The new season of "The Vampire Diaries" is all about the new: new places, new faces, new experiences, new friends, new enemies.
May's game-changing finale set up new world orders for many of the characters: Elena, Caroline, Bonnie, and Matt graduated from high school; Bonnie died, and Jeremy came back to life; Matt left with Rebekah on a grand European tour; Katherine became a human again; Stefan was locked in a box at the bottom of a river; Silas began posing as Stefan; and Elena and Damon finally got together.
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With summer over, they're all trying to figure out their new lives, whether it's at college or still in Mystic Falls. Here are a dozen things to expect from Season 5 of "The Vampire Diaries":
1. Damon and Elena are blissfully in love …
The fifth-season premiere is titled "I Know What You Did Last Summer," and when it comes to Damon and Elena, it was sex — "hot lovin' sex," as executive producer Julie Plec tells Entertainment Weekly.
2. … but they fight like any other couple.
Plec promises that any problems will be "little things that any normal couple would fight about and then hopefully make up over." Their relationship faces a test when it becomes long-distance after Elena departs for college. Oh, and the fact that Katherine is shacking up at the Salvatore mansion doesn't make her doppelganger very happy.
3. Stefan is still six feet under (water).
Over the summer, while Delena were having the aforementioned sex, Stefan was chilling inside a box at the bottom of the river while Silas took his identity in Mystic Falls. But while his friends and brother don't immediately figure out that "Stefan" isn't actually Stefan, Plec says the secret won't remain buried (or should we say drowned) for too long. "The unveiling of the Silas secret identity treachery will happen quickly, because we tend not to drag that stuff out too long on 'The Vampire Diaries,'" she told Hollywood Crush.
Paul Wesley on Silas's humor:
4. Speaking of Silas, he won't be the season's only bad guy.
There's no lounging by the pool or road-tripping to the beach for the immortal being over the summer. Silas is up to no good as he continues to search for a way to cross over to the other side to be with his love. But while he might be a problem for Damon, Elena, and friends, he's by no means the only one. "He's causing the most trouble at the beginning of the season, for sure," Plec tells TV Guide, "but by no means is he the biggest villain."
5. College calls!
Elena and Caroline leave Mystic Falls for the beautiful, venerable campus of Whitmore College, where they'll go to class, pull all-nighters in the library, make new friends — you know, like any other regular students. "They're really committed to enjoying life and enjoying college and being college freshmen," Plec explains to Hollywood Crush. Except for the fact that they're vampires. She adds, "Of course things will go instantly, terribly wrong."
It starts with the death of a fellow student on campus, which leads Elena and Caroline to meet some new people (good and bad).
Candice Accola recalls her favorite moments:
6. Caroline and Tyler are together, but not together.
At the end of last season, Klaus magnanimously dropped his vendetta against Tyler, for Caroline's sake. But the werewolf-vampire hybrid is nowhere to be found.
"Tyler's MIA in the beginning, which is a surprise because he should be there because she got him his freedom," Plec tells Wetpaint. "So where the f--k is he? Excuse my language."
7. Absence makes the heart open for new love interests.
With both Elena and Caroline's boyfriends away, the door is open for new guys. The charming, handsome Jesse (Kendrick Sampson) takes an instant liking to Caroline, though she treats him as a friend.
Meanwhile, after the campus death, Elena bonds with Aaron (Shaun Sipos) over their tragic pasts.
8. The "Other Side" will be explored.
In Mystic Falls, just because you're no longer among the living doesn't mean you can't still hang around. Bonnie is "still very much part of the show, and I think this is like a really cool psychological chapter for her," executive producer Caroline Dries tells Wetpaint. "And she kind of accepts the fact that she's dead, and that's just her reality. So it's not an easy thing for her to swallow."
We'll also get to see glimpses of Bonnie's "life" on the other side. "That's something new for the fans," Bonnie's portrayer Kat Graham explains to the Hollywood Reporter. "They'll be able to see that side that hasn't been explored yet," she says.
9. Jeremy's all grown up!
Elena's kid brother is a kid no longer. With his sister off to college, Jeremy is on his own. Oh, and his friends at school are kind of wondering about the fact that he died and they held a memorial for him.
"He has to deal with the awkward social situation that he's about to walk into, and he actually takes on a very man kind of role," Dries says. "He really grows up between last season and this season. He takes on a protagonist type of action role."
Along with his new maturity, Jeremy grows even closer with Bonnie because he can see dead people and she's a ghost. "It creates an intimacy relying on one person as your connection to the one thing that matters the most to you," Graham notes.
10. Matt and Rebekah's crazy European adventure gets even crazier.
One word: threesome. Yes, small-town good guy Matt is really experiencing the world, thanks to Rebekah. And that includes an interlude sexy, mysterious woman named Nadia (Olga Fonda). After Rebekah departs for New Orleans — she'll be part of the spinoff "The Originals" — Nadia "will find her way to Mystic Falls under mysterious circumstances and with a mysterious agenda," Plec teases.
Zach Roerig previews what's in store for Matt:
11. A flashback explores a new decade.
The season's third episode features yet another flashback to Damon's and Stefan's pasts. This time, "it is a decade we haven't seen before," Dries reveals to TV Line. "It's going to be very good."
The flashback will introduce a new vampire named Tessa (former "True Blood" star Janina Gavankar), who is Stefan's ex-girlfriend.
12. A hot professor becomes a new foe.
On "The Vampire Diaries," handsome teachers are not to be trusted. The newest one is Dr. Wes Maxfield (Rick Cosnett), a professor at Whitmore College who Elena and Caroline suspect is hiding "a dark and dangerous secret."
Watch a preview of the new season:
"The Vampire Diaries" Season 5 premieres Thursday, Oct. 3 at 8 p.m. on The CW.