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Exclusive: The shocking story behind last night's killer 'Vampire Diaries'

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vampire-diaries-exit_lSPOILER ALERT: You know the drill. If last night’s Vampire Diaries is still taking up space in your FauxVo, stop reading now. Everyone else, onward and downward…

This sucks. My favorite Vampire Diaries character, nascent fang-bearer Vicki, bit the dust thanks to a stake-wielding Stefan in last night’s bloody good Halloween-themed episode. Or did she… In this exclusive interview, Vicki’s portrayer, Kayla Ewell, reveals shocking details surrounding her onscreen death, including the identity of the original killer (it wasn’t supposed to be Stefan!) and how a clue in last night’s eppy may foreshadow her return.

Is Vicki really dead this time?

KAYLA EWELL: Sadly, yes. It’s funny because I almost died four times on the show.

Has it been hard keeping the secret?

EWELL: Yes. It’s a relief to finally be able to talk about it. People have been coming up to me in L.A. going, “Why aren’t you in Atlanta [working on the show]?” And I’m like, “Oh, I’m just here visiting my family. I had a couple of days off.” I’ve had to basically lie. But The CW and Warner Bros. wanted [my death] to be a big shock. And I think it will be.

How long have you known that Vicki would die?

EWELL: I knew very early on. But knowing it and actually going through it are two completely different things. Seven episodes is a lot of time to bond with people. Being back in L.A. has been harder than I thought it would be because this job was more special to me than any other job I’ve ever done.

So when you initially signed on you knew it was only for seven episodes?

EWELL: Yes. [Vicki’s death] was something that needed to happen in order for Jeremy (Steven R. McQueen) to go through a transformation.

At least you got a chance to play a vampire!

EWELL: It was such a gift as an actress to be the first [human] to turn. The audience got to go through the whole thing with me, which was really fun.

Was part of you hoping Kevin Williamson would change his mind?

EWELL: Of course. I’d be lying if I said [leaving] wasn’t difficult. But it was also the most amazing experience of my life.

What was it like shooting your death scene?

EWELL: Funny story: In the original script, Jeremy kills Vicki. And that’s what we shot. Jeremy is forced to choose between saving the love of his life or his sister, and he chooses his sister. We shot the whole thing and I [moved back to] L.A. Then about a week and a half later, I got an e-mail from Kevin and [coexecutive producer] Julie Plec asking me to come back to Atlanta to reshoot my death scene — only this time Stefan kills me.

Why the switch?

EWELL: They chose to have Stefan kill me because it makes him more of a hero since he saves Elena. There was also the question of would Jeremy know to actually stake a vampire in the heart?

Any chance you might return?

EWELL: Anything can happen on a vampire show. Dying doesn’t necessarily mean that someone’s gone forever… In the original script, when Vicki gets staked you see her disappear into dust. But in the [reshot scene that aired], Stefan pulls the stake out and Damon takes me away. So they left the ending open to interpretation.

PHOTO CREDIT: Quantrell Colbert/The CW