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Elena is coming back to Mystic Falls.
“I know it’s Thursday, but this is not a TBT,” the actress captioned a photo of the series finale script.
“I’m thrilled to bring this show to an end the way we always intended — with Nina back to help us say goodbye,” showrunner Julie Plec said in a statement. Added executive producer Kevin Williamson: “I’m so excited to have Nina back to ensure our farewell episode is truly epic!”
Dobrev’s return should come as little surprise. When the actress exited the CW drama two seasons ago, the deal included a clause that she could return for the series finale.
CW president Mark Pedowitz and Plec, who is also directing the final episode, have made it clear that Dobrev’s return for the vampire drama’s final chapter was a must.
Dobrev, who had starred on the drama since season one, left at the end of season six to pursue other opportunities. “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 told THR in May 2015. “I knew this was my time, and I’m excited for the next step.”
In the season six finale, Dobrev’s Elena was forced into a deep slumber as the result of a spell that put the life of her longtime friend Bonnie (Kat Graham) in danger. To save Bonnie, Elena sacrificed herself.
Since leaving The Vampire Diaries, Dobrev has appeared in the recent Vin Diesel film xXx: Return of Xander Cage, and is also slated for an appearance on Comedy Central’s Workaholics.
Dobrev is one of several cast exits in recent years on the aging vampire drama. Steven R. McQueen and Michael Trevino also both left in season six, with the latter returning in season eight.
The cast and executive producers of The Vampire Diaries announced the series’ eighth season would be its last in July at Comic-Con International. “This is going to be the final season of The Vampire Diaries. It’s bittersweet and emotional and we’re all going to be crying in a minute. It’s been a beautiful run,” Plec told fans in attendance. “Get ready, because it’s going to be an epic ride.”
The series finale of The Vampire Diaries is set to air Friday, March 10, on The CW.