“We met, and we talked, and it was epic, but then the sun came up and reality set in.”
When Elena Gilbert first said those words to Stefan Salvatore in the second episode of The Vampire Diaries, she was finding a reason why they couldn’t be together. Their lives were just too complicated. But by the end of the hour, Stefan would remind her of just how epic their connection was, repeating those words before kissing her for the first time … even after reality set in.
However, what was happening onscreen wasn’t the only thing that was “epic” about that moment. Co-creator Kevin Williamson will never forget reading that interaction and what it meant for the show. “[Co-creator] Julie [Plec] wrote that beautiful monologue, and I remember reading it for the first time and just crying,” Williamson tells EW. “And then Stefan came back and said it to her again, and I remember tearing up. I thought we were onto something special. When you shoot a pilot, you never know if anything is going to work. But it’s those second and third episodes where it starts to come together. And that’s when you know if the show has legs.”
And even more than signaling something special for Williamson, that moment introduced a theme that the show would carry all the way through to its series finale: It has to be epic. “I did a lot of the early writing and Kevin did a lot of the re-writing,” Plec says. “We were trying to figure out the show as we went and I wrote the scene where Elena says, ‘We met, and we talked, and it was epic, but then the sun came up and reality set in.’ And I remember Kevin circling it on his script and giving it a triple check. A triple check from Kevin Williamson is, ‘I love this line.'”
So it was no surprise when the line — or at least the sentiment — came back in episode 8. Using her sage vampire wisdom, Stefan’s best friend Lexi convinced Elena to give Stefan a chance by explaining that, “When it’s real, you can’t walk away.” And when Stefan thanked his bestie for helping him out, she simply said, “I was feeling epic,” a line that lives on years later and is now the official title of the Vampire Diaries series finale.
“During the first season of this show, when Julie and I were not sleeping and we were just writing non-stop and were completely out of our minds, we wrote the episode where Lexi pulled a solid for Stefan in the bar and pumped up Stefan in Elena’s eyes, and she’s like, ‘I was feeling epic.’ That line became Julie’s favorite line of the entire show,” Williamson says. “From the very very beginning, we kept saying in the writers’ room: ‘It has to be epic. We want an epic moment.’ This whole show has always been about epic moments and that was the line.”
So when it came time to end the show, there was really only one type of finale that Plec and Williamson wanted to write: An epic one. “It had to be epic,” Williamson says. “What better title than the callback of what was one of our favorite lines in the whole show? Epic has been our mantra from day one.”
The Vampire Diaries airs Fridays at 8 p.m. ET on The CW.