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Vampire Diaries: Julie Plec talks season 8 twists

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Erika Doss/The CW

There’s a lot of darkness in The Vampire Diaries‘ eighth and final season. With the sirens as this year’s villains, the show has introduced its version of hell complete with Cade, its very own devil. But what will that mean for our favorite heroes (and villains)? Could the series end with everyone we love having to pay for their sins?

The short answer is: Yes, it could. But more than anything, Vampire Diaries showrunner Julie Plec says this story is about bringing things to an end. “There’s this sense of finality that we needed to accomplish this year which meant that characters that we’ve introduced and loved over the years, even the series regulars, had a journey that had to come to an end,” Plec says. “As we ask the question, ‘What does hell mean?’ and eventually ask the question, ‘Does peace exist?’ — that question will exist for each and every one of our characters. Now I’m not saying you’re going to watch them all die on camera, but the question is going to exist for everybody.”

That includes our beloved Tyler Lockwood, who was last seen lying dead in the trunk of a car (courtesy of Damon Salvatore). And yet, that’s not necessarily the last we’ve seen of him. “Is this the end of Tyler’s journey? Or is there more suffering or more spiritual beauty in store for him,” Plec teases. “And as for Damon, does this, among the many, many, many other terrible things that he’s done, cement his fate in a dark way? Does it make it completely impossible for him to ever come back from this? That question will make him first want to give up and then ultimately hopefully fight even harder.”

But in all of this darkness, there has been one piece of light: Stefan and Caroline got engaged at the end of the season’s second hour. Suddenly, the promise of a June wedding feels attainable. “Once we started talking about the season and deciding that it could be the end, that’s a path that we knew we wanted to get on and so this is the time to do it,” Plec says of the engagement.

“They’ve been growing as a team, they’ve had their ups and their downs, they’ve had a lot of hurdles preventing them from being able to be happy and we knew we did need some happiness in this otherwise bleak scenario,” Plec continues. “It was important for us to be able to celebrate a relationship. We can’t celebrate Damon and Elena right now; Elena’s in a coffin. And we’re celebrating Bonnie and Enzo all the time but they’re new so they have so many more roads to travel before they get to that conversation, so it was fun to be able to give Stefan and Caroline a sense of a happy ending to come, even if it doesn’t get that far. It’s going to be a fun road to travel.”

It will be fun… unless their journey ends with meeting Cade.

The Vampire Diaries airs Fridays at 8 p.m. ET on The CW.