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Elena's transition into a vampire was planned for two years.
Executive producer Kevin Williamson recalled Dobrev auditioning while having the flu, which he described as the "worst audition ever", and they "didn't even look at her a second time".
Dobrev went back home to Canada, yet, still wanting the part, she submitted a videotape audition, which saw her cast as Elena Gilbert.
Additionally, she said "I think I have one of the coolest characters on the show — I get to play two completely different people on opposite sides of the spectrum and I just have so much fun doing it". However, in the television series, she is Bulgarian, as is Dobrev, who can speak the language fluently .
The actress stated that it has been a challenge distinguishing the two, and enjoys playing them both.
In the television series's fourth season, Elena becomes a vampire and dies then deals with the struggles that come with her change.