Here’s an extended promo for tonight’s series finale. The episode is called “I Was Feeling Epic”

OLD FRIENDS – With the fate of Mystic Falls at stake, Stefan (Paul Wesley) and Damon (Ian Somerhalder) must fight their greatest enemy for one last battle.

It’s the beginning of the end.

After 8 seasons, 171 episodes and countless spells, deaths, and bloody-thirsty twists, The Vampire Diaries is airing its series finale tonight at 8 p.m. on The CW and we’re not the only ones who are feeling emotional at saying goodbye to our Mystic Falls favorites.

“I cried my soul out during the process of shooting it, and cutting it, and saying goodbye to everybody so now I’m just ready,” TVD showrunner Julie Plec dished to ET.

Before we take a “trip down memory lane” in tonight’s Vampire Dairies retrospective episode airing ahead of the finale, Plec answered our eight biggest questions about Elena, Damon, Stefan, Bonnie and Caroline’s last episode.

What was your goal that you were looking to accomplish with this final episode?
Julie Plec:
I knew going in that I really wanted [Vampire Diaries’ co-creator] Kevin [Williamson] and I to be able to tell a story that we both felt touched and moved by. What I wanted to do, and what he wanted to do, was to bring back that organic relationship — back to that thing that started it all, and to be able to make the choices together to finish it. We both agreed that we wanted it to be a very emotional ending with equal parts heartbreak and hope and I think we delivered on that.

We at ET had the honor of debuting a sneak peek clip of Damon and Elena’s first reunion. What was it like for you to have those two iconic characters together on screen again?
The reunion of Damon and Elena was something that we kind of inherently promised to the audience when we put her under the sleeping beauty spell and made them say goodbye, so it was something that we really wanted to be sure we could deliver on. Nina was able to come back and, thank God, reprise her role as Elena because that would have been so disappointing across the board to not be able to deliver on that.

Did you have a series finale backup plan if you couldn’t get Nina to come back?
We had some pretty lame backup plans. [Laughs] We talked a lot about it. I mean, I know that we could have made a satisfying finale without her — it just wouldn’t have been satisfying to me. It would’ve felt like I had broken a promise by dangling the hope that we’d see her again for two years, you know, it took a bit of a gamble in making that promise, but Nina had been clear that she wanted to return, and so we just had to keep our fingers crossed that it would all work out.

We know that many familiar faces will be returning in the series finale. What was it like to see so many past and present cast members come together again?
It was great! That’s one of the reasons why I think why we do it. People can complain all they want how death doesn’t feel permanent on The Vampire Diaries, but when you have a group of characters played by actors that you love so deeply, and characters that you love so deeply, finding small ways to see the again is part of the fun

Will we be seeing any stars of The Vampire Diaries spinoff series The Originals making an appearance?
We’re not going to see any original family members on camera, but we do tip our hats to their existence.

Was there any actor on your finale RSVP list that you wanted to come back, but you couldn’t make it work?
I would say we had a 95 percent success rate with the faces that we asked to return. Those that couldn’t, there were availability issues. And then, of course, we had a list a page-long of people we wanted to bring back, but in the process of writing the scripts we just couldn’t make it all work.

The Vampire Diaries has always had one of the most passionate fandoms — especially their shippers. Did you ever take their requests into mind when plotting out this last episode?
No, contrary to what the shippers believe — and when I say “shippers,” I say it in air quotes and I don’t mean all of them. I just mean the nasty ones. That small percentage across every ship with the nastiest and biggest bullies — we actually don’t make our decisions based on what they want, but we do try to honor the fan community, and their love for the show, and be true to the characters and them. Some will be happy and some will be disappointed, but, hopefully, that small percentage of the mean kids should be able to look at this show as a complete experience and feel pretty good about the way that it all ended.

What is the one thing you want The Vampire Diaries fandom to know before tuning in?
Just to grab your Kleenex and grab your best friend and enjoy your Friday.

The Vampire Diaries’ retrospective and series finale airs tonight beginning at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.​

With one season left in The Vampire Diaries’ run, we decided it was time to start collecting everyone’s final diary entries. Every week during the final season, EW is asking those involved with the show to look back on one of their favorite moments from the series. So grab your tissues and join us on this trip down a vampire-filled memory lane.

For the final week, Nina Dobrev — who’s back for the series finale — looks back on her time as Elena Gilbert (and every other Petrova doppelganger)…

I get feelings about things. I always joke with my friends that I actually have supernatural abilities, and when I got the pilot and we started shooting, just the synergy with everyone and the cast, it just felt right and I kind of had this feeling that it would go and it would go for a long time. My juju was accurate.

