The original Gossip Girl TV series remains one of the best teen drama shows of all time. The show made stars out of young performers like Penn Badgley, Blake Lively, Chace Crawford, and Leighton Meester, and captivated the imaginations of viewers all around the world. Gossip Girl ran on TV for six seasons before going off the air in December 2012. While many fans praised the series in general, the finale caused a great deal of discussion and controversy within the fan base — especially after the big reveal. As show creators have since revealed, however, the original plan was never to make Dan the infamous “Gossip Girl” at all.
The ‘Gossip Girl’ series finale was controversial
The original Gossip Girl series followed the lives and adventures of a group of privileged teenagers living in New York City. All throughout the series, a mysterious figure known only as Gossip Girl reports on their lives. But the identity of Gossip Girl remains a secret until the finale episode of the dramatically-charged series.
The finale reveals that Dan Humphrey, played by Penn Badgley, is the original Gossip Girl. He was motivated to report on the machinations of the other students because he was always “overlooked” as a child. At the time, many fans and critics pointed out that this reveal just didn’t make sense, noting that early seasons of the show often featured Dan reacting to Gossip Girl’s missives while completely alone — something that he wouldn’t have done if he was the one writing them.
What was the original plan for the ‘Gossip Girl’ finale reveal?
Perhaps the biggest reason for the finale reveal not making sense was that Gossip Girl creators never originally intended for Gossip Girl to be Dan at all. At the 2019 Vulture Festival, Gossip Girl writer and executive producer Joshua Safran opened up about the reveal, noting that Dan wasn’t his choice for Gossip Girl at all. As reported by BuzzFeed, Safran said “I like to joke that Dan was Gossip Girl because I had left the show by then. Dan was not my intended Gossip Girl, so honestly you’d have to ask someone else.”
He went on. “But I understand why Dan was Gossip Girl,” Safran shared. “I just had my heart set on Nate [Archibald].” Before Nate, Safran “had his heart set on Eric” as the show’s Gossip Girl, but a New York Post article speculating about Eric being Gossip Girl killed that plan. “Then…one of the writers realized that Nate had never sent a tip in to Gossip Girl, which is true at least through the end of Season 5,” Safran dished. “Nate never sent in a tip in through all of those episodes, which is when we’re like, ‘Oh, well then he’s Gossip Girl.”
The ‘Gossip Girl’ reboot handled the big reveal very differently
The recent Gossip Girl reboot took great pains to distinguish itself from the original series, with creators opting to tackle the reveal in a totally different manner. Instead, the very first episode of the series, which aired in July 2021, revealed that Gossip Girl was a group of teachers who get together to take back power from the privileged students who attend the upscale school. Rather than focusing on a major reveal, the reboot chose to highlight the complicated relationships between the students themselves — giving the show a whole new feel.