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Vampire Diaries' Nina Dobrev Talks Life After Damon, Stelena's New 'Journey'

Vampire Diaries Season 6 Spoilers

With Elena’s boyfriend and best friend gone to Plec-knows-where, Nina Dobrev tells TVLine that her character’s choices in The Vampire Diaries‘ sixth season “will ultimately define who she is.” And that’s not necessarily a good thing.

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Below, Dobrev discusses Elena’s “odd” response to Damon’s apparent death in Thursday’s premiere (The CW, 8/7c) and addresses some major developments — like why the heck Elena and Stefan are holding hands in the official Season 6 poster.

TVLINE | Elena looks to be at her lowest point in Season 6, which must be rough for you as an actress. Has this been some of your most intense work yet?
Weirdly no. To be honest, the past six years have kind of blurred together. I can’t even separate specific episodes as being more difficult than others, though I’ve definitely had difficult experiences that have pushed me as an actress. This is just another one of those experiences. I mean, Jeremy’s died, Bonnie’s died, my parents have died, I’ve died — about three or four times — so I’ve had to go through a lot on this show. It’s like actor boot camp, I love it.

TVLINE | And at least you’re only playing one character this time.
[Laughs] Yeah, you know what? This might actually be the easiest acting I’ve had to do so far. Just one character! Plus, no boyfriends at the moment — I’m not dating Damon or Stefan. I actually get days off now, it’s great.

TVLINE | Damon’s obviously been a huge — at times even controlling — part of Elena’s life for the past five seasons. Who is she without him?
Well, there was a period, of course, when she was with Stefan, and then alone before that, so she’s been through various phases — though she has been with Damon for a very long time. I think that’s the main question in the first episode, and even Elena is going to have to figure that out, herself: Who is she without him? She definitely has a very unique, odd, unhealthy way of dealing with his loss, which will ultimately define who she is.

TVLINE | Jeremy’s also grieving the loss of Bonnie. Is Elena going to help him through that process?
Unfortunately, they kind of have to deal with their grief separately because Elena’s still not allowed into Mystic Falls. She can’t go back, so she has no choice but to help him via phone and social media and technology.

TVLINE | So she’s just tweeting her condolences to @JeremyGilbert?
[Laughs] Pretty much, yeah.

TVLINE | Side note: I watched the pilot the other day and Jeremy was a little baby. I feel like he’s grown up right in front of our eyes.
Oh my God, yeah. But we all have, if you think about it. I mean, I was 21 when we started the show, so that makes me … I don’t even want to say it out loud.

Vampire Diaries Season 6TVLINE | OK, I won’t make you. But I do want to ask why Elena and Stefan are holding hands on the Season 6 poster.
Wouldn’t you like to know! All of our characters go on a journey this season; Damon and Bonnie have disappeared, which is why they’re holding hands, so Stefan and Elena have to take the lead and save the day. They’re left to pull through and grieve the people they’ve lost.

TVLINE | So it’s more of a supportive hand-holding thing?
I mean … you never know where they’re going, honestly. We’re shooting Episode 8 right now, so we still have over half the season to film. Anything could happen. As of right now, it’s more of a support thing.

TVLINE | I know you can’t tell me, but can you give me a one-word hint about where Damon and Bonnie are?
One word? Um… Oblivion. Sorry, I honestly can’t think of anything else that wouldn’t completely give it away!

All right, TVD fans, let’s talk: Where do you think Bonnie and Damon disappeared to? And are you hoping for a(nother) Stelena reunion? Browse photos from Season 6 below, then drop a comment with your thoughts and theories.