Alaric Saltzman not withstanding, teachers on supernatural shows tend to fall into one of two categories: victim or villain. And given the fact The Vampire Diaries previously revealed Professor Shane was actually immortal evil Silas, many have wondered if the show's latest learned character, Professor Wes Maxfield, could also be bad.
While fans will just have to wait and see if Whitmore College actually employs any stand-up scholars, actor Rick Cosnett seemed to validate Elena's suspicions when we recently chatted on set about his role and what we can expect from this awesomely-named addition.
ETonline: First of all, can we just take a moment to appreciate the awesomeness of your character's name.
Rick Cosnett: [laughs] It is a fantastic name -- and it's fitting because he's fantastic in every way. I describe him as Indiana Jones with a house in Nantucket. He's a really smart, incredibly driven, hands-on professor who knows a lot about everything. And his class is really difficult.
ETonline: Yes, I was looking around this classroom and even the fake syllabus seems incredibly hard.
Cosnett: [laughs] Well ... yes. I won't tell you the marks I got in biology in school, but actually being a University professor is way beyond my comprehension. Unless it was an acting class; then I think I would have a thing or two to contribute.
ETonline: For as smart as Dr. Maxfield is, you'd think he would know better than to antagonize two vampires.
Cosnett: Look, Dr. Wes Maxfield doesn't take any prisoners -- they are no exceptions. But does he know they’re vampires? That's the question.
ETonline: TVD has featured a few shady teachers, particularly towards the end of last season. The audience is now kind of conditioned to think all teachers on this show are evil. Do you get to have some fun playing with the audiences expectations of Dr. Maxfield?
Cosnett: Absolutely. It's fun because he's not necessarily bad; it's the wonderful dichotomy that we all have. I think he's a nice human being. Or is he? [laughs] Well, he has human qualities either way, and feelings and a life and people that he loves. It's interesting to show how someone gets to a place where he does things that people might not look at as "good."
ETonline: And he seems to have accomplished a lot at a young age -- I mean, house on Nantucket! [laughs] Does that translate into him being cocky?
Cosnett: His confidence masks the hurt that's underneath and is propelling a lot of the choices he makes. He's still finding his feet.
ETonline: Is all of this exposition on-screen or is it what Julie Plec has told you to help build the character?
Cosnett: These are things that have been hinted at to me thus far. At the moment, he's very much on the periphery, so it's left up to the audience's imagination as well, which is fun because it's all about what's projected onto him by the fans.
ETonline: What excites you about season five?
Cosnett: I'm really excited about the concise structure of it. We've got this really believable setting for the girls, and the fact they are outside Mystic Falls adds a whole new element of surprise and suspense that it so fantastic. I think fans are going to love this season because it will constantly surprise them. It surprises me all the time [laughs].
The Vampire Diaries airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. on The CW.