Blake Lively, Leighton Meester
For six seasons, anonymous blogger Gossip Girl has been able to uncover pretty much any secret and sordid scandal about S, B, Lonely Boy and the rest of the Upper East Side. It's ironic, considering what the series producers had to do to keep the identity of the unapologetically nosy snitch under wraps until Monday's Gossip Girl series finale (8/7c on The CW).
"It's been very nerve-wracking for me to try to keep it a secret," co-creator and executive producer Stephanie Savage tells TVGuide.com of the many precautions taken to keep the name concealed. "But I'm excited for people to find out. The cast and crew were definitely excited when they found out so I'm hoping our fans have the same reaction."
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The show's crew went to these great lengths to protect a secret that almost even didn't make it into the finale at all. "We always had an idea in our minds of who Gossip Girl was, which we needed to be able to tell our stories, but we were never sure if we were going to reveal that," Savage says. "We weren't sure that that was something that the audience would want to know. Maybe they would like the idea of not knowing who Gossip Girl was."
However, it was a Season 5 story line — in which Georgina (Michelle Trachtenberg) and later, Serena (Blake Lively) filled in for Gossip Girl — that changed producers' minds. "Last year we did so much storytelling with Gossip Girl in the character that it felt like this year we needed to reveal her true self," she says.
Savage emphasizes the importance of this kind of flexibility when discussing the series finale, which was first announced last May. "I think it's something that you might have certain ideas or images of when you start, but you really have to be open to the journey the show takes you on and where the characters go," she says of crafting the final hour. "I think there were some character endgames that were always in our minds, but again, you have to be open to maybe that's not where fate is going to take people."
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Savage specifically points to bad boy-turned-Blair's knight in shining armor, Chuck, as having changed the most from the pilot to the finale. "I feel like Chuck has gone on the biggest journey of any one on the show. In the pilot, he's pretty much a pure villain. He's not a character that has a lot of layers. That was something Ed Westwick really brought as an actor," Savage says. "And his chemistry with Leighton [Meester] — when we saw them together on screen and the power of the two of them working together but also being attracted to each other, which really inspired us to grow that character and give him some more layers."
So will Chuck and Blair get their happy ending after Bart fell to his death — for realz this time! — at the end of the penultimate episode? "Obviously Chuck was up there when Bart met his demise and he was seen earlier at the event publicly speaking out against him so a lot of people will be looking for him," Savage says. "Chuck and Blair are both where they wanted to be, but are circumstances such that they'll be able to be together the way that they wanted to? Or have too many things happened that will stand in their way?"
Previews for the finale hint at the two tying the knot, but Savage won't confirm or deny. "There definitely is a wedding," she says. "Whether people get hitched without a hitch or whether there's complications is something to tune in for."
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Savage teases several other milestones in the episode, including a flashback scene that shows Dan (Penn Badgley) and Serena at some point before the events in the pilot took place. Another big moment will be an on-screen appearance by Kristen Bell, who has voiced Gossip Girl for the last six years. "It was really funny and very, very special to be shooting with her. She's an intimate part of our family but yet we never get to see her," Savage says. "To be able to make her a part of our storytelling just felt like the perfect way to crown her work with us over the years."
Although Gossip Girl will finally be unveiled, Savage says not everything will be so cut-and-dried. "It's Gossip Girl, so I think you want to give closure, but everything doesn't necessarily have a perfect bow on it. There's always going to be unanswered questions and twists you didn't see coming," Savage says. "The tone of the show is not completely sentimental — there's a little bit of a bite to it and I think the finale is going to have that."
Despite these question marks and surprise twists, Savage is still confident fans will walk away satisfied. "It's definitely emotional, but I think we left the show in a great place and I'm very proud of everything we've accomplished," she says.
The Gossip Girl series finale airs Monday at 8/7c on The CW.
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