Nina Dobrev is leaving ‘The Vampire Diaries’

Already renewed for next year, “The Vampire Diaries” is going to look very different in Season 7.

On Monday (April 6) afternoon, Nina Dobrev took to Instagram to announce that this will be her last season on the CW hit.

In a long note accompanying a picture of Dobrev with “Vampire Diaries” co-creator Julie Plec, the star writes:

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

The Season 6 overhaul for “The Vampire Diaries” has also included Steven R. McQueen and Maguerite MacIntyre. Of course, neither departing co-star — nor the also-rumored-to-be-exiting Michael Trevino — has a profile that can come close to equalling that of Dobrev, has began the series playing Elena Gilbert and went on to add doppleganger Katherine and two additional dopplegangers. Dobrev has also traced Elena's arc from innocent cheerleader to romantically conflicted human to variably vicious vampire as well as nearly each of her character incarnations pretending to be the other characters. 

This at least would somewhat seem to explain why this season has, at times, pushed characters including Bonnie and Caroline into much more central focus. [I'll confess that I'm a half-dozen episodes behind, but “Vampire Diaries” has definitely bounced back at least somewhat from a rough fifth season.]

In her own statement, Plec bid a loving farewell to her longtime star.

Plec states, “Saying goodbye to Nina is both bittersweet and beautiful. After six-plus years together, the entire cast and crew of 'The Vampire Diaries' has reached a level of closeness that I don”t think any of us ever expected. Nina is excited to spread her wings, get some rest, travel the world and also take it by storm, and we support her a thousand-fold. We will miss Nina and the four hundred characters she played, but we look forward to the insane and exciting challenge of continuing to tell stories of our Salvatore Brothers and our much-loved and gifted ensemble.”

Once The CW's biggest hit, “The Vampire Diaries” has been usurped by “Arrow” and “The Flash,” though it remains a solid performer in a difficult Thursday 8 p.m. time period, even if it has done little as a lead-in for two seasons of the low-rated “Reign.”

So… How do you think “The Vampire Diaries” functions without Elena and her myriad lookalikes?