Well, this sucks.
“I’ve just spent the most beautiful weekend on Lake Lanier in Georgia with my own TVD Family, the cast and crew of ‘The Vampire Diaries,'” Dobrev, who stars in the series, posted on Instagram. “I want to be the first to tell you that it wasn’t just a holiday celebration, it was a goodbye party. I always knew I wanted Elena’s story to be a six season adventure, and within those six years I got the journey of a lifetime. I was a human, a vampire, a doppelganger, a crazy immortal, a doppelganger pretending to be human, a human pretending to be a doppelganger. I got kidnapped, killed, resurrected, tortured, cursed, body-snatched, was dead and undead, and there’s still so much more to come before the season finale in May. Elena fell in love not once, but twice, with two epic soulmates, and I myself made some of the best friends I’ll ever know and built an extended family I will love forever.”
“Vampire Diaries” exec producer Julie Plec, who developed the series with Kevin Williamson, had warm wishes for Dobrev, who has played the heroine (and sometimes the villain) on the long-running series.
“Saying goodbye to Nina is both bittersweet and beautiful. After six-plus years together, the entire cast and crew of ‘The Vampire Diaries’ has reached a level of closeness that I don’t think any of us ever expected,” she said in a statement. “Nina is excited to spread her wings, get some rest, travel the world and also take it by storm, and we support her a thousand-fold. We will miss Nina and the four hundred characters she played, but we look forward to the insane and exciting challenge of continuing to tell stories of our Salvatore Brothers and our much-loved and gifted ensemble.”
She added that Trevino, who saw his character of Tyler Lockwood morph from a snotty rich kid to a werewolf hybrid to someone who is trying to suppress his supernatural destiny, “has been a beloved member of ‘The Vampire Diaries’ family since day one.” She said that his casting in the ABC pilot “Kingmakers” means “he’s also going to be out in the world exploring new opportunities. We look forward to finding creative ways to make sure he and his character … always remain a part of the show.”
Plec previously told Variety she would want to continue the show, if one of the leads were to leave. “I would because it’s a challenge,” she confirmed.
Shortly after the series was handed an early renewal for Season 7, with the prospect of losing a major player, Plec alluded to a focus shift, especially on characters Damon and Stefan Salvatore (Ian Somerhalder and Paul Wesley, respectively).
“I don’t even know if I ever thought we would get this far when we started the series,” she told Variety. “Obviously, it was a love triangle, but it’s also about brothers and it’s also about the ensemble. Ian becoming the breakout character over the years, you could have Damon Salvatore reading the phone book and people would probably still tune in.”
Plec added, “For me, as we shed characters over the next couple of years, there’s a challenge of keeping the storytelling fresh and exciting, and seeing if we can keep the audience excited and invested in the show because it takes a new spin and a new direction that’s entertaining.”
As for the storyline for Elena (Dobrev), the showrunner stayed mum on all characters’ fates.
“Creatively, some people have said, ‘Please don’t ever kill me,’ and other people have said, ‘I’ve got a shelf life, but I’m 100% in it until then,'” she said. “And so, that will play itself out over the next couple of years, and then we’ll see how long the show survives and how long it stays fresh.”
“The Vampire Diaries” is based on a series of books by L.J. Smith and is produced by Williamson’s Outerbanks Entertainment, Alloy Entertainment, CBS Television Studios and Warner Bros. Television. It follows the dangerous adventures of Dobrev’s character Elena Gilbert, who has the (mis)fortune of looking exactly like a centuries-old vampire named Katherine. Both she and her supernatural counterpart had routinely managed to win the the hearts of the Salvatore brothers.
The series premiered in 2009 at the height of the vampire craze, thanks to similar projects like the “Twilight” movie and HBO’s “True Blood.” It drew nearly 5 million viewers to become the network’s most-watched premiere ever (finally surpassed this fall by the premiere of “The Flash”). “The Originals,” a spinoff series that focused on the first family of vampires, debuted in 2013 on the CW.
Elizabeth Wagmeister contributed to this report.