On Friday night, after eight seasons, “The Vampire Diaries” closed its last chapter.
(Spoiler alert! Be sure to watch the finale on The CW before reading this story! We’re discussing all the big moments from the conclusion of the show.)
“TVD’s” series finale, “I Was Feeling Epic,” brought us beautiful reunions, a heartbreaking loss, and for many members of the Mystic Falls gang, peace.
Executive Producer Julie Plec who co-wrote the finale with fellow EP Kevin Williamson, and who directed the episode, helped us get a little more closure when AccessHollywood.com spoke to her about some of those big twists and surprises, including the finale’s most heartbreaking moment.
To make amends for the things he’d done, and to help save the town and his loved ones (most especially, his brother Damon), Stefan Salvatore made the ultimate sacrifice. To destroy villain Katherine for good, he held onto her her in one of Mystic Falls’ underground tunnels to make sure that redirected hellfire swept her back to hell, where the bad place would be destroyed and her along with it — but it killed him too. (The hellfire, which had been unleashed in Mystic Falls by Vicki Donovan, was redirected by Bonnie Bennett, who was helped by Gram and her Bennett witch ancestors.)
Fans knew one of the main character’s would die in the finale, although it didn’t make it any less painful when the moment happened, cutting short Stefan’s future with Caroline (Candice King).
When they first began to plan “TVD’s” ending, producers weren’t sure who they were going to have make their Earthly exit, though it came down to two characters.
“At one point, pretty much everybody was discussed, but there was a hard case made for Damon for quite awhile before Stefan emerged the ultimate victim,” Plec told AccessHollywood.com.
When they decided on Wesley’s character, Stefan, Plec said they kept the news from the actor for a time.
“Paul didn’t realize that we’d made the choice to kill him because I kept saying that everyone was going to have a happy ending just to mess with him because he’s Mr. dark/indie … guy, like silent films and the Laemmle theater, and he was like, ‘Noooo, you can’t do that. That’s such a cop out. You can’t have a happy ending!’ And so just to keep toying with him, I would say, ‘Oh, yeah, no it’s all good, you’re gonna live on, grow old, be happily ever after.’ He’s like, ‘That sucks, you have to kill me, you have to kill me.’ He’s like, ‘That’s the way it should end for Stefan. You gotta kill me.’ And up until the moment he read the script, he didn’t know how Stefan’s story would end, and he was very moved by it.”
Stefan’s sacrifice and Bonnie’s magic paved the way for Damon to reunite with Elena, but not before Stefan and Elena shared a brief moment in his afterlife world of peace – one that took place inside the halls of Mystic Falls High School. Before he left, he gave her a message to pass on to Caroline. And then, Stefan’s afterlife of peace saw him walk outside of Mystic Falls HS and reunite with his departed friend Lexi (Arielle Kebbel). We asked Plec what made Lexi the right character to greet Stefan.
“She’s his best friend. Her life was taken away in a cruel and vindictive manner. She was his touchstone, his rock. She was a representation of how he set about being a good person in spite of the curse that plagued him, and she basically represents all that is good about him,” Plec said. “And in fact, it is Lexi and who she was that made us look at Caroline in a new way for him because they’re so similar, and what they brought to his life in terms of positivity, strength and control was so similar. And, so Lexi’s [his] true blue best friend and he should be able to see her again in peace.”
Caroline’s heart was broken in the finale, but when she reunited with Elena she did find some comfort. Elena told her that Stefan heard the voicemail she left him, where she told him she would love him forever and she understood why he did what he did. Elena shared with Caroline the message Stefan gave her – he’d love her forever, too.
As the show skipped to the characters’ futures, Caroline and Alaric opened a school for supernaturally gifted young girls, one their children could grow up in and thrive in. And, she received a donation from an ancient friend — Klaus Mikaelson — who wrote her a letter where he said he hoped to see her at some point in the future.
Could Caroline be one of the characters Plec could see crossover to “The Originals” (Note: “The Originals” already finished filming its fourth season, so we’re talking a potential future season)?
