A day after the presidential election, a writer on “The Originals” turned in a script that featured a female character getting beat up by a man.

There were reasons for this: It was a memory — a flashback to centuries earlier. They were wearing period garb. “The Originals” is a supernatural show, and yes, demons can be awful, even the ones searching for redemption.

“But he beat her up,” said executive producer Julie Plec. “We realized at that moment they can’t be together anymore. And we killed a love story on that day. One that people who watch the show are probably rooting for. Narratively we were going down this path, but my conscience can’t advocate that kind of violence.”

A lot of things changed for storytellers in light of a Donald Trump presidency, but the depiction of females — and violence against women — especially became more relevant for filmmakers and showrunners in light of what had just happened. Plec was one of several producers discussing the impact of Trump on TV at an ATX Television Festival panel.

“If the day-to-day culture is saying it’s OK to not be inclusive or tolerant, that it’s OK to be bigoted, then it’s your responsibility to double down and make it OK in storytelling to be inclusive and tolerant,” Plec said. “The weight of that is always hanging, but in a good way.”

Plec noted that Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale,” about a post-United States society where women are completely oppressed, took on a much more urgent meaning once Trump was elected.

“I watch it and think, if Hillary [Clinton] were president, this would be a very entertaining and intelligent show,” she said. “Donald Trump is president, and I want to vomit. It’s so harrowing in the context of the reality we live in. The speculative fiction feels so presently of today in a way that it absolutely wouldn’t have if Hillary were president.”

Similarly, Plec last season was developing The CW pilot “Rise,” about a homegrown coup, in which a Clinton or Obama-like president is overthrown and replaced by a somewhat fascist leader.

“When we were developing in a Hillary future it was smart, riveting fun entertainment,” Plec said. “When the election happened it suddenly felt too close to home, uncomfortable, too political. In the span of two weeks, we went from high priority at the network to not getting ordered at all. Nobody said it was because Trump is president. The ripple effect of the content was instant… Instead of it feeling delicious and a speculative fiction adventure, it felt preachy and too political for some.”

Beau Willimon (“House of Cards”) said his new series, Hulu’s futuristic Mars drama “The First,” was conceived in a very different climate. “It takes place 15 years in the future, and you have to speculate what the world will look like 15, 20 years from now. Prior to November 8, 2016, what that world looked like was perhaps a lot different.”

As for “The Originals,” Plec explained that the villain in question is a character who is constantly battling the fight between trying to be the most moral upstanding creature and yet has a very deep, dark place borne out of being a creature of the night for thousands of years, and has worked so hard to overcome it.”

But in an episode that just aired, “his subconscious took control over his consciousness and he exposed that really dark side.” Female characters trying to help tame the bad boy is a staple of romance stories, but Plec noted, “in the context of the election, and all of us as women being particularly put off by what we saw as a misogyny, a sexism and a bullying that we watched on live TV, it just felt like that old chestnut was suddenly uncomfortable.”

On “The Originals,” she added, “we had witnessed was a woman getting beaten up by a man that we loved. We just drew a line for ourselves not to demonize the character who did it, and yet not to make excuses for it either… There are a lot of things you do in a supernatural universe that can toe the line and cross the line. This moment in time and this feeling that we had, we just felt dirty. And we wanted to do something about it.”

Plec said the Trump victory awakened her to embracing and mobilizing more powerful depictions of women. “It just felt like such a defeat for women,” Plec said of Trump’s win. “And I had to mourn that just as other women I know, politics be damned.”


The Originals’ fourth season is coming to a close and TV Line says that its fifth season could set the doors open for another spinoff;

Warning: This article contains a major spoiler from The Originals‘ upcoming fourth season finale. Proceed at your own risk!

Hope Mikaelson is about to hit another growth spurt.
Though neither The CW nor Warner Bros. TV are commenting, sources confirm to TVLine that The Originals is bracing for a significant time jump, setting the stage for a much older Hope — think late teens — to be introduced in Season 5. The time jump could arrive as soon as the June 23 season finale (The CW, 8/7c); casting for the “new” role, currently being portrayed by the phenomenal Summer Fontana, is now underway.

