Gossip Girl brought a special kind of addictive melodrama to primetime for six seasons on The CW, and the stories were sustained all along due to the big mystery of the series: the identity of Gossip Girl, who specialized in airing dirty laundry of a group of New York City teenagers. The finale did ultimately reveal the person behind the Gossip Girl messages, but it turns out that the original idea for Gossip Girl was somebody else entirely. In honor of the tenth anniversary of the Gossip Girl premiere, executive producer Joshua Safran revealed this about the original Gossip Girl:
I always thought it was Eric until the end of season two, and I even guided it that way, but when the New York Post revealed it was Eric -- and I still don't know how that happened, I think they were just guessing -- and we realized we couldn't go down that road anymore, so we abandoned him.
Apparently, Eric van der Woodsen (Connor Paolo) was the original person pulling the Gossip Girl strings on Gossip Girl. As Serena's younger brother, he was inevitably pulled into a fair amount of drama, even as he often tried to stay out of it. He was a significant part of the series throughout the first four seasons, but he departed at the end of Season 4. Eric's final appearance on Gossip Girl came in the form of a cameo in the series finale. Joshua Safran's comments to Vulture that Eric could have been Gossip Girl indicate that Connor Paolo could have played a much bigger role in all six seasons if not for the Post publishing Eric as Gossip Girl.
As Gossip Girl fans know well -- although evidently not Ed Westwick -- the reveal of Gossip Girl's identity was much crazier than it would have been if we discovered that Eric was the culprit. No, Dan Humphrey was Gossip Girl all along, and viewers had to try and figure out retroactively if it was an awesome twist or a flat-out insane twist. Even though nearly five years have passed since the finale reveal, the odds are pretty good that fans are still divided. It's kind of wild to learn that the reason behind Dan becoming Gossip Girl can be traced back to somebody guessing that Eric was the culprit and the producers feeling compelled to change everything.
Of course, this isn't the only difference that could have been if things had gone differently on Gossip Girl, as we recently discovered that Jennifer Lawrence herself was once up for a key role on the series and was bummed that she didn't get it. She's certainly done well for herself without the CW breakout role, but it's interesting to think of what might have been.