Spoiler alert: This post contains spoilers from the March 10 series finale of The Vampire Diaries.
For years, die-hard Vampire Diaries fans have wondered how the show would end, or, more specifically, what ending Julie Plec and Kevin Williamson came up with during season 2. Sitting in a mall food court, the co-creators of the show found what they thought was a perfect ending, but that’s not what fans watched on Friday, March 10. As Williamson told EW, “The big finale episode that we had always planned did not happen because the show was successful and lasted eight years.”
As a refresher, the series finale that aired featured Stefan sacrificing himself to save everyone, and therefore finding peace. It left Bonnie to travel the world, Matt to run for mayor of Mystic Falls, and Caroline and Ric to open a boarding school for their girls and other “gifted” children like them. As for Damon and Elena, they lived a happy human life before, in the show’s final moments, they each found peace when Elena was reunited with her deceased parents and Damon got one final brother hug from Stefan.
And while Plec has always said that the sentiment remained the same from the ending they first came up with all those years ago, what exactly was that original ending? Plec says: “Back in season 2 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 — because we had introduced the Other Side — 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. That was the thing that made us cry all the tears in season 2.”
But as Plec points out, the show lost its love triangle when Nina Dobrev left at the end of season 6. “I felt like we had to make a commitment to seeing Damon and Elena through to the end,” Plec says. “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. 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. But her departure sealed the romantic contract between Damon and Elena. 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. It just was never going to happen.”
So instead, one brother got to be the hero and another got a happy human life, but more importantly, they both found redemption, and ultimately, peace.