The Vampire Diaries evolved over time by introducing some of its most interesting characters following season 1, including these standouts.
Over the course of its run, The Vampire Diaries evolved and expanded on its universe. A big step towards accomplishing that goal was to introduce a slew of interesting new characters in later seasons. These included the likes of vampires, humans, werewolves, witches, and more.
A few of these new characters joined to become love interests, some were among the show’s greatest villains, and many of them would have a lasting impact on the franchise as a whole. It could be argued that some of these post-season 1 characters were even better and more entertaining than those who debuted in the series premiere.
In the books the series is based on, Meredith Fell (Torrey DeVitto) is a main character. She didn’t transfer over to the show upon its debut but she appeared starting with season 3. Ultimately, she was quite different from her novel counterpart.
Still, Meredith was an interesting addition to The Vampire Diaries thanks to her role as a human doctor who used vampire blood to heal her patients. Following Alaric’s death (who she was dating) at the end of season 3, Meredith disappeared outside of a single episode, though it was mentioned that she got married and moved to Alaska.
Speaking of romantic interests for Alaric Saltzman, the most prominent was likely Jo Laughlin (Jodi Lynn O’Keefe). She made her debut in the premiere episode of season 6 as a doctor at Whitmore Hospital. It was later revealed that she was a witch with a harrowing backstory.
While Jo didn’t have many iconic scenes and wasn’t overly powerful, she worked as a character because of what she represented. Until the arrival of her vicious brother Kai, Jo was the most normal person for Alaric to be with. She proved to be a loving eventual wife and she lives on in her twin daughters, who star on the spin-off series Legacies.
The show set a high bar with the addition of the Originals as antagonists in the early seasons. In an attempt to top that, Silas (Paul Wesley) was introduced in season 4 as the oldest living being in the world. At over 2000 years of age, Silas was especially threatening.
The show delivered a shocking twist when it was revealed that Silas was actually a doppelgänger of Stefan Salvatore. It added an intimate feel to all of his appearances. Silas was difficult to put away and had some terrifying scenes. His death ultimately came after he took a cure that made him a warlock again.
In terms of their greater impact on the entire universe of The Vampire Diaries, Hayley Marshall (Phoebe Tonkin) would rank higher. She first appeared during season 4 as a werewolf friend of Tyler’s who helped him break his sire bond. Caroline was jealous of their relationship but they were just friends.
Hayley stuck around for a bit and had some interesting connections to characters like Katherine. After being saved by Klaus, the two ended up hooking up, which led to Hayley getting pregnant. That wasn’t supposed to be possible but set the stage for The Originals, where Hayley was one of the most important characters.
There are some cases in a long-running show where a character makes a huge impact after just a few episodes. That was the situation with Rose (Lauren Cohen), a 500-year old vampire who appeared in season 2 after kidnapping Elena Gilbert.
While that made her seem like an antagonist, Rose only did it to save herself since giving over the doppelgänger to Elijah meant she wouldn’t have to run anymore. That failed but she stuck around to help Elena and the Salvatores. Rose bonded with Damon and their short romance led to a touching scene as he helped ease her pain in death.
The show had some struggles in the villains’ department following the Mikaelson family. They were a hard group to live up to but it could be argued that Kai Parker (Chris Wood) was just as evil, if not more. He first showed up in season 6 and was the brother of Jo Laughlin.
Without magic of his own when he was younger, he became vengeful and wanted to merge with Jo to access tons of power. It drove his actions on the series, including how he escaped the prison world he was trapped in. Kai is the witch who put Elena into her sleeping curse and though Damon decapitated him, he returned to try and kill Jo’s daughters in Legacies.
Season 2 brought about the first mentions of the Originals and the one who appeared before the rest was Elijah Mikaelson (Daniel Gillies). He made an immediate impact by slapping the head off of Trevor, a vampire who was 500-years old. From that point on, Elijah was a force to be reckoned with.
He had a complicated relationship with his family but always loved them with everything he had. Elijah carried himself with a coolness that matched his nobility. While he could be violent and scary, Elijah had plenty of moments where he was also caring. In The Originals, he continued that trend when it came to his niece Hope.
As much of a statement as Elijah made on the show, Rebekah Mikaelson (Claire Holt) had more shine on it. She debuted in season 3 as an old flame of Stefan’s from the 1920s. She was unfortunately daggered for decades but once she was awakened, she began to steal every scene she was involved in.
Rebekah was a tortured girl who would lash out when things didn’t go her way but it was understandable. She only wanted to be loved and to have a true life but her family kept getting in the way. Watching her get daggered by Elena as they bonded was heartbreaking and her evolution over the franchise was captivating.
Enzo St. John
When Enzo St. John (Michael Malarkey) first showed up in season 5, nobody expected that he would become a main star. He was first seen as an imprisoned vampire in the ’50s alongside Damon. When he got resurrected, he showed up and started to make Damon’s life hell for leaving him behind.
Over the final few seasons, Enzo got a larger role. The biggest thing to come from his addition was his unexpected romance with Bonnie Bennett. They were adorable together and it seemed like Bonnie was finally going to be happy until Stefan tragically ripped Enzo’s heart out, killing him for good.
Klaus Mikaelson (Joseph Morgan) isn’t just the best character to arrive after season 1, he is likely the greatest character across all of the shows in this franchise. He first showed up in season 2 by taking control of Alaric’s body before getting back his own. He wanted to break his curse that would let him be both a vampire and a werewolf.
Klaus ultimately succeeded and became the first hybrid, hoping to turn various wolves into his own army. Though he started as the most powerful villain, Klaus’s development was masterful. Audiences saw his softer side thanks to his relationship with Caroline and he was engaging in every single scene. He took it even further with his leading role in The Originals.