How The Vampire Diaries And Originals Creator Dealt With Leaks And Hiding Plot Twists

The Originals Hayley Marshall-Kenner Phoebe Tonkin The CW
(Image credit: The CW)

It is getting harder and harder to keep fans in the dark about their favorite TV shows' upcoming plot twists, and the popularity of social media hasn't helped with keeping secrets. Social media has been the source of no shortage of leaks over the years. The Vampire Diaries and The Originals creator Julie Plec knows this better than most.

When it came to protecting The Vampire Diaries during its early days, Julie Plec and Co. went to great lengths. The series’ co-creator revealed the measures the show that started everything went to prevent spoilers. Their efforts were intense. Julie Plec told EW:

We had private investigators in our office looking for bugs. We had to take internal action against our closed-caption vendors because somebody was leaking to the internet.

The Vampire Diaries did find one source of internet leaks. The close-captioning vendor is a surprising source to me. Albeit, one that makes sense. When it came to one of The Originals’ most prominent deaths, a behind-the-scenes picture ended up leading to the most significant leak of all.

Hayley’s death in Season 5 was accidentally spoiled due to a photo of the writers’ room. It was posted by somebody unaware that the whiteboard had all of Season 5’s secrets scrawled out in full display. Julie Plec explained the situation, saying:

Someone accidentally posted our whiteboard with the entire season plan on it. We had started shooting, but we hadn’t shot that. We could either stay the course to kill Hayley or not, but our entire season pitch was built around killing Hayley.

To kill Hayley or not to kill her became the question faced by The Originals’ writing team. Talk about a difficult situation! They already had so much invested in the decision, and changing course would have had a seismic impact. There is often more to a character’s death than the single episode it takes place in.

An entire season can often be spent building up to it and perhaps even foreshadowing it. Hayley’s fate had not been filmed when The Originals’ team encountered the unintentional leak. As fans know, Hayley ended up getting killed off in Season 5, as initially planned. Julie Plec explained their reasoning, saying:

Had this been season 2, where the success of the show was built on ratings and press, I may have thought to change everything so it was all a surprise. But it was season 5 of a show that had a dedicated fan base. It was unfortunate that it happened, but it didn’t seem like it merited changing the whole season.

Five seasons in and fans are committed. Plus, it would have taken a viewer trying to find spoilers to have spotted this particular slip. Those wanting to enjoy the season without them should not have had the twist ruined for them. The former clicked and zoomed on the writers’ room picture for a reason.

Getting to that level of peace regarding leaks was a journey for Julie Plec. She revealed that The Vampire Diaries made no effort to curb the leak of a major death in the series finale. The internet wasn't abuzz with spoilers about Stefan being killed of during the series finale, leaving Damon as the lone Salvatore brother standing. That raised the question of what he did next, which Ian Somerhalder weighed in on.

For now, you can still see the series finale on Netflix. If remembering that made you sad, you can take heart. Paul Wesley and Ian Somerhalder recently reunited and shared a picture online.

Whatever happened in the past, The Vampire Diaries franchise is still going strong. The Originals’ spinoff is still spinning. Last season, the new show following the life and times of Hayley and Klaus’ daughter, Hope, premiered.

Legacies is keeping the light on for the franchise and will return for a second season. Those who want Damon and Elena’s daughter, Stefanie Salvatore, to make an appearance will need to stay tuned.

After summer’s television premieres finish, autumn will be here. Legacies will return this fall on The CW. New episodes of Season 2 will air on Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET.

Britt Lawrence

Like a contented Hallmark movie character, Britt happily lives in the same city she grew up in. Along with movies and television, she is passionate about competitive figure skating. She has been writing about entertainment for 5 years, and as you may suspect, still finds it as entertaining to do as when she began.