After eight seasons and 171 episodes, The Vampire Diaries is ending tonight. Nina Dobrev, who kept everyone guessing if she would be coming back for the season finale, looked back at her fondest memories on the show, playing Elena Gilbert, and how returning gave her the closure she needed.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Nina Dobrev revealed that she always had a feeling that The Vampire Diaries was going to be on air for a long time. She recalled that even from filming the pilot episode back in 2009, she immediately felt a connection with everyone and the cast.
After playing Elena Gilbert for six years, Dobrev left The Vampire Diaries in 2015. Even if her exit had been a huge surprise for many, Dobrev held that she knew for years that she was ready to move on. The actress told the Hollywood Reporter that while the show played a huge part in her life, she was excited to explore other opportunities outside The Vampire Diaries.
"It's been a great journey, but at the end of the day, I'm not actually a vampire. The fairy tale has to end, and the next chapter has to begin," she said.Although Nina Dobrev promised Julie Plec, TVD co-creator and executive producer, that she would be back on the show for the series finale, several outlets reported that Dobrev no longer had interest in reprising her role. Clearly, that was not the case. Even if she had been MIA for almost two years, Dobrev shared that it wasn't difficult to get back into character.
"There's a lot of Elena in me, so it was easy to join the family back up and pick up where we left off."Shooting The Vampire Diaries series finale had been quite an emotional experience for Nina Dobrev. Although she might have done her "final" episode back in 2015, knowing that this will truly be the end for the hit CW series was a bittersweet moment. Dobrev shared that the cast and crew couldn't help but get nostalgic while filming the last episode.
Returning for The Vampire Diaries series finale was the closure Dobrev needed. A part of Elena's story might have ended two years ago, but going back one more time to finish what she had started is definitely what Dobrev, and TVD fans, needed.
"I'm very happy that we were able to make it work and that I came back because I really missed the whole family and wanted to be part of the final goodbye. It really has felt like the closure that I needed — that hopefully everybody needs — and I think it ends in such a beautiful way that everyone will be happy," she shared.When Nina Dobrev left, many insisted that it was because of her ongoing rift with ex-boyfriend Ian Somerhalder and his wife Nikki Reed. The Mirror reported rumors that Dobrev became desperate to leave the show after her failed romance with Somerhalder, despite pleas from the bosses. The Vampire Diaries alum, however, clarified that she was just ready for the next chapter in her life. Dobrev said that she would always be thankful for her time on TVD.
"I always say this show was like actor boot camp. I started off so young and green and I learned everything that you could possibly learn about… I sort of did every kind of acting that you can possibly do, so I feel like it groomed me and prepared me for the next step. I'm ready," she said.
The Vampire Diaries series finale airs tonight, March 10 on The CW. Watch the promo for "Forever Yours" below.[Featured Image by John Phillips/Getty Images]