“Absolutely. I mean, I think Candice [King] wouldn’t mind taking a couple years off of blood and fangs, but we are there should she be so inclined to come pay us a visit,” Plec said.
Or could Bonnie, who ended the season deciding to live her life and enjoy a little bit of traveling (with Enzo always watching over her), be a potential character for a crossover appearance?
“I would like to say that the door is open for any of them – Damon, and Elena included. I think people shouldn’t hold their breath necessarily, with respect, knowing how much these guys are, I feel, at peace with having said goodbye to their characters,” Plec said. “But, in an eternal future, you just never know.”
As for Elena and Damon, as viewers realized by the diamond sparkler on Elena’s hand as she and Damon left the Salvatore family crypt in one of the episode’s final future-set scenes, the two appear to have married. So, we had to ask Plec when the couple might have said “I do,” and who likely walked Elena Gilbert down the aisle.
“I think they got married probably after med school, although I can’t say that they waited to have kids that long. I don’t know. It’s hard to know,” Plec said. “And, I’m going to say mostly likely, Jeremy gave her away and shot a little middle finger to Damon on his way up the aisle.”
And they named their first child Stefan or Stefani?
“Maybe. Maybe,” Plec said. “I think that’s some fun fan-fiction for the future.”
Family and friends from the Mystic Falls gang’s past turned up in a montage near the episode’s end – some alive, like Steven R. McQueen’s Jeremy Gilbert (who was working at Caroline and Alaric’s school) and some as they watched over their loved ones — like Jo (Jodi Lyn O’Keefe) who watched over Alaric and her girls, or Vicki Donovan (Kayla Ewell) and Tyler Lockwood (Michael Trevino) who watched over Sheriff Matt Donovan (Zach Roerig). Others came back as the characters experienced future-future peace – Elena saw Aunt Jenna (Sara Canning) and Uncle John (David Anders).
None of them spoke, but they didn’t need to.
“It really kind of came to pass in writing of the script,” Plec said of the characters being seen but not heard. “We’d had ideas of little quips and couplets of dialogue that people could have with each other — Tyler and Vicky — but when you write a montage, you kind of get in a groove of the tone of what a montage should feel like. And in this case, it just felt like having them there quietly, representative of the fact that they’re still watching and that they themselves are at peace, felt like all we needed to do.”
The final scene of the show provided a heartwarming reunion as in peace Stefan was reunited with his beloved brother, Damon, who appeared at the Salvatore mansion door saying, “Hello, brother.” Plec revealed it wasn’t just Paul’s last scene to film.
“The last scene that he filmed was the last scene that we filmed, which is the last scene of the show, which was ‘Hello, brother,’ at the front door,” she told Access.
But, when they started planning this particular finale, did the writers know that would be the last shot of the show?
“We did not always know that, and … it happened in the process of writing — that feeling that the line that introduced these two to us should be the line that says goodbye to them,” Plec said.
As for Plec, her own final moment on the show’s set didn’t happen the way she planned, but it appears to have turned out just right.
“I had always assumed that when I walked out the last time I would have an emotional breakdown because every time I walked out in the months prior and the years prior, I would have that feeling of, ‘Oh God, one day this is going to be for the last time, and I don’t know if I’m going to be able to handle it.’ However, on the last day itself, what should have taken us 10 hours to shoot took about 13-and-a-half because we are like kids on the last day of school, and I really wanted to buy the crew a beer, and we were facing last call,” Plec said with a laugh, recalling the memory. “And so I said, you know what? I’m going to come back on Monday and I’m going to say my goodbyes then. I took the crew to the bar, we all had a nice drink together. The next night, took more crew out to dinner, we had toasts and laughs and tears and hugs, the night after that I had another goodbye dinner with some of my friends and Candice and some of the crew and by the time it was time for me to get on a plane on Sunday, I realized I don’t need to go back because I’m OK. I’ve said goodbye. And as aside, I should say, half our crew agreed over the last couple of days to go work on ‘Black Lightning,’ the pilot for The CW, so I knew that my sets and our stages and our offices were in good hands.”
— Jolie Lash