Vampire Diaries star confirms she will leave the series following Season 6

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Apr 7, 2015, 10:41 AM EDT (Updated)

It looks like the cast of The CW’s hit supernatural soap The Vampire Diaries will be taking a major hit once the sixth season wraps up.

Actress Nina Dobrev, who has been at the center of the series as Elena Gilbert for its entire six-season run, has confirmed she will be leaving at the conclusion of the current season. As for what that means for the series itself? The CW has already ordered a seventh season, so it looks like the vampy tale will become even more of an ensemble. Hey, it’s already spawned a successful spinoff in The Originals, so it stands to reason the show can survive Dobrev’s exit.

Dobrev confirmed her exit in an open post to fans, and showrunner Julie Plec has also confirmed she’ll be leaving the show. Here’s the heartfelt goodbye Dobrev issued for her fans while breaking the news via Instagram:

"Dearest TVD Family,

I've just spent the most beautiful weekend on Lake Lanier in Georgia with my own TVD Family, the cast and crew of The Vampire Diaries. I want to be the first to tell you that it wasn't just a holiday celebration, it was a goodbye party. I always knew I wanted Elena's story to be a six season adventure, and within those six years I got the journey of a lifetime. I was a human, a vampire, a doppelganger, a crazy immortal, a doppelganger pretending to be human, a human pretending to be a doppelganger. I got kidnapped, killed, resurrected, tortured, cursed, body-snatched, was dead and undead, and there's still so much more to come before the season finale in May. Elena fell in love not once, but twice, with two epic soulmates, and I myself made some of the best friends I'll ever know and built an extended family I will love forever.

There's more to come before we wrap this up, and I promise you'll get to hear all about my experiences over the next month as we approach the season finale (I have given an exclusive interview for the June issue of SELF Magazine that I am excited for you to see!), but until then I invite you to hop on the roller coaster ride that is Elena Gilbert's life and join me as I celebrate her and prepare to say goodbye to her -- and to my work family -- as I move on to the next chapter of my life. I want to share this goodbye with all of you (this weekend's pictures were just the beginning). You, the wonderful fandom who gave more love, support and passion than anyone could have ever imagined seven years ago, when a young Degrassi girl from Canada showed up in LA to audition for 'that Twilight TV show.' ;-) I love you all. Fasten your seatbelts. If you think you know what's coming, you don't.

Love, Nina"

In regard to all the insanity, Dobrev makes some good points. When you’re dealing with a show like this, you reach a tipping point that can strain the storytelling muscles — even if we are talking about a soaped-up, sexy vampire story. Elena has had a good run, and who knows, maybe Dobrev’s exit could be just the catalyst the series needs to revamp. Or maybe they’ll wrap things up in season seven and feed some momentum into The Originals.

Plec went on to call Dobrev’s departure “bittersweet and beautiful,” but said the team behind the series is looking forward to the “insane and exciting challenge” of finding a way to move the series forward without the actress. She said to look for the Salvatore brothers to take up a lot of the narrative heavy lifting, along with other characters around the main ensemble.

The ratings have been sliding for years (as have most shows), but The Vampire Diaries still pulls in decent viewership by CW standards. Who knows? If the numbers hold up, they could potentially milk another year or two out of this one. Hey, Supernatural is still on the air a decade later — it stands to reason Vampire Diaries could have comparable staying power.

What do you think? Can The Vampire Diaries survive without Dobrev?

(Via TV Line)