I loved doing all the period episodes. Any time I got to go back into the 1400s or the Viking Age or anything of that sort, that was always my favorite. The 20s were really fun. Basically, anything that Katherine got to do and have a corset on or some sort of cool costume was really fun.

It was easy to get back into character for the finale. I played Elena for six years, so I jumped right back into it. 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.

This goodbye feels different than it did when I left the first time because I was leaving and the show continued, and now the show’s ending for everyone. It feels more final. It’s more almost like closure. Everyone’s been very nostalgic; it’s a bittersweet ending. 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.

So much has changed for all of us. When I look back at everybody and see how everyone’s changed in such a positive way and grown into such beautiful adults, it’s great and it’s also kind of sad. I’m going to miss everybody but hopefully once everybody moves back to L.A., we’ll continue to hang out.

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. From a technical standpoint, there’s marks and frames and lighting, and then and I got to do a lot of stunts and I had to cry all the time and I had to scream and run. 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.

The Vampire Diaries series finale airs Friday, March 10 at 9 p.m. ET on The CW.

After eight years, 171 episodes, several hot love triangles and countless gruesome kills, The CW’s bloodsucker tale The Vampire Diaries bids adieu. And what better way to go out than with the citizens of Mystic Falls—home to our favorite monsters—in peril? Wayward siblings Damon (Ian Somerhalder, right) and Stefan (Paul Wesley) Salvatore find themselves in a battle to save the people they love from their biggest enemy: the nefarious vamp Katherine Pierce (Nina Dobrev), who has a score to settle with her former lovers.

There could be no Katherine without Dobrev, the onetime star of the series who quit in 2015 to pursue other projects. But she’s back to play the vengeful villain as well as her kindhearted doppelgänger and Damon’s beloved, Elena Gilbert. (Former cast members Michael Trevino and Steven R. McQueen are also expected to show up in the final hour.)

TV Insider sits down with Ian Somerhalder to talk about the series finale;

Somerhalder promises some happy endings—à la last week’s joyous wedding—and at least one death in an episode he describes as “very emotional.” Will the victim be Bonnie Bennett (Kat Graham), whose passing would mean that Elena’s Sleeping Beauty–like spell would break and she could finally awaken? Or will one of the Salvatore brothers bite the dust? “Damon would do and sacrifice anything to protect Elena and his brother,” teases Somerhalder. “Perhaps he doesn’t deserve to get the girl.”

“I have so many memorable moments.” the actor notes. ‘In the first season, when Damon and Vicki (Kayla Ewell, who’s returned for the final episodes) are dancing around the Salvatore House and being so free, epitomized this character for me. I realized in that moment, that Damon was going to be a lot of fun; a really unique character in the space of television.” But he notes, it’s the scenes with Paul Wesley that really stay with him. “Paul and I cherished the moments when the brothers were sort of happy together, especially in the flashback scenes, because they were very few and far between, but they were very cool and very sweet.”

Whatever happens, the series ender won’t be ambiguous like the denouement of Somerhalder’s other iconic series, Lost. “The episode [written by original showrunners Julie Plec and Kevin Williamson] ties up the story very nicely for our loyal fans, and hopefully they will feel satisfied and happy,” Somerhalder says. “It’s quite a poetic ending.”

“After eight years, these characters have become emotional avatars for our fans so they’re bound to feel like they’re on a rollercoaster of emotion,” Somerhalder says. “Hopefully, they will feel satisfied with the finale, instead of being angry and screaming at each other about it. Or at us. It’s all about love and it’s all about story telling and we want them to be happy.”

Damon may over for Somerhalder, but he has plenty of TV projects in the works, he says. “My wife [actress Nikki Reed] signed a very active production studio with Warner Bros. She’s running our company and we have ten shows in development. We’ve sold three already and we’re full steam ahead. We are going to make and tell great stories together.”

If you were hoping Friday’s Vampire Diaries finale (The CW, 9/8c) would help fill in a few blanks about Katherine — for example, how she became the new queen of Hell — then I guess that makes TV Line the bearer of bad news.

“One of the things we realized as we were getting to the end and trying to squeeze in story where we could was, like, of course Katherine wound up running hell,” executive producer Julie Plec tells TVLine. “Of course she had Cade wrapped around her little finger.” As for specifics, “You can fill in the blanks of how she’s able to pull that off.”

Adds Plec, “If I could nail down Nina [Dobrev] for a shortened-season retelling of Katherine’s exploits in Hell, I’d do it in a heartbeat.”
And although the Katherine-centric series finale has a full-circle feel to it, Plec says she hadn’t always planned on bringing Dobrev’s wicked doppelgänger back into the picture.

