So long, Elena. Nina Dobrev announced via Instagram Monday night that she’s leaving The Vampire Diaries at the end of this season. While everyone’s feelings for Elena are understandably mixed, Dobrev has been a huge part of the last six seasons (literally, since she’s played about four different characters). Who can forget her dramatic transformation from a timid Elena to the fiery Katherine?
There’s no doubt that TVD fans will deeply miss the longtime heroine, including us here at The TV Junkies, but this may not be a bad thing for the show as a whole. Even after turning into a vampire, Elena has continued to be more of a victim than hero and much of her story still revolves around a tired, old love triangle. With Katherine gone and the line of doppelgangers finished, Elena’s departure could lead to a second wind for The Vampire Diaries.
It’s too early to tell whether she’ll walk away as a human or go out in a blaze of glory, but until her time comes, here are a few reasons why we think Elena’s goodbye will be a good thing for Mystic Falls.
The Salvatore Brothers can finally move on
While Elena had always been a vital part of The Vampire Diaries, the heart of the series is arguably the relationship between Stefan and Damon. Elena’s absence will finally bring an end to the love triangle that has largely hindered the brothers from truly reconnecting. Even though she ultimately chose Damon and moved on from Stefan, her presence alone continues to be a drain on their relationship. With her gone, I really think we’ll start to see the Salvatore’s become closer than ever. Not to mention the epic Stelena/Delena ship wars will finally be put to rest (side note: please don’t introduce another love triangle, Julie Plec).
The timing is perfect
The vampire cure has been put back into play, thanks to Bonnie, which could finally give Elena the chance to live happily ever after as a human. With Jeremy gone and the confirmation from the late Sheriff Forbes that her parents death wasn’t supernatural, there isn’t much of Elena’s story left to tell. As much as fans want to see Damon and Elena spend an eternity together, that ending simply doesn’t ring true with how Elena’s story has unfolded these past six seasons. Even if she seems happy as a vampire at the moment, it won’t last long, and Damon knows that.
As selfish as Damon can be, he always seems to know what’s best for Elena, even before she does. By the end of this season they’ll both come to accept that Elena is better off living as a human. Whether or not she’ll have the chance is another question entirely.
Caroline and Bonnie are due for more screen time
While Elena’s transition into vampirism was awkward and did little to improve her flaws, Caroline flourished as a vampire, turning from a one-note character to one of the show’s fan favourites. Regardless of whether Steroline (worst ship name ever) happens or not, Caroline is way overdue for some extra screen time. With the death of her mother and the fallout of her decision to shut off her humanity, Caroline is on the verge of discovering what it really means to become a vampire. Watching her come to terms with that while stepping into the spotlight could make for a really compelling story arc.
Bonnie, on the other hand, has been all over the place, having died twice and nearly committing suicide. Now that she’s back in Mystic Falls we can see that she’s suffering from some serious PTSD to a homicidal degree. Bonnie has the potential to turn pretty dark in the next season, reminiscent of Willow near the end of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Wouldn’t that make a great game changer for season seven?
The show needs change
While it seems impossible to imagine Mystic Falls without Elena, Nina’s departure could be exactly what the show needs to breathe life into it again. Whether the showrunners introduce some exciting new characters or longtime favourites finally get their time in the sun (so to speak), losing Elena could be the opposite of a death sentence for The Vampire Diaries.
Seriously, though, don’t introduce another love triangle. We’re begging you.
Will you miss Elena or are you happy to see her go? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
The Vampire Diaries airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. on CTV and The CW.
Associate Editor Kelly Townsend always had strong opinions on TV growing up, so it was only natural to evolve from couch musings to online journalism. She can't ever choose a favorite series, so please don't ask. Her writing has also appeared on IndieWire and Tribute.ca. You can find her on Twitter at @kellybtownsend.