It's finally the day we've all been dreading.ft;">The Vampire Diaries ends tonight after eight seasons, and we're going to have to say goodbye to Damon (Ian Somerhalder), Stefan (Paul Wesley), Caroline (Candice King), Bonnie (Kat Graham), Matt (Zach Roerig), and even Elena (Nina Dobrev, after we say hello to her again). 

The people behind the show have been saying goodbye for weeks, ever since the finale wrapped filming, and tonight they'll finally get to share those emotions with the fans and say another fond farewell.ft;">In the video above, Somerhalder, Roerig, and Michael Malarkey share what it's been like to say their goodbyes, and we hopped on the phone with executive producer Julie Plec to find out exactly what it has been like to wrap up such a significant chunk of her life. 

The Vampire Diaries finale

The CW

"I was so worried what it would feel like when I would walk out the door the last time, so the last day, I decided, you know what, I'm gonna come back in two days and I'm going to walk all these sets again and say my goodbyes then," she tells us. "Then I walked out the doors, and we went and got a beer together as a crew, and then the next night I had a dinner with a lot of the department heads and some of the actors, and we all drank 15 bottles of wine and toasted each other and went around the table and celebrated each other, and two days later, I left Atlanta without ever going back to the set, because I felt like, you know what, I'm done, I'm good." 

While that was the end of her time in Atlanta, where the show filmed for eight years, the tears didn't stop when she got back to Los Angeles. 

"I thought I was done, and then yesterday, we had our final sound mix and we were doing a champagne toast with post production, and we honored one of our sound mixers, Andre, who passed away several years ago of cancer, and I started crying all over again," she says. "So I have a feeling…this Friday we're gathering with a lot of the cast and Kevin at Kevin's house, and a lot of the crew and the writers to have a party to watch the episode, so I'm sure there will be more tears shed. But I definitely feel complete." 

The Vampire Diaries finale

The CW

As for whether the world of the series is also complete, that's still up in the air. 

"Yeah I think that it's a universe that has lots of opportunities that you could explore within it, you know," she tells us. "It's certainly left doors open even within the finale itself for that kind of thing, so it's always on my mind, so it's really just a matter of if and when I want to tell that story." 

Somerhalder, on the other hand, is ready to close this chapter. 

"I think it's just that time where we lay this to bed and everyone goes home and everyone remembers really what an incredible journey this was," he tells E! News. "And again, it's always accessible at the click of a button." 

The Vampire Diaries finale airs tonight at 9 p.m., after a series retrospective that airs at 8 p.m. on the CW. 

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