The Vampire Diaries had an impressive 8 season run, with the episodes receiving consistent praise from critics and fans alike. The series premiere found the biggest viewership of any premiere for The CW network. With 115 award nominations, TVD won 37 over the years, most from the Teen Choice Awards and People’s Choice Awards. In 2010 and 2014, the Young Hollywood Awards gave them 3 wins.
With such a young cast when the show first began, it’s fun to watch the actors and actresses get older as the series went on. Most of them started The Vampire Diaries with the very first episode and was able to follow the show until the series finale. That’s 9 years - a long time to commit to one project.
Some of the actors and actresses found other work during The Vampire Diaries - mostly minor roles in other TV shows and some feature films. The Vampire Diaries was such a phenomenon, the cast often found themselves touring Comic-cons and participating in promotion for the show when not filming. The time after a major and lengthy TV series is a good tell on what actors want to do with their time. Some of The Vampire Diaries continued their acting career with TV roles and feature film parts, while others focused on personal projects and life outside Hollywood.
Here's Vampire Diaries: What The Cast Looked Like In Their First Episode vs Today.
22 22. Nina Dobrev (First Episode) - Elena Gilbert
In 2009, Nina Dobrev left Degrassi: The Next Generation to take the role of Elena Gilbert on The Vampire Diaries. She beat out Ashley Tisdale and Alexandra Chando (who eventually played a doctor in one episode in season 8) as well as several other actresses.
Dobrev wasn’t cemented to that one part; she played a number of Elena doppelgangers, like a 500-year-old vampire named Katherine Pierce. When Dobrev did a crossover with the TV show The Originals, she starred as the character Tatia in one episode in 2014.
In early 2015, Dobrev told her fans through Instagram that she would no longer be on the show after the end of the 6th season. However, she did reprise her role as Elena for the series finale.
21 Nina Dobrev (Today)
While on the show, Dobrev took some movie roles, most of them minor. She did an thriller called Chloe and had a small part in The Roommate. Two other notable movies during The Vampire Diaries included The Perks of Being a Wallflower and Let’s Be Cops.
After her departure announcement, Dobrev ramped up her career with more movies, most of which released in 2017.
Others will be released later this year. Dobrev was Vicki Summers in the horror-comedy The Final Girls and was cast in Arrivals in 2015. The latter movie was renamed Departures and has a planned 2018 release. For 2017, the year saw her star in XXX: Return of Xander Cage and Flatliners.
She could return to TV if the pilot for Fam does well with CBS. But otherwise, she has the movies Lucky Day, Run This Town, and Dog Days.
20 Paul Wesley (First Episode) - Stefan Salvatore
One of the main cast members of The Vampire Diaries, Paul Wesley charms viewers as Stefan Salvatore.
Wesley has been on the show since the beginning and took the character all the way to the series finale. Stefan is the younger brother of Damon Salvatore, who is played by Ian Somerhalder. Stefan is also the main love interest of Elena (Nina Dobrev).
Starting in the 5th season, Wesley started directing episodes of The Vampire Diaries. From 2014 to 2016, he directed 5 episodes, including a fan favorite, “Requiem for a Dream".
With the episode “Hello, Brother” at the beginning of season 8, Wesley became a producer. He is listed as producer on all 16 episodes of the finale season., even the one he directed: “Detoured on Some Random Backwoods Path to Hell”.
19 Paul Wesley (Today)
Most of Paul Wesley’s career outside of The Vampire Diaries took place while he starred in the television show. Between acting and producer, Wesley has had a busy time in Hollywood. One of the films he produced in 2014, Before I Disappear, one the SXSW Film Festival Audience Award. The following year he co-starred in the movie Amira and Sam. He also took a part in Shot in the Heart for HBO.
Wesley is not afraid to join feature films with big stars like Susan Sarandon (Mother’s Day), Nick Nolte (Peaceful Warrior), and Billy Bob Thornton (The Bayton Outlaws).
Since The Vampire Diaries, Wesley played Josh in the TV series Fabled and Romesha in one episode (so far) of Medal of Honor. In March of this year, Wesley joined the cast of Zurich, put on by the New York Theater Workshop.
18 Ian Somerhalder (First Episode) - Damon Salvatore
The third person in The Vampire Diaries' main trio is Ian Somerhalder - the other two are Nina Dobrev and Paul Wesley. Like Wesley, Somerhalder has been on the show from start to finish. Somerhalder plays Damon Salvatore, the older brother to Paul Wesley’s Stefan.
