Why The Vampire Diaries' Julie Plec Didn't End Up Killing Off Elena

Elena in the vampire diaries series finale

By now, we're so close to The Vampire Diaries series finale that I can almost taste it. We've known for a while that Nina Dobrev, who formerly played Elena Gilbert on the series, will be back for the finale, and the series of events leading into this week's episode has gotten us pretty excited about the character's return--or awakening, if you'd rather. However, while Nina Dobrev has officially been confirmed for the finale, showrunner Julie Plec recently revealed that wasn't always the plan for The CW's The Vampire Diaries. In fact, at one point, she considered killing Elena Gilbert off.

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.'

Killing off Elena Gilbert could have happened, according to TV Line, except one of the other writers on the series was around to talk some sense into the longtime showrunner. Alternatively, however, I can kind-of see what Julie Plec was going for there, considering that earlier this season she wasn't sure whether or not Nina Dobrev would be available to return to the series that made her a household name. If she hadn't, perhaps killing the character off would have been the right call, although Julie Plec is now calling the plan "pretty lame."

Killing off main characters has become a popular TV trope over the past decade, and honestly, in Elena Gilbert's case, her death would not have been unwarranted. When Nina Dobrev announced she was leaving the series, The Vampire Diaries wrote her off in a way that tied her fate to Bonnie's. The two were linked and Elena was forced to live in a state of unconsciousness for as long as Bonnie lived. How she will appear in the big finale remains to be seen, but we can't wait to find out.

One thing is for certain: filming The Vampire Diaries finale made Paul Wesley cry. In fact, he was so emotional precisely because Stefan got to film one final scene with Elena, so at least we know the big episode has that going for it.

We've already seen a first look at Elena's big return episode, and we won't have too much longer to wait before the big Season 8 and series finale hits the schedule. You can watch the final episode of The Vampire Diaries to ever grace The CW this Friday, March 10 at 8 p.m. ET. The good news? There will still be plenty of vampire content on the network, as The Originals will return for Season 4 on March 17. To find out what else is hitting the schedule, take a look at our midseason TV premiere guide.

Jessica Rawden
Managing Editor

Jessica Rawden is Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. She’s been kicking out news stories since 2007 and joined the full-time staff in 2014. She oversees news content, hiring and training for the site, and her areas of expertise include theme parks, rom-coms, Hallmark (particularly Christmas movie season), reality TV, celebrity interviews and primetime. She loves a good animated movie. Jessica has a Masters in Library Science degree from Indiana University, and used to be found behind a reference desk most definitely not shushing people. She now uses those skills in researching and tracking down information in very different ways.