The Vampire Diaries producer Kevin Williamson wants to have a gay character on his show. It probably won’t be Jeremy, Bonnie, Caroline, Matt or Jenna. And it couldn’t be Stefan, Elena or Damon, even though that would be a really big twist, because it would kind of end that whole love triangle thing.
So Williamson thinks he’ll have to bring in a new character to make a gay storyline work.
“It’s one of those things that needs to feel organic and seamless,” Williamson told a group of reporters on July 28 in Beverly Hills, Calif., where he was at The CW’s party for the Television Critics Association press tour. “I don’t want it to be a character that comes in and is a one-off. I want someone to come in and have a reason and a purpose and really push that story forward the way I want to do it, and they’re so important to the story that without them the show won’t happen. That’s what I want.”
Gay teens are an important issue to Williamson outside of show business. He supports GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network. “I’m sitting in the wings waiting,” he said. “I’m waiting. Which character can be gay? Which character won’t? Where will it fit in? How can I get the gay character in? I don’t want to sound like I’m a militant about it, like THERE MUST BE A GAY CHARACTER, even though I am. It’s not just that, it’s also diversity. I always feel like I don’t have enough diversity on my show, and that is one of the things I’m very conscientious of, and not just gay characters. Any diversity. In anything, I want everyone represented. I want everybody on the show.”
He’s used TV to support gay issues before. On Williamson’s last teen drama, Dawson’s Creek, Jack (Kerr Smith) came out in the second season. That also makes it tougher for Vampire Diaries, because he doesn’t want to repeat himself. “I don’t want to do a coming-out story. I did it on Dawson’s Creek. As much as I’d like to do [a gay story], I want it to be fresh, and I’d want to do it in a new way. I don’t know what that way is. We’ve seen it. We’ve seen it on countless shows. I’ve done my coming-out story, and I was very proud of it, and I don’t know what it would be.”
It’s not going to be the werewolf either. That would be so obvious. Tyler Lockwood is going to wolf out this year, but don’t read any more into that. “I kept joking with Michael Trevino, going, ‘Well, the werewolf’s going to come out. He’s going to come out of the closet.’ And Michael Trevino said, ‘Really? That’s a tired allegory, I just want to point out.’ And he’s right. It is. So I go, ‘No, we’re not doing that.’ The werewolf story is an allegory on its own for any coming-out story. It’s a universal coming-out story.”
Williamson also won’t force a character to be gay when they need to be something else for the show. He’s writing a few guest-star parts now that won’t work as gay characters. “There’s plenty of characters coming, but the couple of regular characters that we’re bringing in are female, so I guess they could be lesbians, but we’re bringing them in for love interests. Once the wheels are in motion, it’s hard just to add something simply because you want to do it.”
But he really wants to—and not just Williamson. All of the Vampire Diaries want to have a gay character. “You do know my writing staff is just a mixture of gay or gay-friendly. We all just sit around and talk about Glee and ‘Why don’t we have a gay character?’ All we do is talk about it, and we’re trying to figure it out. And I’ve done it. I want to do something new. Teenagers is my big deal, GLSEN. They’re my passion. It’s something I’m passionate about. I’ve just got to figure out how to do it. How do I do it and be original? I want it to be a good story. As soon as we can, we will. Also, I think when we bring in more characters, if it fits the story, we’ll do it.”
The Vampire Diaries returns Sept. 9 on The CW.