"It was easy to get back into character for the finale. I played Elena for six years, so I jumped right back into it," Dobrev, 28, told EW. "There’s a lot of Elena in me, so it was easy to join the family back up and pick up where we left off."
The Let's Be Cops actress left The CW's hit supernatural drama after season 6 in 2015. In the finale, her character, Elena, finally reunites with her love Damon Salvatore, played by the star's ex, Ian Somerhalder.
"This goodbye feels different than it did when I left the first time because I was leaving and the show continued, and now the show’s ending for everyone. It feels more final. It’s more almost like closure. Everyone’s been very nostalgic; it’s a bittersweet ending," she continued. "I’m very happy that we were able to make it work and that I came back because I really missed the whole family and wanted to be part of the final goodbye. It really has felt like the closure that I needed — that hopefully everybody needs — and I think it ends in such a beautiful way that everyone will be happy."
Dobrev landed the lead role in 2009, when she was 20, and starred opposite Somerhalder, 38, Paul Wesley (Stefan Salvatore), Candice Accola (Caroline Forbes), Kat Graham (Bonnie Bennett) and Zach Roerig (Matt Donovan). The series launched many of their careers, and since its debut, some of the actors have gone on to get married and have kids. Somerhalder married Nikki Reed in 2015 and Accola, 29, welcomed daughter Florence in January 2016 with The Fray's Joe King, who she wed in 2014.
"So much has changed for all of us. When I look back at everybody and see how everyone’s changed in such a positive way and grown into such beautiful adults, it’s great and it’s also kind of sad," Dobrev told EW of the cast, who filmed in Georgia. "I’m going to miss everybody, but hopefully, once everybody moves back to L.A., we'll continue to hang out."