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“It’s Mystic Falls. Nothing bad ever happens here.”
Elena Gilbert uttered those words on the very night when her parents’ car would go off Wickery Bridge and her life would change forever — not just because she’d lose her parents, but because a vampire would save her life.
That vampire, Stefan Salvatore, would then become the very person who helped Elena, in her words, figure out how to live again. But she was figuring out how to live a completely new life, one that came with a lot of death.
Vicki. Grams. Jenna. John. Caroline. Tyler. Bonnie. Alaric. Jeremy. Bonnie (again). They all died. Sure, some of them only died temporarily, but that’s how it goes in Mystic Falls, the small Virginia town at the center of The Vampire Diaries. Suddenly, the home that Elena once believed to be the safest place in the world was anything but.
Six seasons and two epic loves later, Elena Gilbert herself took up residence in a coffin. Only, she wasn’t dead. Thanks to a spell by Kai Parker, Elena’s life was linked to her best friend, Bonnie, which roughly translates to: Elena can’t wake up until Bonnie dies. So when Elena shut her eyes in the season 6 finale, she figured she’d be out for 60 or so years.
Two seasons and, within the show’s timeline, roughly three years later, it’s time for her return.
With The Vampire Diaries coming to an end, actress Nina Dobrev, who left the show when her contract ended at the end of season 6, will reprise her role as the latest Petrova doppelganger. “The nostalgia is insane,” Dobrev told EW on the set of the series finale. “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.”
EW has an exclusive first look at her return and the series finale, which airs Friday, March 10 on The CW.