Much of Elena's story revolves around her relationships with vampires Stefan Salvatore and his older brother, Damon.
It is revealed that Elena is a Petrova Doppelgänger, which is thus responsible for her being identical to her ancestor, Katherine Pierce (née Katerina Petrova).
Plec said "We kind of abandoned that queen-bee popular complex that in a lot of ways defined early Elena in the books", while feeling that Elena's actual flaw is her "deep, deep connection to other people". Speaking about the different qualities Stefan and Damon bring to Elena, Dobrev said they have "different qualities that are very appealing", which combined make "the perfect man".
In the books, Elena was blonde, popular, selfish and a "mean girl".
However the show's producers, Julie Plec and Kevin Williamson, felt that it wasn't the direction they wanted to go with their heroine in The Vampire Diaries television series.
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.
In late 2016, when it was announced that the eighth season would be the final season, Dobrev was in talks about returning to the television series to reprise her role in the final episode. Dobrev's return was confirmed on January 26, 2017, via an Instagram post.
Dobrev appeared in the final episode of the show as both Elena and her evil doppelgänger Katherine Pierce.
But we always knew that her journey would take her there eventually".
In what was described by the International Business Times as "the moment Vampire Diaries fans have been waiting for", Elena had to choose whether to be driven to Damon or Stefan to say goodbye to.
On March 9, 2009, it was announced that Bulgarian-born Canadian actress Nina Dobrev, known for her portrayal of Mia Jones on Degrassi: The Next Generation, had joined the cast of The Vampire Diaries as Elena.