'The Vampire Diaries' Originals: Is Klaus going soft? Plus, Rebekah's rise-and-shine

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klaus-joseph-morgan-tvd.jpgThere are currently 20 days until " The Vampire Diaries" returns to your screens, and here at Zap2it, we're doing our best to help you make it through these cold, lonely times without your favorite monsters/witches/hunters/damsels in distress/etc.

Now, it's time to talk about Originals. When we last saw our new favorite character, Rebekah ( Claire Holt), Damon had dumped her in the Salvatore basement with a dagger in her back. Don't worry, Rebekah fans -- her red homecoming dress won't be collecting dust in that dungeon for long.

If you totally love Claire in the role as much as we do, we're certainly not alone! "She has been such a delight for everybody, from the crew and the writers, to everybody at the studio and network level that pays us to do our jobs," executive producer Julie Plec tells us.

That's not the say that they're surprised by how delightful she is. Rebekah strikes a perfect balance between nasty and sympathetic. "That character was obviously meant to make a splash. I mean, when we introduced her she gets to walk in and lick blood off Stefan's mouth. Hello. Her entrance was pretty powerful," Julie laughs. "She has this great presence. She's a mean girl without being unlikable, she's tough without being too aggressive, she's vulnerable without being a sap. Everything about her is so fun to watch. She also happens to be a very nice person off-screen, which is always a bonus.'

On-screen, it's no more Miss Nice Girl for a while. Rebekah will wake up soon (we can't tell you who pulls the dagger out, though!) and she is not a morning person. She shared some powerful secrets with Elena ( Nina Dobrev) in the first half of the season, only to have Elena literally stab her in the back (only on this show!). And now she's pissed.

"She ain't gonna be happy," says Julie. "She doesn't like to be duped, she doesn't like to be betrayed, and she certainly doesn't let anyone get the one-up on her, which is what Elena did."

tvd-rebekah-claire-elena-ni.jpgThough we can look forward to Rebekah being around Mystic Falls for quite a while, we shouldn't be expecting her to join the gang or get invited to slumber parties any time soon.

"The funny thing about the Originals as villains and antiheroes -- they're very similar to how Damon used to be, where it's always two steps forward, one step back with them. Just when there's an emotional connection being forged, either one of our heroes literally stabs them in the back, or they do something destructive to destroy the relationship," Julie says.

Speaking of destructive...

We kind of sort of felt sorry for Klaus ( Joseph Morgan) in the most recent episode, when we saw just how hateful his father was. Then we remembered that it's Klaus -- the guy who killed his own mother, sacrificed Aunt Jenna, doomed Tyler to a lifetime of servitude -- and our sympathy waned.

Julie assures us that Klaus won't be softening up any time soon -- he's really, really evil, you guys, and as we get to know him better in his moments of vulnerability, his villainous nature is going to get increasingly worse. When Stefan ( Paul Wesley) stole the coffins containing Klaus's family, he struck a dangerous nerve, and we're going to see the fall-out from that impact everyone in Stefan's (former) life. "It's definitely the driving engine when we come back for a good chunk of our winter episodes," Julie says.

It seems to us that striking a balance between Klaus's psychotic streak and his more human side would be difficult for the writers -- after all, they've done a masterful job of it. Julie confesses that it's actually been easy to create the dimensional villain when they keep in mind one key trait: Everything Klaus does is fueled by rage.

"Klaus isn't ruled by love the way that Damon, even in his darkest moments, is ruled by love. Love is Damon's achilles heel. For Klaus, his achilles heel is his fury, his rage at having been unloved or not properly loved," Julie says. "Every time he gets a moment where we can see his vulnerability, the very act of him feeling vulnerable triggers that rage. His response, his fight-or-flight response, is to get angry and to act out and to be hostile and manipulative and evil. With one comes the other."

As for the other Originals -- no, we don't have any word yet on when Elijah ( Daniel Gillies) will be roused from his slumber. We have our hopes up, though, that when Kol ( Nathaniel Buzolic) and Finn ( Caspar Zafer) come into the picture, Elijah won't be far behind. We miss him and his beautiful coif.

If you're still fiending for more "TVD" scoop, make sure you've read our details on the Damon/Elena/Stefan triangle -- plus what's up for Tyler, Caroline, Bonnie, and Jeremy,.
Photo/Video credit: The CW