Spotted! Some fans are convinced that Gossip Girl was revealed during the first episode of the CW series, but no one seemed to notice.
Throughout Gossip Girl’s six seasons, which ran from 2007 to 2012, viewers tuned in to see which Upper Eastsider was the king or queen of the gossip mill. It wasn’t until the final episode, which aired in December 2012, that fans discovered it was Dan Humphrey (Penn Badgley), loving known as “Lonely Boy” by Gossip Girl (who was voiced by Kristen Bell).
TikTok user @yussijuice2.0, however, pointed out on Saturday, March 27, that when rewatching the teen drama, the showrunners unveiled the man behind the computer in the pilot episode. In fact, when taking a closer look, Dan’s identity as Gossip Girl is hinted at multiple times throughout the introduction for the long-running series.
The biggest clue came at the end of the episode when Gossip Girl is talking about herself as clips of Serena van der Woodsen (Blake Lively) play on a computer — Dan’s computer. The camera then pans to the Brooklyn native, before Gossip Girl’s voiceover says the iconic line, “And who am I? That’s one secret I’ll never tell.”
During an earlier scene, Dan is seen at Grand Central Station, which is where Gossip Girl “spots” Serena. In the post that follows, Gossip Girl reports that Lonely Boy (Dan) was seen gazing at Serena, who is his longtime crush. At first, the tidbit seemed an innocent observation made by the blogger, but looking back, it’s actually an important clue to her identity.
Dan identifies as an outsider at the beginning of the series. His sister Jenny, (Taylor Momsen), goes as far as to call him “the invisible man” before he points out that “nobody knows me.” So, why would Gossip Girl note his presence at the station at all? Some fans have pointed out that it’s further proof that he was running the show the whole time because only he would know he was there — and everyone else would have overlooked him.
Earlier in the episode, Jenny asks Dan if he’s read Gossip Girl, to which he quickly shoots her down, saying, “It’s for chicks,” seemingly shifting the spotlight onto someone else.
Another fan also pointed out that Dan is the only teen who doesn’t read Gossip Girl on his phone. Instead, he uses his computer to “read” the stories, or rather, write the clues himself.
Despite dropping hints about Gossip Girl being Dan from day one, most fans were shocked to learn he was the scandalous blogger after six seasons. Showrunner Josh Safran admitted in 2019 that the writers almost made Nate Archibald (Chace Crawford) the blogger.
“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,” the executive producer explained during a Vulture Festival panel at the time. “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.’”
In the following years, Lively, 33, joked about the casting surprise via her Instagram Story.
The Age of Adaline actress shared a Gossip Girl meme in October 2020, which read, “We watched the entire series to find out it’s Dan.” Lively then wrote her own comment on the photo, saying,” ‘YOU’RE surprised … Imagine how the writers felt!”