A 'Vampire Diaries' Flash Forward May Tell Us Elena's Fate — The Finale May Not Actually Be So Grim

Television time jumps of any kind can be a tricky thing. On the one hand, you're reluctant to see your favorite characters morph into future versions of themselves, especially if it's not in keeping with how you envisioned them to be. But at the same time, it's the FUTURE! How can you not be curious? But whether you're a fan of the concept or not, it's something our Mystic Falls gang is gearing up to introduce. That's right, folks — The Vampire Diaries Season 6 finale will include a flash forward in time. And while details surrounding this particular story arc remain unclear, I can't help but theorize that it will have something to do with Elena's departure. In fact, I'd say it even helps to further indicate that Elena will become human again and live out the rest of her days in a Salvatore-free world.

During a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly, executive producer Julie Plec revealed that, more than likely, “the season ends with a flash forward.” And given that this just so happens to coincide with Nina Dobrev's TVD exit, I have a feeling that these two occurrences are strongly linked. So basically, this all boils down to two possible scenarios: either Elena dies and we'll flash forward in time to see how the rest of the gang is handling it OR Elena will take the cure and we'll get a glimpse at what her human life will be like in her returned human form.

Either one seems possible, I suppose. But in my heart of hearts, I can't believe they'd kill off our heroine. She's already been through so much throughout these past six years, so part of me has to believe that she'll eventually get that happy ending she so deserves. Even if it's not with Damon or Stefan. Plus, the show's already done that whole time-jump-grieving thing when Damon and Bonnie were stuck in the 1994 prison world, so doing it again would seem a little redundant. No, I'm betting this won't be a permanent jump in time, but rather just a way of briefly showing viewers how Elena's life turned out, giving us at least some semblance of closure.

But that still begs the question of how this will all come to pass. The Elena I know would never just leave all of her friends, not to mention the great love of her life willingly, regardless of whether or not it was the right choice for her. (Elena has many great qualities, but smart decision-making is not one of them.) Which means that perhaps something (or rather someone) has to intervene to make this all come to pass.

Executive producer Caroline Dries recently shared with TVLine that the circumstances surrounding Elena's departure rests completely on Damon's broad shoulders. "Bonnie brought back the cure for Damon to decide what to do with it," Dries stated. "We're building towards the outcome of Damon's decision." But what if it's not so much about whether Damon will or won't give Elena the cure, but rather how he will go about doing so? I think that Damon will decide to compel Elena to forget all about him, Stefan, and all the supernatural happenings that have haunted her life since they first arrived in Mystic Falls.

I mean, think about it. That's the only possible way she'd ever be able to leave the town and everyone she loves behind for a better life. She could still hold onto her memories of her friends like Caroline and Bonnie (pre-vamp and witch, of course). But to be free of all the pain and devastation she's suffered since her final years of high school? That would be completely heartbreaking, but in the sweetest sort of way. And can you imagine how hard that would be for Damon to do? To compel the woman he loves to forget everything about him?

We already went through a similar type scenario when Elena asked Alaric to get rid of all her happy Damon memories. But there's an extra layer of sentimentality regarding this concept that makes the possibility all the more bittersweet. Because, let's face it, no scenario of Elena leaving is going to make everyone happy. At least with this, Delena wouldn't be ending on bad terms or due to a death. It would be Damon's final act of love to the person he holds most dear and leave us with the comfort of knowing that, because of him, she can now live the life she deserves. She might no longer be able to remember their journey together, but Damon (and the audience) would cherish those memories for the both of them.

It's still not the ideal scenario, but apart from Delena riding off into the sunset together (which seems very unlikely), it may be the best outcome we can hope for. Either way, I'd get that box of tissues ready.

Images: Tina Rowden/The CW (2); milamirph/Tumblr (2); damonsoneandonly/Tumblr