Ian Somerhalder Leaving ‘The Vampire Diaries’? Nina Dobrev To Return For Season 8?

With the seventh season of The Vampire Diaries entering its final leg, many questions about the future of the series remain unanswered. While The CW has officially renewed the series for an eighth season, that doesn’t mean that all the cast members will return for another year. With that in mind, is Ian Somerhalder preparing to depart from the show? Even more, is Nina Dobrev setting herself up for a possible return?

According to International Business Times, it appears as though the show might actually kill off Somerhalder’s character at the end of Season 7. In the most recent episode, Rayna worked hard to get Stefan to transfer his mark over to his brother.

Damon had a great plan in finally getting rid of Rayna, but the problem of her mark on Stefan prevented the brothers from following through with their plan. After all, Stefan will die if Rayna meets her end.

The Vampire Diaries cancelled? Ian Somerhalder blaming Nina Dobrev. Ian Somerhalder and Paul Wesley [Image via The CW]In order to solve this problem, Damon is willing to take on the mark himself and suffer the consequences in Stefan’s stead. In the trailer for the next installment, titled “Days of Future Past,” it sounds as though Stefan has come to terms with leaving his brother behind for good. “Are you finally ready to leave Damon behind?” Rayna is seen asking Stefani, who replies in the affirmative.

At this point, fans will have to wait for the coming episode to see if Damon will be able to make it through alive. If not, then this current predicament offers Ian Somerhalder a clean way out of the series, which has suffered since Dobrev’s departure.

According to Movie News Guide, the hit show has witnessed a significant drop in ratings since Dobrev decided to leave the show at the end of Season 6. Because of these lower ratings, the network decided to move the series to a new time slot for the first time ever.

The ratings were so low, in fact, that many people suspected that the seventh season would be The Vampire Diaries’ last. Luckily, the network decided to renew the show for at least another year.

However, Celeb Dirty Laundry is reporting that the main reason why Dobrev left was because of her tumultuous relationship with Somerhalder. Apparently, the former Vampire Diaries star is looking to get back at her ex-boyfriend by signing on as a regular on The Originals.

Ian Somerhalder and Nina Dobrev dated both on and off 'The Vampire Diaries.' [Image via The CW] Ian Somerhalder and Nina Dobrev dated both on and off ‘The Vampire Diaries.’ [Image via The CW]If Dobrev really is going to return to The Originals, then she isn’t that far from reprising her role as Elena Gilbert. After all, both shows reside in the same supernatural world, and Somerhalder’s departure from The Vampire Diaries might tempt Dobrev enough to make an epic return.

Whatever ends up happening in the near future, one thing that is for certain is that showrunner Julie Plec will continue the series as long as her lead characters remain devoted. In an interview with E! Online, Plec explained her thinking on how the series will ultimately end.

“I finally realized that my destiny on this show, creatively, is tied in to Ian Somerhalder and Paul Wesley,” Plec revealed. “And I mean that in a really good way. As long as those boys who I now consider my friends want to keep telling the story, then I won’t walk away from telling the story.”

If Somerhalder does decide to end his time with the series, it will be interesting to see if Plec is willing to continue on with Dobrev instead. Considering how many viewers Dobrev would likely bring in, there is little doubt that Plec would welcome her with open arms.

The Vampire Diaries continues Friday nights on The CW.

Tell us! Do you think Ian Somerhalder will return for season 8 of The Vampire Diaries? Let us know in the comments below.

[Image via CW]