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The Vampire Diaries ending: Season 8 will be its last

The cast said goodbye in an emotional video at Comic-Con

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Kharen Hill/The CW

After eight years, six doppelgängers, two car accidents on Wickery Bridge, and countless witchy hijinks, The Vampire Diaries has an official expiration date.

During Saturday’s Comic-Con panel, showrunner Julie Plec announced season 8 will be the series’ last. An emotional goodbye video the cast put together for the fans, which can be seen above, was shown immediately following the announcement.

“The greatest honor you can have as a storyteller in the business of television is to be able to make those decisions with your peers and your fellow storytellers and we have all discussed it and we have made the decision that this is it,” Plec said. “This is going to be the final season. … It’s bittersweet and emotional and we’re going to be crying about this in a few minutes.” To the fans, she added, “You guys stuck with us. … You guys have been with us for this run, and it’s a beautiful run.”

The news won’t come as too big of a surprise for die-hard fans. Not only did series star Nina Dobrev exit at the end of season 6, but both Ian Somerhalder and Kat Graham have spoken out about the probable farewell in recent months.

But now, the question turns to how the series will say goodbye. Plec has spoken in the past about how she and co-creator Kevin Williamson came up with the series’ end way back in season 2. And even as recently as when Dobrev left, Plec said not much had changed. “The sentiment of what we wanted our characters to be feeling when the series was over I think has definitely remained the same; the execution of it will be obviously a bit different.”

But for fans panicked the series could end without Elena, Plec has always said that they’d love for Dobrev to return to tie up any loose ends for the young girl whose love story was the centerpiece of the show for so long. “Nina has always said that if there’s something for her to do in the series finale that she will be there to do it,” Plec told EW. “When she left, she said, ‘I want to see this character to its end at the end of the show, so I can’t wait to come back and put her to bed again.’”

And if you need a little Dobrev in your life right now, you can check out another Comic-Con reel shown during Saturday’s panel, which pays tribute to some of the great villains of the past, while also teasing the final villain of the series. (Hint: It’s a she!)

Check out our interview with the cast about the final season:

The Vampire Diaries kicks off its last season on Friday, Oct. 21 at 8 p.m. ET on The CW.