18 things we learned from ‘The Vampire Diaries’ PaleyFest panel

I'm fairly sure I would have more to relate from my trip to “The Vampires Diaries” PaleyFest panel if not for the screaming. Oh, yes, screaming. Before the panel began, there was screaming. During a short video tribute to Katherine Pierce (more on that later), there was screaming. When Paul Wesley spoke, there was screaming. When Ian Somerhalder spoke, there was screaming. When anyone spoke, there was screaming. Did I mention the screaming? Needless to say, a lot of dishy details were drowned out by, yes, screaming. 

Here are the 15 things we learned about “The Vampire Diaries” when there was slightly less screaming:

1) We can't rule out a visit from Rebekah to Mystic Falls.

Even though the red carpet for “The Vampire Diaries” took place during the panel for “The Originals,” I caught a few minutes of that panel, so this is a little bit of a cheat. The door appears to be open for Rebekah (Claire Holt) to visit her old stomping grounds. After all, the fact that she was doing press despite her character having been banished from New Orleans (and, by extension, the show) suggests show creator Julie Plec isn't done with her now, right? When asked if Rebekah might vacation in Mystic Falls, Holt joked that she might, or she'd “potentially go to Mexico, or California.” Still, she said, “I like that idea.” We do, too. Hey, Matt needs a girlfriend!

2) The cast of “The Vampire Diaries” works harder than the rest of us. Really. 

Given that the cast is still working on the show, it was pretty impressive they all managed to make it to PaleyFest — and for Somerhalder, the trip into L.A. was particularly rough. “I haven't been to sleep before 5:00 a.m. in the last three months,” he admitted to the audience. Julie Plec conceded that the shooting schedule has been pretty rigorous, and Nina Dobrev and Wesley agreed. 

3) If you love them at all, maybe stop asking them for a Delena rain kiss on Twitter. 

Though #DelenaRainKiss has been trending, Somerhalder said to the audience, “First of all, it's really cold in Georgia, so I don't think that's such a good idea.” More importantly, the last time he and Dobrev shot a scene in the rain, it didn't end well. “It was below 30 degrees, and it got so cold the muscles in my jaw froze and I couldn't speak. I looked like I had Bell's palsy.”

“It was the best work you've ever done,” joked Wesley. 

Dobrev added, “I got icicles in my hair and I got really sick.”

Somerhalder said, “They call it Hotlanta, but it's a load of crap.” He then leaned toward Plec and said, “You write another rain kiss and I quit.” So really, even if you love Delena, you may not want both actors to come down with pneumonia. 

4) The tribute to Katherine Pierce wasn't just a flashback. 

Though the video was mostly Katherine's greatest moments on the show, the end of the video segment squeezed in some snippets from future episodes, though nothing stayed on the screen long enough to give much away. What I was able to take away from the rapid-fire information overload was that Grams may be paying Bonnie a visit to warn her against traitorous Liv and Markos looks like one hell of a badass. 

5) Stefan's doppleganger seems like a nice guy so far.

As we've seen, Stefan's doppleganger is a paramedic working in Atlanta. Wesley told me on the red carpet that that Tom is just a regular guy (not a vampire, not witch, not a werewolf) who's going to be in for a shock when a few vampires drop in on him to tell him he's a pivotal player in this otherworldly conflict and, oh yeah, he has to die. 

6) Damon and Elena have to have a Talk if there's to be a Delena.

When the question about whether or not Damon and Elena should get back together was posed, Somerhalder asked the audience, “Why would you wish that on this amazing human being?” as he gestured toward Dobrev, which got a big “awwwwww” from the crowd. Plec had a more serious answer, explaining,  “they recognize the elements of the codependency in their relationship,” and “they need to have legit, adult conversations about it. And if they end up in sex,” well, that's just part of the story. 

“When you have grown-up conversations, you have to put your big boy pants and big girl pants on and have the conversation,” Somerhalder said, before joking, “They keep taking their pants off, and that's what gets in the way of the grown up conversations.” 

7) Nina Dobrev has a funny way of hazing her co-workers.

When Wesley directed his first episode of the show, he admitted “I was expecting [his co-stars] to really haze me.” Instead, he found a beautifully wrapped gift in his trailer with a card from Dobrev. “I wrote a letter about how we've come so far… and I wanted to give you a token reminder of where we all began.” Inside the box? A giant painting of Nina herself.

