Paul Wesley may be part of the cast of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds now but, for many people, he'll forever and always be known as Stefan Salvatore from The Vampire Diaries. He portrayed the fan-favorite bloodsucker and one-half of “Stelena” on the CW supernatural drama for the show’s entire eight-season run. The series ended with Stefan’s sacrifice, and some were in their feelings at the time due to how popular Wesley was. Interestingly though, there was actually a time earlier in the show's run during which the star thought he was going to get fired.
While appearing on Michael Rosenbaum’s podcast, Inside of You, the 41-year-old got real about working on the first few seasons of the long-running young adult drama. Paul Wesley explained that he really put in effort during those early years. And that's definitely appropriate, considering his character, Stefan, has a very by-the-book personality. Even so, he still had concerns about his job security at that point in time, and the uneasiness stemmed from a brutally honest conversation the show's head honchos had with the cast earlier on:
I thought I was going to get fired for the first three or four years of doing the show. … It was actually kind of something that they did that was somewhat unfair. So [there were] a lot of young kids on the show, a lot of party kids. Everyone was in their early ‘20s, you know, and they were all just like, going out and getting hammered. And so [during] the first season, a lot of people showed up to work late, a lot of things of that nature. And I wasn’t, man. I was taking this shit so seriously. I was literally sitting at home, studying my lines and working out, and getting in shape for the role and all that crap. But they said from the beginning, they brought us all in, and they said, ‘Just so you guys know, you’re all expendable – every one of you.’ ‘Every single one of you. This isn’t the Elena Diaries.’ … ‘This isn’t the Stefan Diaries. .. And any one of you can go.’
Even though Paul Wesley was serious about the role and his work, it sounds like the producers and/or studio was intent on letting all of the actors know they were replaceable. However, it should be mentioned that the young stars' off-set activities were well-documented back in the day. TMZ reported back in 2009 that series lead Nina Dobrev and a few other TVD stars were arrested for flashing while in Georgia. Still, it is a bit harsh that he and the cast were told how expendable they were. With that said, Wesley made an honest admission regarding that declaration:
I will say it worked. People started to not show up late etc. But for myself, I was a little bit like, ‘Man…’ I was already taking it very seriously.
Luckily, Paul Wesley was not fired from The Vampire Diaries, and Stefan Salvatore became a relatively big part of the series. The series likely wouldn’t have been what it was without Wesley's Stefan. Much of the series centered on the love triangle between Stefan, Elena Gilbert (Nina Dobrev and Damon (Ian Somerhalder). Sure another actor could've been cast to play a role that filled the void, but Wesley was just too good. As for how he feels about Stefan, the star recently admitted that he liked that the character's story and personality changed over time. In spite of that though, Wesley doesn't exactly miss the franchise.
Paul Wesley may not want to return for a theoretical Vampire Diaries revival, but it sounds like he's proud of what he was able to accomplish. Personally, I'm just happy he was able to stay around so that he could help play out Stefan's journey. Plus, he seems to be doing pretty well for himself lately, considering that he's now playing the latest iteration of Captain Kirk, a role he wouldn't mind having for a while. Here's to continued job stability for the star.