The Vampire Diaries is officially ending after the eighth season.
Executive producer Julie Plec made the emotional announcement at Saturday's Comic-Con panel, marking it the show's final session at the annual fan convention. Near the end of the panel, a farewell video featuring the stars and creative team celebrated the show's run.
"The greatest honor as a storyteller in a business of television is to be able to make those decisions with your peers and your friends and your fellow storytellers," Plec said, as her voice started to break. "We’ve made the decision that … this is it."
The new season is all about celebrating the past.
"We're back in Mystic Falls. The episode titles are all dialogue from the first season of the show," Plec said, revealing that the final episodes will revisit key events and themes.
Rumors that Vampire Diaries
would be coming to an end surfaced in recent months. Earlier this year, Kat Graham said in an interview with Us
that she was not planning on returning after the eighth season.
"Season 8 will be my last season," Graham said at the time. "I just hope that whatever I do after, the crew can come with me. If the crew can come with me, then we'll be good. The crew is going to be the hardest thing to let go, because we are a family."
In April, Ian Somerhalder said during a convention
, "We have decided to do one last season to really do the story justice."
To watch the farewell video that debuted at Comic-Con, watch below.
Read statements from the creative team, Somerhalder and Paul Wesley on the end of the show:
"It's so rare for a show to get to last this long, and what a privilege that Mark Pedowitz and Peter Roth have allowed us to choose the time to end the journey on our own creative terms," said Julie Plec. "It’s been eight of the best years of my life. I will miss it terribly, but I'm so proud to be here to see it to its proper end."
"I feel so blessed to have been a part of THE VAMPIRE DIARIES. It has been a magical, thrilling, life-changing experience," said executive producer Kevin Williamson. "Working with Julie and our amazing cast and crew has been one of the highlights of my career and life. At its core, the show has always been about family and that’s what we have become behind the scenes as well — one big family. And while it’s sad to see it come to an end, I'm thrilled to be back and part of the final chapter. We're very grateful to our loyal audience — they're our family, too — and we hope to say thank you by giving them the last and most epic season ever. Thank you, thank you, thank you."
"The sun, the moon and stars aligned for me one day in March when I got the official call that I had been cast in this very special role as Damon Salvatore," said star Ian Somerhalder. "I'm so very grateful to those who fought for me to have this opportunity (you know who you are), for those that have worked so hard to make this show happen, and to those that have loyally watched it, making it part of their lives. This show has enriched my life greater than anything I've done in my career and it will live in my heart. We are a family and I will miss you. Thank you again to this amazing cast and crew, Kevin, Julie, Warner Bros., The CW and the most loyal fan base the world has ever seen. Wow, what a ride."
"Being cast in THE VAMPIRE DIARIES has changed the trajectory of my life, to say the very least," said star Paul Wesley. “I'm beyond fortunate for the experiences I've had and lessons I've learned over the last seven years. I want to thank Kevin and Julie, as well as Peter Roth and Warner Bros., Mark Pedowitz and The CW, our incredible cast and crew, and especially the TVD fans all around the world who are the reason this show became such a worldwide success. I am beyond grateful to have been a part of it."
The Vampire Diaries returns Oct. 21 on The CW.