“Now it's hanging in my dressing room,” Wesley said with a grin. 

8) Paul Wesley isn't the only one with a jones to direct.

Both Somerhalder and Dobrev would like to follow in Wesley's footsteps behind the camera. “I'd love to direct and produce in the future, and I think we've all nagged Julie about it, but she can't say yes to everybody,” said Dobrev. When the cast started joking about Wesley bribing his way into the gig, she added, “Paul makes a lot more than I do.”

9) Katherine is probably really really dead. Unless she's not.

Given that the show doesn't tap into overtly religious themes, Plec said there was an attempt to leave Katherine's death open to interpretation. “Damon says 'see ya in hell', but it's still up to the viewer to ask, 'is that really what happened?'” 

EP Caroline Dries agreed that it wasn't overtly stated that Katherine was being dragged to the underworld, but said, “I thought it was pretty obvious it was hell.” But is she really gone? “Never say never, but it was so profound a death.”

10) You can't film a vicious vampire being dragged to hell in a real church. 

Plec offered up the “fun fact” that the scene in which Katherine is dragged down the aisle of the church to hell (or wherever) wasn't actually filmed in a church. “We had to borrow the set from 'The Originals.'” 

11) Caroline isn't jumping over to “The Originals” anytime soon.

Although a lot of fans in the audience were rooting for Klaroline having a go at it, Plec didn't offer much hope for that storyline on either “The Vampire Diaries” or “The Originals.” “Happiness isn't a drama magnet . . . if they were still on the same show, they may have found a way to be together – and then ripped apart… I feel like Caroline Forbes is such a crucial element on 'The Vampire Diaries' as a sparkly personality… to pull her off that show would be very damaging to the show.” Anyway, “Klaus has shit to do,” explaining that Klaus is busy with the war for New Orleans and Caroline has college. 

Somerhalder simplified the issue, stating, “We have Caroline! Caroline's staying with us!”

12) Most new characters have an expiration date…

The issue of death came up, and after discussing the decision to kill off Katherine, Plec admitted, “Most characters are created to die.” She revised that to “new characters” when Wesley started asking if her statement applied to cast members. There was a groan from the audience, so Plec admitted that newbies may be created to die, but that doesn't always happen.

13) … unless the fans (or other important people) demand a stay of execution.

So, what can save a new character on the show? “A fandom or a team of writers who don't want to let go of that character,” Plec admitted. Then, someone in the audience asked Somerhalder to “do the eye thing” and the topic was changed. For the record, he does a very good “eye thing.”

14) Death sucks, even on a show about vampires

Since the topic was death, death and more death, Somerhalder admitted that it's never easy saying goodbye, even when it's just a TV passing. “On 'Lost,' I was the first one to die; take note, show up on time!… but when you lose a character, it's frickin' hard. When we lost Alaric, it was a really shitty thing,” adding that he missed having Matthew Davis on the set. “When characters are living on the precipice of death, anyone can die at any time.”

15) Fans are heard, but they don't call the shots. 

Despite the fact that Plec suggest fans (and writers) can save a character from execution, fans shouldn't get too excited. As many people are devoted to Delena, there are just as many rooting for Stelena. “It's cyclical. It's all part of their journey with one another… If we let one voice affect us too much, then we're not being honest to the story.” 

16) Nina has an idea about what she'd like to happen in the final episode.

When asked if the cast had any suggestions for the final episode, Dobrev joked, “I want [Elena] to be a lesbian.” 

17) Caroline and Stefan could happen…

Since Caroline and Stefan have seemed so chummy, there may be hope for something to blossom between these two. “She and Stefan have a lot to do together in the next couple episodes, so they go through a lot together,” Plec said. At least one person seemed to be on board with the idea. “I'm friends with Candace's fiance, [and] he might punch me in the face, but other than that,” Wesley said with a grin. 

18) … but so could Stelena.

Although Dries admitted “things get even worse for Stefan” in the next few episodes, “there is some really good Stelena stuff coming up. It's really satisfying.”

Wesley added, “It's reminiscent of season one.”

And one last thing….

Because someone in the audience asked this, I have to share — if you're wondering what Ian's shirts are made from, given that they tear so easily, Nina shrugged, “I'm aggressive, what can I say?” Good to know.