Vampire Diaries Actress Opens Up About Her Big Death Scene: 'It Was Really Emotional'

The Vampire Diaries lost a few good (wo)men Thursday night, but one death was more painful and poignant than the others. Before we name this doomed character outright, I’ll offer up a big Spoiler Alert, and advise you to move ahead — with caution — to find out how the offed actress really feels about her Mystic Falls fate. 

Sadly, Sara Canning — aka Elena and Jeremy’s beloved Aunt Jenna and Alaric’s gal pal — was one of four actors to see their alter ego bite the dust in Thursday night’s jaw-dropping installment of The CW’s sophomore drama, and the most important one at that. Here’s what the actress exclusively told TVLine about her too-soon Vampire Diaries departure.

TVLINE | It was so sad to see you go last night! How are you feeling about everything the morning after?
I actually haven’t seen it yet — I’m a bad student! [Laughs] I’m sure I’ll see it at some point, though. I had seen a lot of the death when I was doing ADR (Automatic Dialogue Replacement), so I had a taste of it.

TVLINE | I see that you’ve also had a taste of just how loyal Vampire Diaries fans can be. The outcry on Twitter over Jenna’s death was outrageous — in a great way.
I was overjoyed by the situation on Twitter. I was just so happy and grateful for every single person who felt that Jenna was an integral part of the show, because I felt that way as well.

TVLINE | How do you feel about how Jenna died? Do you think it was an honorable way for her to go?
I think so. It was a little sudden, but besides that, I wanted to wrap what Jenna meant in the show as best I could in the amount of time that was left for the character. We’ve seen her in the past few episodes realize that a lot had been hidden from her; she hadn’t been protecting Elena and Jeremy as well as she thought she had been. Granted, she wasn’t given the chance to do so because she was kept in the dark about what was going on, but what was nice about Jenna’s final act was that it was her piecing the puzzle together when she went to kill Greta. The absolute last thing she could do was throw a wrench in the sacrifice plan. It was very perceptive on her part to realize that the witch was an important cog in Klaus’ wheel, and that she needed to take her out — even though she wasn’t successful. [Laughs]

TVLINE | How far in advance did you know that Jenna would be killed off?
About three week — which is quick, but that’s sort of what you get with a show like Vampire Diaries because things change so quickly. And things change for [executive producers] Kevin [Williamson] and Julie [Plec] quickly, as well. So, it was a quick transition — both literally for me, and on the show.

TVLINE | What was your reaction upon receiving your final script? Were you surprised at all to discover the manner in which Jenna would be leaving?
Julie had explained Jenna’s death to me beforehand, so I wasn’t terribly surprised. I actually didn’t know that it would focus so much on Jenna and Elena, and what she feels her faults have been. Our characters had a similar moment in the beginning of Season 1, so it was challenging for me to try and address something that’s really at the heart of their relationship — Jenna going from Elena’s friend to her parental figure. It was really interesting to deal with that in the middle of all the fear.

TVLINE | Speaking of “the fear,” there was something subtle yet unwavering about Jenna’s transition into a vampire. How did you approach that scene?
I tried to set some specifics for Jenna’s transition and what that was like for her, because we’ve seen a number of characters on the show transition into vampires. I wanted to hold true to those characteristics but also put her own spin on it. We all know that when humans on the show turn into vampires, different qualities from their human/mortal lives intensify, so it was a lot to try and touch on in one episode — other than the actual sacrifice itself and wrapping up Jenna’s journey.

TVLINE | It’s no secret that the Vampire Diaries cast is a close-knit group, so I imagine your last day on set was an emotional one. Did any of your real-life feelings spillover into Jenna’s death scene?
Paul Sommers directed the episode and he really wanted to shoot it in sequence, which I thought was great of him to give such consideration. It was such a large buildup to go from turning into a vampire, to the conversations within the ring of fire, to seeing Jules’ death — which was so violent — to deciding to try to fight, so it was great of him to do that. The next night, after shooting the death scene, I was on set again for some shots just lying on the rock as a dead body. [Laughs] So it was an emotional peak… and then just lying there. Which is fine! It was really emotional, though, since [the show] has been my home for two years and I made a lot of close relationships in Atlanta. But for me, the scene ended up being about the last two seasons of Jenna more so than Sara leaving.

