When Will Caroline Return To 'Vampire Diaries'? 6 Ways The Show Can Explain Candice King's Maternity Leave

Ever since The Vampire Diaries actress Candice King announced that she was expecting a baby with her husband Joe King, fans have been waiting for that second shoe to drop. Babies are wonderful, and her daughter is adorable, but how will the show handle King’s maternity leave? How many episodes will Caroline disappear for? In order to accommodate the actor’s pregnancy, the writers made Caroline pregnant as well. But, when will Caroline return to The Vampire Diaries?

Earlier this month, TVD creator Julie Plec shed some light on the subject when she told E! News that King will miss five episodes for her maternity leave, only returning for the last two episodes of the season. With the departure of Elena Gilbert (previously TVD’s main character), the focus has been repositioned onto the formerly supporting characters Bonnie and Caroline, which makes it nearly impossible to quietly sneak one of them away for such an extended period of time. To make matters even more confusing, Caroline is currently right in the middle of several plot lines that have dominated the first half of the season. With mysterious hunters kidnapping people left and right, the Steroline relationship dominating the romantic narrative, and twin babies on the way, how can Caroline possible untangle herself from the mess for five whole episodes?

The answer is… she can’t. No matter how the writers choose to deal with King’s maternity leave, the audience will surely feel her absence. However, there are a few ways they can explain her disappearing act that would make the Caroline-hiatus a little more believable.

1. Caroline Goes To Texas

Fans know from the flash forwards that Caroline is settled happily in Dallas, Texas as a primetime news producer. Perhaps after delivering Alaric’s babies, Caroline decides that her life has just gotten too bizarre to keep dealing with the supernatural drama anymore, and she takes off for a new life in Texas? Once the timeline catches back up to the flash forwards, Caroline can pop back in like she never left!

2. Caroline Flees With The Twins

If there’s one thing that almost always happens in magical baby storylines, it’s an attempted kidnapping or vendetta that threatens the safety of the squishy-cheeked little bundle of joy. If someone is after Alaric’s twins, then as their pseudo-mom, Caroline might just grab the kids and run, hiding them away for safe-keeping. Hey, it worked when they needed to send Rebekah and Hope off on The Originals!

3. Caroline And Tyler Visit The Appalachian Mountains

Whenever TVD needed to get rid of Tyler Lockwood for a stretch of episodes, he was always doing werewolf related things in the Appalachian Mountains. Viewers never got a great idea of what the hell he got up to out there, but it also never really mattered. We know Steroline is headed for a breakup soon thanks to those heartbreaking flash forwards, so maybe when Tyler returns for Alaric's baby shower, he will take Caroline on a road trip to help her get over her broken heart? Caroline’s got a great history helping werewolves through their transitions, after all.

4. Caroline Dies In Childbirth

Hear me out on this one! We all know that death is like a field trip for main characters on TVD, so Caroline dying wouldn’t be as tragic as a death on any other show. If Twilight taught us anything, it’s that vampire childbirth is messy and dangerous, so who’s to say that Caroline will even survive the ordeal? Candice King can take a much-needed break while everyone else tries to get Caroline back to the land of the living. At least this way her absence will serve some purpose for the plot.

5. Caroline Appears Only In Phone Calls

The great thing about television is that you can shoot scenes ahead of time if you know your schedule is about to get messed with. Phone calls are easy to plug in anywhere (all you need is an actor and a camera!) and they're easy to film too. If Candice King shot a bunch of these before she went on maternity leave, they could essentially just have Caroline check in with people on the phone while King is away. Yeah, it might feel super weird for Caroline to literally "phone it in" for a few weeks, but it beats not seeing her at all!

6. Caroline Takes A Trip To New Orleans

Yeah, this one is a stretch, but crossovers are scarce, and you can’t blame a girl for trying. Once The Vampire Diaries skips forward in time to catch up with their flash forwards, they’ll be completely out of sync with The Originals timeline. That means that if Caroline were to pack her bags to go ask Klaus for help with their little huntress problem, she wouldn’t even need to make a cameo on the spinoff, being that they’re 3 years behind the curve. Caroline could quite literally disappear into an off-screen crossover.

However the writers choose to send Caroline off during Candice King's maternity leave, it's going to feel a little off. She's become such an integral part of the show over the years. Here's hoping whatever they do, they bring her back in style for the end of the season.

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