With the exit of star Nina Dobrev, many The Vampire Diaries fans are wondering what’s next for the show – and Dobrev’s costar Paul Wesley is right there with them.
“Obviously there’s a great nostalgia. It’s never going to be the same,” Wesley, 32, told PEOPLE at The Humane Society of the United State’s Los Angeles Gala on Saturday night.
“I know that she’s really happy. I know that she wants to move on and start a new chapter of her life which is entirely respectable,” he says.
Last night’s episode, the season 6 finale of The Vampire Diaries, was all about saying goodbye. It was a goodbye to Nina Dobrev who brought this strong, savvy, loving, caring, beautiful character named Elena Gilbert to life for us in season one. And thus, it was also a goodbye to Elena Gilbert. As I’d suspected, it was only a goodbye for now. My faith in Julie Plec’s ability to let characters truly go was not tested, as I’d had no faith in her to begin with. While I’d guessed she’d body swap Elena’s soul, I did not anticipate she’d put her in a coma for as long as Bonnie Bennett was alive.
And while it’s been a very long goodbye, we can finally put Stelena to rest, at least as they exist in the present world of The Vampire Diaries. You and I will always love the real Stelena, two characters who built one of the most epic, beautiful love stories to ever unfold on television. But because of the demands of those who hated Stefan and wanted a re-tread of the same old tired cliched story about the good girl and the bad boy, Stelena was slowly deconstructed and destroyed over the course of the last three seasons. And I say this not because Stefan and Elena were not romantically together in last night’s episode, but I say it because the feelings Stefan and Elena had for one another were systematically and it seemed retroactively removed from the show through a series of speeches spoon fed into Stefan Salvatore’s mouth. As he did last night, Stefan went on about how he and Elena were never soul mates, that somehow Elena was created especially for Damon so that Damon could become a better person and that, though it defies all logic, Elena f***ing Damon would actually bring Stefan and Damon closer together as brothers.
Caroline listened to this speech as she and Stefan stood over Elena’s comatose body, and you could tell that even she wasn’t buying it. When it comes to Elena, Stefan has been forced to protest far too much. It may be an unpopular opinion, but Stefan is allowed to fall in love with Caroline, but that doesn’t mean he wouldn’t or shouldn’t still feel something very deep for Elena. It doesn’t mean he can’t feel jealous or an emptiness in the pit of his stomach that Elena’s love used to fill. He isn’t required to be the guy who is just so understanding about his brother screwing the love of his life. He can be angry and hurt and even a little confused about how he and Elena drifted so far apart from one another. I certainly believe in acceptance and the need to move on when something just isn’t working, but that doesn’t mean one doesn’t FEEL the depth of what has been lost. And TVD seasons don’t represent full years, so Stefan’s actually had only about a year and a half to get over Elena, a woman he waited over a hundred years to meet and fall in love with. Deep feelings like those held for Elena shouldn’t just disappear, and had they not, it would have made him a far more nuanced character. Instead, Julie Plec and Caroline Dries pushed him into being a guy who is so over his ex that he regularly has acted as a cheerleader for her hooking up with his brother. Perhaps this allowed these ladies to sleep better at night, forcing Stefan not to hurt, but those of us who really love Stefan saw it for the cheap parlor trick that it was. We didn’t, and still don’t, buy that Stefan looks back on his time with Elena as anything less than an epic love that should have lasted forever.
And the advent of Delena created another goodbye… a farewell to reason and sense and true feeling. Elena’s “love” for Damon flourished under a sire bond, a choice of the writers that I could never quite understand. And though it appeared that bond had passed, we quickly delved into an unsettled, frenzied, addict-like Elena who could not… and would not… live a day on this earth without Damon. This Elena could not stand on her own, could not let go of Damon, could not overcome her pain to become the person we used to love. The old Elena was confident and strong. The old Elena pushed aside her fears to see who Stefan really was and love him anyway. She stood up for her friends and for what was right. And while becoming a vampire should have heightened all of these emotions, all it did was turn her into a babbling, blubbering mess, a girl who had once been willing to move on when Stefan was on full ripper-mode (another case of a character being spoon fed ridiculousness), but could barely even get out of bed without Damon by her side. This Elena, the one who loved Damon so much,
did not mind death or care about the vile things Damon did to her friends or how many women he’d murdered for the thrill of it. This Elena just wanted to get boned, her obsession with Damon ripping away nearly everything that made her such a special person. And I guess that made it easier for Stefan and Elena not to have a romantic farewell, but it made me mourn even more for a character that was once so beloved.
