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Vampire Diaries Executive Producer Julie Plec on Damon's Struggle For Humanity

Since The Vampire Diaries returned to the CW in 2011, Ian Somerhalder's vampire Damon has been struggling to tap into his humanity, but it's a struggle that hasn't been an easy one and not something that he necessarily wants to embrace.
"He keeps himself in check because he wants to be, as Elena says, the better man," executive producer Julie Plec explains in an interview with Zap2It. "Not because of who Katherine was, but because of who Elena is. [But] He doesn't have Elena, and he doesn't want to be a hero. When things happen that make him look in the mirror and not recognize himself, he's going to go back in search of that person that he's been for the last 145 years. Unfortunately, that means reverting to some old habits that kind of defined him for a very long time."

Exemplified by the ending of the last episode in which, after the death of his vampire friend Rose due to a werewolf bite, he meets a stranger on the road, has something of an emotional breakdown, confessing that he misses being human, and then bites her. That ending actually was dictated by the needs of the character and came as something of a surprise to the show's writers.

"We had written that entire script, and we had ended Damon's journey on that hug with Elena," says Plec. "We were done with the script and we were moving forward, and somebody said, have we taken Damon to too emotional of a place? He's sad, and he's upset, and he's struggling with dealing with his feelings. The idea came up that maybe he should just completely regress as a knee-jerk response to having too many emotions. That changed everything. We just sort of added it in. Kevin [Williamson] wrote his speech at the end, which was just brilliance in action. It changed everything. It really reinvigorated all of us for that character because Damon is all about how deliciously bad he can be and how epically good he can be, and how the two are always at odds with each other."

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