Maybe if I say it enough times then it will start to hurt a little less. You've probably heard by now that Nina Dobrev will leave The Vampire Diaries after Season 6, and the whys and hows are just plain unimportant. Elena Gilbert, the main character of TVD, is leaving the show, and nothing will ever be the same. In addition to wondering who the main character of TVD will be now that Elena is gone, and who Damon will end up with on TVD if not Elena, fans might be wondering exactly how the showrunners are going to keep the show going without the main character. We know that the show will go on, and we know other shows have gone on under similar circumstances, but how?
They have options. It might not seem like it now, while the pain is still fresh, but they do have options. The real issue is finding a way to tie up Elena's storyline in a satisfactory way that allows for the plot to move on without her. (Which might just mean killing her off — see below.) However, that's not the only place that they could take the show after Dobrev's departure. How will TVD carry on without Elena? Here are some options they could explore in Season 7.
1. Focus On Caroline
I'm already guessing that Caroline will be the new main character of TVD after Elena's departure, and it would be a good way to tell different kinds of storylines on the show. Caroline and Elena may have a lot of similarities as people and as characters, but they are also very different. Thus, arcs based around Caroline would be very different from arcs based around Elena.
2. Focus On Bonnie
Of course, you couldn't get more different than an arc based around Bonnie, who isn't even a vampire at all. Bonnie might not be one of TVD's most popular characters, but, to me, that's always been down to a combination of awkward writing and not enough screen time. Giving more focus to Bonnie, or even making her the surprise lead character, would give fans a chance to get to know and love her.
3. Expand The Ensemble Cast
Hey, there is always room for new characters on The Vampire Diaries. They could pull a Community or a The Office or a One Tree Hill by introducing either several new or one new character to fill Elena's shoes — either as a test run or as a permanent cast member for fans to just deal with. After all, surely TVD fans know they can trust their show in the hands of the writers by now, even if they don't entirely agree with the decisions at first? Never forget, there was a time when many didn't like Caroline.
4. Merge The Vampire Diaries With The Originals
I have no good reason for this. I mean, I think it's a good reason, but that could just be me...
5. Have Nina Dobrev Guest Star
Just because she can't be a series regular anymore doesn't mean Dobrev can't appear for flashbacks or short scenes to keep the Delena flame burning strong. And, of course, she has to be back for the eventual series finale — right?
6. Have Nina Dobrev Do Voice Overs
If they decide to have Elena leave town for one reason or another, am I the only person who can see Damon calling her, like, all the time? Not to mention Bonnie and Caroline. However, if they want to take it a step forward, they could have Dobrev do a voice over for the entire show. Give that diary feel back to it. Somehow. Hey, they could make it work. I have faith.
7. Kill Elena
This seems like the most likely option to me, and the one that gives Dobrev a clean split from the show with nothing left unresolved. Of course, this is also the option that I want the least, which is why I left it for last. Closing the chapter on Elena's story this way would be fitting — and in line with the books, at least for a time — but I can't handle this level of pain again, you guys. I just cant. A season of Damon's grief over the death? OUCH, MY FEELS.