With one season left in The Vampire Diaries‘ run, we decided it was time to start collecting everyone’s final diary entries. Every week during the final season, EW is asking those involved with the show to look back on one of their favorite moments from the series. So grab your tissues and join us on this trip down a vampire-filled memory lane.
First up, co-creator and executive producer Kevin Williamson.
All I remember is when we were in Atlanta, I was running by the Margaret Mitchell House one morning and I went into the museum. They had chronicled on the wall how Margaret Mitchell wrote the story of Scarlett O’Hara. It was all about Scarlett being a survivor and it was all about how Gone with the Wind was truly about the north and the south and how they blended together post-war, how they recovered, the reconstruction of the south, and commerce over tradition. And ultimately Scarlett fell somewhere in the middle. She was rooted in her legacy and her history, but she was also a survivor and an opportunist, so she was a blend. You could see why she loved Ashley and why she loved Rhett. Each man represented something different. Rhett was the future, was opportunity. Then you look at Ashley, who was love and passion and legacy and tradition.
As I was walking through that museum, I went, “There’s Damon, there’s Stefan, and there’s Elena… no, that’s not Elena. That’s Katherine. This is Katherine’s story. This is 1864. This is when she bit them. This isn’t our current story; this is yesterday’s story.” There, I started realizing, we’ve got to go there. And I’m not the flashback/period person ever, and I’m like, “Julie, we have to tell the story of Katherine, we have to tell the story of where it all began. We have to back up and show in flashback how Stefan and Damon were turned, and then she’ll have to come back.”
I’m most proud of the cliffhanger [at the end] of season 1. I remember sitting in the room and Julie’s like, “No, Damon and Elena have to kiss. That has to be the cliffhanger. Don’t you remember Dawson’s Creek? You’ve got to do it.” And I’m like, “No, they can’t. You cannot.” We were already fighting about Elena being with Damon or Elena being with Stefan. I saw it clearly: This is season 1. This is about Stefan and Elena. Elena is not at that place yet where she would kiss him. She’s not drunk; she’s not crazy. She’s our heroine; we cannot sacrifice her character and have her make that move against Stefan. Unless —I’ll never forget that moment in the writers’ room — it’s Katherine.
And then we just started backfilling the whole story: How do we get there? How can we make it Katherine’s return? Then we started plotting the whole thing where aunt Jenna invites her in. There’s so many thing that went into that. I wanted so badly to do like that ultimate Knots Landing cliffhanger where they had not one, not two, but three cliffhangers, but [I wanted] like, six. I wanted every story line to have a cliffhanger: Tyler falling on the ground, the paramedics seeing his eye turn into a werewolf, then you turn and oh wait, Caroline was hurt my the car crash and she passes out. Anna dies in the fire! Then of course, uncle John gets his finger cut off, the big reveal that it’s Katherine. We wanted it to be shocking and it just turned into a perfect storm of everyone collectively bringing their A game and I love that last episode. In my entire career, It’s my favorite cliffhanger episode ever.
That’s when I felt like we had a show that could be successful and that could be really fun. It was a beautiful time.
— As told to Samantha Highfill
The Vampire Diaries airs Fridays at 8 p.m. ET on The CW.