Saturday (March 10) night's PaleyFest panel for The CW's "The Vampire Diaries" was characterized by lengthy, amusing digressions.
 
Ian Somerhalder and Paul Wesley, for example, waxed enthusiastic for a good five minutes about the opulence of Evander Holyfield's house in Atlanta and the excitement of shooting with Evander Holyfield present. They gushed about the amenities and star-power without wondering at the lack of laughter from and audience that pretty clearly had no clue who the former heavyweight champion is.
 
The audience was far more engaged, though, in the lengthy side-trip into the world of fan fiction, particularly the fan fiction envisioned by Matthew Davis and his alter ego Ernest Riley. Series co-creator Julie Plec even encouraged Davis by praise two pieces of his fan-fic, though she put an immediate end to Davis' favorite pairing, Alaric and Elena.
 
"Totally unacceptable," Plec said.
 
"And inappropriate," added Nina Dobrev.
 
As if sensing a vacuum in the inappropriate fan fic market, Somerhalder and Wesley veered into banter of a homoerotic and incestuous nature involving Damon and Stefan.
 
Don't worry. That's not going to happen either, though Plec repeated a frequently heard point about the show's core relationship.
 
[More after the break. Very minor spoilers, but nothing major. The live-stream only got to join in after the panelists had a 10-minute discussion about this Thursday's episode...]
 
Asked if we would ever get to see Damon and Stefan as pure friends and allies, Plec said, "If I've said out loud, and kill me for it, that the brothers' relationship is the epic love story of the series, then for them to never actually have that be requited would be really sad, so I'm hoping that brother love will..."
 
Somerhalder interjected, "Season 14. Damon and Stefan go to dinner."
 
And Wesley added, "Stefan has a little too much wine..."
 
Yeah, that was kinda how the night went.
 
Plec continued, "Where we are in the series is that in spite of the love triangle of it all, the brothers are trying to be heroes to each other and that is where we are and I hope that we can keep them that way for a while before we have to tear them apart."
 
But how can bromance bloom if both brothers continue to be in love with the same woman?
 
"I think the worst cliche is letting a girl tear two people apart," Plec said. "I think the smarter path is watching how, in spite of the conflict of that girl, how can it still bring two people together."
 
What, exactly, does that mean for the Damon-Elena-Stefan love triangle, which has become more and more integral to the story in the show's third season. In a recent interview, Plec said that things will come to a head this season, but she stepped back a bit.
 
"It's going to come to a head, maybe not the head, but a head for sure..." Plec said, prompting giggles from Somerhalder and Wesley on either side. "And now I'm uncomfortable. I might be blushing now."
 
She continued, "Here's where we are: We had a beautiful love story between Stefan and Elena. We had a burgeoning and evolving friendship and contentious friendship and then possible romantic relationship between Damon and Elena that was born out of a shared desire for each of them to help this person, Stefan, who's so important for them. Damon wants to help his brother. Elena wants to rescue Stefan. And in Stefan's absence and then subsequence awful behavior, they got closer... It's all part of growing up. It's all part of the journey of growing up. And what we'll see before the end of this season is Elena having to ask herself a lot of questions about 'Who do I care for?' and 'What do both of these men mean to me?'"
 
At this point, Dobrev interjected, "I think she needs to go abroad and go to Europe and meet some new boys. Bye-bye Salvatores."
 
She added, "We should go to Italy. I'm sure there's a lot more Salvatores... They won't bite her or kill her and all of her loved ones."
 
Then, in one of the night's best moments, Dobrev cited network/studio precedent to back up her idea, noting, "Can we do a Europe episode? 'Gossip Girl' did it."
 
Plec offered no real hope for a team trip to Italy and she teased fans by saying, "This season, maybe she has a choice to make."
 
"But then when anybody watch if she made the choice? No one would watch next season," protested Wesley.
 
"No one watches now!" Somerhalder disagreed.
 
The crowd voiced disapproval.
 
"Make it up to them. Take your shirt off," Candice Accola implored, earning a huge roar for the mere suggestion.
 
 
Anyway...
 
Want some more highlights-teases from the PaleyFest panel? Let's just do them in bullet-point fashion for simplicity.
 
*** We have not seen the last of The Originals. Duh. "These originals have an appetite for destruction. And they act on it," Somerhalder says.
 
*** Damon's going to do something bad to Claire Holt's Rebecca in two episodes, but it sounds like he'll pay at least some price. Apparently part of what was going on in Evander Holyfield's house was torture.
 
*** Want just a bit more on the state of the Salvatores and their respective degrees of good and evil? Plec says, "The beauty of Stefan and Damon is that both of them, though one began the show as a hero and one began as a villain, is that in their core, they both have sides that are as dark and as light and that really fight against each other. And when you add the vampire context into it, it's a constant battle for both of them. For Damon, it's battling against the parts of him that want to be pure and good and for Stefan, it's battling against that sort of demon inside of him that wants to take over. So the brothers are sharing a journey. It's just manifesting itself differently."
 
*** Some fans may be loving Caroline and Klaus, but Accola isn't sure he's a great romantic catch. "Klaus is bad. He's a mass murderer. His hobbies are turning hybrids to murder people. That's a terrible Match.com profile," Accola said.
 
*** Is love coming for Bonnie? And will it be love that doesn't go evil or die? Kat Graham suggests, "Yes."
 
*** Are we going to learn more about Elena's ill-fated parents this season? Perhaps we will. And perhaps we won't. Plec explained, "We're talking about having a flashback as we get to the end of this season that shows us Elena's life before she had vampires in it and that would involve her parents, obviously. But it's not written yet, so we'll see."
 
 
"The Vampire Diaries" returns to The CW on Thursday, March 15.