Welcome To ‘The O.C.’ Reunion at ATX Television Festival, B*tch: 7 Behind-The-Scenes Secrets

Last Sunday, the creators of gathered in the State Theatre to discuss the show at the ATX Television Festival. The show’s creator, Josh Schwartz (Gossip Girl), was joined by executive producers Stephanie Savage (The Astronaut Wives Club) and Leila Gerstein (Hart of Dixie), as well as music supervisor Alexandra Patsavas (The Hunger Games: Catching Fire).

It’s been nine years since the classic rom-com drama aired its final episode, but the creators still think about it just as much as the fans do. Here are some insightful secrets they finally let out of the bag:

The O.C. Panel At ATX Television Festival

The O.C. Panel At ATX Television Festival

1. The Cohens Were Originally The Newmans

The Cohen Family In The O.C./Fox

The Cohen Family In The O.C./Fox

Originally, Fox was “medium okay” with the idea of starring a family of “whiny Jews.” They were originally called the Newmans, since the network was less than thrilled about Seth Cohen’s (Adam Brody) prominent role as a neurotic Jewish character.

Stephanie Savage joked that the Cohens became more and more Jewish as The O.C. developed.

2. Seth Cohen Was Largely Inspired By Josh Schwartz

Seth Cohen/Adam Brody (L) & Josh Schwartz (R)/Fox/Glamour

Seth Cohen/Adam Brody (L) & Josh Schwartz (R)/Fox/Glamour

While approaching the topic of Seth, Savage said:

“Seth Cohen was Josh’s way into the show and it was also what made the show in many ways unique. Because it was unique, it was challenging for the network who wasn’t used to seeing a character like that in their glossy primetime soap.”

Josh Schwartz had revealed the source of his inspiration in the past, but he finally admitted he never celebrated Chrismukkah. Why was it added to the show? Schwartz said the made-up holiday emphasized “the idea that Sandy had married the ultimate shiksa goddess.”

He jokingly added, “It was a way to get even more presents!”

3. Peter Gallagher Was The First Actor To Be Cast

Peter Gallagher As Sandy Cohen In The O.C./Fox

Peter Gallagher As Sandy Cohen In The O.C./Fox

Shwarz revealed that Peter Gallagher was the first actor cast on the show as Sandy Cohen.

“We wanted to send the message that this was a show that could be for adults, as much as for kids.”

4. Olivia Wilde Was Almost Cast As Marissa Cooper

Olivia Wilde As Alex Kelly In The O.C./Fox

Olivia Wilde As Alex Kelly In The O.C./Fox

Schwartz shocked fans by disclosing that Olivia Wilde was nearly cast as Marissa Cooper. Instead, Wilde played Seth & Marissa’s love interest Alex Kelly in Season 2. According to Schwartz, why did they opt for instead?

“Marissa was obviously a character who Ryan needs to save. And Olivia Wilde needs no saving. She’s pretty tough.”

5. The Creators Still “Wrestle” With Marissa’s Death

Marissa Cooper Death Scene In The O.C./Fox

Marissa Cooper Death Scene In The O.C./Fox

After bringing up the topic of Marissa Cooper’s highly-mourned tragic death, Schwartz got real:

“It’s complicated. There were a lot of factors involved and it was something we really wrestled with. There were reasons both creative and just in terms for the show itself and where we were with the network.”

Schwartz admitted they received a lot of “anger and fan art,” despite the most vocal people who rejoiced and even celebrated the character’s death.

6. There Could Have Been A “Luke & Anna” Relationship

Luke Ward (L) & Anna Stern (R) In The O.C./Fox

Luke Ward (L) & Anna Stern (R) In The O.C./Fox

The creators discussed looking back on the loss of characters loved by the fans. These roles included Anna Stern (Samaire Armstrong) and Luke Ward (Chris Carmack), who left the show after Season 1. When Schwarz discussed all the wasted potential, he brought something up that no fan had probably ever thought of:

“There were a lot of Luke stories we left on the table, Anna stories and so on. In retrospect, we still talk about the possibilities of a Luke-Anna relationship.”

7. The Title The O.C. Was Ironic

Both the title and Luke Ward’s iconic line to Ryan Atwood ( ) “Welcome to the O.C., b*tch” were meant as ironic to the show’s creators. They were both jokingly inspired by Schwartz’s encounter with USC “species known as the water polo player” during his college years.

“When I was at USC, there were all these waterpolo guys that refer to Orange County as ‘the O.C.’…as if they were referring to ‘the LBC.'”

The O.C./Fox

The O.C./Fox

It’s never been discussed, but would you watch a revival of The O.C.?

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