"We spent a little time trying to talk [Dobrev] out of it," Julie Plec said on the KCRW podcast

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After Nina Dobrev announced she would be leaving The Vampire Diaries once her six-season contract was up, the show’s creator, Julie Plec, had the same knee-jerk reaction to the news as the rest of us: denial.

“Nina had said earlier this year that she wanted to be done, and we spent a little time trying to talk her out of it,” said Plec on a KCRW podcast. “[We’d say,] ‘Oh, look at all these great plans of how you can stay!’ ”

However, said Plec, Dobrev “was just looking forward to moving on with no hard feelings and no drama. She finally was like, ‘No, I signed up for six years. I’ve done my six years. I’m ready to move on and spread my wings.”

Given the show’s close relationship with its fans on social media, Plec knew that the fan base would be devastated. “It was a beautiful shock, but there’s grief attached to that,” she said, adding that, because Dobrev was the main character on a show with a largely teenage fan base for six years, “There is a profound attachment to this character and to this show.”

As consolation, Plec opted to give fans a heads-up instead of springing the news on them, à la Josh Charles‘ shocking exit from The Good Wife. And so, Dobrev announced the news on Instagram in April, telling her fans that she “got the journey of a lifetime” during her six years on the show, adding, “If you think you know what’s coming, you don’t.”

Had they just ended Dobrev’s arc without a warning, said Plec, “As a fan, I would die. I would be devastated.”

The Vampire Diaries airs Thursdays (8 p.m. ET) on The CW, and Dobrev’s final episode airs May 14.

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