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‘Vampire Diaries’ Post-Mortem: Sara Canning Talks About Last Night’s Shocking Episode

Vampire Diaries” star Nina Dobrev and executive producer Julie Plec may have warned us, but that didn’t take the sting out of last night’s jaw-dropping death on The CW series. Sure, we bid adieu to several characters during “The Sun Also Rises” (sayonara Jules, John and Greta!), but the most depressing demise belonged to Elena’s lovable—and until recently—in the dark Aunt Jenna.

Though our tears have dried, we’re still mourning Jenna’s death here at Hollywood Crush. To help us through the grieving process, we got on the phone with very-much-alive actress Sara Canning to talk about her character’s last good-bye and what’s next for her.

Hollywood Crush: Please humor us while we do our due diligence. “The Vampire Diaries” is known for its unexpected twists and turns. Is there any way Jenna isn’t dead?
Sara Canning: No. She’s dead. I think that by them showing her funeral, they kind of were hoping to just make a nice book ending there—just to give Elena that chance to grieve her last parental figure. Well, Jenna and John, actually. As of right now, she’s dead. I’ve moved away from Atlanta. So Jenna’s dead.

How did you find out your character was going to be killed off? Was it a shock or did you see it coming?
It was very surprising. It was a very big shock. Julie Plec told me. It was quite shocking. But I mean, since Kayla Ewell’s death—she played Vicki in season one—at that moment, I really sort of made the realization that anyone was game. And that just comes with being on a show like “The Vampire Diaries.” Death is a very major part of the show. Though it was a shock, I think underneath it all, I also knew it always could happen at any point.

I also think it shows that “The Vampire Diaries” has integrity. It’s not all intrigue without consequences.
We have seen people come back to life, but we’ve also seen some deaths that are quite significant—in the characters that they then affect. I’m not sure how Jenna’s death will affect future story lines or not. There are definite emotional ties. It’s definitely left Elena and Jeremy in a whole new situation.

Were you sitting on this news for a while? Was it hard to keep it a secret?
I wasn’t actually sitting on the secret for that long. I found out a few weeks before I was actually gone. So it wasn’t months and months of having to keep a secret because I imagine that would be very difficult. It was hard doing interviews, for sure. Because people would say, ’We’ve heard someone is dying,’ and I was like, ’Yep. Someone’s dying.’ It’s tricky doing interviews within that time frame. And only, obviously, the cast and crew and my family and a couple people closest to me knew. You have to really edit yourself and step outside of yourself and watch every word you’re saying.

We know there’s a Wall of Death on “The Vampire Diaries” set. Was there any sort of ceremony when your picture was added?
No. Not at all. [Laughs] But the funny thing is, someone on the crew who is very close to me is responsible for putting the photos up. And this person used—mostly it’s head shots, a very nice civil-looking head shot—and my picture on the Wall of Death is not. So anyone who might be in the production office in the following years, go ahead and look for my photo on the Wall of Death. It’s actually a picture another crew member took of me being super-ridiculous on location. It’s me sort of, uh, maybe trying to resemble vampires of past, the old-school vampires. And, yeah, it’s funny. It’s a top-secret photo only people in the production office will see.

There wasn’t much ceremony. I mean, it happens all the time. People die on the show all the time. For the crew, it’s probably losing its shock value. I think when you’re watching the episode, it’s shocking. But it’s just sort of in the crew’s tool belt now. Everyone was very kind to me, and I’ll definitely miss them a lot.

But you have to agree, though, that we’ve known Jenna longer than any character who’s died before her. It’s a little more profound.
Yeah. I hope so. I know that we’ve sort of seen Jenna here and there, and she’s been sort of in and out. And a large part of her remains a mystery. But I really think she was really interconnected with all of the characters in some way or another. And she represented a very important part of Mystic Falls, at that point. We’ve seen Matt get in on the supernatural stuff with Sheriff Forbes. For a little bit there, Jenna was sort of the only one left in reality. I think she was a really important part of the show because of that. I think she was a constant reminder that even though all this crazy stuff was going on, deep down the show was also about people dealing with everyday things—the kind of difficulties and joys and excitement and relationship changes. And I think she really represented that.

Alaric has had very bad luck with women. What do you want to see in his future?
I think in the spirit of Matt Davis, I would like to see Alaric actually not even have a relationship be his key focus or his major plot line of the show. I had the most fun watching Matt Davis play Klaus. I think he had the most fun playing Klaus. So I would hope for Matt Davis that he gets to do more along those lines, and clearly he’s not having a lot of luck with relationships. Maybe give the women a rest for a bit.

People would hate me for saying this because people love the bromance between Damon and Alaric, but how fun would it be to see Alaric sort of get in on the dark side a little more because he had such a good time playing with that?

What’s your next step? Any upcoming projects you can tell us about?
I’m working on a short film that I’m really excited about because it’s a film noir—a throw-back to that genre. I’m a big fan, so that will be a lot of fun. And I’m also working on a Lifetime film “Hunt for the I-5 Killer,” so I’ll be shooting that pretty soon here in Vancouver.

Any final thoughts or parting words for Aunt Jenna? Leave them in the comments and on Twitter!

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