Nothing is eternal. The Vampire Diaries is ending its run at the end of its upcoming eighth season, the CW drama’s team announced at a San Diego Comic-Con panel on Saturday, July 23.
“This is it — this is our last Comic-Con, because this is going to be the final season of Vampire Diaries,” series cocreator Julie Plec told the crowd of the 16-episode final season.
“It’s bittersweet and emotional,” Plec continued. “We’re all going to be crying in about five minutes.” Indeed, multiple members of the cast were in tears during the event.
Ian Somerhalder, who has played Damon Salvatore since the series’ launch in September 2009, expressed his appreciation for the fans’ support over the years.
“Thank you, thank you — we love you,” Somerhalder, 37, told the audience during a lengthy applause break. In a statement released after the panel, the actor added: “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. … 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.”
The panel also featured a video of memorable scenes from previous seasons, with cast members teasing the farewell batch of episodes. The footage includes scenes with Nina Dobrev (Elena Gilbert), whose character was written out of the show at the end of season 6 after falling into a decades-long sleep.
“There’s only one thing left to say: Thank you and goodbye,” Plec said in the video.
Paul Wesley, who plays Stefan Salvatore, issued a statement thanking fans “all around the world who are the reason this show became such a worldwide success.”
“I’m beyond fortunate for the experiences I’ve had and lessons I’ve learned over the last seven years,” he continued.
Watch the show’s goodbye video above. The Vampire Diaries‘ final season launches on the CW Friday, October 21, at 8 p.m. ET.
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