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Ever since leaving The Vampire Diaries, Nina Dobrev has always said she saw a six-season journey for Elena Gilbert. But The Vampire Diaries creators didn’t. In fact, there were several storylines that had to be changed when Dobrev left. This included a handful of ideas for The Vampire Diaries last season. Julie Plec and other writers and producers have shared what The Vampire Diaries ending was going to be. Let’s take a look through them all.

'The Vampire Diaries' stars Ian Somerhalder, Nina Dobrev, and Paul Wesley stand closely together as they pose for photos among fans of The CW series.
‘The Vampire Diaries’ stars Ian Somerhalder, Nina Dobrev, and Paul Wesley | Fred Duval/FilmMagic

‘The Vampire Diaries’ ending explained

Stefan Salvatore sacrificed himself to save Mystic Falls from hellfire in The Vampire Diaries series finale. And he took Katherine Pierce with him. Sadly, he had just taken the cure and married Caroline Forbes, making his death heroic and tragic.

As for Damon and Elena, Bonnie figured out how to break the curse binding their lives together. When she woke up, she immediately asked for Damon and they were reunited. Bonnie left Mystic Falls to travel the world. Caroline opened the Salvatore School for the Young and Gifted. And a flash-forward showed Elena as a doctor in Mystic Falls, married to a human Damon. And another flash-forward showed Damon and Elena in the afterlife. Elena was reunited with her family at the Gilbert house and Damon was reunited with Stefan at the Salvatore house.

The very last scene in The Vampire Diaries ending showed Damon and Stefan hugging, the sun shining through the doorway of their home.

“Hello, brother,” was Damon’s fitting last line.

A Salvatore brother death was actually always the plan for The Vampire Diaries ending. But Plec and executive producer Kevin Williamson had planned for both Stefan and Damon Salvatore to die in the series finale. Plec shared this original ending with Entertainment Weekly after The Vampire Diaries‘ last episode aired in March 2017, saying she and Williamson cried over what they thought was a beautiful ending created during season 2.

The Elena, Stefan, Damon love triangle was going to come back

Elena and Damon’s romance was always going to happen, per their plan. But instead of Damon and Elena being endgame, Plec envisioned the Elena, Stefan, Damon love triangle returning before the series ended. Elena and Stefan could have ended up back together in the end. (And perhaps Damon would date Bonnie?) But both of the Salvatore brothers were going to die saving Elena in the series finale so she could live a human life. They’d watch over her from The Other Side.

“When Nina left, it felt like the show can’t be as much about protecting Elena’s happiness, although that’s important to us,” Plec said during Entertainment Weekly’s Binge podcast. “But we want to protect the bothers’ happiness, we want them to get something out of this.”

By leaving after season 6, Dobrev made the show recenter its narrative from the Salvatore brothers’ love for Elena to their love for each other. But that’s not the only Vampire Diaries relationship affected by Dobrev’s exit.

Fans started shipping Klaus Mikaelson and Caroline Forbes once Klaus saved Caroline from Tyler Lockwood’s werewolf bite. The Klaroline shipping continued over the years, and it even carried over onto The Originals’ final season in 2018. And while Plec said on the Binge podcast that Klaroline would be too “toxic” to make it out of a writers’ room nowadays, they actually were going to end up together.


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Klaus and Caroline could have ended up together

Yes, before Dobrev left The Vampire Diaries, the plan was for Klaus and Caroline to end up together. However, like Elena being with Stefan, then Damon, and then Stefan again, Caroline and Stefan’s romance was still a possibility. They just didn’t always think it would end in marriage. When Caroline appeared in The Originals Season 5, fans thought she and Klaus would end up together. But like Stefan, Klaus was sacrificing himself to safe those he loved. He and Caroline got their closure and said their goodbyes. But earlier in the series, it wasn’t the plan.

“Early on if you would’ve asked me, ‘Where does Klaus go when this is all over?’ I’d say, ‘He goes to Paris with Caroline Forbes,’” Plec told Entertainment Weekly in 2018.

In the Binge podcast, Plec added that Stefan and Caroline’s relationship was made possible in season 2. She said:

“Stefan actually for me, season 2 was when Caroline and Stefan had that one moment in the bathroom. That to me was the moment. I knew then that if Elena and Stefan couldn’t be together, then Stefan and Caroline could be together. She was always accidental—we didn’t ever plan that.”

Stefan and Caroline’s romance started budding in season 6. And Dobrev’s exit meant Stefan and Elena wouldn’t get back together.

“Her departure sealed the romantic contract between Damon and Elena,” Plec said.

This paved the way for Steroline to become endgame, and it also meant Caroline’s future with Klaus was forever changed. Now, if you don’t mind, we’re going to imagine what The Vampire Diaries ending would have been like to watch had all of these alternate endings happened.