If you didn’t already hear, it was announced at San Diego Comic-Con 2016 that season 8 of The Vampire Diaries will in fact be its last. After the news was announced by showrunner and executive producer Julie Plec, stars Ian Somerhalder and Paul Wesley spoke about what playing the Salvatore brothers all these years has meant to them. The sad notion of the show’s departure also comes with exciting news though, as Plec teased the return of fan-favorite Elena Gilbert (played by Nina Dobrev). Find out all the details below.

Stefan and Damon’s Goodbye

“The sun, the moon and stars aligned for me one day in March when I got the official call that I had been cast in this very special role as Damon Salvatore,” Ian Somerhalder said. “I’m so very grateful to those who fought for me to have this opportunity (you know who you are), for those that have worked so hard to make this show happen, and to those that have loyally watched it, making it part of their lives. This show has enriched my life greater than anything I’ve done in my career and it will live in my heart. We are a family and I will miss you. Thank you again to this amazing cast and crew, Kevin [Williamson], Julie [Plec], Warner Bros., The CW and the most loyal fan base the world has ever seen. Wow, what a ride.”

His on-screen brother, Paul Wesley (Stefan Salvatore) also had an emotional statement to make:

“Being cast in The Vampire Diaries has changed the trajectory of my life, to say the very least,” he said. “I’m beyond fortunate for the experiences I’ve had and lessons I’ve learned over the last 7 years. I want to thank Kevin and Julie, as well as Peter Roth and Warner Bros., Mark Pedowitz and The CW, our incredible cast and crew, and especially the TVD fans all around the world who are the reason this show became such a worldwide success. I am beyond grateful to have been a part of it.”

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The Return of Elena

While Ian and Paul offered heartwarming goodbyes to the show, executive producer Julie Plec had a teaser to offer. Fans have been wondering (and hoping) for a long time that Nina Dobrev would return to the show, at least for the series finale. Dobrev departed after season 6, and her character Elena was left open to return. After the season 7 finale featured Elena’s voice, fans became even more hopeful she would be returning to send the show off appropriately. When asked about Elena’s return, Plec had this to say:

“All I can say, because there is nothing written in stone, but Nina made me a promise when she left that she would come back and be part of the goodbye, and I intend on holding her to that, and I’m sure she intends on living up to it as well. We just have to figure it out: the how, the when, the what. But it would be a real tragedy if we couldn’t bring that story back around full-circle.”

Sounds like it’s time to stop hounding Julie about Elena’s return and start getting on Nina Dobrev’s case to stick to her promise!

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The Vampire Diaries‘ final season premieres Friday, October 21 at 8pm on The CW.

(Image courtesy of The CW)

Kartik Chainani

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV