Vampire Diaries show runner Julie Plec wanted Nina Dobrev to stay on the show just as bad as fans did. So much so, that she tried to convince her to stick around.
"Nina had said earlier this year that she wanted to be done, and we spent a little bit of time trying to talk her out of it," Julie said on a KCRW podcast. "You know, just say, 'Oh, look at all these great plans of how you can stay!' "
Still, Nina was set on making her exit. "She finally was like, 'No, I signed up for six years. I've done my six years. I'm ready to move on and spread my wings," Julie continued. "She was just really looking forward to moving on and with no hard feelings and no drama. Just a 26-year-old girl saying that was my college, but now I'm ready to go out and live in the real world."
"I looked at her and said what is this about? Is it about money, is this about anything? How can I help facilitate this? And she was like you can help me by making everyone understand that this is what I want for me," Julie continued. "As a friend, I was like that's very beautiful, and as a boss I was like 'sh*t.'"
"It was a beautiful shock, but there's grief attached to that," she continued, adding, "There is a profound attachment to this character and to this show. "From a fan point of view, I started looking at it like we need to tell them that it's happening before it's happening." Nina starred on the show as both tk and tk, with fans tuning in every week the series ran to see what she would do next.
Rather than shock fans with something like the death of Nina's character, they decided to give them a heads up instead, with Nina announcing the news on Instagram in April. If they just cut Nina out of the show with no warning.
They wanted to "bring the fans in on this experience," adding she told execs, "Let's let them mourn it and then hopefully celebrate it along the way and be a part of the goodbye, so when it happens, they're with us or they're gone, but they've been part of it."
Nina's final episode airs May 14.