“We made the decision when we took Katherine away that we were going to do it in a way that looked different from how anyone else had died,” she explains. “We weren’t going to push ourselves to answer the question of ‘where,’ because — in our minds — it was whatever version of hell The Vampire Diaries would choose to tell stories about. In Season 8, we decided to tell that story. It came back around perfectly because we got to show not just where Katherine’s been, but also reveal that she’s actually basically been the puppet master of everything that happened in Season 8 — which is nice full circle back to how she was the puppet master of everything in Season 1.”
Of course, Dobrev wasn’t always confirmed to appear in the series finale, leading Plec to contemplate a back-up plan she now considers “pretty lame.”
“At one point in the middle of the season, I thought, ‘Should we just shock the audience and kill Elena in the middle of the season? Burn her body, and she’s just gone, so we’re not misleading fans all season with the promise that she’ll return?’ One of the writers was like, ‘As a fan of the show, I think that’s just about the worst idea you’ve ever had.’” (On behalf of literally every single fan, I thank you, mysterious writer.)

And if you’re wondering about those 15-second teases we’ve been seeing, Plec promises they’re not a total misdirect: “We’re not pulling a bait and switch of Elena not being awake. She is. We will see her in this episode.”

ELENA GILBERT’S CRYING. Standing in the Mystic Falls cemetery where she’s said many goodbyes — and even a few hellos — Elena’s surrounded by everyone she loves. Well, almost everyone. One person is missing. Did we forget to mention that this is a funeral?

It’s a sunny January day in Atlanta as the Vampire Diaries cast films its last group scene in the woods. In between takes, there’s laughter and excited whispers about who’s in town for the upcoming wrap party, but when showrunner Julie Plec, the director of the show’s final hour, calls “Action,” an emotional fog sets in. This is a goodbye — and it’s a big one. “We wanted to go big, emotionally, with the action, and with the spectacular of it,” says Plec, who co-wrote the episode with co-creator Kevin Williamson. “We were absolutely feeling epic.”

When The Vampire Diaries premiered on The CW in 2009, it found itself smack in the middle of the vampire craze. With the success of both Twilight and True Blood, this was network television’s chance to see if fans still thirsted for blood, and when the Vampire Diaries pilot attracted the largest audience of any series premiere in CW history at that time, all signs pointed to yes. “I remember being in Vancouver with Ian [Somerhalder],” Zach Roerig, who plays Matt, says of filming the pilot. “In the hair and makeup trailer, Ian’s like, ‘Hey, kid, get ready for the ride of your life.’” Somerhalder adds: “Twilight was very much the zeitgeist of pop culture. There was just that sense that the market desired this genre. This material was going to work.”

The Vampire Diaries took what fans loved about the genre — suspense, shocking twists, forbidden romance — and, to borrow from the show, heightened everything. Out of loss, it built an epic love story between one girl and two brothers, the likes of which launched some of television’s most passionate shippers. Eight years later, many fans remain firmly Team Delena or Team Stelena, or have dedicated themselves to another ship entirely. But the one thing everyone can agree on: The show can’t end without Elena Gilbert.

And it won’t. Dobrev, who left the show when her contract expired at the end of season 6, has returned to give a proper farewell to the unflinchingly selfless Petrova doppelgänger. (The finale airs March 10.) “The nostalgia is insane,” Dobrev says of being back on set. “I keep getting triggered by moments: a piece of wardrobe, a person’s voice, a crew member’s laugh. It’s like a trip down memory lane, and I have so many beautiful memories of the six years that I spent here. I’m really glad that I got to be a part of it.”

Back at the cemetery, the emotional fog is replaced by a literal one. This is Mystic Falls, after all. And in an instant, heartbreak seamlessly turns into romance when one of the show’s main couples share a passionate kiss. Watching the kiss unfold, Plec gets within an inch of the monitor. “I want to see that tear,” she announces, prolonging the scene until she gets the perfect blend of romance and tragedy that has become the show’s signature over the years. The moment that tear falls, she calls “Cut.”

JULIE PLEC’S CRYING. Sitting in the middle of the town square, Plec watches as two longtime characters walk off the screen for the final time. “That was so good,” she says through her tears as she makes a note of the take. That one’s a keeper.

For Plec, her emotional roller coaster started three years ago when the show hit its 100th episode and she realized that, unlike the vampires she’d created, it wasn’t immortal. “I would cry just thinking about what that would feel like,” she says. “So the minute we started talking about this as the last year, everything made me emotional, because closure is so powerful both in life and in fiction. Each goodbye is real.”

