Eight seasons and 171 episodes later, The Vampire Diaries still stands as one of the most epic supernatural TV shows with great plots, twists, and epic romances and bromances. The main love story however seemed to revolve around Elena and Stefan, played by Nina Dobrev and Paul Wesley.
The pair was a classic tale of soulmates, seeing as the doppelgangers kept finding each other and falling in love over the decades, and Stefan and Elena were no different.
While the show’s producer had every intention of bringing Stefan and Elena back together, Nina Dobrev’s exit changed a lot. It would seem that Elena and Stefan were the anchors of the show, given all the endings that had to be rewritten now that Elena was “no more.”
DTV centered around Elena’s love triangle with the Salvatore brothers
From the first season of DTV, we’re introduced to young Elena Gilbert, a 17-year-old high school girl who falls in love with Stefan Salvatore, a vampire, after a chance meeting at their school. While Elena thought their encounter was accidental, it turns out that Stefan actually returned to town and signed up at the school just to get to know Elena after saving her from the car accident that claimed her parents’ lives from her.
The pair had a connection right off the bat and somewhat sticks together through four seasons, even though Elena at some point realizes she has feelings for Stefan’s older brother Damon as recanted by Screen Rant.
In an interesting plot twist in Season 3 of the show, it’s revealed that Elena met Damon first, and not Stefan when he mistook her for Katherine Pierce (Elena’s doppelganger). The two had a moment, although Damon compelled her to forget their encounter. And while Elena and Stefan were together, Damon had strong feelings for her and eventually fell in love with her.
The Elena-Salvatore love triangle was not the first time the two brothers were in love with the same girl. Back in 1864, Stefan and Damon were in love with Katherine, although she chose Stefan and was actually the one who turned the Salvatores into vampires.
It seems the main storyline of DTV revolved around this love triangle, and Dobrev’s exit changed a lot about the show. After Dobrev’s exit, the show’s focal relationship became the Salvatore brotherly bond.
Elena and Stefan couldn’t get their happy ending because of Nina Dobrev’s exit
According to the books, Elena actually ends up with Stefan, bringing a much-desired ending to the huge Damon vs. Stefan fandom debate. However, the TV show took a different turn, in part because Dobrev was no longer part of the show toward the end.
In an interview with Deadline, Kevin Williamson, one of the show’s creators, said he always envisioned an Elena and Stefan happy ending, but he couldn’t make it happen because of Dobrev’s exit in Season 6 of the show. Williamson explained:
“Well, I always thought it would be Stefan and Elena. They were sort of the anchor of the show, but because we lost Elena in Season 6, we couldn’t go back. Nina could only come back for one episode. Maybe if she had come back for the whole season, we could even have warped back towards that, but you can’t just do it in 42 minutes.”
While Stefan’s fans may have been disappointed with the show’s finale, team Damon finally got their much-awaited happy ending, as Elena finally woke up and chose him.
Nina Dobrev’s exit from ‘TVD’ changed so many plots in the show
Stefan and Damon’s fates were not the only plots that were affected by Dobrev’s exit. While most shows derived from books often have plots and twists that are slightly different from the books, TVD’s plots were completely altered because of the leading lady’s exit.
For starters, Bonnie and Damon’s relationship was said to have grown from platonic to romantic from their time together, but instead, she was involved with Enzo in the show, who seemingly is her “true love.” Since the main storyline always involved Stefan and Elena, Dobrev’s exit left Stefan without a “soulmate,” which led to the introduction of a romance between Stefan and Caroline.
While some fans and Julie Plec, the show’s director, entertained the idea of a Klaus-Caroline relationship, even dubbing them Klaroline, Plec thought having the two characters end up together would be a dishonor to Stefan, and so Caroline ends up alone.