'The Vampire Diaries' Season 6: Julie Plec discusses if the show can survive without its stars

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the-vampire-diaries-julie-plec-damon-bonnie-alive-or-dead.jpg It's been months since "The Vampire Diaries" Season 5 finale aired, but we still can't help but tear up thinking of that final moment with Damon and Bonnie holding hands as the Other Side crumbled, and they vanished along with it.

While executive producer Julie Plec already assured us back in May that "we will definitely see Ian Somerhalder and Kat Graham on the show," she wasn't spilling on exactly how. "I mean, there's a million different ways that you can do that," Plec said then. "But as far as in what context -- how, why, and where? -- that's part of the mystery."

So when Zap2it spoke with Plec about the upcoming Season 6, we had to ask about that final moment, whether she sees a future on the show without its main stars (Somerhalder, Graham, Nina Dobrev, Paul Wesley, etc.), and much more.

Zap2it: First of all, we need to talk about that final moment of Season 5, with Bonnie and Damon holding hands as they face the end. Did you always envision the season ending like that?
Julie Plec: When we first came up with the idea, we thought, "Here's these two totally unlikely people that are going to get stuck in this situation together," so we always just thought that that in and of itself was just the moment. Then the closer and closer we got to it, with filming it with the wind and the lights and everything, we thought it would be so beautiful to have this moment where they both basically believe and know that they're going to die and not go to the Other Side but disappear into oblivion, and to find comfort in each other, proving that you can overcome any obstacle with another human being -- and Damon and Bonnie have had, if nothing else, a lot of obstacles. So we were really proud of that moment. I'm glad you liked it.

I'm tearing up just thinking about it, honestly. But I have to wonder, even though you've already assured fans that we'll see Damon and Bonnie next season, do you ever envision a future on the show -- way down the line, of course -- where you can pass the torch to a new, younger class of characters like other shows have done before?
I'm sure that people who do the accounting books might envision that kind of future, but I know that, for me, "The Vampire Diaries" is this beautiful ensemble of people that are very committed to the show and seem to remain committed, so as long as they're willing to stick around and we're willing to stick around, I can't see us passing the torch to anybody else. When that day does come, if it does come, we'll make those decisions then.

Going back to Damon and Bonnie, how is Elena going to handle losing her best friend and her boyfriend?
We're going to meet up with her again and we're going to see how she's handling herself. She went through a tremendous loss on top of the many losses she's experienced in her life. But this time her coping mechanism is a little different than usual. It'll be a part of her journey to see how she's handling it, what she's doing to deal with it and how she can move on and if she can move on.

What are you most excited for fans to see in Season 6?
For me and all the writers, we're so excited because we're telling stories that are driven by character, that are rooted in mystery and suspense more so than big, massive mythology. We've got a great mystery for the year, we've got a great mythology that is just simple enough so that you feel like all the characters are going to be directly impacted by it. It's going to unfold piece by piece over the course of the season. And instead of getting bigger, we're getting smaller in all the right ways.

Over the past five seasons, is there something you've learned that you're going to implement in Season 6?
[Laughs] Every year we start by saying, "This is the year that we're not going to let the mythology come in like a tsunami in the last four episodes." And every year, the tsunami comes upon us in the last four episodes. [laughs] So we'll see. Maybe this will finally be the year that we finally figure it out.

"The Vampire Diaries" Season 6 premieres Thursday, Oct. 2 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.
Photo/Video credit: The CW