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Ian Somerhalder has plenty of credits to his name by this point in his career, but he's undoubtedly best known for spending the better part of a decade playing Damon Salvatore on The Vampire Diaries. Somerhalder will always and forever be associated with The Vampire Diaries, so few could have blamed Somerhalder if he chose to branch out in non-vampiric direction for his next TV show. Instead, he's starring on and producing a new vampire show for Netflix, called V-Wars.
While some actors might fear being typecast and/or being stuck in a genre indefinitely by taking more than one project in the same niche, Ian Somerhalder isn't worried about tackling V-Wars after The Vampire Diaries. He explained why, saying this:
I love this genre so much so that I ended up finding myself back in the genre. I doubled down, heavily — not just even as an actor; I'm producing, directing, and starring. I know some people keep asking me, 'Do you think people are going to think you're nuts that you spent eight years on a vampire show only to find yourself on another one?' And no, I don't think people are going to think I'm nuts. And if they do, when they see it, they'll see how different it is.
While V-Wars may keep him in a world of vampires, Ian Somerhalder was clear that it's going to be very different from The Vampire Diaries. Just because he spent eight years as Damon Salvatore doesn't mean he can't go in a brand new direction (aside from the occasional thirst trap post) with a brand new character on a brand new show?
There's more to the vampire genre than creatures that suck blood and brood, and all signs point toward V-Wars taking Somerhalder in a fresh direction, and not just because he's producing and directing on top of starring. He played a vampire for almost the entire run of The Vampire Diaries; V-Wars will be playing a human doctor by the name of Luther Swann. Damon was certainly no doctor, and V-Wars won't focus on magic as much as medicine.
In some ways, it sounds much more similar to The Passage (which was axed by Fox earlier this year) than The Vampire Diaries. According to the Netflix description, V-Wars will see a doctor pitted against his best friend after his friend encounters an ancient disease that turns people into vampires.
Ian Somerhalder told TVGuide that in V-Wars, people becoming vampires is "happening brand new, in real-time" rather than feature vampires who have already been around for a couple of centuries. Considering some of the comments from Paul Wesley, who played Damon's also very old vampire brother on The Vampire Diaries, it's probably a good thing that Somerhalder won't have to pretend to look like a teenager anymore! Somerhalder promises viewers will experience the reveal of vampirism in V-Wars "as it's happening," and the impact on the world "is going to be insane."
V-Wars hasn't yet received a premiere date on Netflix, but the ten episodes of the first season are expected to hit the streamer later this year. Interestingly, you can find the eight seasons of Ian Somerhalder playing a vampire on The Vampire Diaries streaming there now. Somerhalder has been hard at work on multiple parts of production for V-Wars, and he shared how his time on Vampire Diaries set him up for V-Wars:
I'm really grateful for how much I learned on [that] show. What I'm able to put into V-Wars is a direct reflection of the understanding and the skill sets that I developed on The Vampire Diaries, for sure, both in the production and post-production side. ... The Vampire Diaries was an anomaly; it was one of those rare, golden doves that come out of nowhere. While it takes a lot out of you, it is easy to show up and be the star of a hit television show. It's a different world to build one from the ground up, and I've put my soul into this show... I'm up at 6 in the morning and there are hundreds of things that need to be taken care of each day.
Despite Ian Somerhalder's recent remarks about Delena shippers from The Vampire Diaries days that were less than complimentary, here he has nothing but magnanimous words about how The Vampire Diaries set him up for potential success with V-Wars.
At the very least, it must have been less of a battle to get going on V-Wars than it was for him to land the Damon Salvatore role back in the day! Ian Somerhalder also recently revealed that it was a "very difficult process" to be cast in the role that would make him a huge star on The CW. He already had some vamp cred (and star power) going into V-Wars.
Considering the work load that had Ian Somerhalder was shouldering that had him up at 6 a.m. to take care of "hundreds of things" each day, it's good to know that he's enthusiastic about the project! He's taken on more with V-Wars than he was tasked with on The Vampire Diaries, and only time will tell how well it finds an audience.
Streaming video is a growing platform, and fans of The Vampire Diaries still rewatch the series via Netflix regularly, if the panic over the potential loss of the show from the streamer earlier this year is any indication! Will the fans also tune into V-Wars? It will have vampires and Ian Somerhalder as familiar facets, but not much else sounds like it will be similar to The Vampire Diaries.
Of course, the Netflix release model (which isn't changing) means that viewers will have the option of binge-watching. If V-Wars can hook an audience in the first episode or two, that could all but guarantee success for the first season and perhaps a renewal for a second. Since Netflix doesn't get to release a new season of Stranger Things every year, it could use all the hits it can get!
For now, we can only wait for news of a V-Wars release date and hopefully a trailer. The good news is that there are plenty of options already scheduled for premiere on the streaming giant, and our fall TV schedule proves that there's no shortage of goodness coming to broadcast network, cable, and premium TV in the not-too-distant future.