We also hear there’s potential for adult Hope to snag her own spinoff, though neither The CW nor Warner Bros. TV would comment on that either. Of course, if Hope does end up at the center of a third series in the Vampire Diaries universe, it would be sort of like a prophecy coming to fruition — albeit one foretold by executive producer Julie Plec.
“I think there are future shows down the line that can be spawned out of this world and could tell good stories,” Plec told TVLine back in March while discussing the letter Klaus sent to Caroline in the series finale of The Vampire Diaries. “It’s a hope for the future if nothing else.”

As for what else the future might hold for Hope, Plec reminded TVLine that “the idea of [Caroline and Alaric’s] school as a safe haven for young supernatural beings certainly has a lot of relevance for Hope,” leading many viewers — including the one currently typing this — to believe that Hope will relocate from New Orleans to Mystic Falls by the end of the season.

[Spoilers for The Originals follow. Read at your own risk!]

Sometimes you have to dig deep for spoilers on your favorite show, but sometimes they’re accidentally dropped right in your lap, which was the case today for fans of The Originals.
While talking about the end of The Vampire Diaries with Entertainment Weekly at the ATX Television Festival, Julie Plec let it slip that Hope Mikaelson (Summer Fontana) might be Mystic Falls-bound. “Alaric (Matt Davis) and Caroline (Candice King) are running the Salvatore School for the Young and Gifted where Hope Mikael– sh** never mind. Keep watching…”
It’s no surprise that Hope might end up at the Salvatore magic school, given that The Originals has made a point multiple times this season that Hope is lonely without other children around and doesn’t have a great handle on her powers yet. Alaric pretty much gave her an engraved invitation to become a student during his crossover earlier this year.

We’ve also had our suspicions that Season 5 of The Originals could include this magic school storyline (and Caroline Forbes by extension) given how well it fits into the spinoff’s existing plot.

[TV Guide]

The Originals has -finally- been renewed for a fifth season, TV Line confirms;

The CW has opted to extend the Mikaelsons’ stay in New Orleans, renewing The Originals for a fifth season.

As previously reported, Michael Narducci will not return as showrunner for Season 5. Instead, series creator — and former Vampire Diaries showrunner — Julie Plec will call the shots. Leslie Morgenstern (TVD) will also executive-produce.

The Originals follows, as its title suggests, the world’s first family of vampires — plus a few hybrids and witches thrown in for good measure. Now midway through its fourth season, the show is pitting its heroes against their most powerful foe yet, a mysterious entity known as The Hollow.

Thus far this season The Originals is averaging 980,000 total viewers and a 0.3 rating, up in audience versus Season 3 but down a tick in the demo (where it matches the recently axed Frequency and No Tomorrow and bests Reign and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend).

As Vampire Diaries fans know, death isn’t always permanent. With that in mind, the show might’ve ended, but is there hope that it will pull a Jeremy Gilbert and miraculously come back to life?

There are no plans at the moment, but according to TVD and Originals showrunner Julie Plec, there are still stories to be told.

“My hope is The Originals will stay on and that I can bring some of these characters over there,” Plec says of the Vampire Diaries spinoff. But if that doesn’t work out, there’s another option. “I could see our universes coming together in five years, 10 years, when people miss the shows,” she says. “There’s still stories to be told for The Originals that our characters here very smoothly and seamlessly fit into, so if we don’t get to do that while The Originals is still on the air, I think that one day, if somebody wanted it badly enough, it could exist.”

Speaking to how that could come together on a technical level considering TVD seemed to flash forward to the end of Damon and Elena’s life at the conclusion of the series finale, Plec notes that Elena mentioned a “long and happy life” in her voiceover.

“That leaves a nice 70-year window to fill in the blanks,” Plec says.

One final note: For those worried that Stefan’s death means he wouldn’t be a part of any future stories, fear not. If there were a future opportunity to tell more stories, Plec feels they could find a way to make sure both Salvatores would return.


In its final hour, The Vampire Diaries wrapped up a lot of story lines and even managed to bring back a number of old characters, from Lucy Bennett to Liz Forbes, and the entire Gilbert family. But in writing the show’s final season, there was one thing (or two) showrunner Julie Plec wasn’t able to work into the story, EW.com posted.

“The only dangling thread that we never answered — and we tried all year — was I could never find a way to learn what Sheriff Forbes wrote in that letter that Caroline burned,” Plec says, referencing the letter that Liz wrote her daughter before she died in season 6. Caroline later burned it when her humanity was turned off, an action she quickly came to regret. “We came up with a bunch of really bad pitches but really couldn’t figure it out,” she says. “Perhaps if the entire finale had been set in peace where all these characters could talk to each other again then it would’ve been different.”

