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The Vampire Diaries to Explore Family, Friendship on Season 4

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We may be months away from The Vampire Diaries Season 4 - an extra month, no less, with The CW pushing its fall premieres back until October - but producer Julie Plec was on hand for a panel at the ATX Television Festival in Austin this weekend and offered up a number of teases to keep fans buzzing throughout the summer.

And it all starts with a friendship that will turn into a major focus of the new season.

"I always look at Caroline as Stefan's future Lexi," Plec told an enthusiastic crowned. "You've seen little pockets of a friendship spark between them, and I see Caroline in the long run of the series becoming that important in Stefan's life."

What will bring the pair together when TVD returns? The desire to help Elena with her transition, Plec said, explaining that "Caroline is an acolyte of the Stefan school of sobriety."

Among other tidbits revealed at the panel:

Caroline and Matt will "have another moment," according to Plec.

Alaric may return, even with Matthew Davis starring on Cult and his character confirmed to be dead. "As long as Jeremy can see ghosts and Alaric is out there in the universe, then there's a window there," Plec said.

Without delving specifically into the love triangle, Plec did acknowledge that Damon has grown over three seasons, saying he has done terrible things in the "name of love, pain, abandonment, self-preservation, survival and family" and that "he's going to keep evolving and Elena's feelings for him are going to continue to evolve."

Finally, it's "time" for the arrival of Bonnie's dad, Plec spoiled: "This year is a big year of transitions. It's the end of senior year, and there's a rich home life for everybody we're going to explore."

Writing on Season 4 of The Vampire Diaries begins today. Which of these storylines has you most excited?

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.

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Kitanishi-h-mcdonald

that comment alone just tells me you hate Damon or your a SE Shipper.
Oh but that IS a pattern with Damon. All damon ahs ever done these two seasons:
1) sulk after elena.
2) sleep with random female. Steffie is not better. They both are pretty much 100% clones of Edward,w ith their very own bella swan :)

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@Amie.. 'Go off sleeping with a random chick in the bar and then feeding on her' that comment alone just tells me you hate Damon or your a SE Shipper.. Damon lashed out towards Elena becase she said 'you Loving me is a problem'.. thats not something light.. he was really hurt as he should of been..on top of that, Stefan in the same EP said 'you care to damn much'.. and as for the Hybrid Ep.. Damon said to Elena 'WHEN i deliver my brother back to you, i dont want you to forget what you felt when we were together' MEANING, he didnt forget about Stefan and had no intention of making Elena forget and he's wants to win Elena's love fair and square .. And Stefan should of killed Abby but Damon took the blame for the sake of Stefan..now how is that his character sinking?? Ur suggesting that Damon should let Elena die for a character that Bonnie just meant 2 episode's ago.. And when did Bonnie and Jamie become a SHIP?? I rest my case...

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The other half is with Caroline/Tyler/Klaus. And minimal screen time for Bonnie.

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When Plec says Caroline and Matt will have a moment, it really means Damon and Elena will have a moment. I bet 4 minutes of together time for Matt and Caroline and the other 26 minutes is Damon and/or Elena. Alaric will return. Not shocking. Plec has a thing for returning characters from the dead. Guess she forgot what the afterlife is. Bonnie's dad.....he will die at the end of Season 4...

Amie

Get real shipper fans, if Damon was played by Ian Somerhalder, nobody would be watching this show. Personally, I ONLY started watching this show because of Daniel Gilles and later because of Joseph Morgan. Back when TVD started, I knew Ian was in it but the show as a whole did not interest me at all, so for me Ian or no Ian, its those two that made me like this show.

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@ Bored Now
I know but I'm just saying. Plot line wise, its all romance. Its all romantic problems, blah blah blah. Never anything mystical or really cool. I would love to see a war break out between Witches/Vampires/Werewolves right about now.

Kitanishi-h-mcdonald

his has turned into One Tree Hill, or the OC.
sorry, but at this point, that would be an insult to those two shows. TVD now has worse writing than those millions of mexican soap operas that come out every year.

Kitanishi-h-mcdonald

The show became more mature because it appealed more to the male audience ...
by focusing on guys stripping down, increasing a fanservice and introducing 10 to one male to female cast ratio AND adding couple of stupid romance pairings? suuure To me it seems they are even more targetting twilight demo now. . The guest stars also did incredible jobs, great castings for Mikeal,Bill,Esther, and new fan favorite rebekah.. Too bad that those characters came out to be a pointless plot devices ina plotless season and then pointlessly died for no reason, eh? :) Also Becky? Fan favorite? Sorry, but nope. Klaus might be fanfavorite, but becky the original cheerleader, not even close.

Kitanishi-h-mcdonald

he show became more mature because it appealed more to the male audience ... The characters like Damon,Elena,Stefan,Matt,Klaus
This HAS to be joke, right? Elena remains as two-sentence baseline introduced to us int he first episode. Except that she now seems to have even less emotional capacity and personality than she had at the start. Sorry, but this has to be a joke statement. o complare Elena to Bella just shows how much you hate VD... Bella has not a lick of charater..
neither does elena.

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* Wasn't