Executive producer Julie Plec breaks down some of the biggest decisions that could have altered the trajectory of The Vampire Diaries.
Some of the changes to the framework of the world included Elena’s family structure (a teenage brother, instead of a younger sister) and consolidating her close friends (one, instead of two), which were among Plec and Williamson’s attempts at making “good development choices.” The Hollywood Reporter, with an assist from Plec, details the biggest tweaks, the Plan Bs and the character that almost didn’t make the cut.
– The Salvatores almost had different names. ”We had originally changed the names of Stefan and Damon Salvatore, to Whitmore, so the very first script we delivered that made the rounds was Stefan and Damon Whitmore,” Plec recalls. It was a name for an uncle character, Zach Whitmore, that didn’t clear, forcing Plec and Williamson to revisit the books. “We said, ‘Screw it, let’s just put the name back to what it was in the book,’ ” Plec remembers. Their first impression of the Salvatore name was “this meaty, beefy Italian and we were trying to ground it a little more for a small-town American audience.” Five years later, Plec admits the error of their ways. “That could be the dumbest thing we ever could have thought,” she says. “Stefan and Damon Salvatore is the perfect family name.” (The Whitmore name was later used for the college Elena and her friends attend.)
– “Delena” wasn’t going to happen in first three seasons. ”In season two, there was an influence pushing Damon and Elena together faster than we would have ever done it,” Plec says. “And we did everything we could to try to create obstacles, to tear them apart, to bring Stefan and Elena closer together. But you could feel the magnetic pull — not just of Twitter, but of the fandom really rooting for this.” It was a problem the writers faced during the second and third seasons, before they paired them up “exactly the time we felt it was ready” in season four. “We knew we never wanted her to be with him until she was a vampire because human Elena, no matter how much the audience loved Damon and was willing to forgive Damon for everything he’d done,” Plec says, “for human Elena to forgive him and be with him, it felt like we were destroying that character.”
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