Based on the popular book series by author L.J. Smith, The Vampire Diaries is one of the longest tenured series in the history of The CW. Over the course of seven seasons, cast members have come and gone, twists and turns have taken place, and a successful spin-off called The Originals was spawned.

While TVD has sort of fallen out of the network limelight in favor of The CW’s lineup of DC-based dramas, its fanbase remains as loyal as ever. However, all good things must come to an end, and that includes long-running TV shows.

EW is reporting that during a panel earlier today at Comic-Con, Vampire Diaries showrunner Julie Plec announced that the series’ upcoming eighth season will be its last. Here’s what she had to say to the fans in the room:

“The greatest honor you can have as a storyteller in the business of television is to be able to make those decisions with your peers and your fellow storytellers and we have all discussed it and we have made the decision that this is it. This is going to be the final season. It’s bittersweet and emotional and we’re going to be crying about this in a few minutes. You guys stuck with us. You guys have been with us for this run, and it’s a beautiful run.”

The Vampire Diaries 2014 Promo The Vampire Diaries to Conclude with Season 8

Of course, season 8 being The Vampire Diaries’ last hurrah is not entirely unexpected. Series co-lead Ian Somerhalder openly said that the next season would be the last during a convention appearance earlier this year, although at the time The CW said that no decision had been made. Still, many fans started to see the writing on the wall for TVD when former co-lead Nina Dobrev exited the series prior to season 7. Additionally, the seventh season’s ratings took a tumble, falling from a 0.72 average in the 18-49 demographic to a 0.46.

On the subject of Dobrev, Plec is hopeful that she’ll return to wrap up her character’s lingering plot threads in the series finale, but nothing is certain on that front at the moment. What, if any, effect its parent series ending might have on The Originals going forward wasn’t touched on at the panel, although one wonders if fans might eventually get some post-cancellation guest appearances from TVD characters if the spin-off ends up running long enough. Either way, The CW landscape is about to lose an old friend, but at least fans have 22 more episodes coming before it’s time to say goodbye.

The Vampire Diaries returns for its eighth and final season on Friday, October 21st, 2016 at 8pm on The CW.

Source: EW

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