TVLINE | At least we know that dead people on Vampire Diaries usually pop-up again down the road!
I’m very grateful to Kevin and Julie for bringing me aboard this show and I really think the world of the cast and crew, so of course I’d come back. It would be much different to return to the show in that capacity, but I’d be open to it.

TVLINE | What’s next for you? Any immediate plans?
I actually have a few things that I’m doing right now. I’m working on a short [film] that’s a noir piece, and I’m really excited about that. I also am doing a film at the end of this month for Lifetime called The Hunt for the I-5 Killer, which is based on true events. I’ve been auditioning, but I just got back to Vancouver a week ago, so that’s just a huge move to deal with.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Rebecca Parker says:

    Sorry to see her go – I love the character and that there was some adult balance in Elena & Jeremy’s life. She had a beautiful exit scene though and I wish her all the best! I’ll be keeping my eye out for her.

    • AlistairCrane says:

      Disappointed that they killed her off. It was obvious they didn’t know how to write for Jenna, so they offed her because of the shock value (she’s a series regular) and her importance to Elena and Jeremy.

      • Kris says:

        Agreed. There was no need to kill her but when they turned her into a Vampire, I knew what was coming.

      • josh says:

        the shock value was not of saddness though but just of stupidity. you dont kill so many poeple like that. especially after all of the rest of the family deaths as well as close friends. this is where a good twist would come in handy

        • Michael says:

          It’s too soon to make that judgment. I loved her on the show, but their decision might have everything to do with the direction that they take the show next year. I don’t think that her death will end up being gratuitous.

          • josh says:

            it just frustrates me because they dont know how to make a good plot anymore. the whole two seasons have progressed only by killing people off. the other deaths had some reason-ability but it just seams like all the writers are thinking is “hmm what would make a good twist…,” “lets kill someone!!!!!” “yaaa!!”
            and thats alll they do.
            and if you think the werewolf bites a twist think again
            its happened before.
            not to mention now they have this potion thing from Elijah ( he never it wouldnt work on supernatural beings)

          • Michael says:

            I see why you are frustrated. I do. I’ve just come to accept that in this genre, casualties are a given. I was mortified when they killed Cordelia AND Fred on Angel but didn’t feel that the deaths didn’t serve a purpose. Next year is going to be the year of The Originals. I think that it will be interesting to see how Elena and Jeremy progress in the world without parental figures. I loved Jenna, but I don’t think that the show will suffer in quality because of her death. For me, this is one of the better shows on television. The pacing is terrific. The plots are always action-packed, twisty and coherent. I’m prepared to lose people that I like if it fits into the story-arc. None of the deaths, at least for me, have been gratuitous.

      • lorna says:

        Her and Alaric were my favorite couple. The show is incredible, but it’s going to burn out so fast if they kill or transform everyone, especially so soon.

    • TVD fan says:

      That misogystic mess of a show really wrecked next season killing her off: where are the Gilberst going to go now, foster care?

      It’s like watching the “Heroes” trainwreck all over again: they also started killing off the best female character (leaving only the Elena/Claire).

      • Rob says:

        Well to be fair, Matt’s mother is also MIA most of the time and he is all alone and is the same age as Elena. So it’s not a big stretch on this show for them to live alone. Plus Elena now owns the Salvatore house.

        • t.t says:

          I was sad that they killed her but foster care won’t happen
          If you noticed how they had no grave stones that means they’re keeping it a secret so they won’t know that Jennas dead.

        • Rebecca says:

          Everyone in Mystic Falls knows Matt’s mother is always MIA. It’s natural for Matt to not have his parent around.

          Elena & Jeremy on the other hand? Jenna was always there; always around town then all of a sudden she disappears?

          I’d like to know how their going to explain it if they go with the disappearing act reasoning because to me, it’s completely unrealistic for the show and makes no sense.

      • Michael says:

        Mysogynistic? Why? Catherine, Elena, Caroline and Bonnie are 4 extremely strong and extremely well-drawn characters. The show is anything BUT mysogynistic.

  2. ruba says:

    Sara Canning you delivered the scenes to perfection you’ll be greatly missed. Hope to see you on network tv soon

  3. Paige says:

    Sorry to see Sara go, but in fact Elena and Jeremy just don’t need any parental figures anymore. They’ve outgrown them.

