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V-Wars comes from the world created by author Jonathan Maberry, with Somerhalder playing the lead role of Dr. Luther Swann, who enters a world of horror when a mysterious disease transforms his best friend, Michael Fayne (Adrian Holmes), into a predator who feeds on other humans. As the disease spreads, society splits into opposing factions -- regular people vs. vampires. Dr. Swann races to understand what’s happening, while Fayne rises to become the powerful underground leader of the vampires.
Ian Somerhalder revealed what drew him to the character of Dr. Luther Swann, and it basically sounds like he enjoyed playing a non-Damon:
I wanted to be a normal good man. He's a dad, a husband, and has a true love of science and medicine… Swann's superpower is simply that he's a good dad and loves helping the world through science. Things turn in his world very quickly, but he will always remain that core strength. But we'll see the evolution of this man and what he means to the world.
Hey, Damon Salvatore is a husband and father too, in the timeline of Legacies. (But Elena Salvatore is the one with the "Dr." title.) It does sound, though, that Luther Swann as a "normal" good husband/father is closer to real-life Ian than Vampire Diaries-life Damon.
Ian Somerhalder showed off the first look at his V-Wars character back in August:
Ian Somerhalder told the audience at Supanova Comic Con & Gaming in Australia (via The Music) the dystopian context of V-Wars is a metaphor for so much of what is happening right now on the planet:
This show is incredibly relevant right now and couldn't be more timely, in my opinion. The show deals with so much of what is staring us in the face in our everyday: disease, borders, politics, fear, confusion, media and ill will. Now imagine this with crazed and hungry, murderous, newly-formed vampires running around. My character, Dr. Luther Swann, happens to be a leading researcher of infectious disease and unfortunately stumbles upon one that gives us a one-way ticket into this world.
Dr. Luther Swann already sounds very different from Damon Salvatore, and not just because Swann is human. Ian Somerhalder has already said he didn't think Damon should've gotten a happy ending with Elena at the end of The Vampire Diaries, because Damon had done so many bad things as a vampire. He said at Supanova that he had to learn early on in Season 1 not to judge Damon.
I realized Damon Salvatore had ill intent, but for righteous reasons; those are the most dangerous people. Think of the dangerous people throughout history – and our present – that impose their will on others and hurt them. But Damon had this fun feel – a walking contradiction but loved everything he did. Damon would basically enjoy saving a kitten from a tree exactly as much as he would ripping your throat out. The look on his face would be the same.
Interesting. We'll have to wait and see how Dr. Luther Swann's reactions (and humor?) differ from Damon Salvatore. Ian Somerhalder is probably best known at this point for playing Damon on The Vampire Diaries and Boone Carlyle on Lost. But Dr. Luther Swann on V-Wars may be his next internationally famous character.
Ian Somerhalder not only stars in V-Wars, he directed an episode and shared a behind-the-scenes look at that intense process. After wrapping V-Wars Season 1 this past October in Canada, he asked fans to please stream it on Netflix -- even if they don't love it -- so the cast and crew get a chance to come back to continue the story in Season 2:
As Ian Somerhalder continued at the recent fan event, he envisions showing "different cultures and how vampires work in other parts of the world" in V-Wars Season 2:
What happens when there are so many vampires that they have their own clubs, schools, restaurants and lawyers? How does that society work? More importantly, who governs it and, more importantly, who enforces that governing?