The next goodbye is likely to The Vampire Diaries for many of us. Some were holding on for a Stelena endgame, and it appears that will never, ever happen. Instead of letting Elena go, she is now in perpetual sleep mode, Damon biding his time until Bonnie bites the dust and he can be reunited with his beloved. Elena talked a lot about seeing everyone again, but with the death rate in Mystic Falls, does she have true faith that Damon or Stefan or any of her other friends will actually still be alive when she wakes up? But a bigger problem I see, especially if Julie Plec gets another two or three seasons, is the ability for characters to truly move on, knowing that they will always owe something to Elena, that their life choices must take into account Elena’s eventual reintroduction back to the crew (sans Bonnie). But more likely, Kai’s unbreakable spell will eventually be broken by some means or the other, even if it makes no sense at all. But at least Stefan isn’t going to let something like Elena’s deep sleep bother him. He was much more concerned about expressing his feelings for Caroline and assuring her Elena was just a bump in the road for him instead of really letting it sink in that Elena is going to be gone for a really, really long time. We wanted you to let those emotions in, Stefan! We wanted you to really feel what you felt for Elena, and God bless you Paul Wesley… we know you tried. That tear was perfect, and we’re quite sure you would have given us a proper Stelena goodbye if you’d had your way!
And that is my biggest complaint, not that Damon and Elena ended up together–I’m a big enough person (I think) to accept my ship may not sail into the sunset. But what bugged me is that Stelena wasn’t honored the way it should have been, that neither Stefan nor Elena had any qualms about saying a quick goodbye to one another. They’re just friends, so uncomplicated. But love is complicated, and the whitewashing of Stelena remains unappreciated! A few more seconds could have been devoted to them instead of that horrible, synchronized dance number between Damon and Elena–this is not Dancing With the Stars people–wrong show, wrong network.
And this, our friends, is how many of us SEsters choose to say goodbye to Stelena. What a perfect moment for such an amazing couple:
Finally, myself and Stella, my blog co-author and the woman responsible for creating the detailed Stelena history sections on this blog, wanted to express a huge thank you to all of you who have come to our blog over the years in one way or the other. We’ve had an amazing time here with our Battles of the Stelena Scenes, our Stelena Countowns to Christmas, and do you guys remember celebrating Stelena Day with us? We lost a lot of SEsters along with way, and we couldn’t blame them for jumping ship–the writing was on the wall, wasn’t it? But we’ve loved what you all have contributed, and we’re thankful to have shared the highs and lows with all of you. I know we’ll both treasure this experience for the rest of our lives (while seething once in a while about how wrong Stelena went)! So while this post is all about goodbyes, I’m not sure that the StelenaLove blog will go away entirely. We’ve yet to come to a firm decision on our next move, but the blog will either exist as sort of a static, memory blog for those of you wanting to relive some of the best times, or we will weave the most important parts of the blog into a new entertainment blog that we are slowly working on getting off the ground. In any case, the Stelena connection will remain, and I hope those of you reading this will continue to be a part of us, regardless of the changes made.
Now, that said, we still have some Stelena surprises for you and will continue posting on the blog for a while yet. It’s just we wanted to clue you in on changes that are coming instead of, I don’t know, holding you hostage for three years and playing on your emotions (like some people we know)!
Lastly, I just wanted to encourage those of you who haven’t done so to join our forum. We have to thank Jaye, Grace and Jules for the amazing work they’ve done in establishing and updating our sister forum. It’s been a wonderful place for deep discussions and playful games, and I promise that we don’t just talk about TVD! Like our blog, that forum will be changing as well, likely toward the end of the summer, to have a more general discussion format for a wider range of entertainment. Think of it like a mix between FanForum and Television Without Pity. We love to have well thought out, deep discussions, and for those of you who want a place (other than the endless comment sections of entertainment sites, facebook or the limited ability to share through twitter) to share your views, please think about joining the forum.
Again, thanks to all of you for joining us, and stay tuned!
Plec: My biggest Nina memory on the pilot? I have two: One is this moment when she is sitting at the window at the very end of the show and Stefan appears outside, and she runs and opens the door and she looks at him. And the whole moment is so fraught with connection and romance. When she did it the first time, her look was just so pure and beautiful and so epic and I said to her, “You’re 20 years old, how did you know what to give in that moment?” And she said, “Well, you said you saw their relationship like the characters in The Notebook, so I was giving you The Notebook.” [Laughs] I was like, “Well good girl, way to go!”
Dobrev: I love The Notebook, and I know an epic love story when I see one, and I felt like Elena and Stefan had an epic love. You know [how] your first love in high school, or whatever it may be for each person, feels like it? It’s almost an infectious look that you see in people’s eyes. I’ve felt it and I’d been in love before, so I wanted to make sure it was epic … just like it was in The Notebook. [Laughs]