    • AlistairCrane says:

      …except they’re still minors and both require a legal guardian. I would rather have seen the annoyingly awful Caroline bite the dust or even useless, extraneous Matt or bitchy Bonnie.

    • TVD fan says:

      Are we forgetting Jeremy is a drug addict with a death wish and Elena the promiscous girlfriend of two vampires now? I get why they would get rid of John – he’s Elena’s father – but definitely NOT Jenna, especially not after Isobel.

      • Michael says:

        Do you know the meaning of promiscuous? She hasn’t been giving it away. Yikes. She’s a sexually active teen who, thus far, has been faithful to her boyfriend.

  4. Aria says:

    So gutted about this. I have no idea why I became so attached to Jenna as a character but I always liked her seemingly free spirited-I-suck-at-relationships-lets-party-instead ways. Maybe because she appeared to be just living life around the supernatural drama and reminded me of friends irl (minus the supernatural). Bring her back!

  5. Mikaylah says:

    Such a great actress and I loved her character. I am very sad to see her go, and I wish her nothing but success! :)

  6. AlistairCrane says:

    Stop saying “FOUR actors” like it’s a big deal. Jenna was the only series regular to bite the dust, and the second important death was John, a recurring guest star. No one cares that Greta and the wolf chick died!!!

    • Esta says:

      Is it me or do you only troll tv boards to rhymes-with-witch and nitpick?

      • Katie says:

        I agree with Esta. That’s how much you whine and complain. That two random people see your name and know that something insulting is coming.

    • Damon says:

      Yes, four actors did die. They do not claim they were major deaths, just stating the obvious.

  7. Paige says:

    Well, there’s always Damon, since he’s the legal guardian of his brother as well :D

  8. TVD says:

    I’m sort of holding out hope that because it was Klaus that turned her and that he was an original/hybrid that it might mean Jenna may not just be a regular vampire either.

  9. L. says:

    I’m really sad, I loved her. It’s a really sad and mean birthday gift for me today.

  10. Josh says:

    I was extremely sad to see her character die off the show last night. It actually sort of angered me to stop watching the show. I just thought that she was such an integral part of the show and cast. It won’t be the same without her character and hopefully the finale won’t be a disappointment.

    • josh says:

      my name is josh too! and i have the EXACT same opinion. i thnk i would get along with you lol almost as if we are the same person.

      lol just look at my other comment down the lost (its a bit long) and tell me what you think. i personally think that the thought is ingenious.

  11. Kris says:

    I had no idea she was Canadian! SO COOL! Her and Nina (well…sorta), awesome :)

  12. Corinne says:

    I’m really sad to see Sara & Jenna go, I really loved her character and felt they could have done so much more with her once she found out the big secrets surrounding her….just bummed all around that the writers chose to take it in this direction…couldn’t they leave one family member around for Jeremy & Elena, I mean seriously! I was pretty angry by the end of last nights episodes….

    You will be missed Sara!

  13. AlistairCrane says:

    So I guess it’s safe to say Sara was fired and won’t be returning as a series regular next season. *sigh* I was hoping she’d remain on the show in some capacity.

    • josh says:

      i doubt she was fired.
      no matter what she couldve done to be fired. nothing is worth the loss of fans because of that dumb decision. they did have to do something dramatic but the idea would be to twist it
      not end it like this

      • AlistairCrane says:

        She didn’t request to leave, which means she was fired. Whenever your employment is terminated against your wishes, it’s called being fired.

        • gabhainn says:

          that’s actually not true. sara canning wasn’t fired. this is a vampire show and death is part of the plot – it would say in all of their contracts that their characters may be killed at any time if the storyline calls for it. jenna sommers – although many of us loved the character, particularly towards the end – was viewed as an extraneous character by the writers and killed off. it was either jenna or caroline forbes – they chose to save caroline.

          it would only be a firing if sara had done something to have her contract terminated. she wanted to stay but the decision was amiable on both sides.

          • AlistairCrane says:

            It’s absolutely true. She was released from her contract, which mean she was fired. I’m sorry, but can you not grasp the concept of being fired? Is it too complex for you?