The only other thing Vampire Diaries fans had to live without? A final decade dance. “I really wish we could’ve done another decade dance in this final season because it felt like it was the right time to bring that back around,” Plec says. “We broke an episode with a decade dance and then that story line got chucked aside for other things. It was actually the one Ian [Somerhalder] directed, 808, there was a decade dance in that at one point, but we couldn’t make it work.”

She adds: “That’s my little regret because I made promises at the beginning of the season that we’d see a lot of those events again.”

I have added 700+ 1080p screencaptures of The Vampire Diaries’ Special “The Vampire Diaries: Forever Yours” to our photo archives;

We were promised that the Mikaelson family would have a “presence” in The Vampire Diaries series finale… but no one said anything about presents!

Of all the gasp-worthy moments from Friday’s send-off, Klaus’ letter to Caroline — which you can read in full in my recap of the episode — easily elicited the biggest gasp from me. (If you’re a regular TVLine reader, you know I’m a recent convert to the concept of Klaus and Caroline’s romance.)

Below, executive producer Julie Plec discusses the big “Klaroline” moment, including TVD‘s future connection to The Originals and the Joseph Morgan appearance we (sadly) had to do without:

TVLINE | Speaking of which, we know Alaric is crossing over for an episode. Where will that fall, time-wise?
That falls probably more in line with the timeline of that last scene with the letter. In fact, Alaric is the one who shows up and actually tells Klaus about the school. The idea of the school as a safe haven for young supernatural beings certainly has a lot of relevance for Hope Mikaelson.

TVLINE | When Alaric first brought up the idea of opening a supernatural school, I was like, “I want this spinoff.”
[Laughs] Good. I do, too.

TVLINE | Had scheduling not been an issue, and you did have Joseph Morgan for this, what would that scene have looked like?
It would have been just an incredibly simple scene with Caroline at her desk, running her new school. There’d be a knock on the door from a new donor. She opens the door, it’s Klaus Mikaelson. And he would have said, “Hello, love” or “Hello, Caroline,” and that would have been it.

TVLINE | Caroline and Bonnie are some of the few characters we didn’t see at “peace.” Is it safe to assume she made it there eventually?
Yes. For us, two things were very important: that Bonnie got to live a long and happy life, and that Caroline lived on and carried on the legacy of all the good things she wanted to do. The one person who was so good at being a vampire is now helping other people with their supernatural problems. So Caroline will probably be alive and kicking for centuries, in my opinion.

[TV Line]

[Warning: This story contains spoilers from The Vampire Diaries series finale, “I Was Feeling Epic.”]

“While his death is absolutely tragic for many reasons, there’s also a sense of full circle to his experience,” co-creator and showrunner Julie Plec tells The Hollywood Reporter about that finale death;

After being nearly destroyed countless times throughout eight seasons of The Vampire Diaries, the small town of Mystic Falls, Virginia was saved yet again in the show’s series finale — but not everyone made it out alive.

The evil Katherine (Nina Dobrev) returned to make sure Mystic Falls was engulfed in hellfire, but Bonnie (Kat Graham) devised a way to destroy her once and for all — it just required one of the Salvatores to sacrifice himself too. While Damon (Ian Somerhalder) stepped up to the plate, Stefan (Paul Wesley) decided that because his brother had finally returned to his pre-evil vampire self, he would do it.

Bonnie, after summoning the strength of the Bennett witches, was also able to wake Elena from her slumber. Bonnie set out to travel the world, Elena and Damon got to live happily ever after together, Matt served as Mystic Falls Sheriff (and got a nifty bench, too), Caroline started a boarding school for supernatural children with Alaric’s (Matt Davis) and Jeremy’s (Steven R. McQueen) help, and in the final scene, the brothers reunited with a tearful hug.

Co-creator Julie Plec spoke with The Hollywood Reporter about the finale, including alternate endings for some characters, the importance of callbacks to the pilot, and Dobrev’s big return.

The Original Ending
The plan wasn’t always to have Stefan sacrifice himself so his brother could find happiness. Plec and co-creator Kevin Williamson first came up with an ideal ending back in season two. “There have been so many different versions of that in our mind,” Plec tells THR. “Back then, the show ended with both brothers dying and watching Elena go out and live her life as a human and grow up and be happy and have kids and get married. And all the sacrifices that they had made so that she could be human and safe made it worth it, and they could’ve gone and passed on into oblivion.”

Plec continues, “Then of course we created the Other Side and then Elena became a vampire and then Nina left the show. Once Nina left the show, all the plans of how it would end one day had to shift because ultimately it became less about ensuring Elena’s safety and future and more about the relationships between the brothers themselves and their own path to redemption. There was a pitch on the table that was a very good pitch where Damon didn’t make it to the end, and then ultimately the pitch that made it to the end was, I think, the best one.”

Stefan’s Sacrifice
While Stefan’s immortal life was tragically cut short, Plec says that he was still able to have meaningful life experiences. “For me, Stefan got to have life and happiness. He struggled with his — we’ll call it his addiction — his entire vampire life, but he had his best friend in Lexi, he had true love in Elena, he had the redemption of his brother, and then he got to fall in love a second time and find a partner and a mate in Caroline. And while his death is absolutely tragic for many reasons, there’s also a sense of full circle to his experience that he was the one that sort of got them into this mess and now he’s going to get them out of it.”

Damon’s Redemption
Damon, on the other hand, was “a whirlwind of chaos,” Plec says. “His last moment of innocence, and I would even say sweetness, was when he was still human 160-some-odd years ago. And so for Stefan to be able to give his brother that opportunity to experience the simple peace and happiness of everyday life as a human and with his girl and all the things that Stefan was able to have I think is the greatest gift of all.”

She continues, “Damon’s done a lot of really crappy things in eight years. He has not been a model citizen. He has been extremely, extremely dysfunctional and extremely disruptive. While in no way are we trying to say the lesson is that the bad boy can be changed by the love of a woman, in this case it’s true — and the love of a brother. And so now Damon Salvatore gets to have a second chance at humanity.”

Cutting Steroline Short
Stefan’s death was perhaps most tragic for Caroline, who had approximately one day of wedded bliss before he sacrificed himself to save Mystic Falls. But Plec says that eventually Caroline will be able to move on. “Stefan and Caroline found beautiful best friend partnership marital love, familial love, and everything you wish for as an adult that you want out of a partner,” she says. “And that’s after Stefan had epic first love — fall down the rabbit hole, drown in it, painful love — with Elena. So there’s no reason why Caroline can’t move forward in her life and find a different kind of partner before her currently eternal life is over. I’m not saying it’s going to be Klaus, but it certainly leaves a door open for anybody.”

Bonnie’s Alternate Ending
After spending at least a decade of her life sacrificing herself for the greater good of Mystic Falls and her supernatural friends, Bonnie needed to have a happy ending. “She has earned the right to be happy,” Plec says. “Bonnie needed to survive and to grow up and to live a long life and to have everything she ever wanted. There was a pitch on the table at some point that maybe Bonnie and Matt Donovan would end up together and have children together. There was a pitch on the table that maybe Bonnie takes a series of great French lovers and never has another real relationship again because Enzo is her one true love and she’ll see him again in peace.”

Matt Donovan’s Survival
There was no question in Plec’s mind that token human Matt Donovan (Zach Roerig) would make it to the end of the series alive. “That’s my personal battle,” she says. “I’ve argued with a dozen people over the years about the importance of Matt Donovan remaining alive in this universe. It seemed to me that as the token human, his survival, him going down fighting and being willing to sacrifice himself at any time along the way in the name of the greater good of the town and then to be left standing in that town at the end, it’s a beautiful closure for him and so I really wanted to make sure that he lived to tell the tale.”

The Crow, The Cemetery, and Other Callbacks
Throughout the final hour, Plec and Williamson, who co-wrote the episode, sprinkled in references to the pilot and other key moments in the series — including the shot of Elena writing in her diary in the cemetery with a crow. “The crow was classic Kevin,” Plec says. After being tasked with writing that scene, “he came back with that section with that beautiful voiceover and the crow and Damon coming to meet Elena at the cemetery. And to me, it’s one of the most beautiful moments of the show. That is all him wanting to reflect back on his favorite elements of the first season.”

One of the most personal callbacks for Plec was including music from the pilot. “I have, like, a Pavlovian response when I hear them. I just burst into tears. One of which is the return of the Fray song that ended our pilot. If you watch the [episode] with someone who was a fan in the first couple of seasons and maybe hasn’t watched it since then, there is so much for them to enjoy about it and so many little nostalgic shout-outs — not to mention all the little Easter Eggs for the fans who know the show intimately.”

