Ian Somerhalder Is Leaving ‘The Vampire Diaries’ After Season 8

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It’s the end of an era, indeed.

Ian Somerhalder announced today (Sunday, April 10) that he is leaving The Vampire Diaries after season 8. First reported by the fan account @TVDFansOnline on Twitter, Somerhalder made the announcement at Walker Stalker Con, a fan convention in Nashville, Tennessee.

“We have decided to do one last season to really do the story justice,” Somerhalder said as reported by @walkerstalkercon. “My role is shifting in the show, and we have a lot to do, basically.”

Somerhalder, who plays Damon Salvatore, isn’t the only actor wrapping up his storyline on TVD. Just last week, his costar, Kat Graham, who plays Bonnie Bennett, told US Weekly that she’s on her way out as well.

“Season 8 will be my last season,” said Graham, who set the bar high for her final episodes. “You know what, another season is a whole other year and we’re going to blow it out.”

People’s Choice has learned that no decision has been made about the fate of the series, but showrunner Julie Plec recently said she wouldn’t be opposed to shifting some characters to sister show, The Originals, if/when TVD comes to an end. Considering that the vampire drama is rooted in the relationship between brothers Damon and Stefan Salvatore (Paul Wesley),  it’s hard to imagine it continuing without one of them.

Somerhalder’s exit also brings up the question of whether former lead Nina Dobrev will return to wrap up her storyline. Dobrev, who played Elena Gilbert, exited the show last year, but is reportedly willing to return for a finale to bring closure to her character, who — despite being in a “deep sleep” thanks to a spell that ties her to Bonnie’s life — is still in a relationship with Damon, who promised to wait for her.

What do you think Ian Somerhalder’s exit means for The Vampire Diaries? Let us know in the comments!

The Vampire Diaries airs Fridays at 8/7c on The CW.

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