It's the beginning of the end.
After 8 seasons, 171 episodes and countless spells, deaths, and bloody-thirsty twists, The Vampire Diaries is airing its series finale tonight at 8 p.m. on The CW and we're not the only ones who are feeling emotional at saying goodbye to our Mystic Falls favorites.
"I cried my soul out during the process of shooting it, and cutting it, and saying goodbye to everybody so now I'm just ready," TVD showrunner Julie Plec dished to ET.
Before we take a "trip down memory lane" in tonight's Vampire Dairies retrospective episode airing ahead of the finale, Plec answered our eight biggest questions about Elena, Damon, Stefan, Bonnie and Caroline's last episode.
What was your goal that you were looking to accomplish with this final episode?
Julie Plec: I knew going in that I really wanted [Vampire Diaries' co-creator] Kevin [Williamson] and I to be able to tell a story that we both felt touched and moved by. What I wanted to do, and what he wanted to do, was to bring back that organic relationship -- back to that thing that started it all, and to be able to make the choices together to finish it. We both agreed that we wanted it to be a very emotional ending with equal parts heartbreak and hope and I think we delivered on that.
We at ET had the honor of debuting a sneak peek clip of Damon and Elena's first reunion. What was it like for you to have those two iconic characters together on screen again?
JP: The reunion of Damon and Elena was something that we kind of inherently promised to the audience when we put her under the sleeping beauty spell and made them say goodbye, so it was something that we really wanted to be sure we could deliver on. Nina was able to come back and, thank God, reprise her role as Elena because that would have been so disappointing across the board to not be able to deliver on that.
Did you have a series finale backup plan if you couldn’t get Nina to come back?
JP: We had some pretty lame backup plans. [Laughs] We talked a lot about it. I mean, I know that we could have made a satisfying finale without her -- it just wouldn’t have been satisfying to me. It would've felt like I had broken a promise by dangling the hope that we'd see her again for two years, you know, it took a bit of a gamble in making that promise, but Nina had been clear that she wanted to return, and so we just had to keep our fingers crossed that it would all work out.
We know that many familiar faces will be returning in the series finale. What was it like to see so many past and present cast members come together again?
JP: It was great! That's one of the reasons why I think why we do it. People can complain all they want how death doesn't feel permanent on The Vampire Diaries, but when you have a group of characters played by actors that you love so deeply, and characters that you love so deeply, finding small ways to see the again is part of the fun
Will we be seeing any stars of The Vampire Diaries spinoff series The Originals making an appearance?
JP: We're not going to see any original family members on camera, but we do tip our hats to their existence.
Was there any actor on your finale RSVP list that you wanted to come back, but you couldn't make it work?
JP: I would say we had a 95 percent success rate with the faces that we asked to return. Those that couldn’t, there were availability issues. And then, of course, we had a list a page-long of people we wanted to bring back, but in the process of writing the scripts we just couldn’t make it all work.
The Vampire Diaries has always had one of the most passionate fandoms -- especially their shippers. Did you ever take their requests into mind when plotting out this last episode?
JP: No, contrary to what the shippers believe -- and when I say "shippers," I say it in air quotes and I don’t mean all of them. I just mean the nasty ones. That small percentage across every ship with the nastiest and biggest bullies -- we actually don’t make our decisions based on what they want, but we do try to honor the fan community, and their love for the show, and be true to the characters and them. Some will be happy and some will be disappointed, but, hopefully, that small percentage of the mean kids should be able to look at this show as a complete experience and feel pretty good about the way that it all ended.
What is the one thing you want The Vampire Diaries fandom to know before tuning in?
JP: Just to grab your Kleenex and grab your best friend and enjoy your Friday.
The Vampire Diaries' retrospective and series finale airs tonight beginning at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.