The first six seasons of The Vampire Diaries largely revolved around the character of Elena Gilbert and her tumultuous relationships with the vampiric Salvatore brothers. Leading lady Nina Dobrev left the series after Season 6, however, and the show has had to continue without her. Now, as The Vampire Diaries approaches its series finale, we finally have confirmation that Dobrev will appear one last time on the series. The actress revealed her return via social media, posting this on Instagram:

I know it's Thursday, but this is not a TBT. #BackOnSet #TVDForever

A photo posted by Nina Dobrev (@ninadobrev) on

The ratings for The Vampire Diaries haven't been great in its eighth and final season, but the reactions to Nina Dobrev's Instagram pic prove that there are still plenty of people invested in Elena Gilbert. The photo of the script for the series finale was posted this morning, and it has already accumulated more than 1.3 million likes and well over 200,000 comments. I'd say Dobrev's return is kind of a big deal for the series finale.

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Nina Dobrev's return has been rumored for a while now, and showrunner Julie Plec has said that an "emotional promise" was made that Dobrev would agree to reprise her role one more time. The Vampire Diaries managed to write Elena out without killing her off back in Season 6, courtesy of a spell that tied her life to her best pal Bonnie's death. Elena wouldn't wake up until Bonnie died, so all The Vampire Diaries needed to do was keep Bonnie alive to keep Elena off-screen. The confirmation that Dobrev will indeed be back means that the time has come to speculate about just how her character will appear in the series finale.

The most obvious way for Elena to turn up would be for Bonnie to die. The death would obviously be sad, and Damon would have to deal with the fact that his lady love only woke up because his best friend died, but at least it would let fans know that Elena would get another chance for a happily-ever-after. Different ways for Elena to appear sans Bonnie's corpse would be via flashback, dream sequence, or a trip into Elena's consciousness. Maybe the series will end on a happy note after someone within the merry band of supernatural creatures figures out a way to break the spell without Bonnie's permanent death.

The title of the series finale is evidently "I Was Feeling Epic," which is a reference to a line from the Season 1 episode "162 Candles." All of the titles for Season 8 episodes have been callbacks to lines from the first season, and it's clear now that the finale will continue the trend. All things considered, it looks like The Vampire Diaries will end on a distinctly nostalgic note.

Check out The CW on Fridays at 8 p.m. ET to see the final episodes of The Vampire Diaries Season 8, and be sure to tune in on Friday, March 10 to catch Nina Dobrev's big return as Elena Gilbert. Take a look at our midseason TV premiere schedule to see what else you can watch on the small screen in the not-too-distant future.

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