But executive producer Caroline Dries says that's all changing in Season 6.
Dries told us the main question the showrunners asked themselves going into this season was, "How can we reinvigorate the show?"
And based on the premiere episode, they've done just that with a fresh and unexpected take on the characters at the start of the new season.
Following a screening of the first episode in Season 6, Dries said that while she's very proud of the doppelgänger storyline, she understands the need for the change. The show is moving away from the doppelgänger idea, but it will remain present in Elena (Nina Dobrev) and Stefan's (Paul Wesley) relationship, which is platonic at this point, yet still close.
"We're trying to pepper in mythology," Dries explained of the execs' approach to Season 6. She said they just finished Episode 10 and, so far, there has been no mention of doppelgängers.
Also adding to the fresh vibe of the show is a new villain named Kai, who Dries confirmed will break the mold of bad guys we've seen in the past. Chris Wood from The Carrie Diaries will be taking on the role, which Dries described as "charismatic, charming and psychotic."
Though the season will have a new villain, Dries said it's going to be less about Silas and the Originals — but don't rule out crossovers — and more about Damon (Ian Somerhalder) and Bonnie's departure from our world. (Are they really dead? This question will be answered in Episode 2.)
The other challenge of the season is maintaining "Damon and Elena's relationship even though he's not present," Dries said.
We'll see Elena struggle to hold onto Damon in the first episode, though her success is definitely up for debate. There's no arguing the girl understands grief, but can she handle the loss of one more person added to the already long list?
Meanwhile, Mystic Falls is off limits to the supernaturals, which Dries explained represents "the metaphor of what they can't have," as Tyler, Alaric, Stefan, Caroline (Candice Accola) and Elena all try to move on with their lives into college and careers.
Though Dries did say there's a future where she sees Mystic Falls open to magic again, she didn't reveal whether we would see it anytime soon. Things are looking pretty bleak at the start of the season.
Of course, Alaric is back as the authority figure to make sure the kids don't stray too far off the path with their supernatural abilities. But Alaric definitely has some of his own issues, especially when it comes to dating while he's trying to adjust to being a vampire. He hasn't had any alcohol in the four months since he was brought back from the dead! We know, it seems criminal. Rest assured, Dries confirmed that would be changing as the season progressed. Bring on the whiskey!
Though Enzo doesn't appear in the first episode, Dries said he will factor into the upcoming season. While some characters have given up on bringing Damon and Bonnie back, Enzo has taken a different approach. He'll be back in the fold soon enough, bringing his flirtation with Caroline back into full swing as well as the bromance triangle between him, Stefan and Damon.
We are just keeping our fingers crossed that it won't be long until the gang is back together, including Bonnie and Damon. Here's hoping.
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