The 'Darker' Side Of Damon Is Coming In 'The Vampire Diaries' Season 7

Now that his GF is literally a sleeping beauty, he's free to be bad (again).

Now that Nina Dobrev has exited stage left from "The Vampire Diaries" after six solid seasons -- and what a tearful goodbye that was, yeesh -- it's going to be up to the rest of the Mystic Falls team to hold it down for Season 7. And while we have many theories about how that might look -- it's still totally hard to imagine.

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Or at least it was before Julie Plec and Kevin Williamson hit up the ATX Television Festival this weekend to talk about the future of Damon Salvatore (Ian Somerhalder), Steroline and company.

From the sounds of it, our favorite steam-staring vamp Damon is going to be wildin' out a little, now that his GF is locked in a coffin for the next 60-ish years.

According to Plec, Damon's been through a few phases of Damonism -- from villainy to obsessive not-so-secret admirer status to loverboy and then sorta hero. But "the root of him as a sassy, 'take no prisoners, do what you got to do to get it done,' anti-hero is still very much there."

Which means the part of Damon that he's been pseudo-suppressing for the sake of his epic relash is going to come out to play a whole lot more.

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"He now has more freedom to kind of be messy with his choices. I think you’ll see a darker Damon with the sort of wisdom of his experience, but a freedom to act out as he may feel like he needs to," she explained.

Meanwhile, co-exec Kevin Williams clarified that fans will "feel completely unlike what we've seen before" -- meaning, this isn't going to be some rehash of feelingless Damon who ran roughshod over everyone in town, including Stefan, in the beginning of the show.

What exactly that'll entail remains to be seen, of course - but "Darker Damon"? Yeah, we like the sound of that. Because it means more sexy SMOLDER.