Season 7 of the The Vampire Diaries found our heroes rebuilding their world without Elena. Confronted by the prospect of a decades-long wait for Elena's return, Damon (Ian Somerhalder) struggled with his heartbreak and relied on his contentious but profound friendship with Bonnie (Kat Graham).
Stefan (Paul Wesley) and Caroline (Candice King) began their much-anticipated relationship, which was complicated by Caroline's unexpected role as surrogate mother to the infant twins left behind when Alaric (Matt Davis) lost his wife.
Meanwhile, Damon pursued a vendetta against his mother Lily (guest star Annie Wersching), who had abandoned her sons to care for a vicious brood of vampire-witches called the Heretics – one of whom, Valerie (Elizabeth Blackmore), had loved Stefan ever since their romantic encounter in a previous century.
Lily's misguided choices ultimately caused her own tragic demise and put Mystic Falls in the sights of a formidable nemesis: Rayna Cruz (guest star Leslie-Anne Huff), a supernatural vampire-hunter. Rayna targeted Stefan, forcing him to go on the run and leaving Caroline to make a new start with Alaric.
Determined to defeat Rayna, Damon enlisted the help of the Armory, a shadowy group with family ties to Bonnie's boyfriend Enzo (Michael Malarkey). But the Armory's deeper agenda robbed Bonnie of her magic and jeopardised her life. To remedy the crisis, Damon and Enzo had to venture into the Armory's occult vault, where an evil presence overcame them.
The triangle of Stefan, Caroline and Alaric will team up with Bonnie in Season 8 to search for the two most important men in her life – even though Damon and Enzo may be long past saving.
The final season gets underway months after Damon and Enzo mysteriously vanished from the Armory vault. Stefan tirelessly pushes forward with their search, while Bonnie struggles holding onto hope that they will be found.
Meanwhile, a dangerous encounter with an unexpected visitor leaves Caroline and Alaric fearing that someone - or something - may be targeting their family.
Finally, after following some mysterious clues, Stefan realises that whatever has a hold of his brother may have a more damaging grip over him than he could have ever imagined.
The Vampire Diaries is from Bonanza Productions Inc. in association with Outerbanks Entertainment, Alloy Entertainment, Warner Bros. Television and CBS Television Studios.
The series was developed by Kevin Williamson (The Following, Scream) & Julie Plec (The Originals, Kyle XY, Wasteland), who serve as executive producers along with Leslie Morgenstein (Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liars) and Caroline Dries (Melrose Place, Smallville).