Dear diary, can you believe it’s been 10 years since The Vampire Diaries premiered?
While it was initially written off as a TV version of Twilight, the CW hit, which debuted on Sept. 10, 2009, quickly developed a cult following that turned the show into one of the biggest pop culture phenomenons in the early teens, blending together epic romances, supernatural beings (vampires, werewolves, witches, oh my!) and small town drama to create one irresistible series that helped redefine the young network.
Based on the book series by L.J. Smith, TVD was created by Dawson’s Creek creator Kevin Williamson and Julie Plec, two people who know a thing or two about iconic love triangles. But Kevin almost passed on the show completely.“In the beginning when I read it, I didn’t want to be involved with it because I felt it was a sort of Twilight rip-off, no matter which came first,” the TV legend admitted to The Independent. “The premise was exactly the same: girl falls in love with vampire, and I felt that it had been done and that nobody was going to do another vampire story. But then Julie kept telling me to keep reading the books and then I began to realise that it was a story about a small town, about that town’s underbelly and about what lurks under the surface.”
What lurked were the relationships and friendships that made up the town of Mystic Falls, with The Vampire Diaries turning its relatively unknown young stars into superstars, especially its main trio: Nina Dobrev as Elena Gilbert and Paul Wesley and Ian Somerhalder as Stefan and Damon Salvatore, the estranged vampire brothers who are both in love with her.
The series would go on to air eight seasons and launch two successful spinoffs (The Originals and Legacies) before it aired its emotional finale in March 2017.
In honor of TVD‘s 10th anniversary, we’re revealing some surprising facts you might not know about the show, like which pop star The CW originally wanted to play Elena, the many off-screen relationships that went down during the show’s right-year run and that time four of the stars were arrested during a season onephotoshoot…
THE SEARCH FOR THE SALVATORES
After finding their leading lady, TVD needed the two male components of the essential love triangle. No easy task.
“We looked high and low to cast Stefan and Damon. So she did chemistry read after chemistry read with multiple actors,” Julie explained.
Some of the actors who read for either and/or both roles? Zach Roerig (who would go on to play Matt Donovan), Michael Trevino (who would land the role of Tyler Lockwood), Nathanial Buzolic (later cast as Kol), and 7th Heaven star David Gallagher, with Julie admitting of the latter, “He impressed us so much originally…but the whole 7th Heaven thing, I wonder if he’ll ever be able to get past that.” (She would later cast him as a werewolf after seeing Super 8.)
And then finally, they found their guys.
“Paul and Ian kind of came in late in the process. Paul auditioned like 15 times, and Ian kind of appeared out of the blue,” Julie said. As for Nina, she recalled what made Paul (who first read for Damon) stand out from the rest of the guys reading opposite her in the chemistry reads: “The only one who wasn’t trying too hard, that didn’t speak to me at any point unless we were filming, was Paul Wesley—so it’s funny to think that he did the right thing,” she told EW.
PAUL AND NINA DIDN’T GET ALONG
While they were portraying one of TV’s most beloved new couples in the show’s first season, Nina and Paul “didn’t get along” at all during the first five months of filming.
“I respected Paul Wesley; I didn’t like Paul Wesley,” Nina admitted on the Directionally Challenged podcast. “I remember everyone would walk up to me after the show aired and they’d be like, ‘’re you and Paul dating in real life?’ because everyone thought that we had such good chemistry. I realize now that there’s a fine line between love and hate and we despised each other so much that it read as love.”
Eventually, the two sorted out their differences, with Nina explaining Paul is now one of her best friends.
“We ended up getting to a good place and it was fine, but of everyone, I think I probably see him the most and hang out with him the most [now],” she said. “We’re probably the closest, like, we hang out a lot and we’re really good friends and I love his wife. It’s so funny how much has changed.”