“The Vampire Diaries” came to a close on Friday night after eight seasons of teen angst, romance and supernatural delights. But the series finale we all watched wasn’t the one the show’s executive producers originally envisioned.
Showrunner Julie Plec chatted with Entertainment Weekly about the final episode she and co-creator Kevin Williamson conceived years ago, and why they felt they had to change it.
For those of you who missed the “Vampire Diaries” series finale, take caution ― there are spoilers below.
The finale showed Stefan (Paul Wesley) sacrifice himself in order to get rid of Katherine (Nina Dobrev) and save Mystic Falls, leaving Damon (Ian Somerhalder) and Elena (Dobrev) to lead a full, happy, human life together. But Plec and Williamson’s original plan was to have Stefan and Damon both sacrifice themselves for Elena.
“Back in season two when Kevin and I were sitting in the mall and we had fallen in love with this series and this story about two brothers who loved the same girl and the love triangle was kicking into high gear, we said to ourselves: When all is said and done, when this show is over, both brothers should die in the name of saving their girl and then be watching her like ghosts ... as she went off into the sunset to live her life and maybe marry Matt Donovan or maybe become a doctor, but that those brothers would be side-by-side watching her live,” Plec told EW.
But when Nina Dobrev left “The Vampire Diaries” after its sixth season, Plec and Williamson had to change their plans.
“If Nina had never left, I would’ve loved to have been able to see if Stefan and Elena could’ve found their way back to each other,” Plec said. “I don’t know if they could have, but had that departure not been a part of it, the long game would’ve been to see if we could bring the love triangle back around before the series ended and really leave a choice.”
With the way the show left things after Dobrev’s exit, Plec couldn’t see an ending that took Damon away from Elena.
“Her departure sealed the romantic contract between Damon and Elena,” Plec added. “In that moment, to me, the show ceased to be about a love triangle and became a show about the power of these brothers and their love for each other. And so there was no way in hell I was killing both of them and leaving neither of them with the happy ending.”
As good as that original ending would have been, we still had plenty of feels over Friday night’s finale. We may still be sobbing over Stefan’s self-sacrifice ― and Caroline’s heartbreak ― but at least Bonnie, Matt, Alaric, Elena and Damon got the happy endings they deserved.