This weekend, cast members from The Vampire Diaries, as well as producer Julie Plec, had a frolickly day on Lake Lanier in Georgia, just enjoying being friends, according to tweets that initially went out from the various cast members. Until, that is, a couple of those tweets contained this ominous hashtag: #ninawewillmissyou.
Rumor-mongers and conspiracy theorists immediately launched into action, and later, Nina Dobrev (Elena) herself confirmed on both Twitter and Instagram that she planned to leave the show at the conclusion of the current season 6 on the CW.
Variety put out a nice article about it, containing quotes from both Nina and from Julie Plec, and added that Michael Trevino (Tyler) is also leaving the show at the end of the season. And while I can certainly understand the need to decide how best to communicate bad news, some of the positioning seems a little strained.
First, Nina says she wanted to be the first to tell us. Uh, except you weren’t, given said ominous hashtag.
Next, she says she always wanted to have a six season arc. Really? Who ever says, “When I start a new show, I want to do it for six seasons?” Such a random number. Seems like she’s shoehorning her exit story into the reality.
She also says, “I myself made some of the best friends I’ll ever know and built an extended family I will love forever.” From the pictures of their fun time on the lake, I don’t see Paul Wesley (Stefan) or Ian Somerhalder (Damon) anywhere. Now, with Ian’s recently confirmed engagement to Nikki Reed, it seems reasonable that Ian might skip out to avoid potential friction with his intended, but what of Paul? Interestingly, Paul Wesley’s Instagram from April 4th has many fans asking him why he’s posting a picture from the SNL audience instead of being at the going away party for Nina. Seems we’re not the only ones pondering.
And not to keep pouring the lemon juice on the wound, but it’s hard not to wonder how much working with her (reportedly) blissfully engaged ex-boyfriend every day factored into Nina’s decision to move on.
Now, on to Julie Plec quotes:
“Nina is excited to spread her wings.” OK, great, but the only thing Nina has listed for 2015 on IMDb.com other than TVD is The Final Girls (which actually seems like it might be a fun film). Nothing in production, nothing in pre-production, big fat goose egg. Maybe she’s going to backpack across Europe, because in fairness, she’s been working since she was a kid. But what does it exactly mean that Nina is excited to spread her wings?
Julie also said: “We look forward to finding creative ways to make sure [Michael] and his character … always remain a part of the show.” That’s great for us, Michael, and Tyler, but note the conspicuous lack of mention of Nina in this context. What is it about Nina’s situation that there aren’t similar plans?
Julie added she also looked forward to “…the insane and exciting challenge of continuing to tell stories of our Salvatore Brothers and our much-loved and gifted ensemble.” It’s a dwindling ensemble. Steven R. McQueen (Jeremy) left a few episodes back, as did Marguerite MacIntyre (Sheriff Liz Forbes), and now both Michael Trevino and Nina Dobrev are leaving. Quite honestly, the characters of Jeremy and Tyler had been dramatically underutilized the last season or two, and it’s probably time to let them both go. The show long ago cast aside any parental figures, so the Sheriff’s longevity was actually surprising.
Elena, on the other hand, is a primary character, and the strength of this show has historically been the love triangle between Stefan, Damon and Elena. Both brothers redeemed themselves through their love for a beautiful and compassionate but otherwise pretty normal chick turned vampire. On the other hand, Nina Dobrev, who is a fairly good actress, is not the best actress on the show; that credit goes to Candice Accola, hands down. With Elena gone, will Caroline Forbes get to shoulder the show? Explore a serious relationship with Stefan? Run the town? Become sheriff? Mayor?
Then Julie adds, “…you could have Damon Salvatore reading the phone book and people would probably still tune in.” Ah, there you have it, folks. It’s a smart game plan, and it’s reassuring to know that Julie Plec fully realizes what the strength of the show really is: a smart-ass vampire with a devilish grin and sex appeal for miles. It doesn’t hurt that the rest of the remaining cast is really pretty, too.
Julie wraps up with: “…there’s a challenge of keeping the storytelling fresh and exciting, and seeing if we can keep the audience excited and invested in the show because it takes a new spin and a new direction that’s entertaining.” I think she’s dead on. She’s still got some interesting characters, and in real life, people come and go from our lives, so if they can write around it, there’s the possibility of it not completely sucking. And while I probably won’t make many friends here by saying this, in this girl’s opinion, the writing has suffered over the last two seasons or so, and I find that I watch each week due to devotion more than to a driving compulsion to see a plot unfold. Maybe this little shake-up is exactly what is needed to get the writers hustling again. Or maybe this really is a death knell.
Five things are for certain. We will all be waiting anxiously to see: 1) how Nina Dobrev evolves in her career, 2) whether Katherine Pierce/Katerina Petrova makes one last appearance before it’s all over, 3) how Elena Gilbert will finally exit Mystic Falls, 4) how the remaining cast and future cast members actually work out, and 5) how the TVD writers bend us to their will on a go-forward.
What do you guys think? Is this a show that SciFi4Me.com should be covering? Will you be watching next season? Do you think it has a chance without Nina Dobrev? Agree with us, rail against us, just leave us some comments and let us know your thoughts.