During his run, Somerhalder has received praise from critics for his performance on the show, which consistently received high ratings through its eight season. Since 2015, the 3rd season, Somerhalder took the director’s chair for 3 episodes; in the final season, he also shared producing credit with Paul Wesley.
From 2010 to 2013, Somerhalder dated Nina Dobrev, his co-star. They broke up and a year later, he started dating former Twilight vampire Nikki Reed, whom he married in 2015.
17 Ian Somerhalder (Today)
After Lost, Ian Somerhalder’s focus remained with The Vampire Diaries. While he did a few films during the show, he also showcased his involvement with environmental cleanups and documentaries. Somerhalder has parts in How to Make Love to a Woman, Caught on Tape, Time Framed, and The Anomaly.
He continues to head the Ian Somerhalder foundation, which he started in 2010.
Its goal is to education the world on how important it is to protect the Earth and the creatures and plants on it. Somerhalder often speaks out against GMO foods and factory farming.
Somerhalder also lends his celebrity status to campaign for RYOT, which is a L.A. media company that does documentary films and commercials and dabbles in virtual and augmented reality. In July of 2017, Somerhalder and Nikki Reed had their first child, a daughter named Bodhi Soleil.
Somerhalder took the lead in another vampire-themed TV series, V-Wars. It will air on Netflix.
16 Candice Accola (First Episode) - Caroline Forbes
Candice Accola was cast in The Vampire Diaries in 2009, as Caroline Forbes.
Accola, playing Elena Gilbert’s best friend in the show, starred in all eight seasons. Accola received positive reception for her performance as Forbes. In 2012 and 2014, King won the category “Scene Stealer Female” at the Teen Choice Awards. Unfortunately, in 2013, she was just nominated.
King has also been nominated at the Teen Choice Awards in the category Best TV Actress - Fantasy/Sci-Fi in 2015 and 2016. Also, in 2015 and 2016, she was nominated for Best Liplock (with Paul Wesley).
Besides acting, King sings. On an episode of The Vampire Diaries in 2011, King sang a cover of “Eternal Flame” by The Bangles. Then in 2015, she did 3 more songs for the show.
15 Candice King (Today)
Most of Candice King (nee Accola)’s acting career after The Vampire Diaries is still within the vampiric universe.
Starting in season 5, King's set to reprise her role as Caroline Forbes on The Originals.
King said in an interview that it was supposed to be a brief reunion between Caroline and Klaus, the Hybrid Original who had an obsession with her back on The Vampire Diaries. King is confirmed for five episodes of the season so far.
At the moment, aside from her role on The Originals, Candice doesn’t have much going on in terms of her acting or singing career. She married Joe King of The Fray in 2014, and they had a daughter in January 2016. She is an active supporter of It Gets Better, which helps to prevent losses in the LGBT youth community.
14 Michael Trevino (First Episode) - Tyler Lockwood
Michael Trevino took the role of Tyler Lockwood in 2009 and has played that character for most of The Vampire Diaries’ run.
For the part, he won 2 Teen Choice Awards in 2011 and 2012 for the same category: Male Scene Stealer. In 2014, he was nominated for the same award, but didn’t win. In 2011 and 2012, he was nominated for the Teen Choice Award Category, Favorite TV Actor, Supporting Role.
The plan for Tyler Lockwood was to have a recurring role in The Originals, but he only appeared in 2 episodes in 2013. At that time, Trevino’s character would have been the first major character to switch from one show to second. Michael announced in 2015 that season 6 would be his last season on The Vampire Diaries, the same season Nina Dobrev left.
13 Michael Trevino (Today)
Trevino has had moderate success following The Vampire Diaries. Besides a TV short called Baker Daily: Trump Takedown, he played Ryan Torres in one episode of the TV series Camp and played the lead role in the movie Sunset Park.
His biggest two roles post The Vampire Diaries include one movie and one television part.
First, Trevino plays a cyber-hacker/criminal Bennet Kayser - a main character - in the film Out of Control. It is a Chinese-German action thriller that also stars Wilson Qui and Jing Su.
The CW is rebooting the Roswell series, and The Vampire Diaries showrunner Julie Plec will also helm the remake. She has brought Michael Trevino on board to play the same role that Nick Wechsler played, Kyle Valenti, in the original Roswell.