And those goodbyes are starting now. With less than two weeks left shooting the finale, Plec just announced the first “series wrap” on Michael Trevino, whose Tyler is one of many returning faces in the finale. He and Plec exchange I love yous and one last hug before she returns to her director’s chair, and he heads to wardrobe to quite literally step out of Tyler’s shoes for the last time.

“It’s this very interesting melancholy,” Paul Wesley says of the feeling on set. “I did Stefan’s final scene with Elena. It was strangely emotional for me.” Wesley pauses as if coming to terms with what he’s about to say in this very instant. “You’re saying goodbye to this time and this moment. The two of us are never going to be playing these characters ever again, and these were really important characters in television for eight years.”

They’ve been important characters both on television and in the personal lives of everyone involved. All the cast members, when asked about their time on the series, share a similar sentiment: They grew up here. It changed them, or in some cases, healed them. “We all started this show, almost all of us, in the midst of some sort of life turmoil, whatever it may have been,” says Roerig. “And somehow through these eight years we’ve patched ourselves up and are now ready to face the world again.”

His castmate Candice King (Caroline) says, “[This show] changed my life. It’s hard to summarize at this point what it means because it kind of means everything.”

SOON WE’LL ALL BE CRYING. Sitting on a plane, Wesley read the finale script for the first time, and the actor, who admittedly doesn’t get sentimental when it comes to the show, teared up. He then took a photo of said tear and sent it to Plec and Williamson as proof, of both his ability to cry off screen and the power of the ending they’d created.

However, it’s not the ending they originally came up with during the second season. “The big finale episode that we had always planned did not happen because the show was successful and lasted eight years,” Williamson says. For example, the original ending involved ghosts, which no longer exist now that the Other Side has been destroyed. Plec adds: “While it was not a journey with a straight line — it took many, many forms along the way — the heart and the sentiment, dating back six years ago when he and I first thought we knew how the series would end to the way it’s ending, is pretty spot-on.”

Sitting on set, Plec starts singing “guess who’s back” from Eminem’s “Without Me” with one of the biggest returning cast members. Nostalgia might be a bitch, but on this set it’s also cause for celebration, and the finale is filled with it. “I feel like I’ve watched other shows where the series finale leaves you unsatisfied, but we really do come to a conclusion with all the characters and their lives,” Dobrev says. “Julie and Kevin wrote a really beautiful episode, with a lot of callbacks to the pilot.”

Those callbacks come in many forms: characters, lines, and even locations, all of which factor into what Plec calls “our love-letter goodbye to the series.” After five acts of a “wild, epic season finale,” Plec says the final 15 minutes is where they really bid adieu. “It could almost stand on its own as a little movie with all the stuff we’re tying to accomplish,” Plec says. “We’re so proud of it. It really did give closure, for better or for worse.”

Walking away from the funeral scene, Dobrev wipes away Elena’s tears. At this point, you’d think Elena would be used to goodbyes. But this one’s different: There will be no more witchy high jinks, no more Other Side. Bonnie Bennett’s no longer in the business of bringing people back from the dead. This goodbye, much like the show’s final hour, is goodbye forever — which, for a vampire, is forever-forever.

The Vampire Diaries series finale airs Friday at 9 p.m. ET on The CW.


Now that we’ve told you what you won’t see during Friday’s Vampire Diaries send-off (The CW, 9/8c), it’s time to talk about what we can expect from the series finale. TV Line sat down with The Vampire Diaries’ executive producer Julie Plec about Friday’s series finale;’

For starters, the episode picks up immediately after the events of last week’s bell ringing, with Stefan desperately trying to keep Bonnie from slipping into… wherever dead witches go at this point. “The history between the two of them being so fraught, he wants to do everything he can to make sure that she takes another breath,” executive producer — and co-writer of the finale — Julie Plec tells TVLine. She also dubs this the “worst wedding night ever.” (Sorry, Caroline!)

Meanwhile, Damon will find himself “confounded” by a new series of obstacles thrown his way, while remaining “determined” to reunite with Elena. (If you missed the first part of our chat with Plec, it’s been confirmed that Elena will be seen in the episode, lest you fear that The CW’s recent string of 15-second finale teases have been leading us all astray.)

And then there’s the million-dollar question, one we’ve wondered ever since Plec’s recent Twitter Q&A: How might The Vampire Diaries‘ series finale connect to the upcoming fourth season of its spinoff, The Originals?
“After you see this finale, and when we get to The Originals‘ finale, that question sort of answers itself,” she tells us. “It sets the stage for either the future of The Originals or another piece of The Vampire Diaries universe. Whether we get the opportunity to go down that road, I have no idea. But it definitely opens the door for a nice iteration of the two worlds.”

