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'True Blood' boss answers burning question: Is Eric dead?

Relax, Truebies! Vampire Eric is going to be alive -- but maybe not well -- when the show returns next year.

Is he or isn't he? When the credits rolled on the "True Blood" season finale Sunday night, fans were left wondering whether Viking vamp Eric had met the True Death. 

After all, he was working on a tan in his birthday suit when Warlow's vampire-fairy blood lost its sunblock properties, resulting in what could be a deadly burn.

But thanks to show boss Brian Buckner, fans won't have to wait until next summer to find out if the hunky bloodsucker played by Alexander Skarsgard will live to see the new season. In an interview with TVLine, Buckner said the ancient vampire will indeed be back.

"I can tell you that Alexander Skarsgard is going to be part of the next season of 'True Blood,' " he told the website. "He will be a series regular. I'm not going to take Alex Skarsgard out of people's living rooms."

But that's not to say Eric will be perfectly fine after meeting the sun on some snow-capped mountains. "No, that would be a cheat, wouldn't it? That would be an incredible cheat," Buckner told TVLine. "Pam (Kristin Bauer van Straten) has gone off in search of Eric, and maybe she's going to be the one to find him, y'know?"

Buckner also teased the theme of the upcoming season, saying that the gang of Hep V-infected vamps swarming Bon Temps in the closing scene will bring the series full circle, back to the original premise of whether humans and vampires can co-exist peacefully. 

As for the infection that's causing the bloodsuckers to act like something out of "The Walking Dead"? "The virus has mutated," Buckner said, pointing out that it doesn't quite impact the vampires as it first did with the now deceased Nora, who was the first one to be given the virus. "And they're not zombies."

Guess that's at least one kind of supernatural being the good folks of Bon Temps won't have to worry about next year.