We may have The Vampire Diaries fans to thank for Damon's transformation from resident bad guy to lovable hero.
This revelation came about as co-creators Kevin Williamson and Julie Plec looked back on the glib vampire's redemption story for an episode of EW's Binge: The Vampire Diaries. Per the TV producers, they worked hard at perfecting the cocky voice of chaos-loving Damon, played by Ian Somerhalder.
Yet, the duo may've made Damon too charming as the season one villain soon became a fan favorite, which became a problem for the TVD team. "We can't have a lovable villain," Williamson recalled. "That's great and that's a fan-favorite character, but that doesn't bring you real storytelling and real stakes."
Plec expressed a similar sentiment, adding, "We had this magnificent villain who could do no wrong in the eyes of the audience and we thought, 'Let's give him something really wrong that is unforgivable so we can buy ourselves another year of Damon as the villain and Stefan as the hero.'"
Determined to keep Damon as Mystic Falls' resident wrong-doer, the pair decided to up the ante with his evil behavior: He opened season two by snapping the neck of Jeremy (Steven R. McQueen), the younger brother of Elena (Nina Dobrev).
However, despite that brutal act fans were still rooting for the older Salvatore brother, which, understandably, shocked Plec and Williamson. "They [were like], 'Poor Damon, poor Damon, he's so misunderstood! He just loves Elena so much,'" Plec remembered. "We were aghast. We were like, 'What have we wrought? We have basically accidentally created the poster couple for toxic masculinity.' The women loved him and we couldn't understand it at all. That was a moment."
After this, Damon had no where to go but up, so he passed on the villain reins to the manipulative vampire Katherine (also played by Dobrev). Damon found himself working alongside Elena and Stefan (Paul Wesley) against all the villains who arrived in Mystic Falls, because there was always at least one.
In fact, it was Damon, not Stefan, who became Elena's great love in the series. The series finale indicates the pair lived a long, happy, human life together. Certainly a far cry from Damon's neck snapping days, huh?
And it seems we're not the only ones with mixed feelings about Damon's end on TVD. In a 2019 episode of Watch What Happens Live, Wesley admitted, "I would have liked that we both died and that Elena—the girl at the end of the show—like, all her memory was wiped and went to live a normal life and forgot that we ever existed. I think that would have been nice."
For more secrets from the Vampire Diaries set, scroll through the images below.