‘Vampire Diaries’: Ian Somerhalder Threatened to Quit if Producers Killed 1 Character

The Vampire Diaries is among the best shows to include fantasy elements like vampires and werewolves successfully. The series aired for eight seasons, from 2009 to 2017, and took place in the made-up town of Mystic Falls, Virginia, where supernatural beings like vampires and werewolves thrived.

Ian Somerhalder smiling
Ian Somerhalder | Dominik Bindl/Getty Images

Aside from the show’s focus on mystical beings, its friendships and romance storylines, particularly the love triangle with Nina Dobrev’s Elena, Ian Somerhalder‘s Damon Salvatore, and his brother Stefan Salvatore (Paul Wesley), drew the most attention. 

Ian Somerhalder threatened to quit if producers killed Enzo

In the fifth season of The Vampire Diaries, fans are introduced to Lorenzo “Enzo” St. John (Michael Malarkey), a vampire who was previously Damon’s cellmate in the 1950s. 

In episode 19, titled “Man on Fire,” Enzo accused Stefan of murdering his girlfriend, Maggie. But Enzo quickly learned that it wasn’t Stefan who had done it; instead, it was Damon.

After learning the truth, Enzo appeared to lose all sense of humanity, which made Stefan practically rip Enzo’s heart out of his chest. However, that is not the end of Enzo’s storyline.

Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter about the storyline and how Enzo wasn’t killed, The Vampire Diaries executive producer Caroline Dries recalled a conversation she had with Somerhalder. She said,

“Ian pulled me aside one day, and he goes, ‘If you kill Enzo, I’m going to quit,’ we purposefully had him show up at the end as a ghost to imply that his story isn’t over. He is going to become a ghost villain moving forward. We’ll see him all the way through to the finale as the bad guy.”

Enzo, who dies more than once, is eventually killed for good by Stefan in season eight when he attempts to kill the unconscious Elena. Enzo doesn’t stay the villain, softening when he falls in love with Bonnie and helping her even after he became a ghost (again).

Ian Somerhalder almost missed out on his role as Damon

In 2009, Somerhalder was cast as the lead villain of The Vampire Diaries, Damon Salvatore, and the rest is TV history. The actor had fans drooling as Damon, the beautiful bad boy vampire who captivated Elena’s heart and ours as he attempted to prove himself worthy.

While appearing on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen, Somerhalder revealed that he nearly lost his role as Damon to another actor, saying,

“In the last test of the show, there was a guy who showed up just trying to play it super cool and kinda like psych me out in the room. I was just like shut it down, and I said, ‘No way, man. This is my role.’ And I went in and just made it happen.”

What has Ian Somerhalder been up to since ‘Vampire Diaries’?

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Even though Somerhalder threatened to leave TVD several times, he remained on the show until it ended in 2017. After leaving his role as a “bad boy” and “blood-sucker” behind, the actor stepped away from the spotlight to devote more time to his family.

Somerhalder dated his on-screen love interest Dobrev for several years in real life, but the two broke up in 2013. The actor moved on to Twilight’s Nikki Reed in 2014, and the couple wed the following year. The pair has a daughter named Bodhi Soleil, born in August 2017.

After playing Damon on The Vampire Diaries, Somerhalder went on to portray vampire researcher Dr. Luther Swann on V-Wars, which he also executive produced. After that, he was featured on Good Mythical Morning and cast in Time Framed. In 2020, the native of Louisiana and his former on-screen brother, Wesley, launched Brother’s Bond Bourbon.