On September 10, 2009, The CW premiered a supernatural drama about a high school cheerleader who met and started crushing on the new, mysterious guy in school. She would later find out that he was a centuries-old vampire with a complicated relationship with his bad-boy vampire brother.
But that’s just where the drama started. Soon, that cheerleader would find out her best friend was a powerful witch, the resident mean girl in school need to sprout fangs in order to really grow up, and that she was a doppelgänger of those brothers’ first love, a vampire who had been running for 500 years to save herself from the first vampires ever created. Typical high school drama, right?
Five years and 100 episodes later, that girl — Elena Gilbert (Nina Dobrev) — is now a vampire herself, dating (on and off) that bad-boy brother Damon Salvatore (Ian Somerhalder), while her ex Stefan Salvatore (Paul Wesley) says goodbye to his dying first love Katherine Pierce (also Dobrev). My, how far we’ve come.
On Thursday (Jan. 23), The CW will air “The Vampire Diaries” 100th episode, and Zap2it was on set on Atlanta while the cast was filming the milestone episode. One thing that all the cast members had in common was the shock and pride that their “little supernatural show” had made it to this point.
Wesley couldn’t even fathom that he was currently filming his 100th episode. “I haven’t passed out yet from 100 episodes so that’s impressive. Not to be anticlimactic, but if you didn’t tell me it was 100 episodes, I really wouldn’t know,” Wesley says. “But it’s a pretty big deal. It’s rare for shows to reach that. But to me, it’s hard to sit back and go, ‘Ah, 100 episodes.’ I’m not there yet.”
Somerhalder couldn’t believe how far the series has come. “I’ve never been on anything this long,” Somerhalder says. “I remember Zach Roerig brought this up, when we first got this I said, ‘Get ready for the ride of your life.’ And it’s been exactly that. It’s been the ride of our lives. Wow.”
He started to get nostalgic as he thought back to his early Season 1 days. “We were in the hair and makeup room way earlier this morning, and I’m sitting there looking at all these faces and thinking, ‘Wow man,'” Somerhalder says. “It was this moment in time. I just went back in time for a second. Four years. Yeah, it’s not a millennia, but it’s a long time, four plus years.”
Dobrev was so busy focusing on filming the episode that she hadn’t sat down yet to really contemplate the fact that they were hitting episode 100. “Honestly, it just feels like another episode,” Dobrev says. “But then when you say it and remind us, it’s like, ‘Oh my God, we did 100 episodes. Basically like 50 movies.’ It is a milestone. It’s a big accomplishment that not many shows can say that they have reached.”
She hopes that “TVD” will continue its momentum long past 100 episodes. “It puts things into perspective and it makes you realize how lucky we are,” Dobrev says. “It’s great to be part of a great show that people actually watch and enjoy and can say that’s done this many episodes and is still going. We still, hopefully, have another season in us at least.”
As Somerhalder thought back to his favorite moment from the series, he immediately had an answer. “My favorite scene is from the fifth episode of Season 1, when Vicki and Damon are dancing in the Salvatore mansion and sucking blood out of each other’s wrists,” Somerhalder says. “Kayla Ewell in her underwear for a week was not the worst thing that’s ever happened, because she’s profoundly beautiful but talented and really giving. It was so much fun.”
Of course, dancing with Ewell in her underwear wasn’t the only draw for him. “I think that’s when Damon was at his best,” Somerhalder says. “He was just having such a great time. I always remember that scene as being really memorable and fun. That whole sequence of those two episodes with her was great.”
Dobrev’s favorite moment had less dancing, and more sharp objects involved. “The moment when Katherine cuts off John Gilbert’s fingers is my favorite,” Dobrev says. “It was like, ‘She’s doing what?! That’s so disgusting! Oh my God, I can’t wait to do it!’ That’s what I thought when I read it.”
But as she thought about it more, she remembered back when she played both Katherine and Elena in the same scene for one of the first times. “I loved the episode where you find out about Katherine’s past and she’s telling Elena about the whole thing,” Dobrev says. “That was one of the craziest, most intense experiences of my life, shooting both Elena and Katherine talking to each other for like 30 pages and then the flashback of Katherine. It was very intense, but it came together quite well. I was proud of it. Hard work pays off, and I really put my heart and soul into that one so I love that episode.”
Wesley’s favorite moments were the ones he shared with Klaus when both Stefan and the audience learned that Stefan and Klaus were actually best friends in the 1920s in Chicago. “I think there is an unresolved bromance between Stefan and Klaus that I think was cut really short, in my opinion,” Wesley says, noting that he would love to do a crossover episode on “The Originals.” “They had really cool stuff in the 1920s flashback and then it just ended. I think they had a really interesting thing going for a minute and for some reason the writers did not want to pursue that.”
Stefan’s friendship with Klaus was one of Wesley’s favorite things to explore. “That’s what I loved about the flashbacks. I felt like they really had feelings — nonsexual — for one another,” Wesley says. “It was a really strong bond and I just thought it was so interesting that he was the big baddie and I hated him so much and then he just brought back this memory of, ‘Do you remember when we were friends?’ I kind of thought that would make Stefan go over to the dark side. Their relationship was fascinating to me.”
Dobrev couldn’t wait for the fans to finally see the episode, knowing that there are certain moments that are sure to cause a frenzy. “They’re going to love it,” Dobrev says. “I think [executive producers] Julie [Plec] and Caroline [Dries] and Kevin [Williamson] did a really great job of making a great episode of television and also catering to the fans and giving them what they would like to see and would make them happy and paying homage to many past episodes, experiences, characters. Of course it will be good.”
“The Vampire Diaries” 100th episode airs Thursday (Jan. 23) at 8 p.m. ET on The CW.
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