As The Vampire Diaries prepares to sign off this Friday, Matt Davis is already plotting his TV return.
The TVD actor has joined the cast of ABC’s drama pilot Las Reinas, starring Daniella Alonso (Animal Kingdom, Revolution), TV Line‘s sister site Deadline reports;

The potential series revolves around detective Sonya De La Reina (Alonso), who is forced to confront her past when a case compels her to reconnect with her estranged family — the most powerful criminal outfit in Miami. Thrust back into the world she thought she had left behind, Sonya must walk the murky line between the law and her family, and question her true destiny as a De La Reina.

Davis will play Sonya’s partner Andrew Somerset, a good-guy cop who is not about to let her go it alone. The ensemble also includes John Corbett (Parenthood, Sex and the City), Sonia Braga (Alias) and Amanda Warren (The Leftovers).

Dean Georgaris (Tristan + Isolde, 2014’s The Manchurian Candidate update) penned the pilot and will executive-produce alongside Chris Brancato (Narcos), who will serve as showrunner if the project is ordered to series.

In addition to his off-and-on series-regular role as Alaric on Vampire Diaries, Davis’ TV credits include Cult, Damages and What About Brian.

The brave bartender is back… sort of.

When The Originals released the first promo for its upcoming fourth season, there was one face fans were especially shocked to see: Cami O’Connell sitting next to Klaus. Now, just to clarify: Cami died during the show’s third season, and considering that Klaus has been imprisoned for five years when season 4 picks up, there’s a good chance he’s simply imagining her. But for fans of Klaus and Cami, does it really matter?

“It’s pretty clear that Cami was someone who had a massive impact on the entire show and our entire cast of characters but in particular, Klaus,” showrunner Michael Narducci tells EW. “I am positive that the words that she shared with him before she died were echoing in his mind as he went through that trial, as he was stabbed by Marcel, and while he has been tormented and incarcerated for the past five years.”

And even though the show picks up five years after Klaus’ sacrifice, fans can bet that the characters are still dealing with what happened during that time. As Narducci puts it, “[Klaus] felt every moment of that five years, in terms of the solitude and the pain and being ripped away, not only from his family, but his daughter. Coming out of that, he’s going to struggle a bit, and we will see some of that struggle. We’ll also get a sense of how he managed to endure and what was going on psychologically with him in his mind for all that time.”

There’s a good chance that Cami’s return has everything to do with “what was going on psychologically” with Klaus during those years. “It gets into the question of once someone comes into your life and influences you in that kind of way, are they ever really separate from you or are they always a part of you?” Narducci says. “I think the show definitely answers that question.”

The Originals returns for season 4 on Friday, March 17 at 8 p.m. ET on The CW.


With one season left in The Vampire Diaries’ run, decided it was time to start collecting everyone’s final diary entries. Every week during the final season, EW is asking those involved with the show to look back on one of their favorite moments from the series. So grab your tissues and join us on this trip down a vampire-filled memory lane.

This week, Zach Roerig talks playing Matt Donovan…

I’d done pilots before and I was still a pretty young actor — I was 24 when we shot the pilot. I remember being in Vancouver with Ian [Somerhalder]. I tested with Ian and I just thought he was Captain Cool. I’d seen him do a play in New York and I was just enamored by the guy. In the hair and makeup trailer, Ian’s like, “Hey, kid, get ready for the ride of your life.” I locked it in because I felt the wheels spinning. I was like, “I think this is going to happen.”

We did a Hot Topic signing event at a mall in Kennesaw, Georgia. It was the first time we’d been to any sort of fan-related event, and the show hadn’t even aired yet. We walked into a mall and there were like 3,000 screaming fans hanging over the railings, trying to jump past security to grab us. We were all just looking at each other, sitting in front of these kids doing a Q&A and I think that was the day it all set in.

[Showrunner] Julie [Plec] has been really good about being the glue for all of our friendships, the story lines, the tangibility that you have with your character. Julie’s been the one constant throughout the entire show. A lot of things have come and gone, but Julie’s always been there, so I think she’s what’s really made it easy to connect to the characters for so long.

The stuff that I’m proud of and really enjoyed on the show would be last season, my work with Penny. That was really cool for me to be able to have a real connection with someone.

For me, not only has The Vampire Diaries been the longest job I’ve ever had, but it’s been a quarter of my life. I became a parent doing this job. It’s been a very healing process. We all started this show, almost all of us, in the midst of some sort of life turmoil, whatever it may have been. And somehow through these eight years we’ve patched ourselves up and are now ready to face the world again.

The Vampire Diaries series finale airs Friday, March 10 at 9 p.m. ET on The CW.

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