12 Steven R. McQueen (First Episode) - Jeremy Gilbert
Another actor who remained on The Vampire Diaries was Steve R. McQueen. He joined the cast, like most of the stars, in 2009.
He played Jeremy Gilbert until 2015. The writers penned a script that had Gilbert leaving Mystic Falls to join art school. McQueen was brought back to reprise his role of Gilbert for the series finale.
Many of the cast members of the show were nominated and have won awards. McQueen can be added to this group with 2 nominations (sadly, no wins). First, the Youth Rock Awards nominated him in the category of “Rockin’ TV Actor” in 2011. Second, the Teen Choice Awards nominated McQueen in the category “Scene Stealer Male” in 2013; the winner was Chord Overstreet from Glee.
11 Steven R. McQueen (Now)
When Steven R. McQueen left The Vampire Diaries in the sixth season (2015), he joined Chicago Fire as Jimmy Borelli in the 4th season. For the first six episodes, he had credit in the recurring cast section, but for the seventh episode, he made it to the main cast listing.
McQueen’s character Borelli crossed over to Chicago P.D. for 3 episodes. In 2016, in the 2nd episode, Borelli suffered career-ending injuries from an explosion. The character was written out of the show. It was mentioned in the next episode that Borelli was moved to a long-term care facility.
His acting career hasn’t progressed much since TVD and Chicago Fire/P.D. In 2018, he starred opposite Poppy Drayton in the romantic Hallmark TV movie, Home by Spring.
10 Kat Graham (First Episode) - Bonnie Bennett
Kat Graham was cast in The Vampire Diaries in March of 2009. She played Bonnie Bennett, and many consider this her breakout part. She had a previous career of minor roles, but did well as a singer, even through The Vampire Diaries production run. The character Bonnie is a teenage witch, and Graham went on tour with the cast to various comic conventions and Q&A sessions in 2010.
When Nina Dobrev left the show in the 6th season, Graham was allowed to take over as the female lead of the show. From 2010, Graham was nominated for at least one award each year until the show ended. She won three of them, including Scene Stealer Female at the Teen Choice Awards in 2011, Creative Award with the Black Women in Film Association in 2014, and Choice Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV Actress at the Teen Choice Awards in 2017.
9 Kat Graham (Today)
Graham has remained busy after starring in The Vampire Diaries. Music-wise, she released the studio album entitled Love Music Funk Magic, with the single “Sometimes” (along with the music video) released that same year. Also, in 2017 she put out the music video for “Magic.”
With acting, she has kept herself very active. In 2018, she will lend her voice talents to the animated series from Nickelodeon Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, voicing April O’Neil. Graham was in 2 movies in 2017: All Eyez on Me and Where’s the Money.
For 2018 and beyond, Graham is a part of a number of movies in pre- and post-production, including The Poison Rose (with Morgan Freeman), Cut Throat City, Christmas Calendar (Netflix Original film), How It Ends, and Decoy.
8 Zach Roerig (First Episode) - Matt Donovan
Most of the actors on this list have been on The Vampire Diaries from the series premiere to the series finale. Zach Roerig also had this longevity. He played Matt Donovan, the childhood friend and ex-boyfriend of Elena Gilbert (Nina Dobrev; they broke up when the show began.
While on The Vampire Diaries, Roerig took his character over to one episode of the spin-off, The Originals. The episode was called “Behind the Black Horizon”. He also appeared in the “thank you” to fans one-hour show, The Vampire Diaries: Forever Yours, which aired right before the season finale.
During the last season of TVD, Roerig met Nathalie Kelley, an actress cast for the role of Sybil. Roerig and Kelley dated for about a hear, but are now broken up, according to Kelley’s social media.
7 Zach Roerig (Today)
Almost right after the show ended, Roerig secured a spot on The Gifted as the character Augustus/Pulse. So far, he’s only been in two episodes. That’s been it for additional television roles; Roerig has mostly been taking parts in movies.
One of his first films after TVD was Rings, the 3rd movie in The Ring movie series. Roerig played Carter alongside stars Johnny Galecki and Vincent D’Onofrio. The Year of Spectacular Men, directed by Lea Thompson, released in 2017.
Listed as “post-production” on IMDB, The Last Full Measure has Roerig as the young Ray Mott; the film also stars Samuel L. Jackson. Roerig also just finished completed filming The Outer Wild, a disaster movie with Supernatural and General Hospital alum, Jeffrey Vincent Parise.