          • Jamie says:

            @alistaircrane your an idiot and it seems your the one that can’t grasp the concept of being fired!! When you leave a job you can either quit yourself, do something wrong and be fired or your job can become unnecessary due to company restructuring etc and you would be made redundant. In this case her character was obviously thought not to be vital and they wanted to do something shocking with the story line so she was made redundant!!!

        • josh says:

          i know but fired is a bit harsh a term.
          fired makes it seem like her character was killed off because she was fired. but she was let go because her character was killed off.

          or maybe not. maybe the original idea was to have caroline die but jenna (sarah) got fired so they switched it up a bit. who knows the truth lol

  14. Lambsilencer says:

    It was interesting that the producer gave this pivotal episode to a first-time director. Paul M. Sommers was a steadicam operator up to this point, with no experience whatsoever in directing. I figured the likes of Marcos Siega, John Bering (who has directed next week’s finale) or J. Miller Tobin would helm this important episode. Wonder why they chose Sommers for this. He did a great job with it, though.

  15. David says:

    Sara we will miss Jenna, you totally rocked the ending!

    Yeah I know it would kind of diminish the value of the death if they figured out a way to bring Jenna back. But I still want them to bring her back. I mean hey if Klaus was talking about the bodies of their dead family being safe (which therefore means they can come back to life) why can’t we bring Jenna back!

    In any even we wish you all the best Sara!

  16. Mikey M says:

    I didn’t see that coming. Good episode but it was true, they didn’t seem to know how to write for her because she was always in the dark. they should h ave kept her as a Vampire.

  17. Katie says:

    I really loved this episode, even though I was completely caught off guard but Jenna died. I don’t really follow Vampire Diaries spoilers and stuff like that, so the death came out of nowhere, for me. My jaw literally dropped. I thought it’d be so cool to see one of the adults that we knew from Mystic Falls deal with being a new vampire. Alas. Jenna, you will be very very missed.

  18. TVD fan says:

    They may as well kill off Jeremy too and get Elena move in with the Salvatore if that’s the case! TVD seems to be made for shipper whores. Remind me again how long before True Blood comes back with some ACTUAL vampire stories?

    • josh says:

      i havent seen true blood
      but if they dont fix this with a twist of some sort or something i am in complete agreement with you

  19. Carrie says:

    I thought her death was really unnecessary and that everything happened way too fast. She finds out that vampires exist and that her friends are vampires, then she’s turned into one and sacrificed in a ritual and before you know it, everyone is mourning at her grave. There was just too much going on in that one episode, with all the deaths and the way the ritual unfolded. What’s going to happen to Elena and Jeremy? Are they going to live in that house by themselves? They could do whatever they wanted, anyway, so it’s not like they’ll be missing any actual parenting. It’s sad that Elena’s biological parents, adoptive parents and guardian have all been taken away from her in two seasons.

  20. josh says:

    ok im just wondering. is an original vampire just old or is it special in a more particular way? im just wondering because wouldnt it be understandable that if jenna was created with KLAUSe’S (mega original vampire) blood she would be a bit more “special” like maybe even be a “newborn original vampire”. so like how an original, if stabbed through the heart with wood wouldnt die but would “pass out, or whatever that is. so it would be understandable that there could be a twist in the whole “klause created vampire jenna”. it just seemed too specific to me to be a coincident. esspecially because they have asked a few times durring the series and they have yet to say how an original is make. jenna would make perfect sense.

    • josh says:

      as well as the post’s explanation previous to this one. it just seems to fit that she would come back after so sudden a disappearance. its just so pointless. and there was really no honor in it. she went through two whole seasons in the dark as a character than BOOM she knows and then dies. –here is a shout-out to the directors this kind of twist is what makes a series

  21. Kris says:

    You know what’s really funny? Sara Canning is just one year older than Nina Dobrev (23). It’s funny how she’s playing this mother figure to her when they’re practically the same age.

  22. man in black says:

    WOW, Thanks for pretty much telling the WHOLE story in your title!! Before that, I didn’t know some woman was going to die, and now I do! I watch my shows a couple of days later online, and I was just surfing on this site and it totally ruined it! You guys are ridiculous!

