Ever since Elena (Nina Dobrev) officially chose Damon Salvatore (Ian Somerhalder) over his White Knight younger brother Stefan (Paul Wesley), a sizable portion of "The Vampire Diaries" fandom has been enthusiastically campaigning for the jilted ex-lover to rebound with Elena's best friend, Caroline Forbes (Candice Accola).
In fact, even for those of us who don't typically qualify as shippers, the Steroline pairing just seems to make sense. The two characters have palpable chemistry, they care for each other deeply, and they're both gorgeous and single. However, after well over a season of tender words and some unrequited longing (on her side), absolutely nothing has happened.
So, what's the problem? According to writer and executive producer Caroline Dries, there are quite a few when it comes to making the Steroline arc make sense in the writers' room -- because when it comes to showrunner Julie Plec, there always has to be a plan.
"I think in Julie mind -- and I don’t mean to speak for her -- but I think that in her mind, it was always something that could be a great romance," Dries told MTV News over the phone. "Our issue -- it's not so much a shipper need, it’s that Stefan was defined from the beginning of the show as somebody who was the soul mate of Elena. To gracefully detach him from her has been our mission, so we can breathe out the Damon and Elena relationship."
Also, since Stefan is such a crucial part of the "Vampire Diaries" universe, casually throwing him into a rebound with a fan-favorite like Caroline could be reckless.
"First we needed to define Stefan as somebody who was Elena’s friend, and no longer her soul mate, and now [we can] give him a new potential romance with Caroline," Dries continued. "It takes a long time to evolve, because we want it to feel real, and not forced down anybody’s throats. Realistically, Stefan doesn’t want to ruin his friendship with Caroline, because he’s friends with her and Elena. It’s a complicated, messy situation, and we just wanted it to feel as organic as possible."
This might seem like bad news for those who are eagerly awaiting a Stefan and Caroline hookup, but not necessarily. Dries said that Thursday's (December 11) midseason finale, "Christmas Through Your Eyes," will feature a major shift in the characters' relationship -- though that might come in the form of tragedy for Caroline.
"Stefan is feeling like he really messed up, and he's mourning the loss of Caroline in his life," she said. "He makes it his mission in this episode to be there for her. He realizes that when you’re there for your friend, that means in good times and in bad times. I can’t reveal what the devastating news [he gives her] is -- that would be a major spoiler -- but I can say that in being challenged with having to deliver some news to Caroline, it actually strengthens their friendship, and proves to Caroline, 'Look, I am your friend, I am a shoulder for you.' It allows them to grow and evolve in future episodes."
Or, in other words: