The final episode of The Vampire Diaries aired three days ago.
And Kat Graham proved she wasn’t ready to retire with it as she rocked a performance at Bar 96 on Monday.
The 27-year-old actress slash singer took to the stage at NYLON’s Happiest Of Hours at #TwitterHouse in Austin, Texas.
The stunner showed off her impressive assets in a plunging black vest top, which she paired with some very high-waisted jeans.
She was joined at the SXSW precursor event by fellow performers Bridgit Mendler, POWERS, and The Aces, as well as a DJ set by DJ Coco Robert.
Speaking with AOL’s Ricky Camilleri at the BUILD Studio opening in New York, Kat said that she’s going for a ‘different vibe’ with her upcoming album, which she’s been collaborating on with legendary producer Kenneth ‘Babyface’ Edmonds.
[Warning! The following contains major spoilers from the series finale of The Vampire Diaries. Read at your own risk!]
The Vampire Diaries series finale was not messing around. After making viewers think Damon (Ian Somerhalder) compelled Stefan (Paul Wesley) into letting the eldest Salvatore sacrifice himself to save Mystic Falls, “I Was Feeling Epic” delivered the devastating twist that Stefan was actually the one to die in TVD’s final hour.
But the series finale wasn’t all tears and heartbreak. It also gave us Damon and Elena (Nina Dobrev) getting their happy ending together, Caroline (Candice King) and Alaric (Matt Davis) opening up a school for (magically) gifted children and — most importantly — Stefan and Damon finally finding peace.
Co-creator Kevin Williamson spoke with TVGuide.com about why Stefan had to die, that Klaroline letter and the Delena proposal that had to be cut for time!
Why did you decide to end the series with Elena and Damon reuniting with their family in the afterlife?
Kevin Williamson: Well, that’s a little interpretive, if you ask Julie [Plec], I believe. The idea was the montage shows a direction and we had our characters suggest what happened to them. And Damon, like the voiceover tell us, he was worried he would never see Stefan again. It was just Elena assuring him that there would be peace. That we’ve dealt with this other side of darkness for several seasons, but there’s also light out there and there’s peace, and Damon will find it. If you search for it, you will find it. And we wanted to get that last moment to see that yes, Elena found it and yes, Damon found it too, and it looked just like his brother.
Everyone else looks approximately the same age they were when they died. Why did Damon and Elena both still look so young? Did you just not want to mess with old age makeup?
Williamson: You know, it is interpretive. The idea that this whole show was about loss and grief and losing people and ultimately, I guess the final message is that all these people who shaped and guided us along the way live within us and if you look within, you find peace. And so we kind of stepped out of reality in that moment and showed what that would look like. In reality, they did live lives and they did grow old. But in the voiceover, I can’t remember it word for word, but I think she says, “Damon will find peace.” And we know what that peace looks like. And then she looks to the porch and sees her family and then Damon returns to his home and sees Stefan.
I loved that the final shot was of Stefan and Damon together.
Williamson: That was important. Well, the important thing for me, I can’t speak for anyone else, but the important thing for me was that I wanted the last lines to be the last lines.
“Hello brother” has become such an important line in this show. When you were working on the pilot, did you have any idea of the significance that phrase would come to have?
Williamson: No, but there’s always those lines. Like in Dawson’s Creek it was, “See you, Joey.” And so it’s the same thing kind of. And I wanted a “Dear diary.” That was the other line that was really important. I wanted Elena to say, “Dear diary.” Originally in the montage, it started with everyone else and ended with Elena. And then at the last second I was like, “No, no, no. We have to start with ‘Dear diary.’ We have to put her in the graveyard.” And Julie was like, “Yes, yes, yes!” And then we started it and ended it with her.
Do you have any other favorite callbacks that you managed to work into the finale?
Williamson: My favorite line was, “That’s for me to know and you to dot dot dot.” I’ve always liked that line and I used to say that. That was something I would just say all the time as a writer because you’d always write dot dot dot. And so I’d always go, “You know, blah blah blah, dot dot dot.” And so I’d always just say it in the writers’ room when I was explaining something. “Well, you know the rest, dot dot dot.” And then I put it in the line and I felt like, “You know what? Katherine’s older than Damon. Where did Damon get the line? Oh, he got it from Katherine. Let’s have Katherine say it.”
The show started out about two brothers fighting over a girl, but became much more about the intricacies of the brothers’ relationships than any one romance. When did you first notice that shift happening?
Williamson: From the beginning we wanted to write a show about a family. The show was about family and loss and grief, because it was really about Elena losing her family. And it started off with her and Jeremy dealing with the worst-case scenario. And then of course, how do they find that family? And for Jeremy, it was how does he find his way, and for Elena, it was how does she find life again, and then once she comes to life, how will she ever be able to trust someone to love them? And then the triangle opened up. But it was always about Stefan and Elena both dealing with loss and grief and trying to learn how to live again. And she turned towards some good vampires along the way.
Julie told me that up until two weeks before the script was written, someone else was supposed to die. Can you reveal who that was?
Williamson: Oh, everyone was supposed to die. There were so many conversations in the writers’ room. Everyone had these great ideas. I’m only sad that we couldn’t put everything in there because it was only 42.5 minutes. But there were so many possibilities. It was very important for us not to kill Bonnie. Bonnie should not have to die for Elena’s happiness. It was this conversation of, “Oh, Bonnie can go be with Enzo because that’s exactly what she would want.” Like, no. That’s not what Enzo would want. Bonnie needs a full, rich life. She needs a happy ending. So that was important to us, so we couldn’t kill Bonnie. And we can’t kill [Matt], because if he’s lived this long as a human, he needs to continue on. If we were going to kill him, it had to have been in Season 4. You can’t do it in Season 8. It was really between Damon and Stefan. You know, we got rid of Katherine. We killed Katherine. We knew we were going to take her out. There was a conversation that Damon and Stefan both died. And then there was a conversation that it just ended with Damon killing Katherine and saving the town and saving everyone. For me, where the story was when I came in and got involved, Stefan had just been the Ripper for a long period of time and killed Enzo. And the only way for him to come back from that, I felt, was to kill him. That’s why he had to die.
The Lexi (Arielle Kebbel) appearance after Stefan died made his death much easier to bear. Why do you think Lexi was the perfect person to lead him into the afterlife?
Williamson: She was always there for him. She always had his back since Day 1. I think she showed up in the series, and because of her, you liked him more. Once you learned, oh, they’re best friends. And once we figured out who she was and what she did, in that one little moment she propped Stefan up for Elena when they were getting to know each other. And seeing Lexi gave us another whole side of Stefan at a time when he was just a brooding vampire. It just sort of opened him up a little bit. You’re like, “Oh man. How did they end up friends? I’m interested in that girl. Now I’m interested more in Stefan.” It really helped shape him as a character. And she’s always been there for him. It turns out she was the one who helped him with being a Ripper. She’s just always been there for him and had his back. She’s perfect.
A recurring issue in this show has been the idea that Stefan is the better man, but the finale indicates otherwise. Do you believe that Damon really is the better man?
Williamson: I think that’s kind of what Katherine said and I think she was doing it because what happened was Damon became the better man. And I think that’s the eternal arc, is that he truly became everything his brother wanted. He became everything his brother was hoping he would become. And because his brother sacrificed himself for him, Damon got to live a better life.
Stefan sacrificed himself almost immediately after his wedding to Caroline. Are you at all nervous about the reaction from the Steroline fandom?
Williamson: Yeah, that one’s a little tricky, possibly. I hope that the audience understands though that the greater good, which is that Stefan — he kind of said it to her. “You’re not going to put your children in harm’s way ever. It’s always going to be about family. You understand that more than anyone. And because it’s always about family, you’re going to understand what I’m about to do.” And she understood it. “It’s always about family.” And she didn’t like it and life hurts and life is painful, but she understood it. And we also threw in a little nugget of Klaus (Joseph Morgan) with the letter!
Why did you decide to include that letter and hint at Klaus and Caroline having a future together?
Williamson: That’s the one storyline that we sacrificed. You know, Klaus went off to another series and we never really got to play that story out, because had Klaus stuck around, clearly that would have been a relationship and road we would have gone down for at least a storyline. I miss that storyline. I always wanted to see it. But things happen. No regrets, for sure.
The letter definitely felt like nice ways to honor one of the show’s most passionate fandoms. When working on the finale, how did your desire to please the fans influence the process?
Williamson: That was the guiding force. That was the whole thing. Julie and the writers, we were like, “We have to say thank you.” We started talking about finales in general and why we like finales and which ones we like and why do you like them and why don’t you like them. And we felt that when we watch finales, we like being rewarded. What you really want the finale to do is say thank you. And so that was our goal and I really hope the audience understands. And it really is hard to please everyone. And in another universe, if Elena hadn’t left the show in Season 6, we might have had another ending because I am a Stelena ‘shipper, always. But this ending just makes me cry and makes me smile at the same time, and that’s what we really wanted to do. We wanted to cry, cry through laughter.
Based on the massive ring on Elena’s finger, she and Damon got married in the future! Was there any talk of ever showing some of the nuptials onscreen?
Williamson: Yes. We actually had a moment, which we didn’t have time for — everything got cut. I think the first cut came in 18 minutes over. And there was a moment in the show where he proposed and she responded after medical school. And the whole point of that moment was just to show that she became a doctor. And so we thought, “Oh, we’ll just put her in scrubs and we can cut that piece.”
Bonnie is now off traveling the world and living her life to the fullest, so how has her dynamic with Enzo’s (Michael Malarkey) spirit changed? Are they still actively involved or does he only watch her from afar?
Williamson: He’s watching from afar. He’s going to let her have her life and live her life. I imagine that’s what peace looks like — is those people who guided us and shaped us and who we loved are always going to be there within us. And we just visually showed what that looked like.
Do you imagine that when Bonnie (Kat Graham) does eventually die, she’ll be reunited with Enzo again?
Williamson: If that’s what she wants, I think she will be, because that’s what peace is.
When we get glimpses into everyone’s future, they’re all off doing these great things and being with the people they love, but Matt’s (Zach Roerig) big accomplishment is getting a bench in his honor. What do you think that says about who Matt is and what his priorities are?
Williamson: I think when we first started, Matt didn’t know who he was. He felt like the bad pawn of some reckless parents. He had such a dysfunctional family. And he came into his own. He became a man people look up to and applauded. And he’s also been in a lot of ways the gatekeeper of Mystic Falls now and he’s prepared for it. And now he’s going to have an entire community of people counting on him. He’s turned into this beaming light of responsibility and courage and he’s truly — I think he’s a hero. We just see a bench, but the thing about having a bench dedicated to you, you usually deserve a lot more than that. I have a feeling that bench was representative of a lot more.
What do hope The Vampire Diaries legacy will be?
Williamson: I would hope that people look back on it with a big smile and that it’s nothing but great memories. You want people to remember it fondly and go, “Wow. I loved that show. Boy, was it a great show.” Big ol’ smile.
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.
The Originals returns with its fourth season premiere this friday, so be sure to watch the dead rise again on The CW;
Kevin Williamson returned to The Vampire Diaries once again in its eighth season, this time to write the TVD series finale, “I was Feeling Epic,” with his co-creator Julie Plec, who directed the episode. (Fans with long memories will remember that Nina Dobrev’s Elena Gilbert used the word “epic” to describe her first encounter with new boy in school Paul Wesley’s Stefan Salvatore.)
Williamson shares why they wrote what they did, what could have been, and how they hope fans will appreciate the final show no matter if they are on Team Stefan or Team Damon! The article was written by TV Insider.com
You set the scene for another edition of the franchise with Caroline (Candice King) and Alaric (Matt Davis) opening the Salvatore School for Special Children. Do you see a spin-off, whether on the network or streaming?
That’s something Julie wanted to lay the space for because she felt we can revisit that in the future if there’s a desire. It’s a seed that we planted and who knows if it will grow or not.
Sweetening the pot was the big check from The Original’s Klaus (Joseph Morgan) for the school. Could Caroline show up in New Orleans to see her old beau?
Maybe…or Klaus could show up as a speaker at the school. The idea behind that was that I felt that because we lost Klaus to The Originals, we were never able to explore their relationship. I thought if we kind of hint at that, it would be kind of cool.
You made what some might call a dangerous decision in declaring that Damon was a better man in the final tally than Stefan. Why did you make that, debatable decision? Are you ready for some angry reaction?
Possibly. But keep in mind Stefan as The Ripper killed Bonnie’s love Enzo (Michael Malarkey). He did so much damage, how could he ever come back from that? Including what he did his brother. By turning Damon into a vampire, he took his humanity from him. That has been weighing on him for all of these years, and so the idea that he can finally be free came in the moment when Damon said, “Let me do this for you,” [sacrifice himself and send Katherine to Hell] and then Stefan said, “No, let me do it for me.” He wanted to be free, to find peace. It was really important to Julie and me that after eight years of every episode being about death and doom, and trying to save this person, or solve this problem, that we can finally let our characters breathe in peace—let then reach whatever that light is opposing darkness..
