The Vampire Diaries will return for the second half of its seventh season on January 29, 2016, and it will bring with it some big changes. Although nothing can quite compare to the departure of Nina Dobrev, a new yet familiar face and some possible major character losses may again cause The Vampire Diaries to reinvent itself.
The New Face Of Elena Gilbert, Or Just Another Doppelganger?
No, Nina Dobrev isn't coming back to The Vampire Diaries, or, at least, not yet. It seems, however, that the writers aren't content to let Damon Salvatore (Ian Somerhalder) remain single for very much longer, regardless of his vow to Elena.
The Vampire Diaries will be bringing in Leslie-Anne Huff, who looks very much like Dobrev, to charm and seduce Damon. Ms. Huff will be playing Rayna, an evil vampire hunter with a special eye for the elder Salvatore brother.
While it seems like a smart move to bring in someone who so closely resembles Dobrev, especially when The Vampire Diaries is losing ratings, executive producer Caroline Dries insists that the resemblance is a coincidence. Although Dries hasn't met Huff personally, she insists that the actress is perfect for the role and that her appearance did not play a part in casting.
Huff's casting also comes after rumors began circulating that Somerhalder planned to leave the show as well. Ian seemed unhappy that his character was left with no romantic interests and no prospects of new love, considering the way Nina Dobrev's departure left Elena Gilbert.
Somerhalder teased that they gave Damon a big bed for a reason when he said "as long as he can fit up to eight sorority girls, then that's how big we should make the bed."
What Becomes Of Matt And Tyler After The Vampire Diaries Three-Year Time Jump?
With the time jump giving glimpses of fans' favorite characters, it's hard to miss just what the future holds for each of them. By now, however, the keener fans of The Vampire Diaries have begun to notice that at least one character is conspicuously absent from these flash forward scenes: Matt Donovan.
"We haven't seen Matt in a flash forward... And I don't know if that's a good thing," said showrunner Julie Plec.
Matt is the only character to have remained a human through all seven seasons of The Vampire Diaries, and some suspect his absence from the time jump sequences indicates an early demise.
Tyler Lockwood, played by Micheal Trevino, shares a similarly uncertain fate, according to Caroline Dries. The Vampire Diaries executive says there's much more to Tyler's story, pieces that haven't been shown yet. Ms. Dries says Tyler's full story will be revealed as the remainder of the season unfolds.
Another story is that of Alaric Saltzman, which will tie into the real life pregnancy of Candice King, who plays Caroline Forbes.
Showrunner Julie Plec wanted to "put Alaric Saltzman (Matt Davis) on a good path for season seven, we felt so terrible about having slaughtered not just his wife but also his twins."
The idea of having King serve as a surrogate mother to Alaric's unborn twins came about, when Ms. King informed The Vampire Diaries producers that she was pregnant. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to do something good for a character, after having forced him to endure so many hardships.
Looking forward to the rest of Season 7, it's difficult to imagine a Season 8 for The Vampire Diaries. While these stories are enough to keep loyal fans tuning in, they're hardly the compelling dramas fans have come to expect. Unless Season 7 picks up the tempo, this may be the end for one of the CW network's strongest shows.
[Image via CW]