wanted to do everything with them that we were able to do in season one with Damon, Elena and Stefan. Michael Trevino hung in there last year, he was frustrated. There were about six episodes where he said two lines. I kept telling him that this year would be "The Year of the Wolf" and that he would eventually become a multi-layered character that people would root for, care about and be traumatized by. And boy was he ready. He’s such an amazing thespian, he just physically put himself on another level also to really bring this kid going through these tough changes to life.
PW: Tyler seemed broken by the transformation experience -- is that fair to say?
Kevin: Yea, that was too much for him. It’s too much to bear. He doesn’t ever, ever want to go through that again. And if there’s a chance he won’t, he’ll do anything.
PW: Which brings us to the moonstone, its non-destruction, Luca and Jonas. What's up there?
Kevin: The second half of the season will really delve into the relationships between Jonas, Elijah and Klaus – who is still off camera at this moment. We start to answer who they are, who they were, how they know each other, what they are to each other, what they’re up to and how Mystic Falls factors into it. And by Mystic Falls, I mean Elena.
PW: Speaking of Klaus, have you guys started think about who should play it, how they should play it and when they’re going to play it?
Kevin: Yes we have started casting, but we’re not sure what episode he’ll appear. We don’t know if we should go old world gentlemen – very proper and prim. That’s kind of the expected way to play it. Then we could go and cast someone unusual -- but we don’t want to blow the casting. If it takes us a little longer to find the right actor, we’ll take it. We have a lot of story to tell before he shows up and a lot of story to tell after he shows up.
PW: What about bringing back old faces -- Katherine dropped the Isobel bomb on Stefan, will we see Mia Kirshner again this season?
Kevin: Maybe. We do utilize her character, but whether or not she comes to Mystic Falls, I’m not sure. We haven’t broken those story lines just yet. We see a world in which she could, but we also see a world in which she doesn’t. So we’re just trying to figure out what best serves us to get to the finale.
PW: And with Isobel inevitably comes the question of Uncle John -- I've heard that David Anders has been seen around set. Will Elena's father be back?
Kevin: Yes, of course he's coming back. I won’t say when, but he comes back as a result of Isobel -- that triggers Uncle John’s return as well. We don’t know what he’s up to, what his agenda is or why he’s back. It certainly can’t be because he’s decided to be a good father [laughs]. John is a good bad guy. He brings up so much potential in terms of how ugly and mean and bad this lifestyle can make you. He works on all the courses – he’s Elena’s real father, so you have that emotional tie. He’s complete fodder for Katherine, who chopped his fingers off. Damon and Stefan hate him because Elena does. Also, if you really think about it, he also slept with Jenna years ago and now Jenna’s dating Alaric, who was married to Isobel – the mother of John’s child [laughs]. He’s there, he’s entrenched in everyone’s life. I’m all about potential and if you are a character with potential, you’ll be brought back. And I think there is a mass potential there for some good drama and some great conflict. He’s a fun guy.
PW: Another big season long question started to get answered last night when Rose began to succumb to Jules' werewolf bite. But I'm guessing fans shouldn't assume that means she's going to die.
Kevin: We implied that a bite was fatal, but those legends are tricky. You don’t always know. We are going to show what happens when a werewolf bites a vampire in very much the same way the Tyler curse played out. I think there needs to be a true jeopardy when a werewolf bites a vampire, or there’s no real conflict. Then a vampire can just kill anyone. The werewolf needs to truly be a threat to a vampire on a full moon. They need to want to stay home, lock their doors and hide because if you get nicked, it’s a horrible, horrible, horrible ordeal.
PW: I've really come to like Rose -- and clearly Damon has as well.
Kevin: Rose and Damon aren’t meant to be together. She is a mirror into his humanity. She came in, helped him out, gave him some information and is now saying, we’ll never love each other because you’re in love with Elena. It’s all about Elena – the whole point of Rose is to throw up a mirror and let Damon see what he is. She’s so open about Damon loving Elena. Rose is just one more step in Damon’s journey.
PW: I remember you once said that you love when, in the writing process, a character surprises you. Has that happened at all this year?
Kevin: The one thing that surprised me is Katherine. I always expected her to play into the show in little pieces, little scenes here and there – I didn’t expect her to drive an entire story with her at the center of it. And that's because of Nina [Dobrev] being so good. Her performance is what made us go there. It’s just too delicious. And I don’t think I would have gone into Bulgaria, with a flashback of her giving birth, unless I really felt like she was a character I wanted to explore.
PW: You've explored a lot of the secondary characters this year -- are you happy with those results?
Kevin: I feel like Caroline has been a success. The response to her character is exactly the one I hoped for. I wanted to turn her into the little vampire that could and I feel people have responded well to her. And I also think people are responding well to Tyler, because I wanted to show another side to him and people don’t seem to just see him as a one-dimensional hothead now. I’m sad about not spending more time with Alaric and Jenna because I think Alaric is a wonderful character. It’s a problem of having too many heroes. We have Damon, Stefan, Jeremy – there are so many heroes that because Alaric is so good, he got less screentime.
PW: With the reintroduction of Isobel and "Uncle" John, it seems like there will be a renewed focus on "family" in 2011 -- would you agree?
Kevin: At the end of the day, Julie [Plec] and I wanted this show to be about family. It’s what the show started with: Elena dealing with the death of her parents. She was broken. You've also got Damon and Stefan, Caroline and her mother, Tyler's "family" curse and now we see Jonas and Luca – the tie of “the family” is what excites us. At the core, you’ll draw the most emotional storyline from friendship and from family. What disrupts a family, what breaks them apart and how do they heal.
"The Vampire Diaries" returns to The CW on January 27
Photo: The CW