Considering Kevin Williamson and Julie Plec wrote it, the episode brought a happy ending to mostly everyone; they all seemed to make it to that good place. Hell must be lonely for Katherine Pierce!
Yes! Happy ending, please. And I hope people will understand, all the Stelena shippers too; I am one of them. In another universe, had Elena had more story with Stefan, we might have looked at a different ending. I feel like this is where the story drove us. We always wanted to end the series on our two brothers, because it’s always been about family. I think the spirit of our ending remains intact from the very beginning. That’s what was so beautiful about it for us, that we were able to hold onto that final moment, “Hello, brother.”
Why did you end with the trio, Elena, Stefan and Damon all being human again?
We wanted them to get their humanity back and find peace.
Caroline is still a vampire, and unless she chooses to end herself, it could be a very long time for Stefan to wait.
Yes. Caroline chose not to take the cure because she was a better human as a vampire.
There are some show fans who never thought Stefan and Caroline should have been more than friends. Did you separate them at the end partially as a nod to that? Or did it just fit into the story you wanted to tell?
It fit into the story, because as much as they had a genuine love, they were at odds with each other ideologically. Stefan wanted to be human and Caroline wanted to be a vampire. How is that going to look when Stefan dies as a human and Caroline’s going to have to go on for how many more centuries without him? And then you have the idea, too, that Stefan is responsible for so many people dying and that is always going to haunt him. He was always going to be this haunted human, but now he’s not. He’s been released and he lives in peace. Caroline can take some comfort in the idea that the man she loved got what he wanted and she is that good that she would understand that.
So you put Stefan’s old pal Lexi (Arielle Kebbel) there to greet him in heaven or wherever the light is.
Absolutely. She would be there to greet him at the pearly gates, because she was the one person who always had his back, whether he was The Ripper or in a love story with Elena. She was, in that way, family, which is what this was always about.
Hence the scene with Elena and her adoptive and biological family. How difficult was it get Nina back this season?
She had so many scheduling conflicts. We would have loved to have her in the last season, in the last six episodes, in the last three, but we barely got her for the week. She had to be in Hong Kong on set one day. But she was trooper; she didn’t sleep much.
How bad would it have been if Nina hadn’t made the finale?
We had a backup plan, but it wasn’t nearly as good without Elena and Katherine there. What was great is that Nina did want to return and she figured it out. Major gratitude to her.
Besides the return of Vicki (Kayla Ewell) and Lexi, you had a batch of characters in cameos. Was anyone missing?
We would have liked to have had Anna (Melese Jow), but she had a scheduling problem, and we had to film Sarah Canning (who played Aunt Jenna) separately; we spliced her into the family reunion scene. We filmed all those cameos around the wrap party.
It was a nice gesture not to make Bonnie (Kat Graham) suffer even more than she has every season. She gets to live a real life! That’s why it was very important for her not to die to bring Elena back. Stefan can be the martyr, but Bonnie deserves to live the life she was meant to live. She’s the one that truly gets to leave Mystic Falls and go out in the world and find out who she is. Also, she’s always struggled with being a witch and it was nice that she figured it out and saved the entire town with the power of the Bennett witch legacy.
Does she wind up with her great love Enzo, now in some ghostly realm, eventually? Not everyone agrees, but I thought their love story was kind of, well epic.
I also loved their chemistry together. I kind of like the idea knowing he’s there watching her have this amazing life and knowing that he’ll see her again.
It was fun that you had one of your famous movie references in the finale. When Damon heard that Elena was trapped in a boiler room, he said he knew that was in some horror movie.
[Laughs] That was my Nightmare on Elm Street nod to Wes Craven.
Well thanks for exercising my tear ducts. Any last thoughts?
The thing about a finale is you want to want to say thank you. We were really trying to show our gratitude to the audience and fill the show with as many moments as we could that would remind people of all the moment along the way.
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.”
Here’s a short video of The Vampire Diaries’ cast who celebrated the series finale.
I have added 700+ 1080p screencaptures of The Vampire Diaries’ Special “The Vampire Diaries: Forever Yours” to our photo archives;
I have added 700+ 1080p screencaptures of The Vampire Diaries’ Series Finale 8×16: “I Was Feeling Epic” 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.