Vampire Diaries bosses on casting Enzo as a Salvatore brother and Damon's fate in the finale
For The Vampire Diaries creatives, casting Enzo was a particularly difficult task. Because originally, the role was going to be very different.
"You were supposed to be the third Salvatore brother," executive producer Julie Plec tells star Michael Malarkey in episode 8 of EW's Binge: The Vampire Diaries. Writer Brett Matthews adds, "That was always the plan, and then it went a different direction, but that's why it was so hard to find the person. We thought it was going to be a Salvatore brother, so we cast a very wide net [and] looked very hard." Ultimately, they scrapped that plan and made it so Enzo didn't share Salvatore blood, but he was a brother figure for Damon (Ian Somerhalder) for many years (and he was sired by Lily Salvatore).
But that wasn't the only plan that changed in the writers' room over the years. In discussing the Vampire Diaries' final season, Plec and Matthews recall the final major debate: Which Salvatore were they going to kill in the series finale? "We went back and forth in the writers' room all season long," Plec says. "We finally landed on: We're killing Damon. That's the right thing to do. He is the one with the consequence to pay. Stefan was morally a bit stronger of a character."
Matthews adds, "Damon's a fairly obvious choice," noting that the writers really fell in love with the idea of Damon compelling Stefan (Paul Wesley) to let him die. But when executive producer Kevin Williamson proposed that it should be Stefan that dies, they started to rethink their plan. "It felt like dying for Stefan freed him from a lot of weight, whereas it felt like living for Damon freed him to go and be the man that he was always supposed to be," Plec says.
Of course, both Salvatores were meant to die in the original ending Plec and Williamson came up with during the show's second season. In that ending, "The boys would sacrifice themselves to save Elena so that Elena could go and have a life and be human and live," Plec recalls during the podcast. "To save her, they would die together, and that was always the pitch. And then when Nina [Dobrev] left, it felt like the show can't be as much about protecting Elena's happiness, although that's important to us, but we want to protect the bothers' happiness, we want them to get something out of this. Then it shifted to: We can't kill both of them for her because that feels somehow like nobody got what they wanted. Let's find a different way to give one of these brothers the happiness that they need and the other brother the closure that they need."
(One other way Dobrev leaving changed the plan? Plec says, "I thought that by the time we came back to the end of the series, whenever it was, that Elena would've found her way back to Stefan and Damon would've found a different path.")
For more about the final season, listen to the full podcast episode below:
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Ian Somerhalder, Nina Dobrev, and Paul Wesley star in the CW’s romance-infused vampire soap opera.