    • sarah says:

      your fault for surfing blogs about the series buddy

    • Tjj says:

      THey wait until the show airs on both coasts. They don’t have any more obligation than that. If you’re gonna watch it later, then avoid the blogs.

  23. Mdz says:

    I absolutely hate that they killed off her character…Jenna was one of my favorite characters and I still can’t believe it..I’m really shocked and mad about her death :(

  24. sarah says:

    your fault for surfing blogs about the episodes buddy

  25. :( says:

    You will be missed soo much Sara!! Cried so hard when Jenna died… you performed it beutifully!! You’ve brought so much into TVD and you will be missed by all viewers!! Good Luck in your life.. and hopefully we will see you again, not only in TVD but in many other movies! :)

  26. Sasha Oliver says:

    I was sorry to see Jenna go.. But I think it was for a specific build up for the next season. Besides, no one knows what’s in store, beyond that we have two Original Vamps.. One who’s a Hybrid. No idea what’s gonna happen with Damon. I think sometime between no and next season Elena will turn eighteen so she would be an adult who can undoubtedly take care of herself.. and I believe that they would have something in store for Jeremy. Not sure.

    At the very least, Ric would be a good one, since Catherine is still compelled to stay in his apartment.. lol He’d probably not want to head to his place..

  27. josh says:

    with the whole damon problem
    they still have the potion thing from Elijah that was never said to not work on supernatural beings.
    other than that the series is starting to bore me.
    all they do is kill people off.
    jenna never really even got to build her character. there was nothing right about her death like that. ya she was trying to kill the witch, good plan. but such a sudden failing at that and then a BAM dead

  28. eda güneş says:

    bu bölüm çok güzel inşallah ilerde bu filmdeki oyuncularlan bir film çekebilirim

  29. Danielle H. says:

    This entire story and headline should have been cut away so that it didn’t spoil anything for people who hadn’t gotten a chance to watch the episode first. This has been happening ALOT on this site lately, and it’s rather disappointing and upsetting. Please make more of an effort to cut away stories and write ambiguous headlines so that you don’t ruin episodes for people.

    • Lucy says:

      Just don’t visit this website if you don’t wanna be spoiled

    • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

      I will beg to differ, and suggest that you perhaps have us confused with one of the other TV sites that are far, far more careless about spoiling episodes that have aired. Our headline never had the actress’ name, the photo showed multiple female characters, and the home page copy didn’t mention a death. We deliberate each and every possibly spoilery headline/photo, so the more I talk about it I am convinced you have us confused with another site.

    • scott says:

      if you dont want it spoiled for you just dont. go. blogging. about. it!! ur the seconder whiner who has said this.

  30. rosebrowson says:

    I agree slightly that that the home page link was spoilerish, as I also saw it before the episode and felt it confirmed my prediction, but I also believe that I had no-one to blame but myself. I knew I should stay away from the website before seeing the episode, and appreciate the sites efforts to vague things up for me, but the child in me couldn’t help opening the cupboard door before christmas.
    I disagree that her death was pointless, though, or that the writers would ever kill of a character they ‘didn’t know how to write for’ (which is rubbish). The death of a major character should always be about the development of those left behind – so who knows where this will lead next season. I’d be surprised if Alaric wasn’t somehow involved in the guardianship of Elena and Jeremy.

  31. johanna says:

    the storyline with jenna toward the end WAS rushed, but i doubt her death is “pointless”. even if they did kill her off because they couldn’t write for her character anymore, the writer os the show would spin something off of it to make it have a point. come on guys, have some faith in the writers.they haven’t let me down! jenna will be missed though. i didn’t see her as a main character or really important, but when they showed her, she was so “normal” it was comic relief..it was great and she embodied her character in each situation wonderfully

  32. E says:

    I was really hoping it was Caroline or maybe Tyler who was getting offed. I loved Jenna! I agree that it seems like her death was pointless. She brought a nice element of normalcy to the show. Side note, I clicked the IMDB link for Sara and realized she’s actually younger than some of the “high schoolers” on the show. Oh CW casting! lol

  33. cmb says:

    bring jenna back

  34. Maryann Federico says:

    Jenna should come back with Elena.. Since they both died. Jenna got tied to Bonnie too. That’s how both of them died. And partly cuz Klaus stuck a knife through her heart. But they should both come back together!! Like a family