The Vampire Diaries Season 3 Spoilers: Consequences, Complications, "Ripper" Flashbacks

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After a second season finale that was so compelling on so many levels, can The Vampire Diaries possibly raise the stakes even more in Season 3?

Julie Plec says to get ready for it.

"The stakes are instantly raised because we have our good brother who is in the grip of Klaus' influence and demands and his own demons, so we're about to watch our hero go down a very dark road," the executive producer tells TV Guide.

"Then you have a character seeing people from his past and there are a lot of things that could open up. We're also pushing all our relationships to the next level. I feel like there's more opportunity this season than the first two seasons."

Other excerpts from Plec's interview:

Poor Jer

On bringing back Vicki and Anna: Julie Plec: "When we started thinking about where we were taking Jeremy, we thought of the idea of him seeing people from his past as a result of being brought back to life."

"We'll get a good sense in the first episode or two how they're manifesting themselves and where they're coming from. As we get deeper into the season, we'll start to understand that they have a compass and their own master plan."

On how this impacts Bonnie: "There is a wonderful double meaning of what the witches said to Bonnie. She went against the order of nature. There are obviously supernatural consequences, but clearly there are going to be emotional consequences."

On the Delena kiss: "I felt like it was something that needed to happen to end Damon's story line for the season. His entire journey had been, "I'm not worthy of you" and at the end of the season, as he's dying, she tells him, "Yes, you are; you're worthy."

"There are a lot of complicated feelings attached to that. Stefan was off saving Damon's life while Damon was confessing his love for his brother's girlfriend. There's going to be a sense of obligation and guilt, but Damon does what Damon's going to do."

"And for now, Elena's boyfriend is gone, possibly dead, and Damon's there as a friend trying to help her save Stefan, and anything can happen there."

Delena Action

On Stefan's role in the season three premiere: "When we come back, no one will have heard from him, no one will have seen him and the audience won't know where he's been and what he's going through is going to be pretty surprising."

"One of the little big moments is wondering what Damon gives Elena for her birthday and if Stefan makes an appearance to blow out the candles on the cake."

On flashbacks galore: "We'll catch glimpses of a time when Stefan was a true ripper. Then, in mid-fall / early winter, we're really going to dig into the history of the original family and go all the way back in flashbacks to the year 1000 approximately."

"We're going to tell their origin story, see where and who Klaus comes from, why he is the way he is and why he so desperately needs some therapy or a hug."

TVD returns September 15. Visit TV Fanatic all summer for spoilers and news gearing up for the premiere, and join the discussion in our Vampire Diaries forum!

Steve Marsi is the Managing Editor of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Google+ or email him here.

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Vampire Diaries Quotes

You want a love that consumes you. You want passion and adventure, and even a little danger... I want you to get everything you're looking for. But for right now, I want you to forget that this happened. Can't have people knowing I'm in town yet. Goodnight, Elena.

Damon

You are literally the best person I've ever known. And for me to think I could ever change you was giving me way too much credit and you way not enough… you're the good. And I need a little good in my life.

Damon [to Elena]