For The Vampire Diaries, season 4 was a time of transition. Elena (Nina Dobrev) was becoming a vampire, she was switching Salvatores, and the series was trying to launch a spin-off about the Original family.
Sitting down to talk about the season on episode 4 of EW’s Binge: The Vampire Diaries, executive producers Julie Plec and Caroline Dries reflect on the season’s most “controversial” decision: having Elena be sired to Damon (Ian Somerhalder). “I don’t know that we could pull that off today,” Dries says. “I don’t remember exactly why we did it, but when you have 22, 23 episodes of something, you just have to complicate it. You want people to be happy for a second, but then you just have to keep knotting it up over and over and over until it’s super-complicated.”
Plec also remembers the decision being a bit about timing. Stefan (Paul Wesley) and Elena broke up in episode 6, and the writers knew that by episode 15, Jeremy (Steven R. McQueen) would be dead and Elena’s emotions would be off. “We wanted Damon and Elena to have something that mattered on an emotional level before her humanity was off,” Plec says. “She can’t just break up with Stefan and hop into bed with Damon, even though part of America would like that very much. That just doesn’t feel right, vampire or no vampire.”
As Plec says, the sire bond was a way of explaining that Elena’s emotions were heightened, even more so than a normal vampire’s would’ve been. In the aftermath of that decision, however, Plec admits, “We then had to do a lot of work to untangle the fact that they had sex while she was technically under the effects of some supernatural link.”
Later in the podcast, when talking about the Originals backdoor pilot, Plec reveals that Charles Michael Davis had some competition for the role of Marcel. “One of the other people who read opposite Charles for that part was Pedro Pascal, who I loved,” she says. As for why they didn’t ultimately cast him, Plec says, “I was obsessed with him, but he was just on the older side.” (With that episode airing in 2013, had Pascal landed the part, he might not have been able to play fan favorite Oberyn Martell on Game of Thrones, so perhaps things worked out.)
Plus, The Originals found Davis, someone who, as Plec says, “just had that swagger. You needed somebody with that kind of swagger to operate and breathe in the same place as Klaus [Joseph Morgan].”