Family Reunion
The eighth season saw the return of several key characters, and the final episode brought back a few more (including Sara Canning as Aunt Jenna and David Anders as Uncle John). That was important to Plec personally, because the TVD crew is close-knit, but also story-wise.

“This is a show that was borne out of loss and grief. When we met Elena, she had lost her parents and didn’t know if she could continue and didn’t know how she was going to make her way through life under the weight of this loss. And when we end the show, we’re ending the show in peace — which I would go so far as to say is the Vampire Diaries version of what heaven means. These characters, some that were ripped away from us very tragically, some that we weren’t sure what their ultimate destination would be, to be able to show them at peace with themselves and in a version of their own peace, however you want to define it, was the perfect bookend to the grief and the loss that launched the series.”

The Final Scene
The end, which sees Elena reunite with her parents and Jenna and John, “To me, that’s peace and you can define it however you want,” Plec said. “You can define it as closure, you can define it as heaven, you can define it as some sort of spiritual other world. Whatever it is that you want to define it as, that is what peace means to me — which is that somehow you find yourself at peace because you have everything you ever wanted.”

The exact definition of “death” has shifted during the course of The Vampire Diaries‘ eight seasons, and in Friday’s series finale, it took on yet another meaning.

As you know from watching the episode — and if you didn’t, you should probably stop reading right about now — the big foreshadowed death was none other than Stefan Salvatore, who sacrificed himself to send Katherine back to hell and save Mystic Falls.

Below, executive producer Julie Plec explains the thought process behind Stefan’s death, as well as what heaven (or “peace”) means in the world of The Vampire Diaries, shared by TV Line:

TVLINE | Before we get into specifics, why did anyone have to die?
It’s a lesson I learned early on from Kevin Williamson, which is that these kinds of stories really need to have life-or-death stakes, and no one will believe your death stakes if no one actually dies. It’s a lesson I’ve taken many liberties with over the years — including in this finale, since we see [Stefan] at peace after he dies — but it’s true when you’re making big moves, bringing characters full circle and finding closure for everyone. Closure comes as much in saying goodbye as it does in moving on. It felt necessary.

TVLINE | At any point, were you like, “We can’t do this to Stefan”? He and Caroline just got married.
Stefan was not No. 1 on the chopping block right away, because of that reason. We thought it was just so cruel. But when we landed on the idea of Caroline needing to leave him behind in honor of protecting her family, and then him needing to leave her behind in honor of protecting his, it felt somehow like the responsible outcome of a responsible relationship.

TVLINE | I also have some questions about that heavenly plane at the end…

TVLINE | Is that how we should refer to it?
For me, yes. Even as we called hell “Hell” this year, for me, it was always hell in quotation marks. It was The Vampire Diaries‘ representation of what hell must be like. For me, “peace” is The Vampire Diaries’ representation of what the afterlife might look like.

TVLINE | The way Matt said, “I think she found peace — somehow it feels like she did” has me wondering: Is it real, or is it just what they hope will be waiting for them after death?
That’s open to your own interpretation, probably in the same way we all interpret heaven. Is it something that we feel, and is believing that it exists when we die enough? Or does it actually exist? Or do we not believe in it at all? Is our peace just ultimate closure before we pass? It’s not the hardest philosophical question ever posed on television, but it is nice to gently ask that question: What does peace mean to you?

TVLINE | And what happens when exes bump into each other in “peace”?
[Laughs] It depends on what role they’re still meant to play in each other’s life. In my perfect peace, there might be a few exes missing.

TVLINE | For example, what happens when Alaric bumps into Jo and Jenna?
Oh, God, yes! Awkward. A love triangle in the afterlife.

TVLINE | It also kind of looked like Damon and Elena were separated at peace. Does each individual person have their own little world there?
You can ask yourself the question: Is peace an individual experience, or is it a shared energy? If Elena’s first moment at peace is being reunited with the family she lost that kickstarted this whole journey for her, maybe they all meet up at the drive-in for milkshakes with the Salvatores and anyone else who’s around, and they’ll all watch Scream on the big screen. Or maybe, after a life that’s lived in full, peace is about finding closure with those we’ve lost.

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