Elena Gilbert: gone but not forgotten.
When The Vampire Diaries returns tonight for the first time without Nina Dobrev at the center of the show, The CW drama will honor the character in sweet, respectful ways many times throughout the hour. Just because she’s currently stuck in a Sleeping Beauty curse, snoozing her way through the next 70 years in a coffin until her BFF Bonnie dies, doesn’t mean her friends and loved ones will immediately move on and forget she existed.
But everyone finds ways to pick up the pieces of their lives and move forward while still keeping her in their hearts, especially when they find out their home is about to be overrun by Lily Salvatore’s chosen family of heretics — vampire/witch hybrids.
Nerdist got TVD‘s Caroline, Candice King (formerly Candice Accola), to dish on where the show goes from here, and what to expect from season seven. Check out our Q&A with King below!
Nerdist: When the premiere picks up, everyone has been coping with life without Elena in different ways. How has Caroline been handling losing her best friend and her mom in such a short amount of time?
Candice King: Caroline isn’t really seeing Elena’s departure as a loss because she knows she’ll see Elena again. She’s got a lot of hope for that. As far as her mother goes, she knows she needs to grieve. We’re definitely going to see that a lot in the first episode back and as the season goes on. We’re about to shoot episode nine and Caroline’s mother is definitely still a huge part of her. That’s a big part of her journey this season, accepting the finality of her mother’s death.
After Stefan confessed his love for Caroline in the season six finale, where is their relationship at when we pick up in the premiere?
Caroline and Stefan are still very close friends. [Laughs] Stefan is respecting Caroline’s decision to take some time for herself. Caroline is having more of a difficult time trying to stay focused on herself and not lean on Stefan for support. We’ll see her struggle with that, if she has to be the grieving daughter or if she can be grieving as well as rely on someone and allow someone to support her and comfort her.
What can you tease about where we’re going to see them take their relationship as the season progresses?
You’ll see a lot of Caroline and Stefan learning to rely on each other and all the reasons why we love these characters together. But we’re also going to see some realities on maybe why it took so long for these characters to get together. That’s going to be what Caroline and Stefan are struggling with this season.
Caroline has some strong ideas on how to take care of the heretics living in Mystic Falls. What does she plan on doing about them?
Caroline does not like the heretics and she is not afraid to show it. [Laughs] She definitely comes in with quite the welcome wagon. It’s such a fun way to introduce her specifically to these characters. Caroline will definitely get to know a lot of different sides of these heretics and the fans and viewers will get to learn about who these characters are and why they all are the way that they are and what they want with Mystic Falls, which is all tied in with Mama Salvatore and her big plans of why she’s in Mystic Falls.
The Vampire Diaries premieres tonight at 8 p.m. on The CW.
Images: The CW