The Vampire Diaries series finale could've been a whole lot more gut-wrenching than it already was if co-creator Julie Plec had her brotherly druthers.

In Friday's finale episode, the Salvatore brothers are forced to make a choice: who gets to be the sacrificial lamb that ensures Hell's new management, Katherine Pierce (Nina Dobrev), goes down with the underworld ship once Bonnie (Kat Graham) redirects a wall of Hellfire in that direction to destroy it? Stefan (Paul Wesley), already humanized by the Cure, decides that his big brother Damon (Ian Somerhalder) is more deserving of a honeymoon than he, despite his recent nuptials with Caroline (Candice King)... Because he's become the better man over the years: he doesn't have decades of Ripper regret under his belt, although he's been far from a saint himself.

He sacrifices himself by passing the Cure (by way of his own blood) to Damon and holding Katherine hostage down below until the big boom. After a lifetime of happiness with Elena, Damon and Stefan are ultimately reunited with one another, spawning serious questions about why Damon's ever after doesn't seem to include his lady love, and that's the closest thing to a happy ending this show has to offer anybody. Dead souls reunited, d'aw.

Executive Producer and TVD co-creator Kevin Williamson told TVGuide.com that there were a lot of ideas being tossed around the creative table when it came to how they should conclude the series, and things could've been a whole lot darker than they already were.

"Oh, everyone was supposed to die. There were so many conversations in the writers' room. Everyone had these great ideas," he teased. Wellll, almost everyone. Williamson clarified that Bonnie Bennett (Kat Graham) wasn't on the chopping block, where the writers were concerned, but everyone else was fair game.

So, how might that dismal alternative reality have looked?

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Plec expounded on Williamson's' bleak proposal, saying that in their original vision of the big finish, both Salvatore Brothers would've met their metaphorical maker at the same time.

"Back in season 2 when Kevin and I were sitting in the mall and we had fallen in love with this series and this story about two brothers who loved the same girl and the love triangle was kicking into high gear, we said to ourselves: When all is said and done, when this show is over, both brothers should die in the name of saving their girl and then be watching her like ghosts -- because we had introduced the Other Side -- as she went off into the sunset to live her life and maybe marry Matt Donovan or maybe become a doctor, but that those brothers would be side-by-side watching her live. That was the thing that made us cry all the tears in season 2."

Ultimately, it was Nina Dobrev's departure from the show at the end of Season 6 that steered the ship squarely into Team Delena waters for the long haul. As Plec explained to EW, "I felt like we had to make a commitment to seeing Damon and Elena through to the end ... [Nina's] departure sealed the romantic contract between Damon and Elena. In that moment, to me, the show ceased to be about a love triangle and became a show about the power of these brothers and their love for each other. And so there was no way in hell I was killing both of them and leaving neither of them with the happy ending. It just was never going to happen."

<em>The Vampire Diaries</em>, The CWThe Vampire Diaries, The CW

So, in other words, Team Delena might've been miffed about Dobrev leaving the show and taking away a significant amount of romantic heat, but that turned out to be an act of mercy to the Elena-Damon relationship because otherwise? Both Salvatores would be ghosting around Mystic Falls while Elena and Matt (Zach Roerig) launched the Melena ship, which .... Yuck.

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