Not much is known about the upcoming series finale of The Vampire Diaries. Fans can be certain of two things: one, Elena Gilbert will return to Mystic Falls, and two, she’ll be attending the funeral of someone she loves. With all of the Mystic Falls gang fighting Katherine and her various hell minions, it promises to be the biggest Vampire Diaries battle yet, and it’s safe to surmise that one of Elena’s nearest and dearest dies saving Mystic Falls from being consumed by the dreaded hellfire. We’ve compiled a list of who’s at risk and why they’re likely (or not) to survive.

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Elena Gilbert


When it comes to The Vampire Diaries — and cryptic spoilers — never say never. But who are we kidding?! Elena isn’t coming back just to get killed off. The poor girl has barely been able to rest in peace since her coffin has been moved all over the East Coast to keep her safe from Lily, the Heretics, Stefan, Damon and any vampire who might have been so inclined to drain her dry for the cure. She’s also one of the mourners at the mystery person’s funeral which pretty much seals the deal. Elena may not get the ending that fans are hoping for, but she’s going to get the one she deserves.

Alaric Saltzman


Why He Will Die

(Almost) everybody is fair game, and no matter how hard Alaric has tried to remove himself and his daughters from the constant danger that hangs over his friends from Mystic Falls, Alaric is always dragged back in. He’s the father of magic-siphoning Gemini twins who have been constant targets from everyone from the Sirens to their Uncle Kai. He’s mortal, and he’s in charge of the Armory which is full of good and bad mojo, and those who held the job before him are all, well, deceased. Ric’s also bound to factor heavily into any plan to save Mystic Falls from Katherine and the hell dimension. Getting rid of Ric would also clear the way for Caroline and Stefan to raise the twins without all that awkward baby-daddy drama.

Why He Won’t

Alaric has already died … a lot. Although he lost his fiancee, Caroline, Ric is in a good place. He’s all set to become the headmaster of a school for supernatural kids (think the magical version of X-Men.) It would be pretty brutal to kill off the single dad, leaving Josie and Lizzie technically orphans. And no offense to Alaric, but his death wouldn’t have the kind of long-lasting impact fans will be expecting from the series finale.

Caroline Forbes


Why She’ll Die

Caroline has only died once at the hands of Katherine, and she’s managed to stay alive-ish since becoming a vampire. If Katherine is looking for payback, she’s bound to target Caroline since she’s Stefan’s wife. Caroline could also lose her life while trying to protect her new husband, Matt, Alaric or her daughters. A lot of her loved ones are vulnerable these days. With Caroline out of the picture, it paves the way for a human Elena and a human Stefan to rekindle their romance.

Why She Won’t

Nobody has worked harder than Caroline to hold things together these past few years. While doling out string cheese and juice boxes to her surrogate daughters, Caroline stood by Stefan during his worst Ripper episode to date, she reminded Damon that his love for Elena was worth fighting for and has given advice and comfort to bestie Bonnie. Caroline has served as the Type-A touchstone, tethering everyone together, even the vamp-hating Matt. Killing off the perky, blonde supermom would be a bold move but a heartless one too.

Matt Donovan


Why He’ll Die

Matty doesn’t believe his life has amounted to much, and he would like to leave his mark. Given his family — past and present — is responsible for the bell that can unleash hellfire, destroying Mystic Falls, Matt is poised to do some damage control. He’s also the sheriff, so he’s kind of obligated to take one for the team. Matt has suffered tragedy after tragedy, and season 8 has been setting him up to come out either on top or six feet under.

Why He Won’t

Matt has managed to live and die and still remain human the entire time, unlike all of his friends and his sister. He’s waged an admirable battle against vamps, giving Mystic Falls back to the town’s human inhabitants after it was nearly decimated by Julian and the Heretics. He should be rewarded for never going over to the dark side. Fans could rest easy knowing Mystic Falls would be in good hands if Matt remained the sheriff.  

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Damon Salvatore

Ian Somerhalder as Damon Salvatore on The Vampire Diaries Season 3 Finale 8.png

Why He’ll Die

Out of all of the major players left, Damon deserves to die the most. There’s all of the horrible things he did pre-Elena, and all the things he did in spite of and for Elena, but there’s not enough room to recap all of Damon’s homicidal and diabolical behavior.

