Spoiler Alert: This article contains spoilers about The Vampire Diaries' Season 7 (and potentially Season 8). Proceed if you dare.
It is no secret that Nina Dobrev fans are desperately clinging on to the idea of the actress returning to The Vampire Diaries for Season 8. Having first aired in 2009, this will surely be The CW series' final season as Ian Somerhalder and Kat Graham have already declared their departures.
It's been said that Dobrev would return for the series finale, but given the teaser in the end of Season 7, we can always hope she makes an even earlier appearance. While we distract ourselves from the loss of this show, let's create some fan theories and focus on the numerous ways we could plot Dobrev's return.
1. Katherine Pierce Returns From The Dead
We've seen quite a few spirits return from the dead in TVD, so it's not the craziest idea for Katherine Pierce (Nina Dobrev) to find her way back. Katerina Petrova is notorious for cheating death, after all, and shows are known for going all out in their final season.
The black hole that sucked her in upon her death was very mysterious and was never explained. Perhaps, there is a common factor in the nature of that black hole (i.e. Hell?) and of the grim reaper-looking creature that unleashed Damon Salvatore (Ian Somerhalder) and Enzo St. John (Michael Malarkey) on their killing spree.
2. Damon Kills Bonnie, Elena Wakes Up
Several components have kept Damon from killing our beloved Bonnie Bennett (Kat Graham) thus far: his friendship for her, his fear of losing Elena's love, his — sometimes questionable — sweet side.
None of those really matter if he's completely lost touch with his humanity. Given the rows of hanging corpses in the Season 7 finale, I'd say that's a given at this point. Bonnie could easily try to confront the duo and become their next victim, which would happen to awake Elena Gilbert.
Maybe a vengeful Enzo even kills Damon's true love before they can reunite? A tragic ending to Delena, but I'm sure the actors would be thrilled not to have to reunite with their off-screen exes.
3. Enzo Kills Bonnie, Elena Wakes Up
Brutal, I know. No one wants to be murdered by the love of their life (unless you're still routing for Bonnie and Jeremy Gilbert (Steven R. McQueen), but he's been a goner for a while now). Regardless of whether you consider Enzo her soulmate, you must admit it still sucks.
Similar to the Damon murder theory, Enzo has fallen off the same wagon, which could easily lead to him joyfully murdering his girlfriend. Although, he'd probably eventually wake up from his trance and kill himself out of guilt. It's definitely a refreshing spin on the Romeo and Juliet scenario. (P. S. Elena wakes up.)
4. Stefan and Caroline Return To New Orleans For Help
Perhaps, Bonnie breaks through to Enzo and manages to wake him from his trance out of love. What about Damon? Elena may be the only solution to pulling him out of this darkness. Thus, Stefan Salvatore (Paul Wesley) and Caroline Forbes (Candice King) takes the usual road trip all the way down to New Orleans, where someone must have an idea of how to revive Elena.
What can't the Originals do? So, hypothetically, Steroline strikes a deal that will call Kai's bluff and enable Elena to wake up. The only condition is that they help find Klaus, who Caroline's already mentioned has gone missing.
Also, this gives Steroline some much-needed bonding time to rekindle their love.
5. Bonnie Turns Herself Into A Vampire, Elena Wakes Up
This scenario is probably the biggest crowd-pleaser for those searching for a happy ending. Bonnie is no stranger to sacrifices, particularly when it comes to sacrificing herself.
"Bonnie Bennett. You have spent your entire life making sacrifices for me. Now it's my turn to do it for you."
In an effort to bring Damon and Enzo back to their usual lovely selves, Bonnie realizes her only option is for Elena to come back. In an act of desperation, Bonnie has herself turned into a vampire. She has already lost her magic and most of her loved ones, so this drastic act is almost a given.
Bonnie would die in the process, which would awaken Elena, and everyone lives happily ever after. To everyone's surprise, the BFFs would actually get to see each other again and even grow spiritually old together. Damon and Elena could get back together along with Bonnie and Enzo. There you have it, a classic happy ending. Unless...
5 1/2. Evil Genius Kai Planned For A Plot-Twister
In case you forgot why Elena is asleep in the first place, here's a little refresher:
All caught up? Now you remember why an alarm clock won't do the trick. So let's imagine Elena has been woken up in some magical way, which is great and all... But Kai dropped a few subtle hints that may suggest there could be a catch.
In his video, Kai Parker (Chris Wood) ensured his spell would make them suffer in new and inspired ways. He also promised Damon that Elena would stay in perfect health "until she wakes... Young, beautiful, human, Elena Gilbert."
The possibilities of her potential state are endless. As soon as she wakes up, she could be in awful health or age awfully quickly, like Katherine did, leading to her rapid death. Or perhaps, she could awaken in perfect physical health, but not be herself.
She could somehow turn evil or even lose her memory (again). If her brain were tampered with, she might even wake up with old feelings for either Stefan Salvatore or — wait for it — Matt Donovan (Zach Roerig). Either option would definitely cause an uproar from Delena shippers, but they're also very unlikely.
Another possibility is that Bonnie's soul lives on through Elena's body, causing Elena's spirit to die and Bonnie to live with the guilt of surviving. Kai always had a twisted soft spot for Ms. Bennett.
This could even lead to another plot-twister where Damon discovers he has developed feelings for Bonnie after thinking he'd lost her and seeing her as Elena. Weirdddd.
The only way to know what will happen for sure is to make sure to watch Season 8. The release date is still uncertain so don't hold your breath or you may just end up like Elena Gilbert.