6 Kayla Ewell (First Episode) - Vicki Donovan
Kayla Ewell has a sporadic existence on The Vampire Diaries. She played Vicki Donovan, who was the very first human that was turned into a vampire on the show. When asked to describe her character, she said in an interview that Vicki was "a troublemaker.”
With a co-star credit, Ewell’s character was eliminated from the show. Vicki was taken out in a traditional vampire fashion by a stake in the heart by Stefan (Paul Wesley). Soon after the character was no longer on the show, Ewell stated that she still had an active contract and Vicki could return to the show, but creator Kevin Williamson said Vicki was not coming back.
However, the character came back for the 2nd season finale, the beginning of season 3, and the final 3 episodes of the series.
5 Kayla Ewell (Today)
Ewell has been in a few movies and minor roles during her hiatus from and after The Vampire Diaries. Her movies include 2 Years of Love, Sweet Sweet Summertime, and A Friend’s Obsession. In post-production as of this writing is The Creatress, where she plays Lacey alongside The Nanny’s Fran Drescher.
Television work has been light for Ewell.
She did one episode each of Grandfathered and Lucifer and had a part in the TV movie 10 Year Reunion.
Probably her biggest TV role since TVD is her character Victoria on Me and My Grandma. This is a main role for Ewell, where she shares the show with Rhea Perlman and Shelby Rabara. This show is a web series comedy on YouTube Red, which is YouTube’s subscription platform.
4 Sara Canning (First Episode) - Jenna Sommers
In 2009, Sara Canning filmed the pilot for The Vampire Diaries before it was certain to be on the CW network for good. When she was done shooting that, she took a starring role in the movie Black Field. Canning finished her part in the movie, and then she found out The Vampire Diaries was approved for the CW network.
Canning played Jenna Sommers in TVD. Jenna was the guardian and aunt of Elena Gilbert. This role was older and required some make-up magic since Canning was equal in age or, in some cases, younger than her co-stars, who played high school-aged characters.
Canning was a regular cast member in the 1st and 2nd seasons before writers eliminate her character in the episode “The Sun Also Rises”. She managed guest appearances in seasons 3, 5, and 8 for a total of 46 episodes.
3 Sara Canning (Today)
One of the busier co-stars from The Vampire Diaries is Sara Canning. She continued her television acting career with several TV shows since TVD. Her first show where she was on the main cast was Primeval: New World in 2012 and 2013. The show was canceled after one season. Canning took single episode parts in King & Maxwell, Republic of Doyle, and Motive, and then had another run participating in the main cast of Remedy; she won 2 awards for acting for the last show.
She found a solid job when she got the part of Jacquelyn in A Series of Unfortunate Events. You can find her in the movie War for the Planet of the Apes as well as 2 short films and 2 features slated to release in 2018.
2 Matt Davis (First Episode) - Alaric Saltzman
Prior to The Vampire Diaries, Matt Davis has a busy career in movies from 2000 to 2009. You might remember him as Warner Huntington III in Legally Blonde. Davis managed to get the role of Alaric Saltzman in TVD.
Alaric was a vampire hunter to came to Mystic Falls to find the vampire who consumed his wife, but ends up becoming romantically involved with Jenna Sommers (Sara Canning).
Davis was part of the main cast in the first 3 seasons and then again in seasons 6 through 8. He had a small role during the 4th seasons, and then guest-starred in the 5th season. At the end of the series, he had been in 123 episodes of The Vampire Diaries. During his time on TVD he also appeared as himself in the reality short about the show, When Vampires Don’t Suck, in 2010.
1 Matt Davis (Now)
Matt Davis has pretty much stuck with The Vampire Diaries universe since being on the show. With The Originals maintaining decent enough ratings in the first seasons, many characters from The Vampire Diaries found additional time in the new series. Davis also returned with his character in seasons 4 and 5. You can watch him in the episodes “Voodoo in My Blood,” “The Feast of All Sinners,” and one of the final episodes of the series.
In fall of 2017, a The Originals spin-off was announced by creator Julie Plec. She also announced that Davis will be the star of the spin-off. However, filming is to commence sometime in the spring 2018. The CW ordered a pilot, but not a one-hour pilot as expected. The network wanted a 15-minute presentation of the new series.
Who was your favorite The Vampire Diaries cast member? Let us know in the comments!