Until recently, he was on a downward spiral that had him murdering people in excess for Sybil and then for Cade to avoid going to hell. As Kai said, Damon is “super deep in the karma hole.” Yes, he sacrificed himself to save his brother and Bonnie but thanks to a highly-questionable loophole — a psychic blast returned his soul to his body — Damon escaped eternal damnation once again. Damon plans to atone for his sins moving forward. He’s determined to no longer kill indiscriminately, but that doesn’t bring back Tyler Lockwood, does it?

Why He Won’t

Damon always gets a pass. He’s the worst good guy, ever. But when you compare him to the villains of late, Damon is practically a pussycat. Everyone has been willing to forgive Damon, especially Elena, and that is the path to redemption — in the morally-compromised world of vamps, anyway. Delena fans will be devastated if Damon doesn’t get to marry his girl and live happily ever after because “a love that deep and real can win over anything.”

Stefan Salvatore


Why He’ll Die

Stefan has spent the entire series looking for redemption, not just for his Ripper escapades but for turning his brother into a vampire against his will. Ever since Bonnie cured Stefan of his immortality, he’s been trying to figure out how to right the innumerable wrongs he’s done and has been torn between wanting to live and looking for a way to escape his guilt and regrets.

Since Stefan compelled Matt Donovan to ring the bell that allowed Cade, Kai, Kelly, Vicki and an ever-increasing number of baddies to exit hell and head straight for Mystic Falls, it would be poetic justice if he died saving the town and all the people he loves. Stefan also sucks at being human, and instead of growing old and grey, spending his remaining years emasculated because his wife constantly has to save his ass, Stefan can go out hot and a hero — hair included.

Why He Won’t

Because he’s the hero. Stefan has been a tortured soul for most of his vampire life — except when he flipped that handy humanity switch. It would be nice if he got the girl, saved the world and was allowed to finally live out his days helping his wife “raise her two beautiful children, and their children after that.” Making Stefan human was akin to killing him since now he actually has an expiration date. Also, fans are already mentally and emotionally preparing themselves for the demise of a mortal Stefan — he’s come close several times already — which in and of itself probably increases his chances of survival. 

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Bonnie Bennett


Why She’ll Die

Things don’t currently look good for Bon-Bon, given the last time fans saw her, she had collapsed and was bleeding from her nose, but Bonnie’s death probably won’t be that pedestrian. She does possess strong enough psychic powers to create an alternate dimension, so death by hell bell would be a letdown.

Given she survives the ringing of that blasted bell, Bonnie is in a dark place. She’s lost the love of her life, and happy endings just aren’t Bonnie’s bag. During season 2, Bonnie even foreshadowed her own death, telling Jeremy, “It never ends well for people like me.” She’s constantly sacrificing herself to save her friends. With Elena returning, all signs would point to the fact that Bonnie’s days are numbered. Not to mention Enzo’s cryptic words that when he and Bonnie see each other again, there will be only “peace.”

Why She Won’t

It’s pretty predictable, and the show’s co-creators Julie Plec and Kevin Williamson don’t do predictable (did anyone see that Sleeping Beauty spell coming?) It’s hard to imagine the Mystic Falls gang being able to defeat Katherine and the all-consuming hellfire without Bonnie’s help, and after always putting her own happiness and safety on the back burner, Bonnie deserves better than dying so Elena can reap the benefits. Enzo made Bonnie promise to live a long life, and if anyone has earned a free pass to assisted living, it’s Bonnie.

Who do you think will die in the series finale? Should both Salvatore brothers survive? How can Elena come back if Bonnie lives? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

The Vampire Diaries series finale airs Friday, March 10 at 9/8c on The CW. Want more news? Visit our Vampire Diaries page on Facebook.

(Images courtesy of The CW)

Jennifer Lind-Westbrook

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV

Jennifer has worked as a freelance writer in the entertainment field since 2012. In addition to currently writing feature articles for Screen Rant, Jennifer has contributed content ranging from recaps to listicles to reviews for BuddyTV, PopMatters, TVRage, TVOvermind, and Tell-Tale TV. Links to some of Jennifer’s reviews can be found on Rotten Tomatoes.