'Vampire Diaries' Finale Week
The Vampire Diaries Spoilers

Vampire Diaries Boss Talks Katherine's Sudden Rise to Power, Admits She Briefly Considered Killing Off Elena

If you were hoping Friday’s Vampire Diaries finale (The CW, 9/8c) would help fill in a few blanks about Katherine — for example, how she became the new queen of Hell — then I guess that makes me the bearer of bad news.

“One of the things we realized as we were getting to the end and trying to squeeze in story where we could was, like, of course Katherine wound up running hell,” executive producer Julie Plec tells TVLine. “Of course she had Cade wrapped around her little finger.” As for specifics, “You can fill in the blanks of how she’s able to pull that off.”

Adds Plec, “If I could nail down Nina [Dobrev] for a shortened-season retelling of Katherine’s exploits in Hell, I’d do it in a heartbeat.”

And although the Katherine-centric series finale has a full-circle feel to it, Plec says she hadn’t always planned on bringing Dobrev’s wicked doppelgänger back into the picture.

“We made the decision when we took Katherine away that we were going to do it in a way that looked different from how anyone else had died,” she explains. “We weren’t going to push ourselves to answer the question of ‘where,’ because — in our minds — it was whatever version of hell The Vampire Diaries would choose to tell stories about. In Season 8, we decided to tell that story. It came back around perfectly because we got to show not just where Katherine’s been, but also reveal that she’s actually basically been the puppet master of everything that happened in Season 8 — which is nice full circle back to how she was the puppet master of everything in Season 1.”

Of course, Dobrev wasn’t always confirmed to appear in the series finale, leading Plec to contemplate a back-up plan she now considers “pretty lame.”

“At one point in the middle of the season, I thought, ‘Should we just shock the audience and kill Elena in the middle of the season? Burn her body, and she’s just gone, so we’re not misleading fans all season with the promise that she’ll return?’ One of the writers was like, ‘As a fan of the show, I think that’s just about the worst idea you’ve ever had.'” (On behalf of literally every single fan, I thank you, mysterious writer.)

And if you’re wondering about those 15-second teases we’ve been seeing, Plec promises they’re not a total misdirect: “We’re not pulling a bait and switch of Elena not being awake. She is. We will see her in this episode.”

OK, you tell us: Can you accept not knowing how Katherine rose in the ranks? Would you have been crushed by a premature Elena death? And how do you hope this all ends on Friday? Drop a comment with your thoughts below.