Season 8 of The Vampire Diaries will be the show’s last, and speculation about what awaits TV’s sexiest supernaturals as they prepare to walk off into an infinite sunset promises to reach fever pitch by the time the series returns for its 16-episode run in October. Executive Producer Julie Plec dropped some hints during San Diego Comic-Con about what fans can expect, and according to the EP, the series will be returning to some aspects of its season 1 roots.
A whole lot of good and bad guys have come and gone (and come and gone again), so the big question is, who do we hope to see return to Mystic Falls during season 8? Michael Trevino will reprise his role as werewolf Tyler Lockwood, and Tristin Mays, who played Stefan and Damon’s great-niece Sarah Salvatore, is scheduled to appear as well. Here are a few other characters who could pop up during season 8.
Elena Gilbert/Katherine Pierce (Nina Dobrev)
While it hasn’t been confirmed, it’s practically a done deal that Nina Dobrev will reunite with her former castmates for at least the finale. Plec has stated that Dobrev promised to return in order to put Elena’s storyline to bed (pun intended). Elena has been slumbering peacefully thanks to a spell cast on her and bestie Bonnie by the evil Kai in season 6. As long as Bonnie lives, Elena stays young, beautiful, human and unconscious.
The obvious catalyst for Elena’s return would be a flash-forward where Bonnie dies of old age — an unheard of occurrence in MF — and Elena wakes up to be reunited with her soulmate, Damon. If anyone deserves to live a long, peaceful life, it’s Bonnie. She’s been a witch, a ghost, an Anchor, a witch again and a huntress, and now she’s a mere mortal with a runaway boyfriend and a broken heart. But we all know that nice guys (and girls) don’t always finish first on The Vampire Diaries. So, Bonnie could meet an unfortunate end, bringing Elena back earlier than expected.
It would be a major letdown for fans if Dobrev doesn’t fulfill the verbal obligation she made to Plec. Viewers are going to want some closure where Delena is concerned.
Dobrev could also reprise her role as vampire/mortal/Traveler/doppelganger Katherine Pierce. Katherine got sucked into a black abyss fans could only assume was hell in season 5, but she could appear as part of a flashback.
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Jeremy Gilbert (Steven R. McQueen)
After being woefully underused in season 6, Elena’s little brother, Jeremy, left Mystic Falls to dedicate himself full-time to vampire hunting. Jeremy returned in the season finale to bid adieu to his big sister but hasn’t been around since. McQueen has been a series regular on Chicago Fire, but the future of his character is up in the air, possibly because of a rumored return to The Vampire Diaries.
Jeremy isn’t immortal, so he’ll be collecting Social Security by the time Elena’s due to wake up. But there’s a new bigger, badder villain on the loose, one that’s already recruited Damon and Enzo, so the rest of the gang may need Little Gilbert’s singular set of skills to take the mystery monster down.
Kai Parker (Chris Wood)
Psychotic magic siphoner and strangely-charismatic Gemini coven leader Kai Parker caused a great deal of misery during his season 6 stint on The Vampire Diaries. Most notably, he killed his twin sister Jo on her wedding day and slit his own throat, causing the demise of his entire coven. He also cast the sleeping spell on Elena that became irreversible upon his death.
Kai didn’t survive long as a witch-vampire — Damon beheaded him — which makes his return unlikely. He’s not lurking on the Other Side, and it’s difficult to reincarnate a headless vamp who was dying from a werewolf bite, but if anyone can find an imaginative way to bring back someone from the dead, it’s Plec. If Kai were to return, he could undo that pesky spell.
Jenna Sommers (Sara Canning)
Elena and Jeremy’s beloved aunt was turned into a vampire and subsequently killed by Klaus Mikaelson in the season 2 finale. Original witch Esther assured Elena that Jenna had remained pure, found peace and wasn’t wandering the Other Side with all the other lost souls. Jenna remains one of the few departed characters to remain dead and buried. It would be nice to see Jeremy, Elena and Jenna together in some capacity, whether it be in this existence or the hereafter, but most likely, any reunion would be of the flashback variety.
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Klaus and Elijah arrived in Mystic Falls season 2, and Klaus killed Elena. Klaus returned in season 3 with a ripper Stefan and Original sister Rebekah in tow. Klaus and Beks remained in town and continued to have complicated love-hate relationships with the Mystic Falls gang until their departure for New Orleans (and their own spinoff).
The Originals would have to reconcile any timeline inconsistencies. Since the CW pushed The Originals to a spring premiere, that looks to be a likely scenario (Five years while The Vampire Diaries is sitting at 3 and some change) . Klaus’ last return was in a benevolent capacity, so if he skips out on the Big Easy for a Mystic Falls vacay, it would probably be for a good cause, not to cause mischief.
Sheila “Grams” Bennett (Jasmine Guy)
Grams helped Bonnie embrace her inner witch, and even though Grams died in season 1, she’s returned on multiple occasions (season 3-6) to advise her granddaughter, who has had a tendency to abuse or misuse her powers. Grams found peace just as the Other Side imploded by securing Bonnie’s passage to the Prison World, giving Bonnie a shot at finding her way back to the land of the living.
Bonnie, a descendent of a long line of powerful witches, lost her powers after her brief stint as the huntress, and it’s unlikely she’ll regain them without the aid of her ancestors. The fate of everyone who managed to escape the Other Side remains a big question mark, and Grams’ return could explain where those lucky enough to escape the mystical purgatory wound up.
Lexi Branson (Arielle Kebbel)
Lexi was staked by Damon when she arrived in Mystic Falls during season 1 to celebrate bestie Stefan’s birthday. She appeared in seven more episodes as either a ghost or part of a flashback, establishing that she was instrumental in helping Stefan get his ripper tendencies under control. Lexie found peace by preventing Markos, a Traveler bent on undoing all witches’ magic, from returning to MF to carry out his diabolical plan.
Stefan’s going to be in rough shape with his brother footloose and conscience-free and could be visited by his pal, either through some magical loophole or as a helpful hallucination. Since Lexi met Stefan in 1864, she could also be a lock for a flashback appearance.
Mason Lockwood (Taylor Kinney)
Both Plec and Kinney have indicated an interest in revisiting the character of Mason Lockwood. Kinney joined the cast in season 2 as Tyler’s estranged uncle who returned to MF after the death of his brother. Mason is the one who told Tyler about the Lockwood curse and how it is triggered. Mason was also romantically involved with Katherine Pierce. Damon tortured and murdered Mason by ripping his heart out of his chest. Mason returned as a ghost and revealed another Lockwood secret — how to kill Klaus.
Kinney has been a series regular on Chicago Fire since 2012.
One thing is certain, it’s going to be all hands on deck to battle the biggest bitch, “evil herself,” when The Vampire Diaries returns to The CW on Friday, October 21 at 8pm.
(Images courtesy of The CW)