Spoilers ahead for The Originals series finale.
It is not the ending many fans of The Vampire Diaries spinoff could have imagined when the show began. The Originals drew to a close with the death of not one but both of the series' lead Mikaelson brothers. So was that dire outcome always in the cards for both Klaus and Elijah in the series finale? Or was it originally supposed to go another way? The Originals' creator Julie Plec explained saying:
I figured one of them would go, for sure, when we started this show. My feeling was that it probably would have been Klaus, and we'd let Elijah live a life unencumbered without his brother. But then we got to tell that story for Elijah in the final season. We let him live that unencumbered life, and he found his way back to his brother because, ultimately, for better or for worse, in all its co-dependent glory, that is the legacy of Klaus and Elijah. Much like The Notebook, I feel like it was only right that they should go together.
And that's why Klaus and Elijah both ended up dying. Julie Plec's explanation to TVLine syncs with the notion that endings to long-running series will often shift with time. It is that sort of creative freedom that gives many shows their pulse and when it comes to supernatural franchises that is a definite necessity. Interestingly, The Originals' ending runs counter to how The Vampire Diaries chose to end its brotherly duo's tale. Both series centered on the relationship between two disparate brothers.
Unlike Damon and Stefan's conclusion on The Vampire Diaries, where one of them lived happily ever after and the other died, both Klaus and Elijah ended up leaving their thousand-year existence together. Klaus' heroic final act was a far cry from how he began the show, so there is full circle symmetry to his ending. Klaus and Elijah, once a representation of morality and immortality's opposing tracks, both ended up dead. So unlike Damon, there was no happy ending for Elijah.
Fans of Elijah, who made his memorable debut on The Vampire Diaries, may have some questions, as The Originals' series finale saw him share the same deadly fate as his oft-villainous younger brother Klaus. So why did Elijah not get a happy ending and instead ended his life alongside Klaus? Well, it turns out the past played a pivotal role in how he decided his future. And Klaus' decision to sacrifice himself for his daughter and Elijah's own guilt played a key role. Julie Plec explained what the reasoning was saying:
To those who ask, 'Why doesn't Elijah get to live his own life now?' I would look at what happened this season. ... Elijah can't live on happily and freely and find new love and new life with [Hayley's death] hanging over his head. This is his way of making spiritual amends for his part in her death. Being by his brother's side as the two of them escape their immortality, which was a curse that was put upon them, felt right. It felt beautiful, and it felt like those two were meant to be together. They're the [non-romantic] end game of this series.
In the end, Elijah's happy ending by living a life without Klaus was just not in the cards for the fan-favorite character. Can you say bittersweet? While it may be the end for Klaus and Elijah, it is not the last viewers have seen of the Mikaelson family.
Klaus' daughter/Elijah's niece Hope will live on by doing what many survivors of a supernatural series have done before her. She will lead her own spinoff series. You can catch Hope's next adventures in The Originals' spinoff Legacies, which is the latest installment in The Vampire Diaries universe.
Legacies will premiere October 25 on The CW. For other new television shows set to arrive this fall, check out CinemaBlend's guide to TV's fall premieres.