Has the exit wound started to heal, Vampire Diaries fans?
The CW hit series' fanbase was rocked when star Nina Dobrev announced she was exiting the show at the end of the season, posting a heartfelt letter to fans on Instagram, writing, "I always knew I wanted Elena's story to be a six season adventure." And though she and executive producer Julie Plec both sounded off on her decision to leave, rumors quickly spread about why she was really saying goodbye.
And like us, her co-star Michael Malarkey, who plays roguish vamp Enzo, is totally down to set the record straight about Nina's decision to leave The Vampire Diaries. (No, it wasn't because of her breakup with Ian Somerhalder.)
"She's always known knew she was going to leave at the end of this season, so I think there was a lot of speculation about that," Michael says, "Like, ‘Oh, is she leaving because of this and that.' People just needs to stop reading tabloids! [Laughs.]"
Michael, who joined the show in season five and quickly became a fan-favorite, totally understands her decision to leave after playing Elena Gilbert (and sometimes Katherine Pierce...and sometimes Tatia...and sometimes Amara) for over 100 episodes.
"Everybody has different reasons for doing what they want to do, but in this business, it's very important to know when it is your particular time to move on and she's grown up on this show," he explains. "She was 20 years old when she started it and now she's 26. I think it's exactly the right thing for her to do, in someone in her position in this business. I'm very, very happy she's moving on, although I'll miss her. I think she's doing the right thing and I'm looking forward to seeing what she does next."
Still, the table-read for the season six finale, Nina's last episode as a series regular, was bittersweet, Michael reveals.
"It's a great episode. There's so much stuff that goes down and obviously, there were a couple of people who were holding back some tears; there may have been a couple shed," he says. "It was table-read where basically everybody was there. Every once in a while we'll do reads where people have other places to be and stuff, but this one was where literally everyone was there. There was a great buzz and camaraderie in the air. It was just a really positive feeling, and even though our Gilberts are going away, we're all very positive that it's an opportunity to move forward and explore some new ground with the show, although they'll both be missed greatly."
But with tears also came a celebration as the TVD Family spent a weekend together on Lake Lanier in Georgia to properly send Nina and Michael Trevino, who is also leaving the series, off in style. Throughout the two-day celebration, Nina and the rest of the cast posted photos on Instagram.
Included in the celebration? The decapitation of a piñata, which was demolished by "Nina, of course!" Malarkey says. "She's a little unicorn! She actually completely decapitated it! No candy came out, the body just fell to the floor! So Zach [Roerig] was trying to hold it up, and she was like, ‘I'll swing again!' We were like, ‘Dude, this is probably not a good idea!' But we ended up getting the candy out in the end!"
And isn't that all that really matters at the end of the day?
Check back with us on Thursday for more scoop from Michael, including who Enzo will be spending a lot of time with in upcoming episodes.
The Vampire Diaries airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. on the CW.